Friday, January 31, 2020

Jan. 31

WooWho!!!! I arrived home today about 12:30, safe and sound. Thanks Karin for picking me up at the airport.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Jan. 30


Jan. 29 & 30

Today is flight day and I have such mixed feelings. I will miss sharing the gospel every day and being with people who are making such good choices for their lives that their lives will never be the same. I will miss being with my Ugandan and Kenyan team and not having to drive or fix my own meals. Of course, I will miss the delicious pineapple here which costs about $.50 each according to Aaron.

 I will also miss seeing the darling children and seeing just how much the ladies can carry on their heads. 

Last night we had dinner with the Commissioner of Prisons, Elizabeth, and the Deputy Commissioner of Prisons, Apollo. It was great to see Elizabeth as I did not see her at the beginning of the trip like I did Apollo. It is wonderful to have found such favor with both of them and she says we are family. She is going to retire perhaps in Sept and raise chickens. We have been blessed to work every year with them since we started in Uganda, six years ago.

IRM blessed Elizabeth, Apollo, Pastor Aaron and Pastor Peace with small gifts before we ended our time together.

But I will not miss the traffic here. A 15 min. drive to the restaurant took us an hour and our drive back to the hotel took us more than 2 hours! At one point while we were stopped in a "jam" for over 20 min. an 18 wheeler truck, hauling a container, pushed it's way through, hitting the back corner of a transport van. He never stopped but just kept going as the van drive took a look at the damage. With the traffic almost bumper to bumper motor bikes just do what they want.

They make a lane of their own going with traffic or going against traffic or going cross wise of traffic in a 20" wide space.

Thank you for your prayers concerning my health. I am feeling better and still taking the meds.

I have packed 3 old broken down suitcases to leave at Alfred's home as well as putting the speaker in its box ant taping it up to keep the dust out. After dropping me at the airport Aaron will take the things to Alfred's.

Thank you so much for following this 2019-2020 ministry trip, I hope you have enjoyed the journey.

That none would be lost,
Arlene

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Jan. 27 & 28

Ministry Partners,

Jan. 27 -
I awoke feeling better today, but every time I eat anything I feel worse. Not sure what the issue is but I'm still taking the meds from the Dr. that I saw and taking the Cipro so I'm hopeful I will have this behind me when I leave for home Thursday evening.

Although they are having a large conference here they did not rent out "my" room but saved it for my return. That was a special gift to me for sure, to be close to the reception area and the restaurant as well as being on the ground floor so I do not have to climb stairs is a special blessing.  Aaron was not so lucky, his room has always been in the second floor right above me but he now has a room across the property but we are thankful that they kept a room for him.

After breakfast Aaron left for town to see about getting a new battery for our sound system and take the van for servicing while I am sorting supplies to leave at Alfred's home and do some paperwork as and there is lots to get done.  

I am going to miss these common sights

Jan. 28 -  
It was a rainy day morning here in Kampala and we had errands to do in town.  Pastor Peace arrived and will go with us to have the IRM Report printed that we will turn in to Commissioner Elizabeth and Deputy Commissioner Apollo tomorrow evening at dinner. I needed to go to the bank and run other errands to finalize the trip.

The rain had stopped as we headed home from town but I was disappointed as I could not find the small things I needed to purchase as well as the small bags of coffee beans that I usually give as Christmas gifts. I will have to think of something else to give at Christmas.


Tried to pack up most of the things to be stored and the two suitcases I will bring home this afternoon. Thankful that the suitcases that will be stored at Alfred's can be over 50 lbs like my flight bags have to be. The scale I have used for years bit the dust so purchased a new scale before coming. I don't want to be surprised when I get to the airport and have to pay extra for overweight bags.


Technology is great when it works and frustration when it doesn't. Trying to get posts done and posted when the internet isn't usable is common and when I can get on line it's so weak certain programs just don't work. My personal Wifi finished when I went to Kenya and purchasing a weeks worth here for only a couple of days did not seem cost effective. I am trying to use the one here at the hotel but with only 1 "bar" it's strength is weak. I will be more thankful for the Wifi at my Oregon home when I get there.

I appreciate your continuing prayers for:
  • Health
  • Travel safety
That none would be lost,
Arlene

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Jan. 26

Ministry Partners,

Sorry this post is a day late.

Jan. 26

It is so hard to believe that I will preach my last crusade of this trip today. It has been a busy 6 weeks and although I am a bit tired it makes me excited and energized as I watch the Holy Spirit work.
2005 was my first trip to the Great Lakes Region of Africa and I never would have guessed then that the trip to Rwanda would change my life forever. God has given me the courage to take each step that has brought me to where I am today having made a total of 238 entrances into prisons since 2006. John 4:35b NIV is so true, "Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest."

I was still feeling poorly so only had regular tea, toast and some pineapple for breakfast and then it was a short drive to the prison of 400+ men. The prison chaplain and Deputy O.C. welcomed us and after a short time we were ushered into the area where the prisoners were, an open area adjacent to some buildings. I was again thankful that the Lord provided a bit of cloud cover from the sun.

The distrust and curiosity I see in their faces is always so evident but as Aaron is setting up the equipment I walk up to many of them extending my hand and saying, "Jambo (an African greeting), good morning", it seems to be just the right icebreaker they need to see and hear. But their walls start to come down when we get to the first object lesson concerning receiving God's free gift of salvation using Romans 6:23 and Eph. 2:8-9. At one point the O.C. came and sat through the remainder of the crusade. I think it is a powerful thing for the inmates to watch those in authority over them also make decisions for their lives.

Decisions were made by so many and there were testimonies:
  •  "I thank God for today's message. My mother and brother brought me to prison and I did not think I would ever forgive them but when I listened to God's word today I decided to forgive."
  • "I thank God for the message of forgiveness which touched my heart today. My Sister-in-law brought me to prison and I was sentenced to life in prison. I pleaded to the High Court to have another hearing which they approved for me. But I have been strongly thinking that if they let me out that I go after at least one of them to kill them in order to avenge my wasted years in prison. But today, in the message of forgiveness God spoke to me and I have let go and forgiven in order to secure my soul."
I forgot to post this testimony from yesterday:
  • I was brought to jail by my wife and my mother and they sentenced me for creating a disturbance. I failed to understand how people dear to me could do that to me. I decided to divorce my wife, sell me land and move away from where my mother stays but today, after this message on forgiveness which I thought was sent here specifically for me, I chose to forgive them. I will seek to reconcile again with my wife and mother. Thank you, I feel happy and peaceful in my mind and heart."
 After we finished the crusade the O.C. invited us to his office for lunch along with the chaplains and a staff person. 
The Kenyan team
Bishop Moses, Bishop Arlene, Pastor Aaron, Chaplain Edward

After lunch we said our goodbys and Bishop Moses and Chaplain Edward caught public transportation to go different directions to their homes while Aaron and I headed to the Kenya/Uganda boarder which took us about an hour. Then it was on to our hotel in Kampala which took us about 6 more hours.

My stomach was still having issues so Aaron had the restaurant make me some soup and after eating I must say I can't express how nice it was to lay my head down on the pillow. 

Continue to pray:
  • Health and strength for Aaron & myself 
  • Wisdom in finishing details
  • Safety on my travel & return flight to Oregon
That none would be lost,
Arlene
Sorry, the internet is weak here and Aaron has not had time to get our personal WiFi set up so posting this late.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Jan. 25

Ministry Partners,

Well, today turned out quite different than I expected. I had a difficult night with my stomach bloating and having intestinal issues, thinking perhaps it was caused from the rancid smell from the kitchen. Although I was not hungry, I knew I need to eat something so I had some pineapple, 1/2 piece of wheat toast and 1/2 cup of regular tea but my stomach was not happy with that.

After making 5 trips back to my room before I could get in the van I had concerns as to how I was going to preach today at the prison. When I was finally ready to get in the van my team was waiting and they agreed that I needed to go to the clinic. I wanted to get to the prison since we needed to finish there as early as possible so we could get on the road to travel to the next town for tomorrow's prison crusade. But the discomfort I was in helped me to make the decision to agree with them and off to the hospital clinic we went.

I did not have to wait but was seen by a young woman doctor. My blood pressure and other vitals were taken and she ordered a blood draw and then told me to wait. I kept looking at my watch, watching the minutes tick by and wanting to get to the prison. Finally, she called me into her office again. It was not another bout with malaria as the team and I had feared but she said someone with filthy hands had prepared food for me and I had an intestinal bug. She prescribed two kinds of medications and told me to also take the Cipro I had brought with me. I am so careful about what I eat that I am not sure how it happened but I'm so happy I took the teams advise and went to the hospital. Meds and visit about $35.

Then we were off to the prison where we entered the Med. Security section with long term inmates but no murderers there. Some were older but oh so many young men, I glad I did not know what their crimes were.
Chaplain Edward and Arlene sharing the Gospel to 400 inmates

Again the Lord was gracious as was the Holy Spirit, they made decisions to receive Christ's free gift of salvation/eternal life and prayed the forgiveness prayer. They were a bit slow in responding to the encouragement to apologize invitation.

At first they were hesitant to give testimonies but some did:
  • "I was with friends drinking alcohol when I met a girl and we became friends. Later her parents bribed the police and I was arrested and charged. My parents refused to hire a lawyer and help me but said I needed to pay for my mistake since they said I did it knowingly. I have hated the girl, her parents and my parents for causing me to loose my youthfulness in prison. After this message by Bishop Arlene, today I choose to forgive all of them and I ask for forgiveness from anyone whom I have wronged in any way."
  • "I am in prison because of someone who alleged that I broke into his shop and stole electronics. Truth is, I am not aware of it because we were cousins. I had decided that when I go back I will make sure and get revenge but today I chose to forgive and also ask for forgiveness of anyone whom I have wronged. Thank you for speaking into my life"
 When we finished, I quickly made our PB&J sandwiches before we started the long 5 hour drive. I was not much help in the way of company for Aaron as he drove because I put my seat back and slept some. It will be good to have the prison close for tomorrow mornings crusade and then the team will say our goodbys. Moses and Edward Moses will go their separate directions and we will head to Kampala, Uganda.

Tonight, I gave Moses and Edward their "Thank You's" as well as a small gift for their wives. They both did a lot of work to make the Kenya section of the ministry trip a success.

My heart is thankful for each prison I have been blessed to go to but my heart is also sad that tomorrow will be my final prison crusade for this trip.

Your continuing prayers are appreciated.

That none would be lost,
Arlene

Friday, January 24, 2020

Jan. 24

Ministry Partners,

Hello from Kisii,  Kenya.

It was nice this morning having the prisons so close. We met with the O.C. of the men's area and I really liked him. He, like the one O.C. in Uganda has a good vision for helping the inmates improve their lives. He said he could not be with us as he needed to attend a funeral.
He has a program called "Therapeutic Community" for 40 select men and he asked me to speak to them for just 10 min. or so before the crusade as he felt my program/thoughts would just fit in to what they are studying and learning. Those kind of impromptu speaking times are a bit difficult for me as I like time to study, get scripture and pray over what I  will say. But the Holy spirit was good to me and gave me a bit to say to them.

Then we went into the main part of the men's section of about 900. This was a max. security prison so there were murders and lifers there. I am so drawn to the hopelessness on their faces and yet there is that spark they they hare expecting something that will speak especially to them. I was thankful that there was a nice cover where they were and where I would speak from.

There was one women staff there and she was taking video of me. I must say I am not comfortable with that, I would not care if they took 4,000 photos but taking the videos makes me uncomfortable. I spoke with Edward about it, I will have to see what can be done in the future.

The Holy Spirit was powerful among those men today for salvation, forgiveness and apologizing.
Testimonies were:
  •  "I was holding my relative in my heart for alleging that I chased him with a machete with intentions of slashing him. He took me to the police and I was brought to prison. What he alleged was not true and I had decided I must get revenge when I get out of prison, but after hearing the importance of forgiving I chose to forgive him and all those whom have wronged me in one way or another."
  • "I am in prison because I killed my friend, we quarreled after taking alcohol. I have been guilty. and very ashamed of what I did by killing my friend. Today, after hearing this message of forgiveness, I now had the courage and I chose to forgive myself. I now feel free in my heart."
We finished and walked over to a small prison church where the lady chaplain, tall and thin, had food prepared for us. Hard boiled eggs, deep fried yeast bread triangles, peanuts, bread sandwiches with butter or jelly, bananas and African tea. I was still eating carefully after being so sick last night and eating only bread and African tea for breakfast.

Finally, it was off to the women's side of the prison facility where there were 130 women. We met with the Deputy O.C. who I also really liked. It was so much fun to see the women singing and dancing a dance style I had never seen before and of course I could not help but get in line with then and dance. Some of the guards and the Deputy O.C. also danced with us.

I was so pleased that about 12 or so guards sat against a wall behind the women who were in front of me and others sat behind me. We were outside in a central courtyard with no cover but God provided a cloud cover for us. Bishop Moses said that some of the guards said they did not believe I was 75 to dance and stand and preach for the time I did.

Our crusade went well and many decisions were made of each kind and touching testimonies followed:
  • "I have been in pain and anger and was holding a grudge against the judge who sentenced me to 25 years, yet I am as old as his grandmother being 79 years old. I am asking myself if I were his mother could he sentenced her to all these years? I am so impressed by this message of forgiveness and today I chose to forgive that judge. I also chose to forgive myself for the awful act I did. Thank you, I now feel joy and peace in my heart."
  • "I think God for today's word that has come timely. Today, I have forgiven the person who brought me here and I forgive everyone who is offended me. God bless."
  • "I was brought here because I was caught with beer and it was not mine but today I chose to forgive because of the words of forgiving."
When we finished I had all the women with babies, 15 of them, come and sit in the front row and I gave them the darling hand crochet caps made by Canby Foursquare women and then I handed out to each lady a donated scarf. They put some scarves on, others inmates were waving them while some came forward and started dancing again while everyone sang. WHAT FUN!
What a precious baby!

We got back to our hotel and I started doing some book work when I discovered that I got so sick last night because of the rancid oil they were heating hot to cook with. I am next to the kitchen and I started to get sick again tonight and realized what it was, such a putrid smell. I am OK and we went to eat somewhere else for dinner tonight.

We have had a change of plans and will go to the Med. Security Prison here before leaving tomorrow It's hard to imagine that I only have 2 more crusades to do and our mission trip will be ending.

Just a fact that you probably don't care about, toilet in Swahili is Choo! 

Please pray for:
  • Open hearts for the gospel
  • A fresh anointing for the team
  • Favor with everyone we meet
  • Health and energy for the team
  • Travel safety as we travel later tomorrow
That none would be lost,
Arlene