Sunday, July 31, 2016

July 31 ……… Bible School Graduation

Ministry Partners,

It was an early morning wake up today with needing to be at the graduation for a Bible School here. I must admit that speaking for this commencement is really out of my comfort zone so it is another time to be totally dependent on the Holy Spirit to help me.

When I entered the bathroom I discovered a huge bug in my bathtub who was trying to climb out. I certainly did not want him in my room running around so the bottom of my flip flop solved the problem.

We finished breakfast and headed to the graduation as it started at 9AM. Peace, a graduate and friend of Alfred’s from childhood met us outside the building and she looked beautiful in her lime green cap and gown. As she took us to get our badges the room inside was a vision of beauty all draped in sheer chiffon type white cloth, even the ceiling. On the platform were pillars and urns filled with flowers and small twinkling lights around the outside. 
The chairs for dignitaries were covered with white fabric with lime green circles while the other chairs were covered in red. The dignitary’s tables were covered with greenery and red roses and  included water and juice while in the center of those tables was one large revolving stand with 4 large open bible cakes and a three tier green colored cake on top and that was topped with a graduation cap.

A few minutes after we were seated they came a got me to take me in the back where the Chancellor of  Makerere University, which just happens to be where Alfred went to University, and other officials with degrees were. One of the men was an American but lives in Uganda, running a school out in the bush where two Muslim communities are. I was really out of my element and trying not to feel intimidated! 
We chatted for a few minutes and then they took us to a room to get our gowns and caps put on. I wore my new Ugandan dress and I immediately wished I had worn something lighter as my gown was really heavy and warm and the hat/cap …… well it was something to behold. I was thankful that the only other woman in the group had a hat just like mine. 
 After we all had our gowns on we marched into the hall to applause and were seated together and tables closer to the platform. I missed sitting with Aaron and Alfred but sat between the other woman and the Chancellor, who invited me to speak at his University. I liked them and they were both friendly to me. I stood in the line and greeted everyone after they received their diplomas and then the different speakers shared there were four of us and I was the final one. 
 They provided a buffet meal and we were assigned a graduate to carry our tray with plate through the line as we stated what we wanted. It’s hard for me to be waited on.
I don’t think I have had my photo taken so many times and Alfred said the News people filmed everything and I would be on the News tonight!!! 

We finished about 3:30 and headed out of town to Peace’s church for the evening service. It was a sweet village church and after worship it was my turn to share.
When I finished we passed out bibles to those adults who did not have one and then four came forward to share what it meant to have us there. One man told me the message I preached was just for him and a woman stated she had lived her life with self-condemnation and unforgiveness but tonight she forgave herself. 

The traffic back to our hotel was a distance and even though it was a Sunday night the traffic was bizarre. We were in a roundabout on the inside next to the curb. Unlike the U.S. were you enter one at a time, here they enter about 3 wide and then there are also motorbikes. Alfred had come to a complete stop as everyone was trying to get through first. And then it happened, the car to our left came from behind but was going to be first, he hit the front left side of our car damaging the headlight and surrounding area and ripping off the bumper, AND HE KEPT ON GOING!!!!!

Aaron jumped out and grabbed the bumper off the ground and threw it in the back of the van so we would not run over it and all the while the people on the sidewalk were hollering after the person who hit us and disappeared into the night. Then we took off to follow the person but we never found him. The guys said it was futile to stay there and take the chance of getting hit again and calling the police when the other car was not there, so they could measure things, would profit nothing. And because there was not a police report there is a good chance the insurance will not pay to fix the van. 

Alfred called the van owner and he said will bring another van for us to use tomorrow and take ours to be fixed. We have the license number of the other driver for our van owner to give to the police. Even in this we are all thankful and praising God that the damage was not worse and that since the other car hit my side of the car …… I was not injured. Praise His Name!!!

 Please pray that they find the person who hit us so that our insurance will be good.
We were all exhausted by the time we got to the hotel at 9 and tomorrow is another prison.

All of us covet your prayers.

Verse for today -
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
John 1:12-13 NIV

That none would be lost

Friday, July 29, 2016

July 30 .... Today he became a Christian

Ministry Partners,

It’s hard to believe that this trip is almost half over yet although there is a huge portion of praise at the end of every day there is an element of sadness as each day brings us closer to our final day here.

This trip we have been very aware of the enemy’s attempts to disrupt our efforts and bring stress and discouragement but as always God has been so gracious to us, protected us and provided for us. I keep asking God what he is trying to teach me on this trip and I keep sensing the same answer ……. It’s about TRUST and TRUSTING HIM MORE in even bigger ways for bigger and different things. I’m not sure what that means but I know without a doubt that he will show me.

I am so thankful to be working with the godly men I am working with. They also have a heart of love for the prisoners as shown by their sacrifice to take such time out of their lives to partner together for something God has called us to do, something positive for the kingdom. Of course there is the very special blessing to me of being able to work with and spend time with my son.

Pastor Aaron arrived about noon, having taken our van to the shop to have the radiator and cap checked out as we will be traveling up North in a few days. We loaded up and headed out to Kauga Prison, our 8th prison. No matter which direction we go our drives have such familiar sights now.

There are roadside and street side vendors as well as those walking and selling their wares. They walk on the sidewalks, the road and between the vehicles selling a little bit of everything. Yesterday one young man came walking between the vehicles selling mousetraps. 

  I now understand why some of them only appear at late evening/night because Alfred says the ones that are there during the day pay taxes and the ones that set up at night do not. Interesting!

Aaron called and said he is so stuck in traffic that he cannot get back to the hotel so the decision was made after Geoffrey arrived that we would go in his van/car to the prison and Aaron would just try to make it there. It is bumper to bumper, finder to finder traffic moving sometimes at 5 MPH and sometimes not moving at all for 5 min. or more. It’s not stop and go traffic it’s stop and stop and with the heat many American’s would have been having road rage by now. 

Kampala is a city of 3,000,000 by night and 6,000,000 by day according to Alfred. It is very apparent that this part of Uganda grew before the infrastructure could keep up. Even the sides of the roads that go through the suburbs are eroding and Aaron says soon the roads there will only accommodate one-way traffic which will create a whole new problem for people as they try to get to work in the morning or try to get home in the evening.

The O.C. from the prison called and Alfred informed her that we were caught in traffic.
We finally arrived at the prison at 2:40 so we were only 40 minutes late.  The officer in charge of Social Affairs who welcomed us was quite ridged and stern when we arrived. We were given a spot to set up as they brought in the 24 women to sit at an angle behind me with 196 sitting under the porch in front of me. We did the same format as usual although Geoffrey took Aaron’s place for one of the skits.

The women seemed happy with the donated shopping bags and everyone clapped in appreciated the Bible sets and blankets. The prisoners wanted us to distribute the Bible sets but we knew we did not have enough and it could become dangerous for us so we declined. So very many of the prisoners came and shook hands with me and thanked us for coming. One young man came and told us he had been a Muslim but today he received Jesus as his Savior. There was a Bible set setting on the table with our supplies and since there were no other prisoners around, they were getting dinner, I gave him one.

Praise the Lord for each one who made a decision for Christ today.

The Social Affairs man eased up some and let us take a photo with him and one guard outside the prison walls when we were done. I did the “I 72 so I can hug you” right as Alfred was about to take the photo and then he laughed and put his arm around me.

It is and amazing thing that traffic on the way home had thinned and we made it in 15 minutes when it took us 1 hour and 40 minutes t get there. Aaron called and he is still out in traffic somewhere. I think one of his short cuts has become a long cut.
Alfred ordered goat and chips for us for dinner, Aaron will o
Alfred ordered goat and chips for us for dinner and then called Aaron to see how close he was to the hotel. He was close so he ordered Goat and Chips for him. Pineapple was the perfect ending to our meal.

A bath and early to bed with the busy schedule I have for tomorrow.

I already have so many stories to share with you when I get home.

The verse for today -

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14,16

That none would be lost,


July 29 ......The prisoners prayed for us

Ministry Partners,

Thank you so much for faithfully praying for us.

Last night after posting on this blog and bathing I was able to get into bed at 8:20 and I know I was asleep by 8:30. That may not seem important but even past team mates will tell you that I am usually busy getting things ready for the next day or posting on this blog making my usual bedtime at 11, 12 or a bit later. Today my eyes did not open until 6 and I did not get up once during the night. 10 ½ hours sleep is unheard of but the Lord knew was so needed.

Please continue to pray for our health, strength and sleeping as Alfred told me at breakfast that he woke at 2 and was not able to return to sleep until about 5. Being the coordinator for this trip is not easy and a full time job as he is on the phone so much at times I think that phone is permanently attached to his ear! He has to contact each O.C. the night before to alert them of our coming and then a number of times the day of our visit to confirm that they are ready for us. All of us try to keep free of outside distractions so we can stay focused on what God has called us to do here.

As my son, Alfred likes to tease me and I tease him in return and this morning at breakfast was one of those times as I told him I was going to write what he did on the blog. The team as gotten to where they enjoy the American peanut butter and Alfred for one puts it on his toast for breakfast BUT this morning I looked over and he had but it on his omelet!!!! He appeared to like it but I am pretty sure it is something I will NOT try.

I was able to get the remaining supplies in my suitcases sorted and ready for distribution. The prison we are going to today is another small one called Kitala but the O.C. does not want us there until 2:30 so we will be able to go to town and exchange some of our U.S. dollars for Schillings. 

I always try to buy one authentic African dress while I am here to wear after I return home and began doing my power point presentations and yesterday on our walk to the car from the bank I stopped a dress that might work. Although the young lady had some clothing hanging on the wall of the building her shop was down the stairs similar to a basement walk-in closet. But I did have my personal money with me so I did not buy it. 

Today we headed out to the prison but went through downtown Kampala so Alfred could go to the bank and finally get some IRM money and then take it to exchange for schillings. After dropping Alfred off at the bank we went and parked at our special parking place. Geoffrey stayed in the car and Aaron walked with me to take another look at the dress I saw yesterday and this time I took my money.

An older woman, Alice, was there and she said she was the owner and that the young woman I met before was her daughter. The shop had no lighting and was extremely dark so Alice had quite a time finding the dress that I had seen before. 

Shopkeeper, Alice and Arlene

While she was looking I spotted another dress that looked promising but I had to take it outside in the hallway to look at it in the sunlight. It was not a color I would usually wear, copper, but the embroidery is beautiful that I decided to buy it. The guys all agree that I should wear it Sunday when I speak at the graduation.

What a blessing to have Alfred finally appear with some of the IRM money so now we can have funds to operate on. Since it was noon time we had our sandwich before getting on the road to the prison again. 

For the first time this year the O.C. was a woman and yet thiswas an all men’s prison of 113. We followed the same format and the Holy Spirit brought many to saving knowledge in Jesus Christ including the O.C. and one Muslim man.

When we ended 4 prisoners gave a testimony about their experience from our being there. One talked about what it meant  for him to receive God’s free gift of salvation  and another ,who spoke very good English, also shared and then said the prisoners wanted to pray for us so he had them extend their hands toward us and he led them in a powerful prayer for us. Having prisoners pray for us like that was a first for me and it brought tears to my eyes.

It was a great time handing out English and Luganda Bible sets to every prisoner. I wish I could convey how hungry they are for a copy of God’s word for themselves, as soon as they get one they open it and start reading. It brings such joy to my heart, it’s a wonderful sight!

The Assistant O.C. said that some people bring rice and such but after it is eaten there is nothing but with a copy of God’s Word it can continue to speak to their hearts and help them, She said Bibles are what they need.

Then we started on the 40 minute drive home at 5 o’clock but since its Friday the roads are more clogged than ever, its just something to experience! It took us 3 ½ hours to arrive back at our hotel. It was the second time we were almost too tired to eat. 

Please pray for us as tomorrow at the O.C. at Kitalya Prison, our 7th prison, does not want us there until 2 so we will be driving home at the same late time. I want to get to be as early as I can since I am speaking at the Bible School graduation on Sunday and Sunday evening I am doing a church crusade.

Please continue to pray as we are watching the Holy Spirit do an amazing work in the hearts of those we are ministering to and in our own lives.

That none would be lost,

Thursday, July 28, 2016

July 28 ... A scarf and a smile

Ministry Partners,

Today was another day to watch God intercede for us.

Our regular breakfast included plain corn flakes in the bowl I requested for my granola so a mixed a small amount of my granola with it and a bit of hot African tea and it was quite tasty.

Aaron arrived and he checked the radiator after we packed the equipment, the Bible sets and blankets for the prisoners. We were going to a small prison off 120 today.

But first, but first, but first we need to stop by the bank again and this time with the information they requested before they would be releasing our funds into our newly opened account. We dropped Alfred off in front of the bank and proceeded to our special parking place. The attendant did not want to allow us to park because he said last time we did not pay. Aaron assured him that we had paid the other attendant and apologized the funds (a bribe actually) had not been shared with him. Sometimes dealing with the culture here is quite different from what I would do at home. I was thankful he finally let us park.

Finally, Alfred appeared after over an hour but with such good news. God had intervened for us and the bank manager had finally approved for the IRM funds to be transferred to our newly opened account.

Then it was off to the small work prison of 120 with 11 women and Pastor Geoffrey and Alfred’s sister, Ann, met us along the way.

It was a hot, sunny day so we would be preaching in the sun but I was thankful the men prisoners would be under a narrow covered porch and the women would be under the cover but on the far right side.

We followed the same format as usual but about half way through two young men and a young woman cam and sat under the cover but between the men and women. I found out later that they were from another org. and they come to the prison every week. After we finished they asked if they could also have the Discipleship Booklet which I was more than happy to share with them.

The Holy Spirit worked in the hearts of many and this time because there were so few we were able to hand out the Bible sets to each one there. I wish I had a photo to share with you as dressed in their yellow prison garb they squatted in two rows, English and Lugandan, to shake hands and receive the precious gift set. 

Thank you to each one who supports this ministry and the Bible ministry.

 A  scarf, tract and smile

As we were driving back to the main road I spotted an older woman walking along the road so I asked Aaron to stop. Her sweet look of surprise when I placed the scarf and tract in her hand was evident in her sweet smile. What fun.

We stopped at a market to purchase bread for sandwiches and Geoffrey and Ann left us to go home. Alfred emerged with the bread but also treated us to some deep fried Casava, which I have eaten plain before but didn’t care for. Just let me say, the deep fried is very good.

It rained on us on the way home and with the road construction that is going on muddy road ways and traffic hold-ups saw to it that we were happy to finally see the “Mandela” soccer stadium as that means our hotel is very close.

I took a break from writing this to go to dinner with the guys but it was soon evident that we were all too exhausted to finish our food. Emotional and physical stress take their toil in all this heat.

As soon as I post this I will take that hot bath I have been looking forward to and then go straight to bed, by 9 I hope.

Please pray for strength and energy for all of us and that Jesus himself would intercede for us and stop every hindrance to us and this ministry.

Pray for open hearts for the Gospel as we enter another prison tomorrow.

Thank you partners for keeping this ministry and us before the throne.  

That none would be lost,