Today the team divided into two groups because the Compassion children are coming today. For those of you who are not familiar with the ministry of Compassion International: they are a child sponsorship organization that partners with local churches in 3rd world countries. Several of the team members sponsor a child in Uganda and Compassion is bringing them to us today. The rest of the team will go to Hope to finish the wall paintings and set up a carnival for the Hope kids and the Compassion children that afternoon.
The carnival consisted of many games for prizes and several craft booths. It was a blast! The kids played soccer, ring-toss, we have them gifts and they were so excited. It was so much fun to play with these kids, and I think Hope Children’s Village was so appropriately named because hope is exactly what you see on the faces of these children and everyone who visits Hope.
CDI has been an enormous part of this trip and all of Hope Missions International’s efforts in Uganda. So, it was only fitting that our last meal in Soroti was shared with them. Simon, the chairman of CDI gave an encouraging speech to the team that gave us so much joy and satisfaction as we noticed that the little things we had done meant so much to these people. We had made a difference, but not of ourselves! It was by the power of God! Simon blessed us and sent us with a charge and commission to remember this time, to be disciples and share the mission and ministry in Uganda!
The goals of CDI are big, that is why we place them in the hands of the one who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ask or think. But that doesn’t mean we will do nothing. We will continue to serve and fight on the front lines for our King until we die. He is our prize. He will provide and do more than we could expect or imagine in the country of Uganda.
Simon closed with these verses:
And now the LORD shew kindness and truth unto you: and I also will requite you this kindness, because ye have done this thing.
–2 Samuel 2:6
The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: the LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
Our work has made a difference, now comes the real work as we head home to encourage others to get involved!
Today we went to a shop in town for the team to buy souvenirs to take to the folks back home. I’ll tell you this: that shopkeeper is one of the happiest women in Soroti right now. 24 team members just bought a fortune in Uganda memorabilia. Every time we come we boost the economy on that street corner with our trips to the tailor shop and this lady’s gift shop.
This is one of the last days for solid work and the last day for work at Hope and the hospital. We’re excited to finish what we started nearly two weeks ago when we arrived.
We stayed in town too long and were an hour late by the time we reached Hope. The women departed almost immediately after we arrived for their Straightway ministry.
Straightway: A new project we are beginning in Uganda. Due to the nature of the project, we will not announce it very publicly. There is a high instance of female school drop-outs once they begin their monthly cycle. This is because the schools will not allow them to attend if they do not have disposable sanitary items. The village girls are too poor to afford these items; they use non-disposable items when they are home in their villages. In a country like Uganda, girls who are uneducated and untrained in an income-generating skill, often end up on the streets involved in very immoral income-generating activities. Sanitary items are very inexpensive. There are three terms in a school year.
I didn’t attend, but had mom ask one of the women to take some notes for me. Bekah Estes did so; these are her words, not mine:
We started the day with introductions to the headmaster and staff as well as the PTA and school council. Throughout this the nearly 900 children enrolled gathered around us, arrayed in purple uniforms.
Brother Todd then gave the Andrew the Gospel Worm and the Airplane illustrations of faith before turning the program back over to the school.
A group of girls from the Straightway project then sang us a welcome song. Teacher Florence(the head woman teacher) then explained a few of the challenges facing the school:
1) No changing rooms/nice bathrooms
2) Lack of proper hygiene supplies
She requested continued support and provision for the girls, saying:
“Please, do not leave us behind!”
She told us that when the young women do not feel well because of their cycles, she must send them all the way home, which strongly negatively impacts their performance.
The Straightway girls then performed for us a poem they had written about the Straightway project- so good.
Many of the older kinds then performed for us a song about about the education of young women in Uganda- very powerful narrative. Following the song we handed out supplies and then we headed back to Hope.
It wasn’t long after the women left that the medical crew: Dr. Robert, Wes, and Bro. Ricky went to the hospital for a last hurrah of work there.
For the ones who remain it’s finishing time. We immediately set to painting the remaining trim and scraping and sanding the paint spills from the floor: this is the most difficult job on the construction side of what we do this year. It is especially difficult to clean these floors, what makes it worse is that we’re the ones who messed them up. Had we known we would have to clean them we would have taken more care not to spill on the floor.
It went faster towards the end of the day when Isaac, one of the members of the CDI staff at Hope Children’s Village told us to pour the mineral spirits on the floor, the scrub the paint off with soapy water and scrapers. From there, we finished the hall inside and almost all of the rooms. We finished the paintings on the walls, and played with and loved on the Hope kids for the rest of the day. When we got back to Akello, there were already children waiting to play with us; they knew we were coming. Our server last night told me that many of the children come long distances to play with us because word got around that we are there and have footballs. It’s so much fun to bless these kids, many of the orphans and street children!
I can’t begin describe the blessing we receive by blessing them. At night CDI treated the team to an outdoor banquet of sorts. Mike Partain sat next to me as we ate out in the field adjacent to Akello. He looked at the children on the wall and leaned over to me, voicing the words I had felt in my heart so many times.
“Its difficult for me to be in here, eating my food and then looking at those children just outside who have nothing”
Tomorrow is a big day and we don’t know what all God has in store for us, but we are ready for it! For pictures of the trip visits the Hope Missions International page in Facebook. While you’re there, like the page and search the hashtag #HMIUganda16 for all of the content being posted by the team about the trip!
I’m going to take just a second to plug my personal blog if that’s alright. I have been blogging the entire trip not only on this site, but I have also been posting to my personal blog: theanonymousnovelist.com
On that site you get a slightly different perspective on the trip and today’s post is extra special! I wrote a fantasy allegorical story about the trip and the team members! If you’re interested in reading about the trip in an action/adventure setting, definitely check that out!
While on the way to the village church, we had an informal worship service on the bus. Sam lead us in songs like “Eyalama” and “I’m so glad Jesus set me free”, then Rev. Francis spoke a few words of a sermon for us before Sam told us a story.
Eyalama: Thank You
Rev. Francis talked about Abraham and how God called him from his family and friends to go to a country he did not know. He compared this team to Abraham, for we had left our families and friends to go to a country we did not know; still we stepped out in faith, following Christ wherever He would leave.
“Live to be a blessing”
He told us that God has called us to be a blessing; and God called us out of self land to a world where we must see ourselves as the least to make the most difference. He has called us out of our country and comfort zones to this foreign land. Breven Francis told us that it is not about who we are but what we do and told us that it was his personal mission to bless one person every day.
We see ourselves as the ones blessing others as we go on mission trips, but we are equally blessed; many times we receive the greater blessing. Just our presence at the church was a blessing to these people, and in return they blessed us in so many ways.
We arrived at the village of Kamorojo, About an hours drive from Soroti. There was already a very nice breakfast arrayed for us when we got off the bus. We ate first, and then gravitated toward the main church building where we were welcomed by singing and praising. They play their local instruments, one that looks very much like a heart, and is made out of wood, string, and animal hide. Another instrument that they play is an African piano; it is a complicated instrument to explain but is a wooden box on top that are different lengths. The pricking of the prongs causes different tones, and if created correctly, these pianos are remarkably on key. Most of the videos from today can be found by using the hashtag #HMIUganda16 on Facebook.
When the service officially started, after the music was finished, many of us split to do a children’s church across the street. There were several buildings, and the 250+ kids that we had cannot all fit in one or even two of the buildings. So the group to even smaller groups and each handle the particular section of kids.
We are so proud of the team today as they were engaging, and were not only ready but willing to step in and do things that they hadn’t done before and maybe weren’t comfortable with. But they did them, and God bless that effort. Many of the younger and older children prayed to accept Christ into their life. You can never be very sure about whether they fully understood or not. But God was definitely working on the hearts of some, and we may never know in this life just how many people we impact for Christ even if we don’t see it.
After the service we went out to see the water source for that village. It was head and shoulders above any water source we had ever seen in Uganda for these local villages, and yet it was still a disease ridden well. An old fashion well, not like the kind we would dig for these people, But one that required a bucket to lift water from the ground, filled with dirt and disease. And yet this is one of the best, most sanitary water sources we have seen it out in the father reaches of the Soroti area.
Today was a good day of ministry. It was a blessing and encouragement to the team, we all left uplifted, And reinvigorated to serve for these last few days we have an Uganda. You know on the good days though, I would ask you to pray that we would accomplish as much as we can during our time here. God is moving in Uganda, we want to be a part of it, we want you to be a part of it. So continue to pray for the work, and if God lays on your heart to contribute financially to the work you can do so at buildingwithhope.com
Remember, for pictures and updates like and follow the Hope Missions International Facebook page, and stop by my personal blog: theanonymousnovelist.com for a different perspective on the work we are doing here in Uganda, Africa.
Dr Melodie talked about contentment this morning, using the verses about being content in whatever state we are in. With just the basic necessities we should be content.
She used an example of a woman who had to learn to be content in the good and bad situations. She had very little and prayed for a better situation, but God did not answer that prayer right away. The woman then challenged herself to be grateful and content regardless of her circumstances for the next 30 days and it changed her life. Contentment isn’t based upon our circumstances; it transcends our Circumstances because it is a choice. Discontentment makes the rich poor and contentment makes the poor rich.
“Nothing is measurable but that which is not so.” –Boathouse
It’s children’s ministry day! Literally everyone on this team is kindness itself and great with children. This is a day where we should all feel comfortable and content. Mike and JoJo are both feeling under the weather today and may join us after lunch, but for now they are staying at the hotel to rest and recover.
VBS- Nakatunya Church- Soroti, Uganda:
There was a wild flurry of flying beach balls as each team leader held up their color(one of the seven colors of the faith); children in a certain age group would get a colored sticker and go to the corresponding colored beach ball.
Rev. Francis led the children in a song at the beginning and then the Hope kids sang a few song for the group. Rev. Francis said a payer through a translator over the events of the day and all the children here. Then, as is the custom in Uganda, anyone who has anything to say does so. We had a group of children from Hands of Grace school come and recite scripture verses and sing a song.
Then, the groups dispersed in about as much order as 300 children can muster, and we each went to a different station. Me and Wes Yarber commanded the black team and Marrisa Yarber and Abby were in charge of red 1. We have a red 1 and a red 2 because of the way we share the colors of faith. The first red is sin and the second is the blood of Jesus. Our two groups, black and red 1 teamed up together and visited the stations as a single group. We had about 70 kids in our care ages 2-6. They were well behaved for the most part, but there were a few mischievous ones.
After snacks, our first stop, we went straight to the gospel station, then visual illustrations, games, and crafts.
Snacks were handled by Michelle Allen and Harriet, one of the matrons from Hope. Games were done by Rachel and Zach Allen; Visual Illustrations were done by Dave Coram and Josh and Christian Allen; crafts by Rachael Sutton and; and the Gospel by Caleb and Todd Allen. The rest of us lead the teams from station to station, keeping kids in line and making sure they have a good time.
The whole day went very well and we returned to Akello at 3:00. Several of us went across the street with a soccer ball and guitar. We sang songs and played soccer with them for several hours. It was a blessing to love on these children who, many of them have no parents and live on the streets. We brought them a little bit of hope, some fun, and the gospel through word and song. Mike Partain shared with them the John 3:16 coin and handed one of them written in Ateso to each child. Wes, Marisa, Abby, and I sang songs and JoJo handed each child a piece of candy. There is a mission field even as close as across the street here in Uganda. Pray that we would have our eyes and hearts open to seize every opportunity to be a witness for Christ in Africa.
Be sure to check out the Hope Missions International Facebook page for pictures!
Asa, the good. In the middle of the wicked kings came Asa, a righteous king who gave Israel rest and so the Lord gave him rest. Asa prospered Israel and its people. They lived in the tradition of the bad kings and the idols of other gods. Much like the ancient nation of Israel, is the country of Uganda, weak and helpless in the traditions of their fathers and their culture. Asa led them out of that and into a period of peace. The peace did not last for more than ten years as the nation of Ethiopia came to attack and destroy the cities of Israel, much like the Muslims are aggressively trying to stifle and destroy the Christian influence in Uganda. God saved the Israelites miraculously from the mighty Ethiopians, and that brings Hope to us going up against such a formidable Muslim enemy.
It’s true, the Muslim influence is on the rise and already very prevalent in Uganda, but not in the way you might think. People in Uganda convert to Islam for the monetary advantage. Muslim play on their poverty and offer to build a beautiful mosque on their land and raise the land value, extending jobs to workmen in the village to help build it. In return, they ask only that the people convert to Islam. The Muslims also have a university that Muslim Ugandans can freely study at. It’s not that they are converting the hearts of Ugandans to Islam, but they have converted their minds. But Islam isn’t an eternal solution to poverty or even an earthly one. The short term advantages to converting to Islam may be great, but they are only short term and do not last.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Today is more work on Hope for many of the team; it is work at the hospital for some; and the clinic and share your faith conference for others. The clinic occurs at Nakatunya church and the share your faith conference is held a distance away at another local church. I’m headed right now to the clinic where several of the women of the team are prescribing and distributing medicine to some or the locals and a few of our male team leaders are sharing the gospel with those waiting in line and around the church.
There are two tents outside of the church near our transportation bus. The tents and the church are filled with people having their symptoms analysis and their medicine prescribed by Ugandan doctors. Then they walk out to the bus and receive their medicine.
Speaking of medicine, say a prayer for Mike Partain today as he is struggling with some health issues. He probably shouldn’t have eaten that fish eye, but seriously by in prayer for him that he would recover quickly.
The day wasn’t all paintbrushes and painted hands though. In the later hours we devoted ourselves wholly and utterly to the task of rescuing cobs of corn from their rough, husk cages. Alas, we couldn’t save them all. Several brave soldiers lost their lives in the pest attacks. They were destroyed to their core and we had to move on without them. The corn in Uganda is called maize and is a rough, harsh type that is good only for grinding into meal, which is what we intend to do with these. Corn is like our hearts, it takes the removal of our protective outer layers to uncover who we truly are. Not all of us are good. Some are downright rotten, but we all have an outer face, a protective wall to keep people from knowing the true person beneath.
For us in Uganda, we need to learn how to break down these walls and witness to the real person inside. That’s the challenge, but most of the ministries we undertake serve that purpose. That’s why we get involved and help. We just got a report that 13 people have decided to follow Christ because of the medical clinic and the evangelism team that helped lead them to the cross! Praise God!
Keep up with all of the news from Uganda by following my personal blog: theanonymousnovelist.com or liking the Hope Missions International Facebook page!
Vicki arrived late last night with Andrew and Dave from Kampala! She and Dave stayed back at the hotel to rest a little before being thrown into the grind, so to speak, and joined the team for lunch this afternoon at Hope. I went to visit the hospital this morning so that you could get a general idea of the work going on there.
We began by going into the Male Surgical Ward in the complex where Dr. Robert checked on a patient on whom he had operated earlier in the week. The man had an abscess on his neck and in his throat from rotted teeth or some other disorder. Dr. Robert had to go into the trachea, remove the abscess, and implant a tube to help with the draining and to clear his throat so that he could breath. The swelling was so bad he could not breath before Dr. Robert operated on him. Today the man, Bernard will go to surgery to have the tube removed and the rotted teeth pulled.
I shadowed Dr. Robert and Bro. Ricky for the beginning part of the day to get an idea of what their days looked like. For the most part, Dr. Robert would sit down and assess patients, then perform surgeries with the aid of several Ugandan nurses and a few of our own team nurses: JoJo Keinke, Dr. Robert’s wife Debbie Yarber, Ricky Gault, and Bekah Estes. There is also a Uganda doctor: Fiona, who performs surgeries as well. We trust her, in fact, Dr. Robert specifically requested her to work with this year.
I can see Bro. Ricky in the operation room, called the Theatre, preparing syringes and machines for operation, Debbie and JoJo are here and there, back and forth, helping in whatever way they can and getting the recovery room ready. The first surgery is slated for 9:00, so there will be a good deal of other jobs to be performed before then.
I hear a young child screaming in the hall with the other waiting patients. The parents have waited, some of them days just to be seen. The hope these doctors from America bring is something these people so desperately need. There are tracts at the ready in the recovery room and the machines are being prepared. An orderly list of patients for the day is on the door of the recovery room, through which you have to walk to reach the theatre. Dr. Robert is down the main hall in the consultation room, seeing people, and everyone else is everywhere doing everything you could possibly imagine to make ready for a day of operation in a local Ugandan hospital.
When the surgeries began there were two procedures occurring simultaneously in two different rooms. Dr. Robert performed an adenoid hypertrophy, while the nurses and Dr. Fiona removed a foreign object from a child’s ear in the recovery area. Dr. Robert came to oversee the procedure after the object had been removed and the ear cleaned with saline, and operated the suction machine to get rid of the saline. The patient from the theatre, Betty, was brought to the recovery room and placed in the care of JoJo and Debbie.
The hospital is very efficient and very professional though it appears informal. These people are skilled at what they do, they just need a little direction, instruction to perform their tasks more effectively and safer. That is part of the responsibility the medical team has; not only to help the patients, but to train the doctors to better help their people.
Also, I see the smiles on the faces of the medical team, and it catches on to the Uganda hospital staff and even the patients. These young children see the love that these American doctors have for them and it causes them to not be so afraid of them. Our medical staff are not just doctors and nurses, they are the hands, the feet, and the smiles of God to these people.
I think I’ve gather most of the information on the hospital that I need. I’ll head to hope to check in the progress there.
The work at Hope did not kick-off until I arrived. However, that was only because there was no paint with which to paint the front room. When the paint arrived we had just enough time before lunch to lay on the first coat of primer. After lunch Andrew took every available person with him to pick the corn from the field out back. Then came Okiru: the rain. Yes, we got rained out at Hope and the medical clinic at Nakatunya. We’re heading back to Akello because there really isn’t much left for us to do. On the way back, we dropped Michelle Bain, Wes Yarber, and Melodie Estes off at the hospital. Now for much needed rest before a big day tomorrow.
Keep up with our trip on Facebook by following the Hope Missions International page, and follow my personal blog: theanonymousnovelist.com for different perspectives.
We had devotions on the bus today and Josh led us as the entire team traveled in the bus. The medical team would be dropped off at the hospital and the others would continue on to Hope. Josh spoke today on the servants and the talents and told a story from last year of how he and our driver Henry had been binding lumber for tresses. Henry told him when josh asked if they would break for tea that “we finish the work before we get our reward”. That was the thought he gave us this morning: there is a reward waiting when we finish our work here on earth, the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus our mission, heaven our eternal joy.
More paint! If this gets redundant for you to read, say a prayer for those of us doing it every day. :)
Today is trim work. There is a pretty blue color that goes on a trim on the ceiling and it takes a steady hand and a small brush to accomplish well.
One special painting project we worked on today, other than the animals on the walls and the inside of the office building, was the Ugandan flag on the outside of the gate. I was responsible for painting the symbol in the middle of the flag: a crane in a white circle. It’s important for these children to take pride in their country. Regardless of its current situation, Uganda is their home and their land and they should be proud of that fact. These children are the future of their people and their nation, so we teach them to honor, respect, and love that nation.
From time to time as I was painting the symbol of the crane, our security guard would come and check on my progress, and when I was finished, he asked if we could take a photo on front of it. That was special.
I asked him what the colors of the flag stood for and he told me that the black is for black Africa, the yellow is for the sunshine, and red is for the blood shed to gain independence. In the center of the flag is the Ugandan National Bird a Ugandan Crane. The flag and the Uganda National Anthem were both created in the year of their independence: 1962, and as our motto is “In God We Trust”, theirs is “For God And My Country”.
Ugandan politics work similarly to American in many respects; they consider themselves a republic and operate as such, with their president Yoweri Museveni presiding over MP’s and district ministers. Though they call themselves a republic, Uganda is beginning to look like a monarchy: Museveni has been reelected 6 times since he first took office in 1986. Presidents serve 5 year terms with elections occurring on February 18; that means Museveni has been in office for 30 years and is just beginning his sixth term being voted in this past February.
The guard sat down and talked to me for quite a while about the differences in our cultures, governments, currency, and economy.
Coffee and cotton are the major cash crops and could be considered the national plants of Uganda. They appear on the Ugandan coat of arms along with many other symbolic items: a drum, the sun, a crane, a kobe(a gazelle-like animal), etc… By getting to know the culture of Uganda you come to consider it as your own country. You can continue to learn about Uganda by following my personal blog theanonymousnovelist.com and the Hope Missions Page on Facebook!
Hey everyone! We are having an amazing time in Uganda, experiencing God’s power amongst our team and in the lives of so many African people so far on this trip. I just wanted to share a little bit with you today about what specific ministries we are participating in today.
What are we doing today in Uganda?
Well, today is much like yesterday at Hope because we are painting again. Now, rather than painting the bars on top of the wall, today we are painting the inside of the office building on Hope property: this is where CDI performs their office tasks to ensure the work continues to thrive. Allow me to take you on a tour of Hope Children’s Village for just a minute.
Imagine you are walking down a dirt road just outside the main city area of Soroti. A white, brick wall with red, iron bar fencing on top will appear in front of you with the sheet metal tops of buildings just beyond. As you come through the large iron gate you will see a quaint little dirt driveway sidelined by small shrubs and painted bricks. On either side you will notice a grassy field; on the left, near the outer wall the field is populated by brightly painted playground equipment: slides, swings, and a merry-go-round! At the back of the field, painting animals on the wall under a pop-up canopy tent is Pam Gates, a brilliant artist! The animals have each a corresponding character trait to teach and the government of Uganda requires these types of lessons be on the wall and always before the children’s eyes.
If you head to the main building, the only finished structure on the property aside from the pit toilets to your left, you will see people sorting through packets of seeds to distribute in a village. As you enter the first room you will see all manner of supplies and people cutting and sorting craft materials for children’s ministry. Walk down the hall to the tune of echoey voices and the scrapes of brushes against the walls. That’s me and the crew painting the rooms. We lay down three coats of primer with small brushes and rollers, then lay down the paint; three different colors: one for the trim, one for the ceiling, and one for all the remaining surface area.
That’s the gist of the day from inside the walls of the office. Going outside later in the day there will be thirteen young children playing games and being taught about God during the VBS program Abigail Allen, Marisa Yarber, and Rachel Allen put together. It’s just another average day at Hope!
Later in the day we made paper airplanes for the Hope kids and a flurry of multicolored cardstock filled the air as we played catch with them.
Sam, our main contact in Uganda has two young children and his wife’s name is Ruth. Sam and Ruth have been expecting a baby to be born this week and it was born today! The baby is healthy and fine but they won’t tell us what they named it until the team meets tonight.
So happy for them and it’s a tremendous encouragement that keeps us inspired to serve!
Tomorrow promises to be much like today, but we look forward to seeing Vicki!
For more information on Hope Missions International 2016 trip to Uganda, visit us on Facebook! Search the #HMIUganda16 for posts from the team, and follow my personal blog: theanonymousnovelist.com!
This morning it was Caleb’s turn to do devotionals for the team. He led us in a moment of reflection before the day officially started. Today it’s back to paint for the team at Hope! The Atlanta team has been put to work as the majority of the team was medical workers and today we started in the local hospital where Robert Yarber will begin performing surgeries.
It’s lunch time and the team at Hope was joined by the team from the hospital. We learned from Dave that Michelle Allen, mom is actually in the hospital not feeling well. I would ask you to be in prayer for Michelle, that she would get well soon. We’re missing her on the team.
The day at Hope began with tea, which was breakfast for the CDI staff at Hope, and a mid morning snack for the team, which had eaten not long before at Akello. Over the course of the day nearly everyone got involved in the paintwork on the bars on top of the wall. By the end of the day, as many of us as there were brushes, which were 7, were up on the wall and on step ladders painting. Several of the others were down below dipping the brushes in paint and handing them back up to us. The rest of us at Hope were sorting supplies for children’s ministry and also did a VBS program later that day.
When we’re around the wall painting, there isn’t much to do other than talk, so relationships grow, opinions are exchanged, and we all get to know each other a little more. It’s a great experience and makes us more united in Christ and exposits His glory to the people of Uganda.
Speaking of God’s glory: Melodie and Bekah Estes and Ms. JoJo were able to help a woman deliver a baby at the hospital today! Even better, there were seven decisions for Christ made at the hospital because our evangelism team shared the gospel with those waiting to be treated. It is a free treatment, but we want to heal them spiritually more than physically; however, we can do both.
More on Michelle Allen, the doctors think she has a virus of some kind. She has been put on four different IV’s during the night and hopefully will recover quickly. For other news and updates you can follow the Hope Missions International page on Facebook, or you can follow my personal blog: theanonymousnovelist.com
Today, Dave started the team with a short devotional before we left Akello to go to Nakatunya PAG (Pentecostal Assembly of God) church near Hope Children’s Village.
His words penetrated the spirit of the team and became who we are. He spoke of being so close to the Master that we would have the dust kicked up by His sandals upon our garments; that everyone would know we had been close to our master. He also spoke of how the disciples were not chosen for their circumstances and stature, but in spite of them that Christ would receive the greater glory. This fit like a glove with Todd’s message this morning during the service about how we did not choose Christ, but He chose us and to a purpose. Our ministry is all about empowering the people to change their circumstances, not just fixing the symptoms, but destroying the sickness.
The spirit of worship moved in the 3 hour church service and promised to remain with us for the rest of the day, a remnant may endure through the entire trip. The power of The Holy Spirit to move upon and among His people when they unite and ignite to glorify God the Father is an unmatched indwelling of glory. We have become souls possessed for the crown of Christ.
Today we climbed Soroti Rock, a tall, out-of-place, mass of stone directly in the center of Soroti. It is not only the tallest point to be seen for miles around, but is the only real elevation in the area. It is several thousand feet tall but not a difficult climb by any means for a seasoned climber. This was a day for the team to get to know the real Uganda: visiting the local church, climbing the Rock, and seeing the beauty of Uganda from such a majestic point.
However, the beauty of the landscape paled in comparison to what happened at the top. At the top of Soroti Rock is a hut and several towers and there were several Ugandan men up there. Dave, our missions coordinator began talking with one of them and told him that he was in the US military. The man began to talk more with him and Dave shared his testimony. The man then prayed and accepted Christ into his life! Such a great God moment!
When we came down from the Rock, we found a group of 20 or more children waiting for us. Michelle Allen gave several of us tracks to pass out to the children and within moments their numbers doubled as other children saw what we were doing. I shared with them what the track said, Christian preached the “Andrew the Gospel Worm” illustration to them, and Mike Partain taught them “Jesus Loves Me”. I’m so proud of our team today!
Tonight we ministered to the Suttons and all went to their house here in Soroti for an American dinner to encourage them in the work and remind them of home. Everyone needs a little bit of home wherever they go; we are that for our missionaries and it is a blessing to bless them. Andrew, Rachael, Bailey, Andrea, Hannah, and Lilly are doing so well, they are impacting Uganda for Christ and we get to be part of that! As the night grew later we gathered around the piano, Wes and Mike picked up guitars and we sang some old hymns and praise songs, just glorifying God and praising Him.
Andrew shared some thoughts with us about what he had learned while in Uganda, and then the team, as a group prayed for the Suttons and their ministry. Never has a group of people been more blessed than we all were during that time. We were overwhelmed by the power of the Holy Spirit and left refreshed and encouraged ourselves. I cannot wait to see what tomorrow brings!
Follow the Hope Missions International Facebook page for pictures and my personal blog: theanonymousnovelist.con for my thoughts and feelings on the trip.