MISSION: Uganda Blog Update 07-09-2014

Greetings! I trust everybody had a great Independence Day celebration. It is, of course, not even a thing here. So, all us missionaries get together to celebrate in our own way. We had a great time – burgers, tube steak, potato salad, the works. Afterwards, we had a piñata (a giraffe) filled with some of the American candy we brought back with us. Gaelin killed it with one blow, spilling it’s tasty sugary guts all over the ground – we’ll make the next one stronger. 🙂 The kids had a great time.

I am pastoring the 4 churches we have out at Nakivale right now while Jeff and Carla Bassett are in the States for a brief furlough. So, I am dividing my time between the 4, 2 one Sunday, 2 the next. This lets our Pastors-in-training get some practice leading the service and preaching. My two are near to being ready to make fully independent.

I have been preaching through 1 Corinthians. I love how timely that book is. It spells out in a very logical manner why we do certain things as Christians, and how to work out our own faith in fear and trembling. It has been dealing specifically with fornication lately, a problem here (and nearly everywhere really). It says some very useful things about the family also, which flows naturally into the class I will be teaching on Marriage and the Family soon. Pray for the effectual preaching of God’s word. Thank you for praying for Ngarama. We continue to see people saved there. They are nearly done repairing the storm damage we accrued a little while back, which is a blessing. Now that the road is so good, I can afford to go out there for more frequent visitation because my car and body aren’t being beat to death.

We will be having another Marathon VBS soon once the children get done with their current term. Pray for this. Always profitable.

God bless you!

MISSION: Uganda Blog Update 04-21-2014

Happy Easter, folks! Our churches are doing well here. I am preaching through 1 Corinthians, because it deals specifically with church problems, and the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. We have many Pentecostal congregations here, and they are preaching a lot of misinformation about the Holy Spirit. This has the effect of creating a lot of confusion about salvation and spiritual growth. 1 Corinthians corrects those errors. I had a man come for salvation after a sermon about how God gave us the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth and to produce the character of Christ in us. His words were “You preach that a person should live by the Bible. The others only teach you should experience miracles. They don’t preach the Bible.”

Later that same Sunday, I preached a funeral for a young child in our Juru church. The boy had been playing around the podium the week prior. Within the week, dysentary had claimed his life. I preached to a gathering of around 70 people, including Muslims, from 1 Corinthians 15, which deals with the resurrection. Jesus Christ the Son of God prevailed over sin and death, and we have the absolute assurance of eternal life through him. Though this child had died, because he knew neither good nor evil, he was already in Heaven, and we who remain and believe on the Lord Jesus will see him again, either after death, or in the clouds upon the Lord’s return. The gospel was clearly preached by myself, and my Pastors from Sangano and Juru. The church in Juru is growing. Our man, Byuma, is developing into a great Pastor. I am confident that within the year, both churches will be ready to become organized and fully independent. Pray for these “children” as they enter adulthood and become mature churches.

Yesterday, Easter Sunday, we had a joint service of all four churches in Nakivale. We baptized 15, including 5 from Juru and my man from Ngarama. That’s why we’re here. That’s why we go out to the camp. I have great goals for all of them. Once we get these churches organized, I intend to start another in Kabingo, and possibly another in a trading center we pass on the way to Ngarama (the trading center is growing like gangbusters – they need a Baptist church). Our refugee camp is not the sort of place that most of these religious organizations would wish to start congregations – there’s no money in it. These people, they think, have nothing to offer. I see a harvest field that is ready for harvest, and I am excited at the potential of the place.

I have kicked in some iron sheets along with Bro. Bassett, and six bags of cement to repair the church building at Ngarama which was damaged in a storm (the wind tore the roof off). We are correcting some mistakes the prior mason made in it’s construction, and also making some general repairs, so the place will look great when it’s repaired. I am having some guttering and drain trenches put in to better manage the rain runoff so it doesn’t damage the building.

The library building at Sangano now has windows and doors, the strong, metal variety. The mason is putting in the floor. The building is nearing completion. We need our books from America. I have had some money come in for the shipping of our container, but not yet enough. It sits still at the mission house in St. Louis, ready to go. We need the funds to get it shipped here. Please pray about the shipping money.

We are only sending email prayer letters now, so these emails are our only means of communication. If you ever change email addresses, please notify me so I can make the change in our database. If you ever suspect you have stopped receiving emails from us, you can always double-check at our blog on the main page and see past and present prayer letters.

God bless you!

MISSION: Uganda Blog Update 02-26-2014

Greetings (finally) from Uganda! We have been here three weeks, and the internet has been off for roughly half that time. Every time I would sit down to write a prayer letter, the Internet would be in absentia. Every. Time. So frustrating. Anyway, I will take advantage of this brief foray into the 21st century to finally send an update.

Needless to say, we made it to Uganda. Everything went well. There was a bit of a disagreement getting through Heathrow, but we finally persuaded British Air to allow us to bring our most important carry-on pieces on the flight, and thus not expose our most valuable belongings to the tender mercies of Entebbe baggage handling. All luggage made it through to Uganda. Nothing was missing or tampered with, which was a blessing. Our friend Ssuemko was waiting for us at the airport. We got everything loaded up into his truck, and then drug our weary bodies over to Namuli Suites for the night. We left out the next day for Mbarara and, after over 48 hours of traveling, we were home.

It's not hard to disbelieve Evolution when you enter a house left vacant for nine months. You know something? Things get worse, not better, without an external intelligence acting upon a given system to impose order. It's an entropy thing. The dust was so thick, I thought I was at the beach. Some of our friends had come and done some preliminary cleaning in the main house, or it would have been much worse – thank you! We are, after all this time, finally reaching the point where our house is in order and fully functional.

I am in the middle of getting our work permits and so forth renewed. I made a trip to Kampala to submit those, and to pick up some deep-cycle batteries and solar panels. Umeme is load shedding all day Friday through Sunday every weekend. I have decided that our relationship is irreconcilable, and am preparing to get a divorce. 🙂

The people at Sangano Baptist are very excited about the library project. On their own, they began making the couple thousand bricks needed, and purchased the poles necessary to begin raising the structure for the library building. Jeff kicked in the funds for sand, cement, and iron sheets for a roof. Our library is taking shape. It lacks only the books. As of this letter, our container still sits in St. Louis, unshipped. Would you pray about helping us? Many of you contributed books, for which we are very grateful. Now we need to finish the journey and get them to Uganda. If all of you contribute some, together, it will be enough to ship. A library building, however well constructed, is no good to anybody without books to fill it. Please help us finish this worthy project and bring a library to the refugees at Nakivale.

Pray for us as we complete our transition back to the field. I have to get our solar system installed. I have to get our work permits and driving permits renewed. I need to pay our landlady three months' rent next month. Feburary is usually a low month for support. Pray I can get it all done.

Pray for the works. I had to deal with some interpersonal problems out at one of the churches. The people are working through it, but it has affected attendance. Pray they can learn how to get along, and restore their testimony in the community (you folks in America never have these problems, right? 😉 )

It is so great to be home, preaching the Gospel, and working with God's people in Uganda!

God bless you!

 

Some pictures of the library building:

Library 01

Library 02

Library 03

Library 04

MISSION: Uganda Blog Update 01-28-2014

Well, here we are again. We are STILL in Chicago. We actually made it to the airport on Sunday. Everything seemed to be going according to plan, but then we find out that the flight to London has been delayed and now we’re going to miss our connecting flight to Entebbe. ARRRGGHHHH!!! Each time, we keep getting closer to the airport. So, because they only have two flights a week to Entebbe, we have to wait until Wednesday, January 29 to attempt, for the third time, to make our flight. 

Brennah Travel

We at least got our tubs to the airport, and weighed everything, and zip tied all the bins with steel cable ties, so they are ready for transport. The airline graciously offered to store our bags at the airport, so all we have to take tomorrow is our carry-on luggage. They put us up at the Hyatt Regency Sunday night, and paid for all our meals. Meanwhile, we have been camped out in Elgin once again. Our supporting church here, Northwest Bible Baptist Church, has gone above and beyond the call of duty, housing and feeding us, and supplying us with laundry access so we can keep washing our two changes of clothes over and over while we wait to depart (again). Pray all goes well on Wednesday. We truly want to get back to Uganda, and all this waiting, however relaxing it might be, is starting to be a pain, as it delays us from getting back into our usual ministry routine.

Lord willing, my next communication will be from Uganda, where the term negative has never been used in conjunction with any temperature designation ever.

God bless you!

MISSION: Uganda Blog Update 01-23-2014

Remember my promise that serving the LORD will be an adventure, never boring? Yesterday, that promise was once again fully realized. We got off to a rocky start preparing to leave because our junky van wouldn’t start in the cold. That made me late getting to UHaul to pick up the trailer I had reserved to get our luggage and us to Chicago. We finally got our last arrangements made, got our van and trailer loaded, said our last goodbyes, and launched forth into the frigid North American landscape en route to Chicago to catch our flight that evening to Uganda. As the trip progressed, we got into 40-50 mph winds with full whiteout conditions. The road surface wasn’t too bad, but visibility was down to about 100ft. I pulled off in Dwight, IL to fuel up so we wouldn’t get stranded and freeze in the 15 degree temperatures. As I rolled forward, I happened to look back and notice that the trailer tire on my side was wobbling badly. I got out to take a look, and saw this:

Rusted Tire

The rim was so rusted it had separated from the hub and was resting on the axle. We couldn’t move the trailer without the tire falling off completely. What’s more, when we looked underneath, we saw that the axle was coming apart and the bearings were exposed. God spared our lives. Had that thing come off at highway speeds, we could easily have all been killed. We got ahold of the breakdown service with UHaul, but they were unable to get us a new trailer, and the damage was too severe for the service station working with them to fix it right there. Long story shorter – we missed our flight to Uganda.

We are presently staying at a hotel in Pontiac, IL, 20 miles back down I-55, waiting for either a new trailer or a repaired old trailer. We will be staying at a prophet’s chamber near O’Hare until Sunday night, where I have gotten our flight to Uganda rescheduled. The great folks at MTS Travel took care of everything. There is no extra charges or penalties. Fogarty’s Garage in Pontiac, IL went above and beyond the call of duty. Their man stayed with us the whole time, in the blistering cold, until arrangements could be made with UHaul to get a flatbed to us to pick up our trailer. They kept our trailer and belongings in a secure, heated garage all night, and got to work on fixing it straight away this morning. They have sent someone to fetch a new trailer from another UHaul place 50 miles away while they got to work cutting off the rusted-out axle and replacing it. Also, the people at the Circle K in Dwight did everything they could to help us. God just brought several really great people along to help us in our stranded situation.

Nobody died. We had a warm safe place to wait while matters were resolved. We got into a comfortable hotel to stay the night. Plans were successfully changed at no extra expense. All that was lost was time. God was very gracious to us. My deepest thanks to all the many people who have worked to help us get back to Uganda, like my sisters-in-law who swooped in to help Anna finish the packing, or my brothers-in-law who helped with loading and last minute errands, and my mother and father-in-law who are stranded with us in all this and helping us still to reach our destination. Pray for our continued safety in our journeys. Pray for good weather on Sunday in the greater Chicago area. Pray Pastor and Mrs. Spilger will have a safe and uneventful trip back to St. Louis today.

All we want to do is get back to Uganda!