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!

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!