The days have been very busy. Sunday we worshipped with Gulu Community Church, our host church. We enjoyed their worship and they sang their songs in English so that was enjoyable and kind of them. Each team member was able to share a verse and a word of encouragement. I was then able to preach a sermon about being Salt and Light with translation of course. That day I spent time with Pastor George and many of the young leaders discussing bible, leadership development and answering specific bible questions. The day for me ended with reconciling two pastors who had different personalities and expectations when they had worked together previously. That was a joy. Two other team members escorted one of the single moms to the market to gather items to begin a business. Two others went with one of the church moms to visit her 10-year old in a local boarding school. Education is unique here and costs each family. Driving between the villages a school literally exists just about every couple of kilometers. The fees for some kids are as little as $10-15 per semester. We discussed sponsoring some children through our host church so 100% of the funds would go to the child and the church leadership could provide accountability. Details need to be worked out. Other opportunities are to provide start up money for some of the men in the church to start businesses. $80 would start a farm for a person that already has land.
The devotion of the Ugandans is very sincere and very deep. Many of them rise at 4am to study and pray until 6am. They begin work at 7am and often work until sundown. We attempted to keep up with them in the field working to clear the ground in Pagik [pa—geek] for a new church building. It was 100 plus degrees in the shade and we drank all of our water that day. It was not difficult to overheat and dehydrate. Many of the villages have a few Christians so they gather them under a clove of trees for church. Then when possible, they construct a church building that also doubles as a school. On the church property will go the borehole providing clean water with a hand pump. By working with this strategy the church quickly becomes the center of the village and surrounding regions. The journey to Pagik was an adventure. Any of the roads typically is as cars, bikes, motorcycles, animals, and people walking all share the road. On top of that, the UN and World Vision cars drive very fast creating adventures as everyone swerves to miss potholes or bumps. For the last few kilometers to Pagik we essentially travelled on two footpaths in our hired van. That means we made our own road. We spent Monday and Tuesday in Pagik. Monday evening the rains were ahead of us making our hour and fifteen minute commute more like two and half hours of serious bumps!!! We ate, went to bed, and were up early the next morning heading back out. After working in Pagik Tuesday, we were able to pass out a lot of the clothes and toys we had brought with us. And then after conversations revealed that some of the boys ranging in age from 15-18 wanted to be baptized. So we went to the cold stream that had a pool just large enough to baptize. Pastor George asked them each if they knew Jesus personally and one boy said no, but he wanted to. So he stepped forward, lifted his arms to the surrender position and knelt down to receive Jesus. We were then able to baptize the five of them. This was a spontaneous blessing the Lord gave us as we had not expected such a blessing. That night our whole team gathered over at Pastor George’s with many of the young male leaders in the church. The ladies on our team were excited when one of the female leaders showed up to support the female gender. We shared final words over this “last supper” together. Our hearts truly overflowed with humility and gratefulness as testimonies were shared of how the Lord had used us in ministry and in the lives of these people. After saying good bye, we headed to our last night at the Acholi Inn. Here are two pics to contrast. Chest high grass where the church building is to go, and then the next stage after cutting it down. Calling this yard work is a joke. This incredibly difficult to do as the hoe ways at least 10-15lbs.
The next day we gave school supplies one of the local schools and then headed for Serotti, which was about 5 hours away. We visited some children who were part of Children’s Hope Chest sponsorship program. We visited them and after hearing them sing and sharing a snack, we went to visit one of them in the hospital. The hospitals in Uganda are a much longer story, but it was difficult to consider that in the villages one’s chances for survival existed in this type of facility. We spent the night in Serotti in the children’s hope chest house, which allowed us to begin decompressing from some very, very intense days previously. Finding a guitar in one of the closets, we shared a bit of singing and worship with one of the social workers from Children’s Hope Chest. The next morning we attempted to visit another sponsorship center. Due to some confusing we ended up driving an hour and having to turn around to gather our things and head west. When I say head west, we were on the eastern side of Uganda so about five hours found us on the banks of the Nile River for a little fun before a five hour drive Saturday morning, a day in Kampala, and then on to Entebbe to fly home.
Let me say that your prayers have been visible and sustaining every step of the way. Even now as I type I’m humbled to consider all that the Lord has done to us and through us these past weeks. You can be sure that people here know of the works of Christ and you have been a part of it. Cynthia and I joked that the Outpost provided 40% of the mission team with Cherry Hills the other 60%. My heart is that each of you may be blessed these days you walk with Christ. Secondly, that your heart may grow towards winning others to Jesus. And finally, that you too may join the ministry of Gulu Community Church soon to bring encouragement and further the kingdom here as well as at home. We all cannot thank you enough for your support and prayers, may you walk closely with Jesus today.
One more thing, drop box has been challenging due to internet speeds and availability. Last night it was topping out at 7KB per second. Yours at home is most likely 10MB per second. Due the math:0