Re-entry and Updates…

I’m sitting in an air-conditioned house on a comfortable sofa in front of a big screen TV…I just had a hot shower…and I used tap water to brush my teeth. I’m realizing that although I like these things very much…they weren’t all that hard to do without.  I’m thinking about what my next apartment might look like when the time comes…and I’m pretty sure it will be under 700 sq ft.  Everything I own is currently in a 5×10 storage unit and that’s the way I would like to live…owning no more than would fit in such a space. I get overwhelmed in the grocery store…so many choices…yet I often walk out of the store with only one or two things. I wonder if, over time, I will re-assimilate to the material culture of the US…or if my changing worldview is something permanent.  The pull is strong…to just go back to my life as it was before Uganda.  I wonder what the Lord is doing…how He will use me here considering all I have learned and experienced in the last three years.  God’s timing seems strange sometimes and I’ve learned to slow down and take it in and be intentional about trying to see Him weaving circumstances together.  A meeting with the Bishop here to discuss my return has been postponed after shocking news last week. The Diocese of SC has just learned that it lost a court case with The Episcopal Church and will have to turn over all its buildings and property, should a re-hearing of the case be denied or lost…a very real possibility. There continues to be growing divisions in the US…tribalism and racism are alive and well in our western culture.  Political turmoil and international threats abound.  There is a shaking going on…in the Church and in the world.  I wait patiently for the Lord to reveal my next assignment.  As I wonder and wait and watch, I am at peace.

I spent my first two weeks back in the US recovering from a nasty case of bronchitis…no doubt picked up on the 20+ hours spent breathing re-cycled air on a plane.  After that I visited my parents and brothers in MS.  It was good to see family.  I’m back in Charleston now, living with a friend in Hanahan who has generously opened her home to me for as long as need be and has provided transportation as well.  Thanks be to God for Jennifer Miller. As I wait, I have been put on the preaching schedule and asked to teach a class at my home church, Saint James. I still continue to be involved in the life of Janani Luwum Theological College.  Just today I was emailed the final exams to be graded of the class I taught just before leaving.  I also continue to input financial records into Quickbooks monthly.  It’s been good to see friends and smell the salt air and be in a place where driving laws are adhered to…at least for the most part.

The primary reason for this update is to report on the use of the funds raised for Sudanese refugees in Northern Uganda.  After my visit to a refugee camp in March and blog post regarding the needs there, over $5000 was raised to help build two basic shelters to be used as church structures for Christians in one particular refugee camp.  This was more than enough to cover this expense.  Dr. Katie Rhoads has reported that with the funds, she was also able to have altar tables and benches built for each church.  She purchased fabric for the women’s ministry to sew uniforms for themselves and the lay leaders.  She has asked permission to purchase two sewing machines for the women there and also to build another church structure in a different camp. I have given the green light, knowing the donors of the money would be happy to know their generosity is enabling further blessings for these suffering brothers and sisters in Christ. Dr. Katie also used the sound equipment and projector/screen I left behind to take the Jesus Film to the refugees…something I pray will continue.  I can’t think of a better use for the equipment than to encourage the refugees.  Dr. Katie also used the completed shelters to host a medical outreach back in July.  The buildings are multi-purpose.

In the top photos above you see can see one structure before the mud walls and then after the mud walls have bee completed.  The photo on the bottom right is the other structure as the doors were being installed.  It too will have mud walls.

Above are photos from the medical outreach Dr. Katie did in July, using the church shelters as a meeting place.  It’s great to have these shelters be available for other needs as well.  I’m sure Dr. Katie will continue to use them as such in the months to come.

I was so excited to see the Jesus Film taken to the refugees.  I prayed often that the Lord would raise up someone to carry this ministry on after I left. You can see in the photo on the left, a group of students from Janani Luwum Theological College setting up the projector and equipment.  Killing two birds with one stone…practical ministry experience for the students and encouragement for the refugees!

Please continue your prayers for these people. Click here for a recent article concerning refugees in Uganda http://www.itv.com/news/2017-08-04/south-sudan-civil-war-number-of-refugees-fleeing-to-uganda-close-to-1-million/ If any churches in the Charleston area are interested in how to support the raising up and training of indigenous leaders in Northern Uganda or supporting the work of Dr. Katie Rhoads to Sudanese refugees, please contact me.  I would LOVE to talk with you about creating partnerships to aid in these incredibly important and worthwhile ministries.

I welcome your prayers as I continue to transition back to this culture and wait for the Lord’s next assignment for me.

In His love,

Elizabeth

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Homeward Bound

ElizabethBumpasI have often shared in these blog posts over the years how challenging it has been to adequately articulate my experience of living and ministering in Uganda.  I never imagined the extent to which the power of culture impacts our collective and individual identity…nor how much it confounds communication. I had read about these things before coming to Africa, even studied it…but nothing could have prepared me for living the experience.  Like a fish out of water, you can have no idea what exists outside your home environment or realistically imagine how worldviews impact values, hopes, dreams, choices, fears, etc without firsthand experience. There is no substitute for living in a different culture for an extended period of time and having your comfortable worldview turned upside down.  My inability to effectively communicate the experience has, in some ways, led to a sense of aloneness. My expanded worldview has made me sad for humanity in a way I have not felt before…but it has also brought joy through a whole new perspective on the Gospel of Jesus Christ…one which is much deeper and richer and meaningful. One which has humbled me and given me a greater appreciation for the grace and mercy bestowed upon us that we so easily take for granted.  If it weren’t for the Good News…I would have no hope at all. I felt and believed this before coming to Uganda…but now it is seared into me in a wholly different way.  My hope is more fully grounded in the work of Christ to redeem the world. He is the only One who can unite us.  The Church is the only place on earth where different cultures can come together and be fully unified in identity through faith in Christ.

In just a couple of weeks…I’ll hit the three-year point in my mission here in Uganda.  My commitment to Bishop Johnson Gakumba was for three years…at which time I would either extend that commitment or go back to the US.  After a year of prayer and discernment…I’ve decided it’s time to go home.  I have a sense that what I have learned here will be used in my own cultural context in the US…where I see Americans more divided over politics and culture than ever before.  It has been disturbing to watch what is happening in the US from afar. Bishop Johnson has given me his blessing and is sending me back to the US as a missionary from Uganda. 😊

I am grateful to everyone here in Gulu who has made the last three years such an amazing time of learning, growing and ministering. I’m especially grateful to Bishop Johnson Gakumba, for believing in me and ordaining me to the priesthood.  I’m grateful to the entire staff of the Diocese of Northern Uganda for your friendship and for welcoming me with open arms and showing me your amazing Acholi hospitality.  To Rev. Godfrey Loum and the wonderful people of Christ Church Gulu who received me and allowed me to be a part of your church family…I have loved worshiping with you and serving you the last 2 years.  I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Rev. Sandra Earixson and Dr. Katie Rhoads, fellow American missionaries who have both been in Uganda for more than 12 years and have been my mentors and helped me navigate the culture, prayed with me and encouraged me when the challenges felt overwhelming.  There are so many others but to name them all would make this blog post way too long! It has been an honor and a privilege to share in ministry with you all.

I am grateful to Saint James Church, my sending agency and home church, for supporting me in every possible way and enabling me to be here. I am especially grateful to Rev. Arthur Jenkins and Rev. Louise Weld for their unwavering support and to the Saint James Missions Committee for always praying for me, encouraging me and making sure I had everything I needed during my time in Uganda.  Berta Puckhaber, the bookkeeper at Saint James, has worked tirelessly with me to receive contributions and manage funds…thanks Berta!  I am grateful to St. John’s Parish, Holy Cross, St. Andrews, Church of the Resurrection Surfside, for their support and prayers and encouragement over the last three years. To all the many friends and family who have supported me financially, prayed for me, lent me transportation and provided a bed to sleep in on my visits stateside…you are the hands and feet and heart of Christ to me.  All of you made the last three years possible!  Once again…I am without adequate words.  May the Lord bless you all abundantly for your love and support and sacrifice.

Finally, I give thanks to the Lord, who has never failed me, always provided for me and protected me and who continues to change me from the inside out with great patience and grace.  O, what love!! You have taught me so much here…it has been a privilege to be a part of your Kingdom work in Uganda.

My three-year Uganda work visa expires the first week of July so I will depart for the US on June 28th.  I’ll take a little time to rest and assimilate back into American culture as I discern what is next and wait for the Lord to open the right door to the next ministry assignment. I invite your prayers for that process and for my remaining time here in Gulu.

With a full heart overflowing with gratitude,

Elizabeth+

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Sudanese Refugee’s Church Construction

My most recent blog showed the materials being delivered for the construction of two simple shelters under which the Sudanese refugees could gather together to worship and be encouraged…below are the two structures so far.

Above is the structure at the first site.  As you can see, it’s a nice building with iron sheets instead of grass thatched roof.  They are using tarps for walls, which works really well.  They are so happy!

Above is Site #2.  As you can see, they have yet to put on the tarps for the walls.  It’s still a work in progress.  We have also distributed audio Bibles as well.

We have raised $4,700 so far!  Thank you to those of you who so generously contributed to this project.  I will post again with more updates later.

May the Lord bless you abundantly!

Elizabeth

 

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Delivery Day!!

My last blog post…God, Send Someone…shared about the plight of a group of Anglican Christians in a Sudanese refugee camp in Northern Uganda. Thanks to some very generous folks with big hearts and a love of God’s people…we have raised $3,300 so far to build worship shelters so that the people have a place to gather and pray together in the camp.  I am thrilled to announce that we have delivered the first truckload of building materials and the work has begun.  See the photos and videos below.

It’s not too late for you or your parish to participate in helping our brothers and sisters in Christ fleeing war-torn South Sudan.  Please refer to my former blog for information on giving.  We will also use the funds to buy and distribute bibles to the people.

I plan to visit the camp again in the next couple of weeks to see the progress.  I’ll report again after that.  For now, I just want those who have contributed to know how much I and these people appreciate you and thank God for you!!!

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We raised enough money to purchase iron sheets for the roofing instead of having grass thatched roof.  This roof will last a lot longer.

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We delivered bamboo poles and timbers, nails and iron sheets. 

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God, Send Someone

As we drove into the refugee settlement, I saw scattered mud huts and makeshift latrines and attempts to establish some modicum of a normal life.  But their lives are anything but normal.  It’s very hot and this area has few trees to provide shade.  We were welcomed by singing and ushered into a small hut with a tarp from the UN for a roof. There were 10 representatives from the two Anglican communities within the Pagirinya Refugee Settlement, located about 20km from the border with South Sudan.  This particular settlement is quite large and has 41,000 people. However, all together, there are about 250,000 Sudanese refugees in 12 different settlements in Northern Uganda near Adjumani.

Each person introduced themselves and one man started by saying, “We praise God every morning”…meaning that although life is very difficult for them, they are thankful for the safety and provision they have found in Northern Uganda.  Everything comes from the Lord and we can only give back to Him what has already come from His hand…except for a sacrifice of praise, which is ours alone to give. I imagine praising God every morning in the midst of such suffering is indeed a great sacrifice, one that these Sudanese Christians make with no hesitation.

Our meeting place

Dr. Katie Rhoads, an American missionary with whom I share a compound in Gulu, has been ministering to the South Sudanese refugees for several years.  She makes the two-hour drive to Adjumani quite regularly so I asked if I could tag along.  I’ve had refugees on my heart for a couple of months.  Well, little did I know…I was an answer to prayer.

Outskirts of the settlement

You see, when you have nothing…and no hope of getting much help…and you are a believer…you start praying for God to send someone.  First the Lord sent Dr. Katie to this newest refugee settlement and she has been building relationships with them. But the needs are great and Katie’s resources are limited.  So she told the members of this Anglican community of refugees that she would pray with them and they would wait to see how God would respond…that’s about the time I asked Katie if I could to tag along on her next trip.  As one woman told me, “We prayed and asked God to send someone and He sent you.”

Although food is scarce, these refugees are not starving, like many thousands of others who have been unable to flee South Sudan as the war there continues.  The UN and other NGO’s are doing their best to provide food, health care and very basic needs. The Ugandan Govt. has given each family a small plot of land…about the size of an average yard in the US, to live and maybe grow a few vegetables. They are given some building materials and it is up to them to construct their own mud huts. Some schools are also being built for the children.

The first church site we visited…they have put up poles and a few home-made benches to sit on. Without a roof…it is too hot and soon the rains will comes.

To my surprise, they did not ask for food or clothing and other items they obviously needed…But what this group of Anglican believers have been praying for is the resources to build some kind of shelter where they can gather to worship and hear God’s word and be encouraged.  They are struggling daily to carve out a life for themselves in the settlement and yet what is utmost in their minds is that THEY WANT TO GATHER TO GIVE THANKS TO GOD AND READ HIS WORD AND BE ENCOURAGED! They have started to build two different simple church structures. You can see in the photos that they have marked off the footprint of the shelters with poles…but that is as far as they have been able to go. The UN does not give materials to build churches. They need more poles, bamboo, nails and grass to make a grass thatched roof…all of which costs money. So…they prayed that the Lord would send someone. He sent me…and now I am appealing to you, my fellow Christians.

The group from Site I – Dr. Katie is on the far right.

Site II – Only the poles for the walls are up.

The group from Site II

Would you prayerfully consider making a contribution to help these brothers and sisters in Christ to have a place to worship the Lord and find encouragement by being together?  To those in the Diocese of South Carolina, perhaps your parish has been praying and asking the Lord to shine a light on a need that you can meet.  Here is an opportunity for you to participate in building up and encouraging fellow Anglican believers who are struggling and suffering and fighting for survival after being forced to flee the bloodshed and starvation in their home country. God willing, my prayer is to raise at least $ 1,000 which will cover building materials plus some Bibles as well.  If the Lord provides more, it will all go to providing resources for worship in the camp…things like communion elements, altar and linens, etc. There are about 3,000 Anglicans in this particular settlement alone. They want to be fed spiritually…the Lord is asking you to participate. Will you help?

Rev. Rachel stands under the tree which marks the current worship site for Group II. Look closely and notice the cross carved into the tree to mark the sacred place of worship.

A selfie with Rev. Rachel. She only speaks Dinka so we could not communicate directly without a translator…but we really didn’t need to…we share the same Spirit!

The Rev. Arthur Jenkins, at Saint James Church, my home parish, will accept your contributions and forward the money here to Uganda.  Please DO NOT make your contribution through the Paypal button…instead send a check made payable to Saint James and put “Sudanese Refugees” in the memo line.  Mail to:

Saint James Church

Attn: Sudanese Refugees

1872 Camp Road

Charleston, SC  29412

The woman to the left of me presented me with the sarong-type clothing. It was part of her uniform as a member of a women’s prayer group called Thiec Nyalic which loosely translates as “Ask God Anything” Prayer Army! I think I am now an honorary member and I am asking God to soften your hearts towards these determined Christians.

As we were sitting in the hut talking, I asked if they were all from the same village in South Sudan…if they had known each other before and had come to the refugee camp together.  “No” they said…”we have only met since arriving at the camp.  We come from different places and even different tribes.  We found each other after arriving.”  Then Rev. Rachel spoke up and said that they are all one in Christ and she quoted Psalm 133 “How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in unity.”  They have found each other and are stronger together.  Praise God for the unity we have through our Lord Jesus Christ!

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog.  Please pass it along to anyone you feel may want to help these dear brothers and sisters in Christ.  May God bless you immensely!

In His Love,

Elizabeth

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The Daily Call

Greetings from Gulu! Praise God…He is still on the throne and His love endures forever! (Just remember that as Nov. 8th approaches.)

It’s been a while since I last posted to the blog and a few friends have asked why. I think that after living here for almost 2.5 years, life has settled into a routine of sorts.  What seemed blog worthy in the beginning (as someone being introduced to a new culture) has now simply become daily life for me.  And…before you know it…four months has passed!

As I’ve continued to learn more about the culture, the daily challenge for me is how to minister in this context.  Imposing my own cultural (western) sensibilities is not always helpful and is sometimes unwelcome.  Cross cultural ministry is not easy, to say the least.  I’m learning a lot about myself and my own continued need for inner transformation…about human nature in general…and in light of that…I’m more in awe than ever of God’s love, mercy and compassion for this broken world.  At the beginning and end of each day…I remind myself that my job is to remain faithful to the call for that day, whatever it brings…whether it be hauling firewood or bricks, ferrying cabbages and posho and beans, preparing financial statements, leading worship on Sunday morning, teaching a class or taking the Jesus Film out to parishes and villages. The power to change hearts rests with God alone.  He is more than able!

Here is a bit of the ministry of the last few months…

Archbishop Janani Luwum Theological College:

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Graduates pose with Bishop Johnson, Mama Christine and Principal Sandra Earixson during a break in the rain that fell all day.

Theological training is needed in the most critical way here and I remain passionate about working at the college.  In April we graduated the first class of students (since re-opening 3 years ago) in a wet but wonderful ceremony.  It poured rain the whole time but this in no way dampened the spirits of the 27 students.  A month later…18 of those students were ordained as transitional deacons and posted to churches throughout the Diocese of Northern Uganda. Praise God!

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Landscaping to beautify the campus.

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The newly grated road through campus and the designated parking area to the left.

We continue to slowly make improvements to our campus.  Dr. Katie Rhoads (medical missionary from Kansas City) is helping us to tame the land and do a bit of landscaping.  She has volunteered her services and the manpower to plant trees and grass and flowers.  We installed a parking area for vehicles and improved the dirt road leading to the college.  It’s a beautiful location and provides a quiet place for study and reflection.

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Library

We converted one of the classrooms into a library/IT Center.  It’s coming along nicely. We have many books but we still lack some books which are required reading for certain courses. For that reason, my next big project will be to do a book drive for specific books.  More on that later in a future blog post. ;>)

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Library

Our biggest needs right now continue to be digging a new borehole for water and installing plumbing, building a security wall around the campus and building housing for future full-time teaching staff. We are so grateful for all the ways the Lord is blessing the college and helping us to grow.

 

 

 

 

Gulu Arise for Jesus Mission:  

A marching band led the march though Gulu

A marching band led the march though Gulu

Last week (Sept 30-Oct 8) the Diocese of Northern Uganda participated in a week-long mission outreach in Gulu spearheaded by African Evangelistic Enterprise, an organization whose mission is to see the continent of Africa saved by the love of Jesus, discipled by the church and transformed for good works. AEE in Uganda is led by the Rev. Paul Wassawa Ssembiro, a fellow Fuller Seminary graduate.  The outreach was ecumenical which resulted in increased unity among the various denominational leaders in Gulu.  Gulu was divided into four districts and the mission work took place simultaneously in each district for a week.  There were outdoor gospel rallies in local markets, medical outreach each day, ministry to the prisons and to schools.

Arise for Jesus!

Arise for Jesus!

There was a march through town on the first day to kick off the week.  My role during the week was to take the Jesus Film to each of the four districts.  We had the largest crowds ever for the film since beginning this ministry over a year and a half ago.  Most interesting was the number of demons that manifested and the deliverance that was done each night. I saw a possessed woman who was so strong that four men could not hold her down.  Bishop Johnson Gakumba prayed for her and she was eventually delivered and welcomed into the Kingdom of God. These are things you don’t see in the US…but believe me when I say that it is very real!  Demonic strongholds in Africa are a very serious issue and syncretism is a huge challenge as well.  Intentional discipleship is needed.

It was an amazing week.  It opened new doors of opportunity for me to takedscn1839-1 the Jesus Film to other denominations in addition to the Anglican churches.  Right now I have six events planned over the next several weeks to take the film out.  While the film has primarily been used as an evangelistic tool, I am seeing that it brings great encouragement to those who are already believers.  We see many confessing faith in Jesus for the first time and that is wonderful.  But we see many more who are reminded of who Jesus is…his power todscn18501

overcome evil…and His sacrifice for us on the cross.  Seeing the gospel story from the book of Luke unfold on screen is powerful for the people.  The Lord is using it to minister to His people.  All I do is take the team, set up the equipment and run the film.  The Holy Spirit does the rest.  Please pray for us in the next few weeks as we continue to walk through this open door of opportunity in taking the film to various places.

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Apiyo Joyce:  Some of you may remember my writing about the young widowed HIV-positive mother of four children whom the Lord brought across my path in February.  She had been living in the bus park with her children. Walking alongside her has been a real eye-opener for me…especially in regards to healthcare in a developing country. It has

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Joyce

been challenging. We got her enrolled in the Women’s Development Center for skills training and found a place for her and her four children to live.  It seemed like things would be much better for her…but daily life takes its toll.  In the last six months, a couple of her children have had to be hospitalized for malaria on several different occasions.  Joyce also had her own health issues…she herself was diagnosed with malaria and typhoid, she got a lung infection, sores developed in her mouth and she had two abscessed teeth pulled at two different times.   The strength of the woman amazes me.  Her hut started leaking and the family were all getting soaked at night and the landlord refused to repair it so we had to find another hut for her.  People were trying to take advantage of her because a “mazungu” was helping her and wanted to steal from her.  It’s been one thing after another. We’ve gotten the children enrolled in a nearby school. It’s been quite a ride.  We seem to have reached a good place…everyone is healthy, the children are in school and Joyce is close to completing her studies, after which she will set up her own small hair salon to provide for herself and the children.  She attends worship with the children at the Cathedral each week and I have arranged for her to be mentored by a local female priest. Please continue to pray for Joyce.

In other news:  I continue to lead the English service at Christ Church every Sunday and feeling more comfortable in that role…although I’m having to learn to go with the flow and let go of trying to control things. The service often starts late and runs long.  Service planning happens just before we process into the church. No one is stressed except for me.  LOL! In the end…it all works out.

Mican is name of the neighborhood where the Diocese headquarters is located and it is where I live.  The main road through Mican leading to the Cathedral is being paved and it’s a really big deal!!  It’s going to be so nice.  However, the process is not so much fun.  Dump

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The road work in Mican. This is the turn-off to Dr. Katie’s compound where I live. That ditch of water in the foreground challenges me daily.  You just have to barrel through it to keep from getting stuck.

trucks bring loads and loads of dirt to build the road up and when it rains…it’s one big muddy mess.  I’ve gotten the truck stuck twice.  The blessing is that in no time at all a group of men show up to push me out.  I’ve been told I have to learn to drive like a man…in other words…plow through at high speeds and don’t stop for anything. LOL!

The rainy season has been quite cool in the last several months….highs in the low 80’s and lows at night in the mid 60’s.  I think I’ve acclimated because I don’t feel like I’m suffering anymore from lack of air conditioning.  However, on the days when it does feel hot…I can always get in my pick-up truck because the A/C is finally working after three attempts at repairs.  All the Ugandans riding around with me are freezing with A/C on but I’m in heaven.  Soon the rain will stop and the temps will start rising as the dry season approaches.

It seems we have more new small supermarkets opening around Gulu which is good for westerners who long for a few western food items…like tuna or peanut butter…which I practically live off of. These markets cater primarily to westerners and bring in food items that can usually only be found in Kampala.  Many business people are fleeing Juba, South Sudan as the civil war there rages on and they are settling in Gulu.  Gulu seems to be prospering and growing.  Everywhere you look there are new businesses popping up and buildings being constructed.

Thanks to everyone praying for me daily. I need it and find great comfort and peace knowing that there are intercessors out there for this ministry and for me.  Thanks also to all those who continue to support me financially.  Words cannot express the depths of gratitude.

If you would like to contribute to the mission fund at Saint James church which supports this ministry, please click on the tab “Partner with Me” to learn how to make a donation.  It’s only in partnership with people back home that I am able to do God’s work here in Northern Uganda.

To God be the Glory!!

Blessings,

Elizabeth+

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A Memorable Month

It’s been a memorable month in Gulu…sandwiched between health challenges.  After two years, I finally succumb to malaria.  Dr. Katie diagnosed me quickly and got me on meds.  I was down for about a week.  I’m currently fighting an unpleasant intestinal bacteria and once again I find myself thanking God for placing me with a doctor!!  Dr. Katie to the rescue again.  I’m trying to get well so that I can make the long trip home on Monday (June 13) for a few weeks of R&R.

In between these unpleasant weeks…the MOST amazing ten days occurred! After seven

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Rev. Louise Weld processing with clergy of Diocese of N. Uganda

years of waiting for the Lord’s timing…the day of my ordination to the priesthood finally arrived.  I learned a lot during that long season of waiting and I never imagined it would happen in Uganda…but the Lord’s ways are not our ways.  If you’re certain of a call on your life but the Lord has not brought it to pass yet…hold on and learn all you can while you wait.  Be a sponge.  You are still in a season of preparation.

It was a wonderful day and I was especially blessed to have friends by my side.  The Rev. Louise Weld was right their beside me when the Bishop and other clergy of the Diocese of Northern Uganda laid their hands on me.  Louise has been walking with me through this call for the entire process…always encouraging me when I wanted to give up.  She foresaw this day long before I could.   I was also blessed to have my good friend, Kelli Hample, with me on this day, who has also walked with me these last seven years…believing in my call.  What a joy it was to see the huge smile on her face as I walked up to the altar for the laying on of hands.  Saint James’ youth pastor, Alisha Griggs was also there to cheer me on.  I am grateful for the sacrifice they made in traveling half-way across world, braving the heat, mosquitoes and other flying insects and sleepless nights.  It was exhausting for them.  I thank God for them.  It meant the world to me to have them there.

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The moment finally arrived…

I am grateful to Bishop Johnson Gakumba…who discerned almost immediately upon meeting me…the call of God on my life.  He has been an encouraging “matter-of-fact” voice reminding me that “if God has called you to it, no one can stop it.” I am also thankful for all my Ugandan friends who have been supportive and who truly and genuinely celebrate with me the amazing faithfulness of God.  I thank God for the Rev. Arthur Jenkins who has been unwavering in support and encouragement. Thank you to all the people of my home church, Saint James – James Island, for your prayers and to all who contributed to the ordination gift given to Bishop Johnson in my honor!  With it bikes were purchased for the newly ordained to provide a means of transportation for their ministries! The presentation of the bikes at the celebration was something to see!  There are many people who have walked with me through the last seven years who offered prayer, support, encouragement…the Lord surrounds me with some pretty amazing friends and I am at a loss for words right now…just know my heart overflows with love for each and every one of you.

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The Bishop introduces Louise, Kelli and Alisha

I’m still processing it all.  As always…my prayer each morning continues to be…”Lord, I lay down my life as a morning sacrifice for you.”  One day at time, I will, to the best of ability and with God’s help, seek to keep the oaths I took and work to make Him known and bring Him glory in all I do.  There were twenty-five ordained as deacons and one other woman ordained to the priesthood with me.  It was a glorious day!  Pray for us all we begin our ministries in the Diocese of Northern Uganda.

Selfie with elephants!

Selfie with elephants!

After the festivities, I became a tour guide and began showing my friends around Gulu…via my un-air-conditioned pick-up truck.  A good, sweaty time was had by all.  On June 1 we all loaded up the truck and headed to Murchison Falls Game Park and Paraa Safari Lodge, where we spent one night.  After a four hour drive on some bumpy roads and many animal sightings, we arrived at the lodge, had lunch and went for a three hour Nile safari cruise.  It was AWESOME!  It was blistering hot.  We saw hundreds of hippos, LOTS of elephants, many beautiful species of birds, crocs and much more.  We made our way to the base of the falls and back again.

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Wait! Don’t run away!

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Lions!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next morning we took an early morning game drive with a very good guide.  We departed before dawn and as we drove into wilderness, we huddled together and said a prayer that the Lord would bring lions into our path.  I’ve been on two other safaris and never seen a lion.  Well…the Lord did not disappoint!  As we passed many giraffe and elephants and huge herds of antelope and other deer species…our eyes were peeled for lions.  Our guide had eyes like an eagle.  He spotted the pride of lions in the distance.  Six in all.  Two adult females and four cubs.  The cubs were about a year old and were playing…no doubt practicing their hunting skills.  All the animals around were on high alert…making noises to warn that danger was close.  We watched for over an hour…as the sun came up.  It was stunningly beautiful!!!  Thank you, Lord!!

13321651_10153844216353768_783873024146114672_nAfter another two hours of driving through God’s amazing creation and seeing many more animals, it was time to start the long drive back to Kampala and Entebbe and to the airport.  We were all tired…but I think I speak for all four of us when I say we were full of gratitude and peace and awe.

I could not have asked for a more wonderful ordination week!! To God alone be the Glory!

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