Monday, August 15, 2016

Aug. 14, 2016 ……… Our last official day of ministry in the Great Lakes Region

Ministry Partners,

After an 8 o’clock breakfast we were off to Buwambo Prison about 45 min. from our hotel. Although we were asked to be there at 10 after they had made themselves clean (according to the deputy O.C.) they were still making themselves clean and the area ready for us. Alfred came to the covered area where I was sitting and told me that in fact the O.C. was a woman who was there. I had already prepared a man’s gift to go with an English Bible and Discipleship Booklet so I quickly got into the “gifts for men and women O.C.’s” bag and made up a woman’s gift.

The O.C. was in her early 30s and insisted that I must be in my 50s, you can tell I liked her right off. After a discussion about Bible distribution we were ushered outside where she presently went back to her home which was a short distance away.

They spoke of making the inmates leave their porch covered area so I could speak to the while standing under a lean-to but I told them I did not want them to be in the sun so they were allowed to stay where they were. I could see the day was cloud free and going to be hot so I put on sun screen on my arms, forehead and nose. I only realized later that I should have put some on my neck and around the neckline of my dress as I really got red there.

We followed the same format but by the end of 2 ½ hours of teaching I was feeling the sun and heat for sure. I was thankful that the team was able to sit in the shade of a water collection tank while Alfred and Aaron took turns translating for me.  As we ended the teaching time i could see some clouds appearing in the sky.

As we ended I told the prisoners about the blankets and bible sets that we had brought for them. They applauded and cheered but appeared skeptical as one prisoner asked if they could take the bibles home with them when they were released. When I assured them they could they cheered all the more. I could see Alfred talking to the administration and did not realize the discussion that was going on concerning us giving each prisoner a bible of their own to keep. It seemed they wanted the prison to keep all the bibles and let prisoners use them while they were there.

I must say again how gracious every prison administration was to work with on this trip and this prison was no exception as they allowed us to give each prisoner a bible set like we had wanted to.

As we finished at the prison and started to drive back to Kampala it began to rain and rain hard. Aaron and I discussed how God’s faithfulness to us had been evident again in keeping back the rain until we were finished at the prison and how very many times we had seen Him do that this trip. 

It was then time to get ready and head out to our farewell dinner with partners and government officials. We had originally planned to have a luncheon on Monday before I left at a very nice place in the city where we have had it before but the officials were having an important day with the President then so we had it tonight at a nice restaurant. Elizabeth the Deputy Commissioner of Prisons that I have worked with the last 4 years had been promoted to Commissioner of Prisons so I did not see her at the beginning of the trip. I was so excited to see her and we exchanged a huge hug. Her assistant Apollo also came but he had been promoted to Deputy Commissioner.  

How wonderful it was to sit casually and visit as the friends we have become. Elizabeth and I had time to talk about the “Forgiveness” message I share with the prisoners.  And since she is the Commissioner in charge of morals and behavior in prisons she said they are happy to partner with people who support what they are doing. She also said that they receive such positive reports from the prisons concerning IRM’s visits and they have never received a complaint or bad feedback concerning IRM.

She encouraged the local partners to continue the work IRM has started in Arlene’s absence. 

Apollo said it was a pleasure for him to be part of IRM’s ministry and when I asked him how many of the 250 prisons in Uganda he would approve for IRM to go into next year if God brings me back his response was, “As many as you want!”
It was a great visit with other partners there who were Pastors Aaron and Geoffrey along with new partners Pastor Peace and Foursquare Pastor John, Alfred and myself. After we ate our delicious dinner everyone spoke about their observation of IRM and this ministry trip. 

Certificates of Appreciation and other gifts were handed out to everyone present and I received a beautiful African beaded purse.

Peace, John, Alfred, Arlene, Elizabeth, Apollo, Geoffrey & Aaron

It was a wonderful evening and a wonderful way to end this trip but before concluding our time together everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to Pastor John as it was his birthday today and it was fun to see his broad smile.

This group is really a family to me and I appreciate each one and the unique abilities and gifting they bring to our partnership. Oh how I am going to miss them. When I think of their partnership and your partnership with IRM and me personally ……..

 Thank you to each one of you for prayerfully and financially supporting IRM and me.

 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

Please pray for:

  • Traveling mercies for Alfred as he returns to Australia 
  • Traveling mercies for me as I return to America tomorrow

That none would be lost,

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