Howdy! We had a great Sunday last week. I got to baptize 19 children and adults, and marry two couples. Some of those baptized are from Burundi, who have fled the unrest in their country to Uganda. The churches are growing well. This was our second baptism service this year and we will have at least one more before the year is over. The Gospel is doing its job.
I have preached again and again on the value and the importance, to God and society, of marriage, and on the destructive nature of fornication. Because of the way the marriage customs work here, and the high cost of bride prices, there is a lot of elopement and common law marriages. Couples just run away from their village and live together. We are offering an opportunity to make that right, and they are taking it.
One of the couples who married on Sunday are Bakiga, both educators, who had become estranged from each other because the man had gotten into sin and become an abusive drunk. He came to the camp, heard of our church at Juru, visited one Sunday, and I led him to the Lord. Months later, I learned the woman had come to hear the preaching. I gave the invitation, and she indicated her need for salvation. She remained after the service, and I got to lead her to Christ also.
Sunday, I baptized her, and then married them. I have watched as they keep taking steps of obedience to the LORD. They have started a Primary school in our Juru church, and have nearly 160 students. It all began because God brought a man to church and he heard the Gospel and believed. Things like this remind you why God called you to be a missionary.
Please pray. I am still having difficulty getting the last recommendation letter we need, this one from the RDC (Resident District Commissioner) for Mbarara. Pray we would get our letter in the next couple days so we can FINALLY get this NGO, Grace Baptist Missions of Uganda, established. Everything else is done – we’re just waiting on this one letter.
Pray about our churches at Nakivale. The churches are growing. At some point in the next year, I will need to build new buildings at Sangano and Juru. Juru has outgrown its sanctuary and Sangano needs another Sunday School room. All the buildings need maintenance (the rains always do damage, and then there’s also termites). I need to build baptistry’s at the other three preaching points, so we don’t have to keep baptizing at Sangano only. As pleasant as meeting corporately is, the sanctuary there can’t hold everybody. My men are working on getting our church constitution translated from English to the big three languages there – Swahili, Runyankore, and Kinyarwanda. Then I am going to organize the remaining three churches. They still need Pastors – pray God would raise up qualified men. I am currently training eight.
God has burdened us with the need to dig wells at the four points. Clean water is a desperate need at the camp. What water they do get is full of parasites and makes them sick all the time. In the dry season, the available water supply suffers greatly, and water is rationed. Currently, each family (and they have lots of kids) is limited to 40 liters of water a day. This includes water for cooking, drinking, washing, and bathing. They have to line up at 4 in the morning, and wait for hours to get their ration, and hope it doesn’t run out before they get their turn. Having a well would free our churches from dependence on the camp’s dirty, unreliable water supply. It would also, among other things, guarantee we will always have water when we need it for baptizing, instead of having to haul water from far away in jerry cans.
We are still working on the library. I need to get it painted before we take the books out there, and we need money for tables and chairs. We had some some money set aside for this, but this was consumed by the additional fees we incurred at the border from crooked customs officials.
We are well past the point of replacing our tires. I need four new tires and a spare, because the ones we have are dangerously bald. It’s a rare Sunday I don’t have to stop at the service station to put air in one or more tires. I will need to repair our four wheel drive also, since the roads inside the camp are as terrible as ever, and it is impossible to reach the furthest preaching points during the rainy season without it. Please pray about these needs.
Pray about our ministry to Rwanda. We got a much welcome visit from Jeff Bassett earlier this month. He brought a man named Sadok, who was saved under his ministry and trained in James Pridgen’s Bible College in Kampala. Sadok joined the church at Sangano, and will be serving as their missionary in Rwanda planting churches to reach their own countrymen with the Gospel. The guys I am training may someday be able to return to their countries, and we are in a position to help establish more churches in Rwanda and Congo. That has long been our goal.
Pray for our growing ministry and for the many souls of East Africa God has called us to serve.
God bless you!