Our trip West to Mbarara was a great success! Pastor Naboth and his wife Alice welcomed us into their home set in the beautiful countryside surrounding the town. We ate mountains of local food (got a little sick, but it was so worth it!), and in between large meals, preached the Word of God. People were bussed in from the surrounding area, and in all, there was about 500-600 people packed into the small church, most of them leaders of small village churches. We had the opportunity to impact all of these churches in a few short days. Pastor Naboth had a vision a few months ago about fish falling from heaven with birth fluids all over them (you know, like a newborn?). He got up from where he was outside under a tree, and went into the church. Two pastors were behind the pulpit scratching their heads, confused. They didn't know what to do to reach people, when all the while they were falling right from the sky. The Lord said, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few..." These laborers were confused, and so the theme of the conference was "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel." Pastor Naboth was out to train pastors to reach their communities.
We took a long bumpy taxi ride (waited a couple hours for the taxi to fill up) and were too exhausted to preach the first night, but spoke on prerequisites to fulfilling the Great Commission, and the 5-fold ministry the first morning. Worship was wonderful, and many local "artists" came and sang and danced for the group. Virginia preached on Saturday on the Value of the Kingdom, and Brent on Sowing and Reaping. Afterwards, a pastor came up saying, "I have a confession to make: when I first saw you two, I thought, 'these two are so new...what will they teach us?' but we have been blessed by your ministry!" Praise the Lord that it doesn't matter how old you are - His Word is still the same!
7 people were saved on Friday, and everyone at the conference committed themselves to reaching lost people in their communities. A young girl even gave us a papaya as an offering. It was a great success.
We're out to Bussi Island on Tuesday...no internet for a couple weeks. We'll update when we get back!
The last two weekends, we've been travelling to larger villages and preaching in "Redeemed" Churches. These smaller churches are part of the mother church "The Redeemed of the Lord Evangelistic Church Makerere" in Kampala. Last weekend was a place called Kikiri (pronounced "Ki-ch'-ir-ee"). This small church has around 400 members and has been meeting in their unfinished building with a makeshift roof. This week, they got the needed funds and put a new roof on their building to keep the rain out.
The presence of the Lord was sweet in this church. We couldn't understand most of what was being sung (they do have a few songs in English, but even those are a little hard to understand!), but we could sense that the Lord was pleased and had come to inhabit the praises of His people.
Brent preached about the purpose that Jesus has called us for as His disciples: to be with Him, and to go out and preach. He talked about the need for both prayer and work, not one or the other, and that we can't get stuck in the prayer closet without acting on what we learn there, and we have no power to minister on the street without the secret place.
This week, we travelled to Buwenge (2.5 hours East of Kampala) to a relatively new church with a couple hundred people. The two services melded into one 4 hour meeting where Virginia (African name = Gini) preached a fabulous message about being established in the Lord, and Brent (Matthew) taught on having our foundation firmly laid on Jesus alone. The people didn't understand our altar call, so almost the entire congregation came forward for prayer. We forgot that everyone here seems to have some sort of ailment or need, especially in the villages. We prayed for maybe an hour for every need we could think of - salvation, healing, barrenness, marriages, new business ventures, financial miracles, and on and on.
At the end of the prayer time, Pastor James had another altar call for those who wanted to be saved. About 7 people came forward and testified that they had been saved! In talking to the pastor afterward, he mentioned that this was not normal for his church and that he wants to have a new focus on evangelism.
The service felt like the early church. New believers being born, the Church rejoicing, sharing in all things (we saw some eggs, bananas, and "jack fruit" in the offering baskets). We didn't have any requests for the baptism of the Holy Spirit...we'll have to teach on that soon.
We made some new minister friends as well - last week, our man Solomon and his wife Colette drove us to Kikiri, and this week, Enoch and Peter chattered away about all their questions about US culture, instructing us in Ugandan ways (we aren't supposed to look people in the eye when we talk to them! This is a hard one, even when we make conscious effort - try it out yourself!). We're blessed to be with these humble, faithful ministers who have been going to the bush to teach for awhile now. It seems the encouragement in the Lord is mutual, so we're grateful for that.
That's all for now. We're headed to Mbarara on Thursday for a 4 day conference where we'll be preaching/teaching each day. We didn't have much notice on this one, so pray for the grace of God to enable us to do His will.
Well, we're back to our homestead from our trip to Kapchorwa. It was very successful and we will soon have some video of it on our website. Brent just posted a video on our website today of our travel here and tour of our house. Check it out! We're discovering that our new life here feels alot like camping. We sleep under a bug net, our sink is outside so we do dishes and laundry outside,we cook with a propane cooker,use the pit to go to the bathroom and kill alot of bugs that like to share the space. It's definitely a great place, but I can't help but wake up in the morning and say...Brent, doesn't it feel like we're camping? He agrees. We tried to do our laundry today. One bucket for washing, and one bucket for rinsing which turns out to be alot of work and then hang the clothes out to dry. One problem...it likes to rain here unexpectedly. So as we sit here in the internet cafe, our clothes are hopefully drying inside our house(you know, hanging them where you can.) This is our new missionary life....It's great! We will be leaving this sunday to preach at a church about an hour away. Please pray as we prepare to speak this weekend. Also, we are meeting with Drake today to finalize our travel plans for the next 3 months and it sounds like we may get to be apart of a crusade in the Congo in February as well as be at Osannide Village (the orphange on Bussi Island we visted this summer) for christmas. It will be the first christmas these kids have had since coming to the orphanage. We'll definitely need to get pictures of that! This is our update for now. We'll check in soon. So good to get your comments and hear from you. It's such an encouragement to know you are praying for us. We love you all!!
Last week, while saying goodbye to everyone we know and love in the US, we felt extremely loved. Thanks to everyone who blessed us during this transition. You've made it a great one (and quite a bit sad - we miss you already!)
We spent our first two days in Africa shopping for household necessities (bed, carpets, bug nets, refrigerator, etc). Coupled with the 10 hour jet lag, this effectively wore us out. Our house is bigger than we originally thought, with two large bedrooms and a good sized kitchen, dining, and living room. No sinks or toilets in the house, but we do have running (dripping) water for the shower. Praise the Lord for cold water in a hot climate. We're happy to have our own place, and we'll even have internet installed on our phone line in the next few days.
Right now, we're in SE Uganda in a small village called Kapchorwa assisting with an evangelistic crusade. Brent is teaching in the mornings at the seminars, and our landlord (Drake Kanaabo) is preaching in the evenings.
We're running low on internet cafe time, so we'll post more later (with pictures). Please keep praying for souls here in Kapchorwa, and that the local churches here would have grace to bring them to full maturity in Christ.
Well, the countdown has begun! We're busily making last minute preparations, saying our final goodbyes and getting ready to launch into this new adventure. Actually taking steps to go to the mission field is so much different that we thought, the preparation part of it reminds me of getting ready to be married. You work and work, and then there's that moment that you're driving off from the church thinking...now we can relax and enjoy the purpose of what all this preparation was for. Uganda...here we come!!!
Thank you to all who have encouraged,blessed us and believed in the call of God for our lives. It makes all the difference in the world to have that kind of support. Thank you!
Cascade Life Commission officially started yesterday, as brent will be assisting to kick off the new year and then transition out the end of this month. See www.cascadelifecommission.org for details on the program.
I've started a new job working as a care giver for Altzimers patients. It's a very rewarding job as it involves helping people like I like to do, but hard sometimes to deal with the difficult issues that go along with Altzimers. Oh, how I am learning and growing in things that I never thought I would be. Praise God, it's great!!
We are having a garage sale this Saturday the 16th and will be selling lots of stuff to prepare to go to Africa. Please come and check it out (if you're in Bend). Please continue to pray that we will hear clear direction from the Lord on details in the coming weeks, although this is what the Lord spoke to me(Virginia) this week as I was asking him to speak to us about the who, what, when, where and how:
Acts 1:7-8 And He said to them, It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.
Upon the authority of God's word, we are believing that the Lord has all the details in hand and that most importantly we will go in His power in order to do what Jesus did wherever we go.
This is what we would hear from the people in Africa wherever we would go. They were so kind and hospitable that we really did feel welcome and invited. We had a great month long scouting trip to Kenya and Uganda. We both feel that we learned alot of valuable things being with so many ministries and pastors, and were grateful for the one on one ,(behind the scenes) look into the lives of people working hard in God's harvest field. At this point we are seeking God for confirming details about when we are to go back long term. It's an exciting time for us and wouldn't want to be anywhere else than right in God's will, loving Him by loving and serving people that need Him!
Thanks to all our friends and family for all your love, support and prayers as we have been and are learning to take these steps of faith.We love you!!