Greetings from Northern Uganda!
I had such a good time during my visit home to the States and loved sharing all about Uganda with many of you. I was well fed (by my mom, my friend Jennifer and lots of people who took me out to my favorite restaurants) and taken care of on my furlough…so much so that my Ugandan friends all commented on how much I had grown while I was away. LOL! It was good to see my family and rest. I’m grateful for all who are praying for me regularly and who have contributed to my Uganda Mission Fund so that I can continue doing the work of the Lord. He is very faithful indeed to see that I have every thing I need to live and do ministry here. I want to give a huge shout out to Saint James Church, Charleston, SC, my home church and sending agency. I felt so loved and cared for while I was home. I am very blessed indeed.
It’s the dry season in Gulu…its VERY hot and dry. I’ve been back in Uganda for a little over two weeks. It’s really good to be back. On the drive from Kampala to Gulu, even I was surprised at how genuinely happy I felt as we drove through the countryside. During the first week the heat was not all that bad…but the last seven days…completely different. The sun is very intense. The red dust is everywhere. At times on the road it’s like a dense red fog making it hard to see oncoming vehicles. It coats everything. Of course, we are breathing this all the time and everyone is walking around with stopped up noses and heads. The air quality is not good. It’s so hot that the last two nights I actually slept outside, which I am told lots of people do this time of year. The power has been off at night and that means the fan isn’t working and the air in the house is stagnant and probably around 85 degrees. I just lay in bed sweating. However, it’s about 15 degrees cooler outside. So, I’ve taken my pillow out to the padded bench on the porch. That’s where Dr. Katie has found me the last two mornings when she lets the security guard out of the compound at 6:30am. The landscape looks very different than when I left in December. It’s not very green anymore. Most of the grass has turned brown, leaves have fallen off some of the trees and it’s like being in a dessert in some ways. Low humidity. My lips are chapped all the time and I’m on allergy meds for the dust. On the flip side, I am thankful that I finally finished my oral chemo this week! I visited my oncologist for the last time in December and all is good. I have to have a follow-up colonoscopy in June so I’ll be back in Charleston in six months. That chapter is put behind me forever!!
My Nissan Hardbody double cab, diesel, four-wheel drive pick-up was finally delivered about a week ago! I’m so thankful to have a vehicle. It means more freedom for me and makes life a whole lot easier. Of course, it will be used for ministry when we take the Jesus Film out around the Diocese. I still do not believe this is my life some days…like when I’m driving this truck through some of the roughest roads in Gulu. Two years ago…no way I could have predicted this!!
A few days after I arrived back in Gulu, I welcomed Ryan and Elizabeth Jones to the guest house. They are here for three weeks. Ryan is a classmate of mine from Fuller Seminary.
He is teaching a workshop on the book of Matthew and Elizabeth is learning about how counseling is done in this culture. It’s been fun showing them around. One of the perks of living in Africa is the close proximity to some of the best game parks in East Africa. This coming weekend we are all driving up to the northeastern corner of Uganda to visit the Kadepo Game Preserve. It’s one of the best places to see lots of different types of animals. It’s only about a five hour drive but because it is so remote it is one of the least visited parks. It’s not remote for us!! So we are loading up the truck and headed that way. Since it’s the dry season, most of the animals hang out near the water sources that don’t dry up so we are counting on seeing lions, leopards, zebra, giraffes, elephants, just to name a few. Pics to follow. You know I love a good adventure!! LOL!
Classes have resumed at the Janani Luwum Theological College. I am teaching Old Testament Prophets. The school has recently been accredited by Uganda Christian University as the primary center for theological education in all of Northern Uganda, which consists of seven dioceses in the Church of Uganda. We are moving to a new location, less than a mile from the current location. It will give us a lot more space to grow but it needs repairs before we can begin having classes there. I think in three years time this school will have several hundreds students studying for a variety of degrees. There is much work to be done but we know the Lord will provide. This theological college is extremely important to the future of the church in Northern Uganda. I can’t stress how strategic it is to insuring the continued growth and health of the Church.
Praise God! He provided all the funds needed for the Jesus Film Project, which I have written about in previous blog posts. I had a meeting with the Mission Dept today and it was decided that our first road trip will be March 18th to Apaa in Kilak Archdeaconry. There is a three day outreach planned at the end of which we will show the Jesus Film. We are now trying to plan a two-three day trip to Kampala to shop for our new equipment. Once we have our new sound system and video projector we will have a practice run here at the Diocese in Gulu to make sure we know how to operate all the equipment. I’m very excited!! Below is an excerpt from their website: jesusfilm.org
Every eight seconds, somewhere in the world, another person indicates a decision to follow Christ after watching the “JESUS” film. Every eight seconds… that’s 10,800 people per day, 324,000 per month and more than 3.8 million per year! That’s like the population of the entire city of Pittsburgh, PA coming to Christ every 28 ¼ days. And yet, if you are like many people, you may have never even heard of it.
Called by some “one of the best-kept secrets in Christian missions,” a number of mission experts have acclaimed the film as one of the greatest evangelistic tools of all time. Since 1979 more than 200 million men, women and children worldwide have indicated decisions to follow Jesus after viewing the film. In addition, through hundreds of partners an estimated 10+ million decisions have been made as the film “JESUS” is used extensively by the Body of Christ worldwide.
I cannot wait until March! Please keep this in your prayers as the Diocese teams up with the Kilak Archdeaconry leadership to bring the gospel of Luke to the Acholi in their own language. Pray especially for a harvest among the young people. More to come!
Please pray for my health…that the red dust won’t keep me sick with allergies. Pray for safety and protection as I drive this truck around Gulu. Pray that my teaching will be well received and understood by the students. Pray for the college…that the Lord would provide for all the funds needed to get the new site location up and running. Pray that we are successful on our trip to Kampala to buy new electronic equipment. Pray for Bishop Johnson Gakumba as he works tirelessly for this Diocese.
Thanks much and blessings all around!!