Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May 31

Ministry Partners,
 After a hasty breakfast Aaron and I left for the Woman's Conference at 8:15 and picked up Pastor Peace on the way. I have talked about the traffic here, well, it was worse than usual and there had been some miscommunication about which Foursquare church it was at so we ended up picking up a lady who showed us the way to the actual church. 

So a drive that we thought would take us 30 min and leave 15 min. to get ready to start at 9 actually took 2 hours and 45 min.! I found Bishop John Kamanzi's wife, Pastor Pauline preaching when I arrived. She said that the Holy Spirit led her to talk about what the scriptures said about fear not know that I would also be talking some about that.

There were to be 70 - 100 women there but there were 230!!!  I was told some women had been there since 6am!!!!!!
230 lovely women
 Aaron got my mic set up and I started teaching on, "10 Remarkable Women In The Bible (with a short Plus 1 with the "Plus 1" being a message about the Samaritan Woman. Did you know that the longest recorded record of any of Jesus' conversations with any one person in scripture was with this Samaritan woman and we are not even told her name. I ended the first session with my testimony and I gave an invitation for salvation.

After a 15 minute break I started the second session and spoke about a time in my life when I asked God "Why" and through a very dark time in my life and how God "seemed" silent but how God was faithful and gave me my one and only vision of Jesus as my Gold armored warrior.   

Both Peace and Pauline had told me they felt I needed to add my "Forgiveness" teaching to the final session so I did that and challenged wives to forgive their husbands if they wanted a truly healthy God honoring marriage, to forgive the person who raped them and to forgive themselves for some of their wrong choices..
Today I choose to forgive ........................

Pauline had some of the women come forward and share what they learned during the day and it blessed my heart to have women speak about making choices to forgive.

It was a GRAND day!!! Pauline asked if I would come back next year and do a two or three day conference.

We then broke for a delicious late lunch, took some photos and then it was time to head back to our hotel but not before dropping off Peace in her village.

After arriving at our hotel Alfred and I did some minor editing on the report he wrote today that will go to the Gov. officials tomorrow. He does such a great job of writing briefly about what happened in each prison that we were in along with a coordinating photo.

Aaron, Alfred and I had our final dinner here at this hotel and then they were off to bed while I get this blog done. Then id will be a hot bath and off to bed for me, I'm tired and I'm ready.

Thank you for praying for today's conference and for me personally, I so appreciate it. Your prayers were answered with a BIG yes!

Please continue to pray as we prepare to finish here and leave for Kenya.

That none would be lost,

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

May 30

Ministry Partners,

This morning as we were eating breakfast the sky was dark and it began to sprinkle rain which made our town day a little more difficult.

Alfred took a motor bike to do some errands and go to the bank to retrieve all of our remaining money to pay off our bills and have funds to take with us for Kenya. First we made a stop to purchase more water and some granola for me.

We dropped Alfred close to the bank and then drove to the Artisan Village where we found a parking place right in front to wait for Peace to arrive. Aaron chose to stay in the van rather that follow us shopping that way he could take a nap. 
It was so nice for Aaron to take drive us to go shopping for the few thing I want to bring home. I found a couple of things and when I gave the vendor a tract and scarf she said it had been a long time since anyone had given her a gift. 

Then Peace said she knew where I could get a particular Uganda dress like I saw in Gulu. We took the short drive there and was fortunate to find a "parking Lot" not far from where we needed to go but n the way we got caught in a downpour and had to wait under a store front awning. 
The sweetest young girl waited on us along with two other employees who helped me learn how to put the dress on. Although she started with a turquoise dress which was pretty but I chose a rose pink one. It was a bit too long so we waited as the man seamstress to shortened it. Although the dress has an "India" flare to it it is one that Ugandan women wear to weddings and celebrations. 
Before leaving the store I gave them a tract and scarf and we spoke to them about receiving Christ as their Savior.
A new pink Ugandan dress for me

Peace left us in town to return to her home but I will see her tomorrow for the Women's Conference.

It was sill raining when I returned to our hotel and had lunch. The rain keeps things cool BUT then the red mud is everywhere, it's a trade off for sure.

Appreciate your prayers for tomorrow for the Women's Conference.  

That none would be lost, 

Monday, May 29, 2017

May 29

Ministry Partners,
Today was a day to start preparations to close down our ministry time here in Uganda and prepare to go to Kenya.

After breakfast Aaron went to town to meet with the owner of the van we have rented for our time here in Uganda and for while we are in Kenya. It appears when we had the tire blow out a few days ago it also damaged the rim as well as the new tire we put on it. Aaron found out today that there will be an additional cost of $200 to us for a new rim. 

It has been interesting the "things" that have happened to us/our vehicle since we finished ministry at the 17 prisons we went too. At every turn we could see how God protected us through and during the numerous trouble with our vehicle, never were we stranded way out in a deserted area, one that would have been dangerous for us. Even Alfred commented today that due to the attacks it has become a year like never before. If God brings me back next year I will dedicate some funds for "emergency use", just in case!

I packed the supplies for the Women's Conference that I will be speaking at on Wednesday at Bishop John Kamanzi's Foursquare Church here in Kampala. Please be praying for me as I will be speaking for about 5 hours straight. 

Alfred is busy working on the report we will turn in to Commissioner Elizabeth and Deputy Commissioner Apollo from the Uganda Prison Services. Alfred writes about each of the 17 prisons we went to, the events while we were there as well as including a photo of me and the O.C.. We have done one every year that we have done ministry here. Commissioner Elizabeth said it spoke well of us to return a report to them without being asked.
I wish I had had time to share the Gospel with this blind man
This afternoon I was sorting photos and found this one of a blind man in one of the very busy and noisy trading centers we stopped at to buy roasted goat. The coins we gave him were not much but I hope they helped. 

After having the traditional IRM peanut butter and jelly sandwich I treated myself to an unheard of 2 hour nap, goodness, I must have been more tired than I thought!

Dinner for me was "spaghetti" African style with french beans on the side and the guys ate local food, goat stew and mitokie (?) and we all had wonderful pineapple for desert. 

Hard to believe I will be in bed by 9:30 tonight. 

Thank you for your continuing prayers. Blessings to you each one.

That  none would be lost,

Sunday, May 28, 2017

May 28

Ministry Partners,

It is Sunday in Kampala and it was a bit cloudy today so I had hoped it would not be so hot like it was yesterday.

Sunday, the Lords day, and a day for me to speak in two churches after having a late breakfast.

The first church was Steven's church, Steven has been a friend of Alfred's for some time and although it was small we had a wonderful time of worship and the the Holy Spirit brought many to salvation and many to the decision to forgive. Because the church was small we were able to give all the adults who did not have a bible a bible set and those who had bibles a Discipleship Booklet. 

We finished about 2pm and then it was time to go back to our hotel where Pastor Cornelius was waiting for us to take us to one of his new village church plants. Pastor Cornelius and I have been friends since 2006 were I met him in Nsinda Prison, Rwanda. He was the leader of all the incarcerated pastors and I worked with hm for about 5 years. They found him innocent at his trial although they had incarcerated him for 5 1/2 years. He told me he was not bitter as God had sent him there to preach the Gospel.

It took some time over VERY rough roads paths to get to the small packed church but we could hear their wonderful singing as we arrived. We met the new pastor and there were village dignitaries and pastors from other churches in the area, it was such a packed church that many were outside listening by the doorway as I shared.

These dear people have so little and yet after I spoke Pastor Cornelius wrote out his talk in English and then spoke about our friendship. then Alfred and I were each gifted with a BEAUTIFUL purse of our choosing made by the women of the church. There was such a beautiful variety that it was hard to choose, the ladies did beautiful work.

We did not have enough bibles for everyone so we told the villagers we would leave them for the pastor to distribute.

Then it was photo time and time to say goodbye but not before the pastor appeared and said "Wait. I want to bless you, I have sent someone for a chicken I want to give you." Well, because of the  previous "jacket" issue I knew how to handle it. I asked the pastor if the chicken was really mine could I do with it what I choose? He responded "yes" so I said I choose to give it to him. He smiled so big that it turned into a laugh. When a young boy arrived with the chicken I told him I was giving it to the pastor. WHAT FUN!

The gift of a chicken!

On the way home we stopped for dinner as the food where we stay leaves a lot to be desired.

Tomorrow is a day to get our finances in order and sort supplies as some will stay here and some will go with us to Kenya. 

I was happy it did not get as hot here today which meant I did not have to deal with a headache later today.

I will get to bed earlier tonight and I'm ready.

It’s so true the true love of God pushes back the darkness, we saw it today. Blessings on you each one and thank you for praying for us. 

That none would be lost,

Saturday, May 27, 2017

May 27

Ministry Partners,

It's another beautiful morning in Masaka.
After our breakfast we went to do a service at Pastor Aaron's church,where most of those who came were not believers so again we were privileged to watch the Holy Spirit speak into their lives. After the service one man asked me if I would please teach a seminar so they could invite more people from the area. His focus was in  all the "forgiveness" teaching, he said families there needed to hear it. Pastor Aaron did a great job in sharing his testimony about forgiving his father last year (I have his permission to share this). We handed out bible/booklet sets and then it was time to head for Kampala.

I have tried to learn some about the area here. I am told that from here to the Tanzania boarder is where HIV broke out in Uganda and so many lives were lost. This area is also still steeped in witchcraft with signs the say "doctor".

When the Colonial Masters came and villagers began to become Christians and turn from tribal religions the King had them killed and they became martyrs. Today there is a Namugongo shrine  in Kampala and once a year, Catholics, take a pilgrimage to the shrine from not only all over Uganda but all of Africa. Some of the 1 to two million Catholics start their pilgrimage the first part of May but everyone must arrive in Kampala by June 3rd.. They carry large or small crosses and rosaries, carrying everything they will need while walking and sleeping alongside the road. They are identifying themselves with the the suffering of what those murdered went through.

They walk in the VERY hot sun1

On a pilgrimage to the Munyonyo Martyrs Shrine in Kampala City
 We have seen a number of groups, large and small since we have been driving from and returning to Kampala and when we drove to the boarder of Tanzania. 

Interesting history -
The Uganda Martyrs are a group of 23 Anglican and 22 Catholic converts to Christianity in the historical kingdom of Buganda now part of Uganda, who were executed between 31 January 1885 and 27 January 1887.
They were killed on orders of Mwanga II, the Kabaka (King) of Buganda. The deaths took place at a time when there was a three-way religious struggle for political influence at the Buganda royal court. The episode also occurred against the backdrop of the "Scramble for Africa" - the invasion, occupation, division, colonization and annexation of African territory by European powers. A few years after, the English Church Missionary Society used the deaths to enlist wider public support for the British acquisition of Uganda for the Empire. The Catholic Church beatified the martyrs of its faith in 1920 and canonized them in 1964.

In 2014, Uganda celebrated 50 years since the Uganda Martyrs were canonized and elevated to sainthood by Pope Paul VI on 18 October 1964. The Munyonyo Martyrs Shrine is a thanksgiving monument for their canonization.

Alfred says, if we have time, he will take me there this trip. The second largest Bahia Temple in the world is also located in Kampala, I have seen it on a hill in the distance.

We arrived back in Kampala before dark and I was ever so thankful for that. Tomorrow, Sunday, is another busy day as I will be speaking in two different churches.

Bed will feel very good tonight!

Thanks for your continuing prayers for the teams strength and for safety on the roads.

That none would be lost,

Friday, May 26, 2017

May 26

Ministry Partners,

It's a beautiful morning in Masaka and I was looking forward to doing two crusades today.

After our breakfast the mechanic recommended by our hotel can and we all took off for the prison. He dropped us and our equipment of and then took the van  for whatever repairs are needed so we can have a vehicle that we can trust.
Keeping the streets clean here is hard work
 The Social Affairs lady was ever so sweet and gracious as she took us to the women's section of the prison where there were 45 women. They sat next to the building for shade but I stood in the sun, for some reason today was especially hot. It was so worth spending time with them and the Social Affairs lady stayed through the entire crusade as did two other guards. At the end the S.A. lady told us and the women prisoners that she had forgiven and a prisoner who was from Burundi said she forgave those who murdered her whole family in the Rwanda genocide. One woman said she forgave all her husbands!!! Yes, the Holy Spirit did a tremendous work this morning.
We had to wait an hour to get into the men's section as they were eating so Aaron and Alfred took a motor bike to the repair shop to see how the repairs on our van were coming along. The S.A. Lady came and said they were taking our things inside to set up and took Pastor Geoffrey but told me to remain seated outside under the shade of the tree.  I got concerned and sent Alfred a text and informed him that we may have to start when they told us to and Geoffrey would interpret for me.

It was interesting to watch a few of the prisoners working just to the side of where I was seated. They had two very large tarps that were covered with beans that had been shelled and were now drying. One prisoner was shuffling through the beans with his feet in a effort to turn them over to continue the drying process.

But God's timing is always perfect as just as they were coming for me to enter the guys drove in with the van. Goodness I was glad to see them and as we entered the prison I saw beans everywhere drying in the hot sun on much of the hot flat cement, even  where we were to walk was narrowed as for the drying beans.

But I could hear the men singing as we entered, oh my those powerful voices is a sound I have always loved and I was not going to have to preach in the sun, it was a large covered room with large check wire sides.  And although there were about 1,000 men inside there were also men outside holding on to the wire and peering through at me. There just was not any room inside for more. I understand there are 1,600 men in this prison.

Once again the move of the Holy Spirit was evident  as decisions were made or salvation and in the area of forgiveness. One man said someone had been killed in a land dispute and the killers implicated him although he was innocent. He said he had been planning on taking revenge on those accusers since he had been in prison but today he spoke forgiveness over them.

I never get tired of watching the Holy Spirit work in the hearts of men and women, prisoners and staff. So having said that I must tell you that today was a VERY sad day for me. We have done  ministry in 17 prisons and today finished our prison ministry in Uganda but I still have some to do in Kenya.

I appreciate your prayers as I speak at a church tomorrow then we drive back to Kampala where on Sunday I speak in two different churches.

That none would be lost,

Thursday, May 25, 2017

May 25

Ministry Partners,

Today was an early start for Pastor Geoffrey as he left before our scheduled breakfast with the pick-up carrying bibles, booklets and a few blankets to deliver them at each of the prisons we will be going to in the next few days. We do not have room in our van so it is a tremendous help to us for him to go ahead of us and make the delivery while also making the O.C.'s aware that we will be visiting them.

It was reassuring to know that our van had been checked over and cleared to travel but then the best plans of mice and men. When we arrived in a "trading center" on the Northern side of Masaka we saw Geoffrey and the pick-up we hired to deliver the things to the different prisons. After a brief chat they waved goodby as they were headed to the last prison and it is the one I was to speak in. Alfred and Aaron came back to the van, got in ........ and the van would not start. There is always something to be thankful for and I'm so thankful  this did not happen when we were way out in the middle of nowhere.

Both Pastors Geoffrey and Aaron said that they felt an uneasiness in their spirits when we entered the van this morning , that "something" was just not right that way we made a brief stop before leaving Kampala and had the van on a rack just for a double check.
Aaron walked a short distance and brought back the local "mechanic" who after some deliberation a determination was made that the issue was the battery so we purchased a new battery from him and we were on our way.

We traveled some distance to the boarder of Tanzania where the farm prison of 71 was located. They had just arrived in from work and were eating their dinner so our arrival was actually perfect timing. The O.C. was gracious in welcoming us and allowed us our full time to have our crusade. We watched the Holy Spirit powerfully move for both salvation and the Forgiveness prayer. One prisoner said that he had forgiven others but he never knew how important it was to forgive himself and he had done that today.

Because the prison was small we had enough bibles/booklet sets for everyone and their happiness over receiving one for their own was evident. One prisoner said he had prayed and prayed for a bible, even this last Sunday in church he had prayed again for a bible. He thanked God for answering his prayer.

 Driving in the dark in Uganda is probably my LEAST FAVORITE thing ever to do but we were caught driving most of the way to our lodging in the dark. The weak headlights that show only a few feet in front of you, roadways with pot holes and bathtub size holes everywhere, vehicles and motorbikes without headlights or taillights and people in dark clothes walking so close to the path of the vehicles that you can reach out and touch them as you go by at a high rate of speed. Tonight we were behind a pick-up loaded with chickens and he dodged a big pothole and just "kissed" one of the two motor bikes that were traveling on the road edge causing them almost crash into each other.
When we arrived and the place we are staying and shut the engine off Alfred tried to start the van ......... and it would NOT start. Aaron had concerns so he did not shut the van off at the prison but let it run during the entire crusade. That was a good choice on his part as the prison was a ways back and I would not wanted to be stranded there for the night!!! Yes, more things to be thankful for.

Some people will use anything for a clothsline
Mechanic shops were closed by the time we arrived here and discovered the van would not start so we all had Goat Stew with rice and mashed potatoes for dinner and we will decide what to do about the van in the morning.

As you can see, the Enemy hates what we are doing but praise His name, in Christ Jesus we have the victory.

That none would be lost,