Friday, July 31, 2009

In need of healing

A picture of my friends' (David and Annelise) house where I stayed for all but one night of my time in Uganda.

They have a number of trees in their yard: orange (though this type is green when ripe), avocado, Jack fruit, and mango (below).

The morning of my second day in Bundibugyo, I walked with Annelise through the village to the local health clinic. I spent an extended amount of time in the pediatric area. Not many modern conveniences—it's basically a large room with mats for the children to lie on with their caregivers—but dedicated staff. A few health care professionals connected with World Harvest Mission serve here. It was very heartbreaking to see the children. Malaria, malnutrition, “wasting disease,” tuberculosis, fevers, sickle-cell anemia were the main ailments affecting them. A few of them had witchcraft amulets tied around them. Their parents/guardians hoped that these amulets would bring cures. With Annelise doing some interpreting into Lubwesi, the main local language, I spent some time praying for a number of the children that Jesus would heal them.

I didn't see any miraculous improvements at that time, but I'm praying that the Lord will continue to bring about healing in their bodies. One of the reasons for my trip was to train staff and student leaders in healing prayer and casting out demons. One of my main roles is equipping other Christians to "do the stuff." I've found that much more happens when I help others use the gifts that God has given them. I would love to see the staff and students of the school eventually taking the good news of Jesus in word and power to those in need. Since I've gotten back to the US, I've heard some reports of the Spirit of God continuing to work at the school. More, Lord!


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Arriving in Uganda

[Note: I brought my camera, but forgot to bring the battery charger so I don't have too many pictures. I used another camera while I was there, so I'm hoping to get those pictures soon.]

It was a 9 1/2-hr flight from DFW to Amsterdam, and then an 8-hour flight from Amsterdam to Entebbe, Uganda. On the flight into Entebbe, I sat next to a man who turned out to be a well-known Ugandan pastor and church planter. He has spoken to crowds in the thousands at evangelistic campaigns, but is now convinced that the best way to make disciples is through church planting. His ministry planted 14 churches in Uganda last year, and his team is working on a training program for church planters. We talked at length and exchanged information. It was a very encouraging "God connection."

My driver picked me up from the airport and drove me to the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) guesthouse in Kampala, the capital. After a night's stay, I took a Cesna six-seater from Kijanse airstrip to Bundibugyo. Below is takeoff.

The flight was about 1 1/2 hours. The small plane afforded a great aerial view of the country. Besides me in the plane, there was one American third-year med student who was going to work at a clinic in Bundibugyo. Two Hong Kong natives who were friends of the (German) pilot came with us just for the ride. One was a teacher and the other an IT guy. They were on their way to another east African country. All of us had different purposes, but it was cool to see how each of us was planning on using their gifts for the cause of Christ.

It was loud, but with the windows closed it was not unbearably so—kind of like the engine on my weedwhacker. The flight was much smoother than I expected. So I was taken by surprise when I got airsick about four minutes before landing. Thankfully, this was the only time I got sick on my entire two-week trip....And thankfully the pilot showed me where the air sickness bag was before takeoff.

I arrived in Bundibugyo at about 2:00 p.m. local time on Tuesday, July 14. Upon landing, my good friend Dave greeted me. He was one of the main reasons I made the trip. I would stay at his house with his family. We embraced for a long time. There were lots of villagers who came to the airstrip in Bundibugyo to see the arrival of the plane. I guess it's a big event. Villagers at the airstrip (and most places I went) stared at me because I was a newcomer and because they were trying to figure out if I was a Muzungu. (Not many light-skinned people of African descent where they live.) We took Dave's 4-wheel drive vehicle on a dirt road from the airstrip to his home located on the campus of Christ School Bundibugyo in the small village of Nyakuta.

After I got settled, Dave asked me, "So, you wanna go to a funeral?" The daughter of one of the leading men in the area had died, so we decided to pay our respects. We walked along the main dirt road then turned left onto a winding path leading to the man's home. Many people were walking in the opposite direction having just come from the funeral. By the time we reached the house, they had just about finished burying the young woman on the property. Though we arrived late, the father was appreciative of our visit.

I'm told that funerals are quite common here. Sicknesses and disease take the lives of many well before their time. It was a sobering introduction to my ministry trip, but it certainly helped me keep things in perspective.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ministry trip is fully funded

The Lord provided all the money for my overseas ministry trip through many generous donations. Thanks to all of you who invested financially!


Stealing Apples

I was in the Apple Store in Ft. Worth last week having my laptop looked at. It was around noon and the store was packed with people. Besides being generally crowded, there was also a separate long line of folks waiting to purchase the new iPhone 3GS.

All of a sudden the store alarm began to blare. I looked toward the front of the store and three or four guys probably in their late teens were running away from the building at top speed. One employee looked at the table where the iPhones were kept and confirmed that the bandits had made off with some of the prized merchandise. The thieves were wearing shirts that mimicked those of the Apple Store employees.

I've never been present during a robbery like this. It seemed so random. Thoughts and feelings raced through my head. First, there was confusion. Were those guys all thieves, or was one or more an Apple Store employee chasing the thief(ves)? Then there was anger. How dare they come into a crowded store and rip the place off! After that, strategizing. Do I have enough speed to catch them? Can I even run in these sandals? What if they're armed? Why couldn't I have been closer to the door to at least trip them? I kept my eyes on them as they made their getaway, but eventually lost sight of them among cars in the parking lot across the street.

Eventually, when I left, I noticed that one guy was being escorted by an employee back to the store: handcuffed. At least they got one of them, I thought to myself.

Driving away, I pondered the utter stupidity of these young men, and lamented that more Black youth were headed down the road of crime and self-destruction. Was this the kind of life they dreamed of as young boys? What kind of input, if any, did their fathers have in their lives? What will it take to turn them around?

Today at my church, a man shared about the jail ministry he's involved with at the Dallas County Jail. He said that the jail officials have been so impressed with how inmates' lives have been changed that his ministry is being given a wide open door to work with inmates in a new wing that's opening. Having ministered at Monroe County Jail in Rochester, NY, my interest was piqued. I talked to the man briefly after the service and asked him how I could get more information.

Maybe my being present during the robbery wasn't so random after all.

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