MISSION: Uganda Blog Update 01-13-2014

Happy New Year! Our final days in America are finally upon us. Our plane tickets are bought. Now commences the hectic race to our travel deadline as we finish up packing and final preparations for departure. Pray for us as we work to get everything done. We are on target so far, but there are an awful lot of details to keep track of. 

Right now, I’m working on getting the shipping container shipped to us this week. We have all the books, more than enough to fill it. Our people in Uganda are already making bricks for the building we’re going to construct for the library. 

At the moment, we are able to get the shipping container and have done so, but do not have the money sufficient for shipping it to Uganda. That is going to be around $11,000. I will know the total cost for sure once we load the container – I have to estimate the gross shipping weight, which requires weighing an average sized box and then counting all the boxes to get an estimated weight. Ugh. Please pray about this project. At the moment, I can load the container and prepare it for shipping, but it will just sit here in Saint Louis until God supplies the money to ship. Ideally, I’d like that to happen before we leave the country.

Pray for our return trip. I do not dread going back to Uganda – far from it! I do, however, dread being confined to a slender metal tube for 22 hours with God knows what all pathogens, in seats designed to comfortably house African pygmies or Oompa-Loompas. Pray we’ll stay healthy. We don’t have time to be sick!

Also, I have to renew our paperwork when we return to Uganda. We tried to have this done while we were away, but immigration said I had to submit the paperwork myself. So, my work permit and everybody else’s documents are three months expired. It shouldn’t make problems about entering the country, but they MAY insist on us paying the $400 for tourist visas, which is rather silly because we are residents, NOT tourists. I have to have the cash with me just in case though. Pray the folks working the airport that night are reasonable.

God bless you all! Next stop Uganda!!

MISSION: Uganda Blog Update 12-12-2013

Merry Christmas! We are finished with our travels and are home (blessed relief) for the holidays while simultaneously trying to wrap up our furlough and make tracks back to Uganda.

Anna and I had a great 2-week trip to Hawaii. We visited six churches there. We like Hawaii a lot because it reminds us so much of Uganda. The pace of life is similar. You have similar distance of travel getting there. You have the same isolation. Cost of living is high because everything has to be imported. Land and buildings are expensive. So you see, you can get the full missionary experience without leaving America. 35 different ethnic groups live there, so your ministry can be quite diverse. Pray for the churches in Hawaii. They have to raise support like the rest of us, trying to reach the people of Hawaii with the gospel, but then they have to get Pastors on the mainland to take them seriously. It’s a hard place to live, and a lot of people come there, and then leave later because they can’t hack it. Pray for these men who have labored there for so long, ministering in a culture where Christianity is viewed as “foreign religion”, where so many cults are vying for the souls of men, and where drug-addiction and alcoholism is rampant.

Our time in America is drawing to a close. It’s been a great furlough. We’ve enjoyed seeing family and visiting our friends and our churches. I was able to get meetings in around 2/3 of our supporting churches, and 25 new ones. Pray we’ll be able to get more support, which we need. We’re tired, though, and are all looking forward to getting home to Uganda. I miss my people, and our ministry there.

Project Libris has been very successful. I have gathered enough books to fill a 20 foot shipping container. Right now, I am exploring various means of shipping. I may need to buy a 20’ shipping container if nothing else turns up. If any of you have any contacts in the shipping industry who can get a bead on a cheap (but still good) 20’ shipping container, please have them contact me. Better yet, if anyone has a shipping container they would like to donate to help a missionary start a library in a refugee camp in Uganda, by all means, let me know. We have received $2000, which could cover the cost of the container, but we still need the money to ship. If everybody pitched in and gave some, we could raise the funds without too much difficulty. We are going to need those soon. Just pray about it. I need to get the books God has provided back to Uganda, and international shipping is just plain expensive no matter what you try.

I heard from my fellow missionary in Uganda that the ministries are doing well. The Juru church is thriving, but the Ngarama church is still struggling. I know what I need to do. I’m going to get a copy of the Jesus movie in the most common East African languages and use my little projector (bought it for this exact purpose) to have some special meetings out there. Video anything will bring in the folks, and we will show the video and give out the gospel. Pray for them. There are some serious jealousies that are hindering them and stunting their growth. Some people are going to need to repent if God is going to bless.

God bless you all!

 

MISSION: Uganda Blog Update 11-04-2013

The explosion of Fall colors is upon us – a vibrant palette of reds and golds. We are enjoying the Fall weather greatly, and the beauty of the changing leaves, a thing you don’t get at the Equator. 

We got back from our trip out West without a hitch, so thank you for praying. This trip gave us the opportunity to visit some churches in the Southwest and California who have supported us the longest. We were on our way to visit the Grand Canyon when Obama’s “Punish America” campaign began. That was uncool, but we rolled with it and simply shifted that visit to the end of our trip, by which time Government had resumed its usual thieving activities. We have family out West, which we took the opportunity to see. We went to a STATE Park to see the Redwoods, which were magnificent. We saw trees that were around before Columbus got lost looking for Asia, and HUGE – God’s creation never ceases to amaze. 

We had not quite two weeks to be at home. My Dad and I took my boys hunting for the first time. We saw a whole lot of nothing, which is BAU for me, except for John, who had a prime opportunity to shoot a deer, but couldn’t bring himself to do it – maybe next time. 🙂 Now we are out again for a missions conference in Kansas. We get home for barely a day, then Anna and I drop the kids off with my family and fly to Hawaii for six meetings there (yes, Hawaii). Then, FINALLY, we get to spend some lengthy time at home in St. Louis before heading back to Uganda.

Pray for our travels, and for our children in our absence. Keep praying about supporting churches. We have been in many. I am praying for 15 new churches to commence supporting us.

Some money came in for the shipping of the library (Praise the LORD). We still need more to reach the full amount. Pray about that also, and for the logistics of it all. The books are piling up – God has greatly provided with many quality volumes to go to Uganda.

God bless you!

MISSION: Uganda Email Update 09-29-2013

Greetings! The first light touch of Fall air has embraced the Saint Louis area. It’s so novel to feel the change of seasons again after three years on the Equator. Don’t get me wrong – I love living in the land of NeverSnow! It’s just kind of cool to enjoy Fall in the Mid-west after a brief respite.

Our trip to the Northwest was successful. It was great as always to see some folks we haven’t seen for awhile. Due to some problems getting the rental car on Saturday before Labor Day, and Monday being Labor Day, we wound up having to make our trip to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in two days instead of three. If it hadn’t been for Pacific time… We had a great meeting with the good folks of Foundation Baptist Church. Then, we drove 500 miles back to Billings, MT for some meetings down there with Pastors Miller and Austin in Grace Baptist and Bethel Baptist. Pray for the churches in the West. Westerners are rather difficult to reach with the Gospel. They are hard and independent, like the land they settled. Unlike the East, in particular the “Bible Belt”, they just don’t feel the same cultural need for church. Consequently, it’s REALLY challenging to plant churches. It takes your whole life, because all the people are so accustomed to guys from out East or South migrating to the West to plant churches, and then sputtering and burning out after 3 to 5 years. So, they don’t have very high expectations for church planters. You have to remain, and demonstrate the same level of stubborn commitment to the land that they possess, which means living in little towns in the West for decades, with little support, small congregations, and slow growth. Not everybody has the patience or the stamina to stick it out. They are worth the effort, however, as are all people everywhere. Pray for the churches of the West, and the church planters who labor there.

We returned to Southside Baptist Church in Kirksville, MO (Pastor Aaron Rodgerson). This was the first church other than our home church that ever supported us. They stuck it out with us through 5 long years of deputation, and were a great encouragement to us at a time when we wondered if we were doing the right thing, as the support just trickled in and money was so scarce. They didn’t quit on us, and were willing to let us take the time we needed to raise our support. Pastor Rodgerson and his church have planted a new church in nearby Edina, MO. This is a tiny little town in need of a Gospel preaching church. Bro. Rodgerson has a vision for church planting. There was a time when Baptist churches were all church planting churches. They can, and should be, once again. Pray for this church, and for the people of Edina. Pray they will be able to get a permanent Pastor for this community so Pastor Rodgerson will be free to plant more.

Our home church had it’s missions conference. Of all churches, I love my own the best. It was good to be with my church family, talking about missions, preaching about missions, to a bunch of people who are deeply, intimately invested in missions with us. They had to give us up so we could go, and have made endless labors of love on our behalf over the years. We’ve got the greatest church in the world here. Pray for Pastor Spilger and Pastor Gillespie and Grace Baptist Church and Maranatha Baptist Church as they continue to hold forth the Gospel in Saint Louis.

Next we have to make a trip to the Southwest and California. Pray for our journeys, as always.

Thank you for all your prayers!

MISSION: Uganda Blog Update 09-06-02013

Greetings from the Northwest! I have returned from Alaska, and we had to immediately load up to head North for meetings in Idaho and Montana. We are keeping the big blue beast for driving around town when we’re in St. Louis, but we had to rent something to make this trip. It’s expensive, but the folks at Enterprise gave us a good deal. It’s cramped, cramming eight people and their luggage into a vehicle made for seven. The alternative is to have our junk van strand us somewhere.

My trip to the great white North went great. In Ketchikan, I assisted Pastor John Judson with his cruise ship ministry. The cruise ships dock at Ketchikan and dump thousands on the town every day in the summer. Every time, Pastor Judson is right there, smiling, giving a warm greeting to the inbound tourists, and a friendly, non-threatening Gospel witness. The tourism industry brings the mission field right to his doorstep. It’s a marvelous opportunity to give the Gospel to folks from all over the world. Pray for this ministry. He’s thinking of raising money to be able to do it full time, and for the immense cost of professional printing, so it can be done right.

Meanwhile in Craig, Pastor Ensley is about to start a Christian school. Their ministry to the people of Prince of Wales is progressing well. Pray for this work.

In Fairbanks, the brothers Hamilton are each pastoring churches to the people of inland Alaska. Pray for Bruce’s growing Christian camp he puts on for village children from the Inuit tribes. Pray for Mickie’s country church, reaching our military men and women, and Alaska residents,

Independent Baptist in Anchorage and Valley Baptist Tabernacle in Palmer are both doing well. Pray for Pastors Roach and Hull. Pastor Wes Hudson and his family are holding forth the faith in Talkeetna, and Pastor Boutwell and Pastor Wood at Immanuel Baptist and Jubilee Baptist in Kenai and Sterling. Pastor Harbaugh in Homer is still going strong. Pray for these churches, as they continue in the face of fluctuating memberships, fluctuating economies, long, cold, winters, and all too brief summers where everyone is too busy for church it seems sometimes.

Pray for Darryl Serino and his family up in Barrow above the Arctic circle. He coaches the high school hockey and soccer teams, and is in every sense a good part of this 5,000 member community, of which 60% are Inupiaq natives, still hunting whales as their ancestors did for countless generations before. Pray for the spread of the Gospel to these dear people.

My personal thanks goes out to Tim and Julie Tuttle, our good friends, who hosted me for much of my time in Alaska. Their making me part of their family helped ease my loneliness at being separated from my family for 5 weeks.

It was a fantastic trip, and I was able to accomplish much. However, it is so good to be back with my family. Pray for us on our journeys in the Northwest. Pray for our support. I have been to several new churches now, and have many more to visit. Pray we will get the 10-15 new churches we need so we can be fully supported, and make up the loss created by inflation before we return to Uganda. Some of you have raised our support, which is a tremendous help – thank you! Every church that raises our support some helps us stay ahead of inflation and eases the pressure on me to need to raise more support. If your church is in a position to help us in this way, and would like to do so, I would be very grateful.

Project Libris is advancing well. We have collected enough nearly to fill a 40 foot container with books, and more are coming. As always, if you want to send us books, you can use our church address, Grace Baptist Church, c/o Project Libris, 11642 Riverview Dr, Saint Louis, MO 63138.

God bless all of you!