Today we were scheduled to speak at a women’s conference in Chesower. I had spoken in Chesower in 2010 and was looking forward to returning. The conference had been going on since Tuesday, but our schedule had prevented us from participating up until now. We could see clouds beginning to build, so we decided that only one of us would speak and we would head back before lunch.
Upon arrival we found the building to be filled with approximately 500 women. I spoke on being a Proverbs 31 woman and the influence that a woman has on her home and community. When we finished we headed back towards Suam. On our way back we were stopped twice by Ugandan traffic police, which was the first time I had encountered any interactions with Ugandan police during my visits.
We spent the afternoon visiting with Apostle Adams about how Scott’s church could partner with his church in Kitale. We decided that we will return to Kitale on Saturday afternoon instead of Sunday as we originally planned, so Scott and Nathanael can have additional time to explore Kitale as a mission focus for their church this summer.
Today was the third day of the conference and Adams finally arrived in Suam to meet us. It was decided that Nathanael would preach first, Scott would preach second and I would preach third with Pastor Otoo doing an evening session of ministry. Nathanael spoke on the history of the Israelites and the importance of their story. Scott spoke on faith and I spoke on knowing your enemy and his work. After lunch Scott was asked to speak again and he spoke on Paul’s letter to the Romans.
After Scott’s final message we went to explore the village (Riwo) in which Nathanael had spoken on Sunday. This village has only been inhabited for the past 5 years and we were exploring whether or not this might be a mission possibility for Scott’s church. The entire village came out to greet us and we were even invited in to a small Ugandan hut. Scott encountered an elderly woman who wanted to give Scott special blessings. Much to Scott’s surprise these blessings were given by spitting on him. This happened twice, causing Scott to inquire as to the meaning of this action. Once we left the village we went to the army barracks outside of the village. These soldiers are stationed to ward off the cattle rustling that has caused so much of the tribal conflict. On Sunday Nathanael learned that the soldiers had killed 4 cattle thieves over the weekend.
As we began back towards Suam another rain storm arose. The roads became very difficult to navigate and we were very thankful for the skill of John Juma. When we arrived at one point in the road, the front tire slid off the roadway and we found ourselves sitting at a 45 degree angle. With great skill, John moved the van backwards and 3 of our passengers jumped out and pushed the front of the van sideways as John began moving forward. Finally we were back on our way towards Suam.
In visiting with Scott and Nathanael, they had determined that the environment for ministry in Uganda is much too difficult for them to bring a mission team in. This was especially true, because they will have teenagers as a part of their mission team.
Today was the second day of the conference in Kapkoros. I started the afternoon session by going through John chapter 21. I discussed the truth that Jesus will meet you where you are at, but he will not leave you there.
After lunch, Pastor Otoo and his sister began to share and minister. Their teaching focused on dealing with the sin in your life to experience the full blessings of God. During this time Scott and our driver John Juma arrived. As we entered into the late afternoon, Pastor Otoo entered into a time of ministering in prayer. As he was starting this time, a heavy rain storm moved in and the sound of the rain became deafening. We paused for a few moments and then continued on with the prayer ministry. Many came forward seeking prayer for sickness, release from ancestor worship and many other problems.
Our driver had to move his vehicle from the church because the mud had become so slippery. As we walked towards the main road after the service, each of us nearly fell on the slick mud. When we got to the road, we found that our driver was not at the expected meeting point, so we called for another pastor to come and get us. This was my second occasion of being stranded on an African road at night. At least this time I was around people I knew.
Today was also what would have been my dad’s 71st birthday. I found myself thanking the Lord often for his life and praying for my mother to be comforted today.
High Voltage Conference BOC Church Kapkoros, Uganda
Today we began our primary Ugandan conference at Kapkoros. The title of the conference is the “High Voltage Conference.” I am the featured speaker conference along with Scott, Nathanael and Pastor David Otoo from Lira.
We arrived around lunch time and after a small meal of chapatti, matoke and tea we started the conference. Over our meal, I learned that Kapkoros means “the place of sacrifice.” The site of the church had once been a tribal sacrificial ground. I spoke in the first session on Romans 12:1, becoming a living sacrifice. I was followed by a local pastor named David Chemonges who spoke on the glory of God in your life. I finished out the day by speaking on the importance of taking up your cross daily to follow Jesus.
As we ended the conference we learned that Scott had successfully received his new passport and was on his way to Eldoret. We also learned that Apostle Adams had become very ill with a cough and high fever, but that he would hopefully be on the way back from Nairobi on Tuesday.
Today is also my 24th wedding anniversary; I was missing Carol very much as we have never spent an anniversary apart from one another. I asked Scott to send her a Facebook message while he was in Nairobi.
Today was a busy day, made even more complicated by the need to get Scott back to Eldoret for an evening flight. Scott, Nathaniel and I spoke at 3 different churches in combined worship services. Scott spoke at the Assembly of God church near Kapchesoy, I spoke at the PCM Church in Mokoyon and Nathanael spoke at the BOC church near Bukwo.
I was welcomed warmly by Pastor Patrick Sabila. Pastor Patrick has led the church for 26 years. He is a primary school teacher by profession, but hopes that at some point the Lord will allow him to focus full time on his ministry work. When I entered the building many people were praying and they prayed with great passion. We started the service at around 10AM with testimonies. Many people came forward and talked about the ways in which God had been at work in their lives. This was followed up by musical numbers from the youth choir and the women’s choir. I was tickled by a young woman who would come up midway through each number yelping and throwing confetti.
After that the keyboard player came up to speak. As he came up, I realized that he was blind. I had not noticed this beforehand. He challenged the people to live in their anointing and to consider the power of their testimony. When he had finished all of the guests were greeted. Each one came forward to introduce themselves. This was followed up by the offering. Gifts given included a live chicken and several bags of crops.
When it was my time to preach, I was led to the pulpit by the pastor and a group of young women who celebrated and threw confetti. I spoke from 1 Thessalonians chapter 1 on the power of your testimony. I challenged the people to consider not only their individual testimonies, but the testimony of the church as a whole. When I finished we prayed for a woman in the church whose child had been kidnapped on Saturday. I was asked to pray specifically over this abduction.
The service ended with a few more testimonies, greetings and announcements. It was now shortly after 2PM. I always marvel at how short our attention span is in America when compared to other parts of the world.
Since Scott had to return to Eldoret, other travel arrangements needed to be made for Nathanael and myself. I had lunch with Pastor Patrick, John Chebures and Bon Labu. I have spent time with both John and Bon on my previous visits, so we used this opportunity to renew our friendship. Once lunch was over, John and Bon departed and Pastor Patrick and I made our way to a porch along the roadway to await my transportation.
Over the next few hours we were joined by several of the local pastors and we discussed a wide range of interesting topics. This in fact became the highlight of my day. Much of our focus was on the needs in the region. There were 2 things that were very prominent in the discussion. The first was for a need to bring the pastors together to work through some Biblical understanding of some of the challenges facing the church. The second was a need to identify and raise up a new generation of leaders to come behind men like Pastor Patrick.
About 6PM, my ride arrived with Nathanael. Nathanael was overjoyed by what he had seen during the day. The service he had been a part of lasted for nearly 7 hours and many had given their lives to Christ during that service.
I awoke at around 7AM. I went to start up my tablet pc to try and skype with Carol. I had plugged the tablet into my power converter when I went to bed and it showed that it had been charging. Unfortunately, at some point during the night a power surge must have come through the converter, because my tablet was no longer functioning. I was able to eventually have a text chat conversation with Carol using my cell phone and a wireless connection.
We learned that the airline officials and airport staff had not located Scott’s passport. Scott called the state department and learned that he would need to go to Nairobi on Monday morning at 8AM to replace his passport. We decided that it would be best for Scott to fly from Eldoret on Sunday evening and began making adjustments to our schedule.
As we were preparing to leave the seminary campus we met a couple who were a part of Water Missions. This couple has dedicated their lives to traveling the world creating purified drinking water systems in areas where clean water is unavailable. We committed to connecting further when we return to Kitale.
Once Scott’s airline tickets were booked, we made our way to Uganda. We found ourselves facing extra scrutiny at the border, especially in Uganda. Fortunately we were all cleared through and we made our way to the Guest House. Upon arrival I was able to honor a request that had been made of me in 2009. The pastor of the PCM church in Suam had asked if I could supply reading glasses and I was able to provide him approximately 15 pair.
After arriving at the Guest House, we went into Suam for dinner. We ate at one of the local hotels. The people were intrigued as a movie rendition of David and Goliath was playing on T.V. The audience was made up of men, women and children and two of the men watching were Muslims. Sadly the rendition was not true to scripture, showing that David needed 3 stones to kill Goliath. We commented on the fact that Biblical training is so important, when so many gather their information from media.
We arrived in Kenya at about 6:30 AM. After clearing customs we went to the domestic terminal at Jomo Kenyatta to check in for our 2:30 PM domestic flight. We were told that that we would not be permitted to check in until 1 PM, so we sat in a waiting room until then. None of us had slept more than an hour or two on the flight to Nairobi, so our weariness was beginning to catch up to us.
We finally departed Nairobi and flew to Eldoret on a turbo prop. This flight included a screaming child who screamed almost 30 minutes of the 45 minute flight. Fortunately we were all tired enough we slept through the majority of it. We arrived in Eldoret around 3:20 PM, where we were greeted by Adams, Mary and Judah, who presented us with flowers. We were also met there by Pastor Margaret Maheri and a small group accompanying her. Finally we met up with John Juma, a great friend and pastor who is also in my opinion the best driver in all of Africa.
Once we departed the airport we went to Pastor Margaret’s house for tea and fellowship. Pastor Margaret and her sister blessed us with their hospitality. We also met several pastors while we there. Once we had finished our tea we started on the road to Kitale. About 20 minutes into the trip, Scott realized his passport was missing and we made a frantic search of the van and his baggage to find it. Unfortunately his passport could not be found, so we returned to Eldoret airport to ask for assistance. About 10 PM we headed towards Kitale once again. All of us were now so tired that our bodies were beginning to hurt.
When we arrived in Kitale we stopped for a quick meal and made our way to the African Theological Seminary where we were staying. Each of us was thrilled to be going to bed, we had only slept 3-4 hours out of 52 hours of travel.
We arrived in Amsterdam around 6:40 AM with a 10 hour layover. We decided to take the 20 minute train ride into the city center. I have wanted to visit Amsterdam, since I first flew in Schipol airport in 2009. The countryside surrounding the airport is so lush and green, criss-crossed by an intricate network of canals.
As we walked around the city center I was struck by a few things. First of all the city was a bustling hotbed of activity. There were pedestrians everywhere and a thriving business district. In the city center were several old cathedrals that have now been turned into museums and shopping center. Of course this is consistent with the majority of cathedrals throughout Europe. The only signs of “Christian” life were a sign on a building that says “Jesus loves you” and a woman proclaiming the gospel outside of the central train station.
At the same time, the smell of burning marijuana was everywhere and the city was very proud of its drug and sex culture; the infamous red light district being a primary attraction for many tourists coming to the city. I found myself saddened by the realization that the church was no longer an influence upon this city and I wondered what it would take to shift the spiritual climate.
We finished up our time by taking a water taxi tour of the canals. This was an enjoyable tour and I found the architecture and history of the city to be fascinating. Unfortunately I had only slept 2 hours and the jet lag was starting to hit me. I repeatedly found my head jerking as the soft rocking motion of the boat continued to lull me to sleep.