I can barely believe that it is September already (I’ve been here 3 months) and in the US that means back to school, football and signs of the approaching holidays showing up in Walmart. Fall is my favorite time of the year. Here in Uganda, September is the beginning of the end (third term) of the school year. And…instead of getting cooler it will gradually start to warm up. Also, I don’t think I’ll be seeing Christmas decorations in any shops here or college football tailgate parties. Everyone is busy planting their second garden of the season. Katie has planted peanuts and maize. The squash and zucchini are still growing.
Classes at the theological college start back on Sept 8th. The Lay Readers class is taught in Luo because most of the students don’t speak much English. Sandra has asked me, along with another missionary named Phoebe from New Zealand, to teach an English class to help the students with their language skills. This class will be for an hour each day for four days a week. I’m looking forward to it. I’m struggling with my own Luo language skills so maybe the students can help me as well. I just have one of those brains that can’t learn languages. Try as I may, it won’t stick. One of my problems is that I try to get an exact English translation for Luo words and phrases and it doesn’t work that way. I have the greetings down, I think, but conversation is not yet possible. The people appreciate the effort so that makes it worth it. I really do want to be able to speak in Luo.
As of today I have completed setting up the college’s bookkeeping on Quickbooks. (Seems no matter where I go I have always been able to use this skill.) I think using QB will help the college with it’s budgeting in the future and also increase accountability. Doing this was a good way for me to learn more about the inner workings of the college and discover its greatest areas of need. The college is planning to move its location some time in 2015 to an area not far from the Diocesan offices. This will enable expansion in the near future. I am convinced, more than ever, that theological education is a top priority in Uganda. Islam is on the move and they have a strategic plan for making converts. The Church must be strengthened and prepared with a strategy as well to take the good news of Christ out to the villages and to continue to grow disciples and develop leaders.
As I watch the news on the internet daily, I have been overwhelmed with strong feelings of grief at all that is happening in the world. Some mornings I can’t stop the tears from falling as I watch the NBC nightly news podcast. I’ve never been affected this way before concerning world events. I’m sure I’m not alone. While I try not to be an alarmist, I can’t help but to think we are entering into a new era of history that will forever change the landscape of our societies…and the Church universal. Even as I type this, it sounds overly dramatic. Nonetheless, the writing seems to be on the wall. The Church will be facing serious challenges in the years to come and it won’t be over styles of worship music or the format of Sunday School. It will be about whether Christians can clearly articulate the gospel and whether they believe it or not and whether their lives reflect the love, grace and mercy of Jesus. We have to snap out of our complacent, easy lives in the US. There is a spiritual battle going on for the souls of all humanity and we each have a role to play if we will accept it. There is a lot at stake. But…we know how it all ends. Praise God!
Maybe this is a good time to share how I’m seeing the Lord do the impossible here in Gulu by bringing a witch doctor to Christ. I wrote about Evelyn in my last blog post. She is a good reminder that with the Lord, nothing is impossible and no person is too far gone to be reached by His mighty hand. By her own admission, Evelyn was a follower of Satan and some of the bazaar things she did you would not believe. But the Lord saved her out of that life and for that we give thanks. Evelyn has started her new life and we all pray she will be used by the Lord in mighty ways. When the local people hear her testimony it will have a powerful affect. Many people still consult witch doctors here so to see one become a Christian and begin to live in the light carries a lot of weight. Pray for Evelyn.
I’ll end on that note and I ask for your continued prayers for good health and favor in all my relationships here in DNU. Pray for safety and protection. Pray for patience and understanding as I continue to adjust to the culture. Pray that the Lord would give me greater discernment in all things as I seek to do His will alone.
Much love in Christ!