Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Soccer field meeting in Bundibugyo

On Saturday, July 18, we had a worship gathering out on the "pitch," which is the large football (American soccer) field on the school grounds. During the planning stages of the meeting, a few people expressed some concerns. They had never had a large gathering on the pitch before. They usually have worship gatherings in the chapel area. It was going to be at night, which meant poor lighting (only a few lanterns and small battery-powered lights). Some were concerned that there was going to be chaos, and that the boys would be interacting with the girls in inappropriate ways. Despite the concerns expressed—maybe even because of them—we had faith that God was going to work. During the retreat, I had a sense that we were supposed to bring pen and paper to this Saturday night gathering so that we could follow up on the people who decide to follow Jesus.

The field was set up with chairs and benches. As is typical of most of the gatherings of this nature, boys mostly sat on one side and girls on the other. We started with several student-led worship songs in English and Lubwesi. Everyone was singing, clapping and dancing; there was such a sense of joy and celebration. There weren't any reported incidents of bad behavior. None of the fears materialized.

After the worship time, I shared a message from Luke 11:11-13. There was no sound amplification, but it did not seem to be a hindrance. Although it's a Christian school, students from all different spiritual backgrounds attend. We gave an invitation for students to become followers of Jesus. When students began to respond, one of the leaders emphasized that only those who were making a serious first-time decision to follow Jesus should come forward. He told them that the leadership intended to follow up with them to help them grow in their new faith. Some students who initially responded and realized they were not serious went back to their seats. When all was said and done, about 70 students made decisions for Christ that night!

We then had a prayer time for students who wanted boldness for sharing Christ with others, freedom from nightmares, and freedom from fears about the future. I prayed general prayers over the different groups. We also had students pair up with one another (boys with boys and girls with girls), lay hands on each other and pray for each other for their specific needs. We wanted to begin teaching them that it's not just the leaders who pray, but that they can all pray for one another.

We closed the evening with a few songs of worship. The students returned the chairs and benches and we called it a night. Jesus said, "'In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents'" (Luke 15:10). There was much rejoicing in Bundibugyo and in heaven that night.

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