MISSION: Uganda Blog Update 10-21-2014

Greetings! God is blessing greatly out at Nakivale. October 12 we conducted a joint service at Sangano of the four churches to whom we minister. I baptized 23 people and married two couples. Many of the baptized were children from our Sunday Schools and VBS. It is tremendous to see the gospel do its work in their hearts. You have to wonder sometimes if you’re getting through, and then you watch them growing and progressing in their faith and it’s awesome.Baptism

One of the men I won to the LORD came to be baptized and also be married. I have been preaching very firm against fornication, and at the same time, making the Biblical case for marriage. Marriage is holy before the LORD. He created it in the Garden for Adam and Eve, so they could live with each other and enjoy each other without sin. It’s purpose is to protect us against fornication, to deliver us from loneliness, and to give comfort and pleasure. God defines marriage as between one man and one woman. If any relationship diverges from this pattern, then it’s not marriage, no matter what human judges may say – the Divine Judge has already spoken and His decision is final. WeddingThese folks had simply cohabited, but they wanted to be married before God and the churches. I have to say, I was a bit nervous, as this was my first wedding, but it went off without a hitch (well, actually there were two hitches, but you know what I mean) and the church was greatly edified (another purpose of marriage). It rejoices my heart greatly to see the Bible change hearts and alter lives like this.

We remain and continue our work, training our leaders and our people, preaching, serving, and spreading the simple Gospel message of Jesus Christ to Nakivale, and through our people, beyond to Congo, Rwanda, and around the world. Things are going to become much busier for us in the next several months. Pray for us as we continue holding forth the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout East Africa.

God bless you all!

MISSION: Uganda Blog Update 08-21-2014

Greetings in the name of the LORD! I’ll bet you’re all looking forward to Fall by now and some relief from the dog days of summer, right? Believe it or not, it actually gets HOTTER in August in Saint Louis than it does here in Uganda at the Equator.

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Pastor Claudian at Independent Baptist here in Mbarara. A lady from our church at Kabazano had come to the regional hospital in Mbarara with a sick infant, and the baby had died. They needed transport back to the camp with the body. I drove the mother, the corpse of the baby, and her sister back to the camp. Kabazano is the end of the line. It is the furthest away, and the roads are pretty harsh. We drove in silence. I don’t know enough Kinyarwanda to converse, and they didn’t know any English. Ugandans don’t show much emotion in public (except at political rallies or soccer matches), but when we drew near to home, she began weeping, clutching the body of her dead child. There was nothing I could say. Nothing I could do that I wasn’t already doing. I sat with them in their sitting room. The mother covered her head with her garment and wept, and the rest of us sat there in awkward silence. They fetched a schoolgirl who knew English (they have good schools out at the camp), and she interpreted. The mother, weeping, exclaimed “I don’t even have a case!” I considered this for a moment, and then realized, she means she has no coffin. I asked how much coffins cost, and it was not more than 10 dollars. I guess you don’t need much wood when you’re making a coffin for a baby. I gave them the money to take care of it.

So many babies die here. This is the second time in as many months I have had to do a funeral for an infant. Next morning was Sunday, so I went out there for church. I discovered that this was the daughter of a church member there, but she had married an unsaved man and left the church (ladies always take the religion of the man they marry here, regardless). Simply driving them back, and buying them a coffin had ministered to the people greatly. It doesn’t seem like much to most of you, but transport and a coffin is a lot of money for a refugee. I tried to explain to the church folks that, although she had abandoned the church, we mustn’t pass the opportunity to minister to the family. This act of kindness, and their kindness in in attending the burial and comforting the family, could be the means of salvation for her whole family. Pray for these people. They need the LORD, and comfort as they grieve.

This past week, we had another of our Marathon VBS’s. I call it Marathon VBS because we have four preaching points, and we have 4 separate VBS’s for each, each day, for three days. We spend an hour at the first, drive to the next, spend an hour there, and so on. It keeps us gone for most of the day from early in the morning, until around 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon. It’s grueling, especially on the toddler, but we make do. We so enjoy ministering to the children. Most of the kids who come, the majority in fact, are not associated with the church. There are Muslims, Pentecostals, Church of Uganda, and Catholic. They all come, likely to get the Kool-Aid and cookies we provide, or the toys we give as prizes for sitting quietly or memorizing verses, but they all hear the Gospel. On the first day, the total number was 257. On the last, we had 606. We don’t advertise because we don’t have to. They come. If we kept on going past three days, I think their numbers could reach even higher. This is normal. Amazing, right? Pray for these children, that these seeds we are planting will bear fruit unto salvation.

God bless you all!

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Jumping for Verses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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