In Christ love,
- Prayer for safety as they travel 6 hours to the Bible college, near the border with Congo
- Prayer for protection from illness for the team, especially as they are run down from the long trip
- Prayer for the girls' time with a local nurse in Kasese
- Prayer for the guys' time with the professors at the college in Psalms
- Finally, prayer that their luggage would eventually arrive safely. All of their checked bags are missing and are due to arrive in Entebbe on Tuesday. Unfortunately, they will already be gone, so they will not be able to get them until they return next weekend. So, prayer for the practicalities of this for the team (I guess the girls already purchased some local skirts).
1 Corinthians 9:22 (NASB)
This day before our team leaves for Uganda (here's a link to Joshua Project information about Uganda) I am struck by the above words from the apostle Paul. You see in a sense, we aren't really going where the gospel isn't. We are headed to a place that has been Christianized, like Spokane. There are local churches there. There are even different denominations (some more gospel-centered then others). But like Spokane, there are expectations of what a Christian is, even if those expectations are different in this particular culture, that have nothing to do with King Jesus and His gospel. There are idols and worldview issues that pay lip service to serving Jesus but aren't necessarily motivated by right actions. Just like Spokane.
Our brothers and sisters there struggle with similar issues: materialism, idol worship, selfishness, anger, bitterness, gossip, shady business dealings, and marital and family problems. And the gospel speaks in Uganda just as powerfully and gloriously as it does in North America.
I have been reminded in my reading, praying, and conversations with Brian, Joselle, and Amanda that we are going to Uganda, fundamentally, as learners. Our Christianity here in the States is no better or more intrinsically worthy of God then our brothers' and sisters' is in central Africa. We simply want to be faithful gospel partners. One group of beggars saying to another, "Be imitators of us, just as I also am of Christ." Together we run to the foot of the cross as we become more fully devoted disciples of King Jesus.
Please be praying that we would 'get out of the way' and let God work through us to His glory as we travel to Uganda over the next few weeks.
Below are some maps about where we will be. May God bless us as we endeavor to serve Jesus in Africa. And may God bless you as you endeavor to serve Jesus in Spokane.
|Uganda is in the African Great Lakes region of central Africa and borders Lake Victoria.|
|The Kasese District is in the southwest of Uganda between Lake Albert & Lake Edward. This is where the Bible college is located. Kampala, north of Lake Victoria, is where Hope Alive! headquarters is situated.|
- Travel - connections would be smooth in Seattle, Chicago, and Brussels on the way over.
- Relationships - gospel connections would grow with the leaders and teachers of the Western Uganda Baptist Theological College (WUBTC), with our contacts at Hope Alive!, and with Darrie & Debbie Turner, the WorldVenture missionaries who will graciously be facilitating our trip.
- Wisdom and discernment about how best we can help the local Kasese church, and what future teams might provide in gospel partnership.
- That our family's would trust in God's sovereignty and goodness during this time.
For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.
May we be a people who learn to pray as our brothers and sisters in Durham do.
I pray you are celebrating with us, half a world away, at these new brothers in faith!
Camp has been amazing. We were told of how little the gospel is preached here, but I think I still came with the expectation that the English are Americans with cool accents. How wrong I was! In the midst of the beauty of castles and cathedrals, there are very few churches here that are preaching Christ. One of the boys in our group at Sports Camp told us that this week was the first time he had ever heard that God created the world. He has been very open to talking about the gospel and asking questions. So far this week, we've talked about Creation, Sin, The Cross, and tomorrow is The Choice. Only two of the ten kids in our group are from a church, so please pray, as we intentionally try to gauge where each child is at tomorrow, that we would be bold in proclaiming the gospel and that kids' hearts would be changed. Like Izzy said, we are having a lunch tomorrow for the kids and the parents, and on Sunday there will be a special church service (and "medal ceremony"!) that the families are invited to as well. And, of course, pray for the leaders here, that they would be intentional in following up with the families.
Hearing the little boy say that he'd never heard about a creator God was so moving to me today. What an amazing, sobering privilege, that we could very well be the first people to ever pray for this boy. In the midst of all the beauty around us, camp has been a constant reminder of the reason we are here in England, and I think has spurred us all on to go back to the States and continue reaching out beyond our comfort zone.
Finally, a few specifics on the team:
*We have been privileged to have Burke as our leader, yesterday in Basketball and today in Hockey. I was amazed to hear that it was his first time teaching younger children like this. He's a natural, and it was so fun to watch such a gifted young man use that gift for God's glory. He has volunteered to play the bass guitar on Sunday, stating, "It can't be that hard." :)
*Jonathan also has done a great job coaching baseball, and has had loads of patience for young kids who do not grasp the sport. There has been a lot of running off the field at third base, which is how you play Rounders. The sports are so similar, it's been hilarious to watch countless rules be broken. Jonathan has done a great job being flexible and yet still giving instruction. And I'm sure he felt no small amount of satisfaction today, striking out a college student! :)
*Olivia Wall has been asked, daily, to do more and more art projects for camp. In addition, she's the "Sports Reporter," hamming it up on stage each day. It's been amazing to see her servant heart and great sense of humor. Without fail, at the end of another exhausting day, she comes up with a smile and a hug and reminds me why we are here.
*Olivia Dupree has been so great with the little kids, taking in stride toddlers' "accidents" and cupcake crumbs everywhere and very few attempts at actually playing the games. She certainly has a gift for small children. We are already making plans to coerce her into babysitting when we return. Olivia has also volunteered to help with music on Sunday, and I'm anxious to hear this talented girl!
*Leah has such a servant's heart! All of the things that we take for granted, happening behind the scenes, she is a part of. From hot coffee and tea to setting up the parents' area, she's cheerfully taken on any task that needs doing. I'm humbled by her willingness to serve, doing the things she's gifted with, such as art, as well as the less glamorous jobs.
*Izzy has had so much joy, being here. Every time I see her, whether it's painting signs, interacting with kids, or at the end of a long day, she has a dazzling smile on her face. I'm not so sure she's going to get on the plane with the rest of us! I was privileged to hear her and Lily tell stories about their sister Caroline today, and even in that, there was a peace and joy that radiates from her. When you look at Izzy, you see Jesus.
*Lily has been such a trooper! Even feverish and ill, she never complains! I've had so much fun with her, watching her gymnastics videos and seeing her engage anyone she talks to. I love that whether she's talking to a small child, a peer, or an adult, she is confident and gracious. In the time that she spent with our host family while she was sick, they came to love her as much as we do.
Please be praying today for our last day of camp, which will take place from 1:45-5:00 am Spokane time, and for families to attend the special service on Sunday.
We look forward to returning to Spokane and sharing more of what God has been doing on our hearts!
Today is day 6 in Durham... and I am just as excited to be here as last Saturday.
Last night I moved in with my new host family. Their names are Duncan and Laura Woods and they have two little boys named Elliot and Theo... and they are so sweet and absolutely adorbale! We've just celebrated Theo's birthday.
Alive and Kicking It, holiday club is also going really well. It has been awesome to build relationships with the people of the church as well as the kids who have been involved in the camp. Most of the children seem to be showing interest and understanding. One of the boys even said that he wanted to "be on Jesus' team" but he didn't know how so he got to pray with one of the team members. Praise God for that! Tomorrow is our last day of the holiday club and we will be having a lunch afterwards with the kids and their parents so please be praying that we would have conversations that would bring glory to God and that the parents would have a thirst to hear more and come to the all-aged service on sunday!
So excited to see what else God has planned for this week!
"O how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day."
they were my joy and my heart's delight,
for I bear your name,
O LORD God Almighty."
"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now." Philippians 1:3-5
Our team includes:
Loren & Megan Baker (chaperones)
Izzy & Lily Hoch
Burke & Olivia Dupree
The team met last night for a time of prayer and to go over final details for the trip. We have the following requests we'd like the church to pray over while we are away:
1. Safety in travel, good connections (flights and people)
2. Good gospel witness
3. Prepare the hearts of the children at Holiday Day Club
4. Prepare our (the team's) hearts
5. Give the team servant hearts
6. Bonding and fellowship amongst teammates and British brothers and sisters
7. Stay awake on the Saturday we arrive and get adjusted into the new time zone
We are excited and ready to go! Be checking back over the next 12 days as we'll be updating this blog with entries from the team.