From Gulu, we have moved three hours west onto Kitgum, to visit Faith Alive Ministries/Faith Academy led by Pastor Clayton and Pastor Alex. Last year, we toured a piece of land that was no more than brush and dirt that was to be made into their ministry site. As we approached it yesterday morning, I did not even recognize it. They have started by erecting a small pavilion with a tarp covering it, and a brick building consisting of a large, open aired room for congregating and school, and also a smaller room for storage and for the teachers to take a break from the children. The second day we were here, a large storage unit was transferred to the site from Sanctuary of Grace in Gulu. Now that they have a place for storage, the other room can be used primarily for the teacher’s use.
If there is one common interest between myself and almost every other man and boy in this country that I have found, it is a passion for international football. As I got to talking to some of the members of the ministry, they informed me of their plans for the future to have at least one or two more buildings up by this time next year. The young men of the ministry have a plan for attracting local interest to their Church/academy through this shared passion. Their plan is to invite the young men, and women if they like to play, for a game of soccer every Sunday, then encourage them to stay for song, praise, and worship. They have not yet set up a field of play, but have plans to flatten out a small patch of land (no more than 30 or 40 yards in length), and set up goal-posts.
Coming to Uganda this year was a difficult decision for me to make. My Mom has been going downhill in health since my last trip here. Even though I was excited to be able to plan for the trip, I did not know if this was God’s will for my life at this time. One week before we were to leave I had to put her in the hospital with pneumonia and congestive heart failure. What was I to do? What was God’s will for my life in a place so far away? I placed Mom in God’s hands, she got so much better before I left. I felt that it was OK for me to leave for a country half way around the world to do His will working with children who were so needy. Just as I knew mother would like for me to do as she had taught me to do growing up. Take care of those children who needed love and compassion.
Working in Gulu. at Sanctuary of Grace school with my P1( 1st grade ) class was a joy. The children were such a pleasure to work with during the morning at Vacation Bible School. We told stories, made necklaces out of sea shells, worked with stickers to remind the children of God’s love for them. At Faith Academy, Nicole, Amos and I once again worked with P1 students. They were good. We went through the same stories and crafts that we had done the day before. We went back to Faith Academy on Wednesday where Nicole worked with the ladies of the villages concerning health and nutrition. I worked with Susan and others for our Bible Club presentation. When we went outside the pavilion to play games I came up to one of the little ones who was getting run over by the older students. I stopped to pick her up to carry her out of “danger”. She was so tired, she went to sleep on my shoulder almost as soon as I picked her up. She stayed in my arms for the rest of the time we had with the children. I know that it was right for me to come to Uganda this trip to do God’s will.
This has been a very busy and ever changing mission trip – and the team has REALLY stepped up to the plate. We knew that we would have a very busy schedule and that it was subject to change, but we also knew that every change would be God lead if we were willing to follow His direction.
So far we have completed:
Vacation Bible School with over 400 children
Health Seminar with over 80 men & women
Women's Health Seminar with about 20 women
Children's Bible Club with over 500 children
...and there is more to come :)
The ministries here in Northern Uganda have a great work to do after 23 years of war. We have had the privilege of coming along side them for a short period of time physically – but through prayer we can partner with them every day to come.
Tonight we were hosted at Clayton & Monica’s house for a wonderful dinner under the mango tree. What an awesome time of fellowship! The women had been working all day to provide thewonderful meal of their local dishes for us.
When we returned to the hotel Amos lead the team in a devotion on tithing – not only monetary tithing but tithing of the gifts and talents that God has provided each one of us. I was struck by a convicting thought, one of which I am certainly guilty of…In American, a land of such abundance and affluence, (I would venture to say) that we are so reluctant to give of our very best and certainly not all that we have every day to the Lord. In Uganda, where mere survival is the focus of each day and their faith in God is all they have to hold onto, they are willing to give all that they have to the Lord. Their commitment to sharing the gospel of salvation is the over powering motivation that drives them to forward each day.
Faith Alive Ministries is only a few years old and yet they have a school of about 200 children, whom they educate, feed, and care for. They are committed to evangelism. Pastor Alex was sharing with me tonight that they have been doing door-to-door evangelism for the past 2 weeks, as well as, counseling and discipleship. Through this effort they have had 70 come to Christ! Bear in mind this is a small congregation with a small all volunteer ministry staff.
They said we blessed them with the activities we have done the past 2 days – I believe we are the ones to receive the greater blessing! I am so humbled and thankful for the Lord’s prompting to serve here in Uganda with such wonderful brothers & sisters in Christ!