During the school year there was a part of me that was really looking forward to the rest that would come during the summer. In keeping with tradition, however, the summer has been so full of participation in ministry activity and our rest is periodic. What we are doing is to make sure that when we rest, we are engaged in a full Sabbath rest which we believe is wise. So let's walk through what has been happening this summer.
This summer, Debby and I engaged in Luganda lessons. Three times a week for three hours a day, our language teacher Florence would come to our home and we would work through learning as much Luganda as we could. The amazing thing about this is that in addition to learning more of the language, we were able to go deeper into understanding this culture. We love our time with Mrs. Florence. We have seen great success in our ability to hear, process and respond to people in Luganda. It is a real door opening opportunity when you speak this language. Walls come down and relationships are formed by our willingness to speak Luganda. What a blessing Mrs. Florence has been to us.
This summer Debby and I have been working hard to connect with and invest in our High School students. God has really moved my heart this direction as I really love and appreciate each on of these students. As I look at each of them, I can see the fingerpriints of God on them. I can see the uniqueness with which God has made them and I am most excited to be able to walk with them throughout this next year and (God willing) the years to come. This is such a neat group of students and they have allowed me access to their lives. It is such an honor to get to love them where they are, to speak truth into them and to get to do life together with them. They are amazing. This summer we have been inviting them into our home to fellowship with us and one another. It has been awesome getting to spend time getting to know them better. We are praying that the Holy Spirit will sweep through this campus this year and radically change hearts and lives. I believe He can and I am trusting that He will in whatever way glorifies Him the most.
This summer, I extended walking ministry to some new areas in order to develop new relationships with new people. I have been careful not to overextend and yet at the same time, allow God to have a maximum impact through us. This ministry is so much fun especially when you get to see the same people time after time and you get to engage in deeper conversations. I see God's hand in many different conversations and opportunities as I walk and talk with different Ugandan men and women.This ministry takes a willingness to step out, be uncomfortable and even become exhausted. By the end of my walking time, my brain is zapped from engaging each and every person and my energy is spent as I walk sometimes 9 to 10 miles. All of this is worth it, as God's presence is being announced with every smile and greeting that is extended.
Guard Bible Study
This summer, I took over the oversight of our WGM Guard Bible Study. Before going on furlough, Nathan Metz worked to make this a Ugandan specific study with a specific bent towards Ugandans leading the study and seeking to start a new discipleship program in which they would invest in 2 or 3 others. This study has been fascinating to be a part of as I only speak when there may be a misunderstanding or a clarification is needed on a theological issue. My greatest joy is that it is completely initiated and run by Ugandans. It is a true joy to be with them and participate in watching them work through God's Word, sharpening each other and helping one another to grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This summer I got to participate in leading a Bible based discussion on Hebrews 11 and 12. This was definitely a good thing because I am used to teaching youth and I needed this opportunity. I am grateful for the patience and participation of this wonderfully encouraging group of expats who loved me and did such a great job working through the discussion. If time allows, I will be leading another discussion through Galatians in the coming weeks.
My First Team
This past two weeks, Debby and I hosted our first team of friends from the U.S. In nine days, we participated in some amazing ministries. One of my favorite was our time at Nakivale Refugee Settlement near the border of Congo. Our time there with these men and women was absolutely priceless. We were able to go and meet with families, hear some unbelievable stories, give aid and pray over so many. One of the best things that we were able to bring was Bibles. One of the first questions that many would ask was for money or food, it was for Bibles. Wow! Praise God for these men who were willing to come and serve alongside us and for the willingness to embrace a new culture for the cause of Christ.
Our First Baptism
"I really want to be baptized, but I can't leave the property, can you help me?" That was the question that this man Deo was asking. He wanted desperately to be baptized, but couldn't go far from his compound. So we thought and planned and after not being able to find an inflatable pool, I went and borrowed a bathtub. I can't describe to you how awesome it was to be involved with this. Deo's one request was that he be mentored and trained properly in God's Word. Thanks to Nathan Metz who wrote a great discipleship curriculum, we are going to be able to concentrate heavily on that. Deo has been welcomed into our Guards Bible Study and will be assigned a Ugandan mentor so that no matter if the missionary is here or not, the discipleship will go on. HOW AWESOME!
Things to be praying for:
School begins in three weeks. Pray that God will dramatically and irreversibly impact the hearts and minds of our students. I am preaching on Aug. 7, leading Bible discussions over the next several weeks, teaching and preparing to speak at our High School retreat. Pray that I am simply God's mouth piece. Pray that God says what He wants to say and that I am trusting in Him for the message. Pray for us as we have started a new fundraising campaign for our next term here in Uganda. Pray for the new teachers and staff that are coming to Uganda over the next several weeks that we may be able to help them feel at home. Praise God for all of you who are partnering with us, who are constantly praying for us and are all the time sending us warm wishes and great encouragement from the states. God will never forget your kindnesses to our family and as a result, our entire International family.
Blessings to all of you and thank you for walking with us in this amazing ministry.