So, how's Uganda? Its the question I have been getting from everyone, so here's an update. Time flies. Like a corny TV montage of the hands on the clock ticking, and the protagonist running from one commitment to the next, that has been my last 45 days in Uganda. Don’t get me wrong, I am loving it!
First things first, I want to thank everyone who has donated towards my time here in Uganda. The amazing things that have been happening would not be possible without you.
It is in the same spirit of gratitude that I reflect on my time here so far. There have just been way too many things that God has been doing to share them all, so I’ll attempt to stick to the highlights. Within just a few weeks of being back in the country, I was able to preach one of the nights at an open-air Gospel crusade and witness a couple thousand respond to the overwhelming grace of God. I am amazed at how faithful God is in our obedience, to open doors of opportunity that we never could’ve dreamed of.
Some doors that have opened mightily are the many campuses here in Arua. I preached the inauguration of a Christian Fellowship at the local business college started by one of our very own church members. The local nursing college is also one of my favorite places to go. Many of the students attend our church and our team makes sure to visit their local campus fellowships whenever invited. One of the reasons campus ministries have opened up so much to us is because of B.L.A.S.T Youth, which stands for Building Lives Around Sound Truth. Even though Uganda is the world’s youngest country with over 78% of the population being under 30, we are the only church in the city that has any sort of Youth ministry (Youth ministry in Uganda is the age group 18-30, what many North American’s would consider Young Adults). Last Saturday, our team was even invited to a Muslim High School to teach leadership and will be doing so monthly. Beyond that, we have a South Sudanese Nursing College, and a local Teachers College all asking when we can come in. We are so excited for all the doors that God is opening and within the next few months we will have 5 campus ministries in a monthly rotation.
In addition to all this, we have been plowing ahead at the church! Plastering the outside of the church has been completed and a new entrance way is being built. We have seen the inauguration of Ladies of Virtue and Men with Guts, our women’s and men’s ministries which have exploded with excitement and participation. There is such fulfillment in watching God’s vision for His people being birthed before your very eyes.
I have been on two trips to the refugee camps in the North since arriving. The war in South Sudan has left over a million refugees in Northern Uganda. As many of you know, before the war, much of Global Harvest’s ministry was to South Sudan. The refugee crisis has left us with a great opportunity to minister to the people and bring Bible training to local Pastors through Operation Barnabas, our remote perpetual bible college. Ever since attending Portland Bible College 2016-2018, and seeing the transformation in myself, getting sound biblical training into untrained Pastor’s hands has become a growing passion. I will be heading into the refugee camps again with Pastor Peter, the head of Operation Barnabas, early next week.
Another thing I’m incredibly proud to be apart of is Operation Rescue. Operation Rescue is a program that is currently thriving in Arua’s local women’s prison. We are teaching women tailoring so that when released from prison they can live an empowered and free life. This program has been so accepted by the wardens that we are currently invited 3 times a week for this powerful training. Our women leaders take time to counsel and minister to those involved along the way.
I was thrilled when I heard about the opportunity to expand this program to the regional Juvenile Reprimand House. Visiting the home, I was shocked to see a staggering amount of elementary school-aged children and some teens, many of which are serving time for violent crimes. The House has no school for the kids to continue their education in. Currently we are working with the administration of the house to bring in programs that would focus on spiritual well being, counseling, fitness, and skills like craft beading and snack making that they can make a living on when released. With this program, I strongly believe we have an opportunity to take kids out of their rough pasts and give them a solid foundation to build a successful future.
Sunsets always make me reflective, something about the painted night sky, makes one ask, "What picture have I allowed God to paint with my day?" Even reflecting on all that God has done in the last 45 days--and I haven’t even begun to cover it all--I am blown away by His faithfulness. My encouragement to all of you is, ask what it is that God might have for you to do. Once you get it, do it! Being here wasn’t a part of my plan. Often, I laugh in bewilderment, looking at where God has placed me in this season. Truthfully, I wouldn’t have it any other way, because out of the canvas of our obedience, God truly paints the most beautiful things. At least that’s what 45 days in Uganda has taught me.
How can I get involved?
· The Lord has set it on my heart to believe for the funds for 10 Guinea Fowl (120 CAD or 90 USD) to be purchased and donated as an educational resource for the Juvenile Center. This will allow the center to train the kids on poultry raising while at the same time providing natural pest prevention, eggs, meat and entertainment.
· Our local church, as of present, has no percussion instruments. Before eventually investing in a drum kit, we are looking into a Cajon for the interim, as its portability would also serve our itinerant campus schedule. Currently we are looking for one that can be purchased in Canada and brought over, as Cajon’s are not widely available in Uganda.