All our adventures as missionaries, past and present.

Prayers Don’t Fix Buildings

My friend Chrispus came with the report today. In order to repair our Ngarama Baptist Church building, it will require 5,644,000/= Ugandan shillings, approximately (variations in the dollar) $1570. That will repair the whole structure, including the walls and the floors, put a new roof on, metal doors and windows, and restore it like new. We have another need at Sangano. The parsonage at Sangano Baptist is near to falling down, and will fall down without intervention. This structure is where Pastor Zizi lives with his family. The parsonage will need 19,058,000/= Ugandan shillings, approximately $5301. Every time it rains, the water does more damage, it infiltrates the house, and the roof does nothing to hold it back. If we don’t do something soon, it will fall in. They already cannot use one room in there because they are afraid the roof and walls are going to collapse and kill them. Our other buildings also need major repairs and expansions. I am of the school of thought that you see problems and deal with them while they are small, before they become catastrophic. It is already catastrophic at Ngarama, and is about to be at our other churches. I can’t do anything without money. Please consider helping us.

The Parsonage

This is the parsonage, where Pastor Zizi lives with his wife and six children.

Leaks Like a Sieve

As you can see, the partial tin roof (the rest is tarps and plastic sheeting) is riddled with holes.

Unstable Wall

This wall is ready to go, and will take half the structure down when it does.

MISSION: Uganda Blog Post 09-18-2017

Greetings, one and all! July and August were just plain busy. We hit the ground running. You see, the problem with being gone  from the field for a year is you have a year’s worth of stuff to deal with when you get back.

I had a backlog of believers needing baptism, so we had a corporate service and I baptized the lot of them (35, although some were out sick on the day). I will need to do another, probably closer to Christmas. The churches are growing, which is a great blessing.

Our camp, and the surrounding district of Isingiro, was badly affected by drought and famine while we were in America. We had to make multiple emergency trips out to the camp to deliver food and medicine. All told, we spent $2000 of donations on relief supplies. We’ve taken 300 adult doses and 150 children’s doses of malaria medication, over 600 pounds of beans, 1,800 pounds of posho flour, and 500 pounds of soap, along with countless other medications.

We are finally getting rain now, but it was an unusually long dry season that lasted for 5 months. Many people in Isingiro starved, and the matoke (banana) crops and other staple foods were decimated. The people are having to rebuild their plantations.

At the end of August, our good friend, missionary Tom Tracht came from America to teach a class in Ruti on the Book of Romans. I transported 55 of our folks from the four churches to Mbarara to attend. It was a good class, and dovetails very well with my own preaching through Romans. I am trying to ground our people in systematic theology, so when the cults come around, they can give a reason for the hope that lies within them. Thanks to the preaching of God’s word, and the simple fact that we love our people, I am seeing numerous people leaving the Pentecostal and Catholic organizations to attend our services. We’ve even had Muslims attend services.

My pastor at Ngarama Baptist Church developed appendicitis, and had to be brought to Mbarara for surgery. He has had a very difficult recovery. The surgery was successful, but he has developed an infection, and it may have produced pneumonia. I went to see him after church yesterday, heard him coughing, and told him to get in the car, I’m taking you to the hospital – it sounded that bad. The torrential rains this past week washed away the beans he had planted. Those will have to be replaced.

We have several people who are in need of seeds to plant now that the rains have come. People ate their seed because they were starving. If we don’t get them seeds to plant, we will be right back where we started when the dry season comes again. In any case, I have to help Theogene. I am waiting to hear from the doctor on his condition today. I can’t spare this man. He is faithful, and trustworthy. He has nine children to support. It would be catastrophic if anything happened to him.

On top of all this, the church Theogene pastors had its building destroyed by the same rains. I have an engineer checking it today to get me a cost estimate on the repairs. Here are the pictures of what happened:

Roof 01

Our Ngarama Baptist Church building.

Roof 02

A bad rain storm tore off half the roof.

Roof 03

The rest of the building is near to collapse from termites and rain.

As I mentioned in my last blog post from June, we need to repair our buildings. Otherwise, this will be repeated at all the other churches. I have money set aside for wells and buying a motorcycle to assist our ministries within the camp, but I have no money for building repairs. You can refer to my last email for the cost breakdown. This is not an idle request. Please consider helping us repair our buildings.

I have completed the process of getting our various passes and permits approved by the Ugandan government so we can continue living here legally. Last step, we have to all go to Kampala to be fingerprinted. Pray for our travels. It is incredibly dangerous to drive there. I can do it capably, but it’s not pleasant.

God bless you. Thank you for praying!

MISSION: Uganda Blog Post 06-29-2017

Greetings! My wife, Anna’s, blog posts pretty well sum up the chaos and confusion of international travel. They are worth reading if you want a more detailed view of what missionaries deal with just getting back to the field. It’s a madhouse!

The last month before the big trip is intensely stressful. We spent a lot of time getting packed, re-packed, re-re-packed, and so forth until Anna got us drilled down to the maximum amount of luggage allowed, and a couple extra pieces. Having done this before, we are both well aware of all the many, many things that can go wrong. You wind up lying awake worrying about the pending disaster that could be yours for the low, low price of just 8 plane tickets!

Thank you all so much for praying! This trip went very smoothly. We managed to get all our luggage to Chicago by train, then from there by plane to Uganda with nothing lost, stolen, or damaged. I am amazed by how well it all went. The good people of Northwest Bible Baptist Church in Elgin, IL went above and beyond the call of duty, helping us get from the train station to the college where we would be staying over the weekend, then from there to the airport on Monday to begin our long journey to Uganda. The ticket agents with Delta were awesome. They only charged us for three of our overweight bags. I was anticipating much more, but with one act of kindness, they saved us a lot of money. The TSA in Chicago, as always, were professional and helpful. They opened everything I expected they would, but zip tied all the bins, and taped everything well.

Ssemuko brought us our new and improved Land Cruiser. I had saved enough money to be able to get a new engine put in, the 4WD fixed, and a myriad of other things repaired or replaced. It looks like a new car. Drives like one, too! Thank you everyone who helped with this unavoidable, necessary expense.

We are finally plugged back in, over jet lag, and living in a clean house. I have at last done all the many maintenance tasks that needed doing after our return, and we are settling back into the work well. It is such a blessing to be back, and busy with the ministry once again.

The week we got back, our female dog was in heat, and as a consequence, our male dog was more aggressive than normal. He attacked our youngest son, Gaelin, and tore his upper lip badly enough to need a skin graft. Thank God we live in Mbarara where all the doctors are! We got him to Mayanja Memorial Hospital right away, and the plastic surgeon came immediately to see him. We had him in the next morning to be operated on. He is healing, and the skin graft looks great. Pray for his recovery.

I have listed our goals in the last letter, so I won’t repeat those. I have the money needed to drill at least one well (and have been in touch with a man who drills village wells), buy a motorcycle to aid in getting a new church started among the Burundians, and buy some medicine and food.

Upon my return to our churches, I discovered that they are filled beyond capacity every Sunday and are in terrible condition. I would like to repair all our existing sanctuaries and keep those as a classroom for Sunday School, and build a new, larger sanctuary for each church. This would be a simple building without running water or electricity, padded pews, or carpet. In order to keep growing, this has to happen. Each church except Sangano needs its own baptistry and better toilets. In order to baptize properly, and get through the dry seasons alive, it has to happen. They all need water storage tanks. In order to avoid disease and privation, it must happen.

If I can do this, it will allow us to have Sunday School for the children, and church for the adults at the same time. This would allow us to be more efficient with our time. It would also allow me to do baptisms at each church. Please pray about helping us with this. It is expensive, but compared to the hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars churches spend in America for their buildings, it’s a really good deal.

Here’s how it breaks down:

Each church will need approximately $15,000 for the new larger sanctuary.

A baptistry will cost $250 to construct.

The water reclamation tanks and guttering I mentioned before will cost $1500 each.

A new toilet with places for 4 (2 men and 2 women) will cost $2000.

Cost of repairs to the old buildings, including new metal doors and windows, will be approximately $5000 each.

Now, cast your gaze on even the simplest of your church buildings, and consider the numerous luxuries you enjoy, and the vast cost of your structures compared to these. It is not unreasonable. Please pray about helping us.

I’m going to work with what I have for now, and spend what has been given on the things for which they were given. They will be a blessing to many.

God bless you! Thank you for praying! Thank you for helping!

MISSION: Uganda Blog Update 04-24-2017

Greetings! I am happy to report that we are now homeless. WE SOLD OUR HOUSE! Thank you all for praying. When we bought our house, we had no idea that the housing market was going to drive off a cliff, down an embankment, and onto several pointed rocks before exploding. It has been a millstone around our neck, and we are very grateful to finally be rid of that particular financial burden.

We will be flying back to Uganda on May 29. Our furlough has been restful and productive. It’s been good to see family and friends, but we are all looking forward to getting home. As of now, God has increased our support to livable levels. For those churches who have taken us on or raised our support or for those who support us individually: thank you. You made it so that we can live and minister in Uganda. 

We are starting our last trip before our return tomorrow. I have four meetings lined out in the Pacific Northwest. Please pray these will result in support, along with all of the other churches we visited this past year.

Pray for our trip back to Uganda. We are vastly better prepared than we were in 2013. Pray for our health and safety. Pray for the NGO. I have begun the process of renewal, this time for five years. Pray for our home in Uganda. I found out today that a section of wall between our compound and our neighbor fell over. Nothing serious was harmed, but it does present a security risk while they are repairing it.

Some of our goals for the coming term:

  • Construction on baptistries for the younger churches, and repairs and expansions to our buildings.
  • Preach through the Book of Romans.
  • Literacy classes for the ladies, and anybody else who needs schooling in how to read.
  • Drill wells at our churches. 
  • Install water reclamation tanks.
  • Organize medical clinics.
  • Revival meeting at each church, with special preaching, and evangelistic outreach in the community.
  • Start churches among the new refugees from Burundi.

If you are wanting to send money to fund any of these projects, it is never too late. Make sure you designate what the money is for, and I will put it to work on your behalf.

God bless you all.

MISSION: Uganda Blog Update 02-02-2017

Greetings! And welcome to 2017! Our year is progressing well. We had a break from the road to be with family and our church, but now we are about to commence the last push before we head back to Uganda. I am still attempting to raise our support levels. As I have communicated before, one of my primary goals this furlough was to address the serious underfunding that plagued our ministry last term.

Over the course of the next couple months, we are taking trips to the southwest and the northwest. However, I am still in need of meetings on March 19, 26, April 2, 9 and 23. It would be great if those were reasonably close to St. Louis. Any suggestions would be welcome and helpful. Pray for our health and our safety as we travel.

Please keep praying for our 4 churches in Uganda. An extended absence such as this puts a considerable strain on them, but they are doing well. Pray for my men as they lead the works. Pray I will be successful in raising the support we need so we can get back to the work God has for us in Uganda.

Another issue you might pray about, is that we may FINALLY be able to sell our home in St. Louis! The housing market in our area is finally recovering from when the housing bubble burst in 2008. We were forced to become landlords while living overseas because we could not sell our house. We have listed it with a realtor. Please pray it will sell in the next couple months. It would be a great help if we no longer had that to worry about.

Thank you for praying!