Author | Steve
To be quite honest, I didn’t know why God had us going to Uganda at this particular time. It didn’t seem to fit with what He was stirring in our hearts, and it certainly didn’t fit our financial situation! But it was unmistakeable to us that He was inviting us to go, so we did. In no particular order, here’s a recap…
First, before we ever left, we experienced God’s gracious provision. We are still in a season of living off of our savings and some small work we receive every now and then. Still, we purchased our airfare and our visas believing God was inviting us on this journey. By the time we got on the plane to leave almost every dollar of our trip was covered by gracious donations. A special thank you to the wonderful people of Christ the Redeemer Lutheran Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma for their tremendous support!
“Teaching the Faith” Conference
The main purpose of our trip was to lead a four-day conference. Jamie participated with “Women of the Pearl” to encourage and strengthen over 20 women leaders from all seven regions of the Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU). I worked with Pastor Tim Radkey and two of his elders from Our Savior Lutheran in McKinney, Texas to partner with Rev. Charles Bameka, president of the LCU. We worked with over 20 evangelists from around Uganda. The LCU currently has 18 pastors but over 120 churches. These evangelists are vital in helping these churches gather around the Word of God and live as light in their villages and cities in the absence of a pastor.
We spent much of our four days helping these evangelists learn how to use their Bibles and Luther’s Small Catechism to direct them into the Word of God for their living, believing, and teaching. On the third day, I was privileged to teach these hungry students how to study a section of scripture and then write a devotion or Bible study from their work. The picture below is of the group who presented their devotion on Romans 6 to begin our last day together. It was such a humbling and Spirit-filled experience!
Jamie’s group spent some time teaching the women about prayer and prayer ministry. For practical application of what they learned, they prayed with and for each other. Then, on the third day of the conference, they went to a local children’s hospital and prayed for some of the families that were there. As they prayed, many other families asked for them to come and pray for them, too. They even had the opportunity to pray for some of the doctors and nurses there. Jamie said the Ugandan women boldly and compassionately ministered to so many that day. Most of them had never done anything like this before.
Not Everything Is Bigger in Texas
Then there was this outside our dining room one morning:
One of the churches being led by an evangelist is located in Bufuula Village. Jamie and Gabby got to visit Bufuula in July of 2015. The school here has grown to over 300 students. Torry, the evangelist at this site, is very hopeful to be in the first class at the new seminary (see below) that will open in August this year.
A New Seminary
Pastor Tim Radkey has been working closely with the leaders of the LCU to help construct a seminary to raise up pastors for the explosive growth of the church in Uganda. We got to tour the amazing property one of our first days in Jinja. The goal is to open the seminary in August of this year with an inaugural class of 24 students. Women of the Pearl was awarded a $100,000 grant from the LWML national convention this past year. Some of that grant is going to provide a library for the seminary. The seminary grounds will also have a farm for growing food and sustaining some livestock for the students.
Steps of Faith
Experiencing what the Holy Spirit is doing in and through these churches, pastors, evangelists and other leaders was absolutely astounding! I was blown away by their gentle tenacity.
Over this past year, God has drilled me in taking steps of faith when I don’t have a whole plan mapped out. I saw this on a grand scale in Uganda. I saw a people of God, taking bold steps to trust Him to provide pastors and materials for the growing church in their country without knowing all kinds of things, like where will we get their books? How will we get the men to the seminary? How will we pay for their education? What will the curriculum be? Who will teach this first class of students?
I hope you will join me and Jamie in praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ who live in Uganda. As the face of Jesus’ Church changes in our world, these are the people He is using to blaze a new but ancient trail by His Spirit – a trail that will one day soon send missionaries to us in America, reminding us of the great God we have forgotten – the One who loves us more than our stuff or our money ever will.
You Don’t Want to Miss This!
Be watching for my next post where I’ll share an encounter that blew our minds on the last night of our trip! [Here it is: Bold Chicken]