Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Children's Home and "Uganda Five"...

We took some time this afternoon to go and visit the Living Hope Children's Home in Wairika, just outside of Kakira. This is the home that Psalm Ten supports. We didn't get to spend too much time there, but we sure had a blast. Of the 76 orphans, about 30 were at the home when we arrived. Beautiful faces, beautiful voices and bright shining personalities. It was so much fun to take pictures and let them see themselves on the video camera screens. We got to drop off a big box of M&Ms and some soccer balls (which were graciously donated by the Pitmans at CBC...thanks!). The children were so grateful and even though we could only stay for a bit, they touched us and I hope to go back again, if not on this trip, the next!
We left the home when Pastor Paul was called to Kakira to pick up some pastors and church members at the church. Now Pastor Paul, Scott, Fred and myself make four people in a van that can seat eleven, but really shouldn't seat more than nine. When we asked Pastor Paul how many we had to pick up, he said five. No big deal. When we pulled up to the church, there was a rather large group of people. I'm thinking to myself, "I wonder which ones need a ride?" I wasn't expecting all of them to come! So we agreed that "Uganda Five" equals about fourteen. There were fourteen of us packed in that little van. I love Uganda.

Outside My Window...

Just outside our hotel window, there's a house. Well, "house" is a loose term. It's more like some brick walls with a few pieces of tin for some shelter. It's backed up right to the Nile River, and so far, I've counted six or seven children, three women and two men living inside the roofed part. The youngest is a little boy, about Jack's age, and he loves to pass the time by scaring and kicking the chickens that run loose around the house. He does it until one of the mothers comes out screaming at him to stop. It's pretty funny to watch. Makes me miss the boys like crazy too.
The thing is, this "house" is actually a step up from most that we see as we travel the roads of Uganda. We finally made it to the village of Kakira for church services. I was taken back by the sights and smells of the typical east African village. But, as a worship leader, I was humbled and as a Christian, I was put in my place. Because while the poverty is quite common, something else is even more evident. These christians look not only to their own needs and concerns, but also to the needs and concerns of others. Worship this morning was incredible. I can only relate it to what I imagine Heaven will be like. I'm not gonna lie, I was pitying our churches for the Americanized version of "church" that they would be holding today. Sorry, I know that sounds both arrogant and brash. But I knew that there was no where else I would rather be than right there, and I knew that every Sunday morning, I will always remember how others worship and celebrate the life that is theirs in Christ, all over the world.
Despite all the poverty and hardship that I see around every corner, I caught a true sense of completion in Christ in the hearts of the people. I'm realizing more and more that as much as I have to teach this week, it pales in comparison to what God is doing in the hearts of our team. I've fallen in love with the countryside. I'm captured by the hearts of these people. I've got some soul-searching to do. Keep praying as we get started tomorrow. We know you've been praying because all of us truly feel empowered with a sense of courage and love. Keep praying. We thank you all and love you all so much! Happy Sunday, and hey... Go nuts this Sunday morning!! We have a lot to celebrate.
(From Scott)

The Conference begins Monday and will go from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm each day.

I will begin the sessions by teaching Bible Interpretation and Sermon Preparation, focusing on teaching and preaching the Word with integrity.

Jim will follow with his session on Biblical Conflict Management.

John is next with Old Testament Survey of the Bible.

Then Tim will teach his session on Church planting.

The final evening sessions will be a time of encouragement with Jim, Tim, John, Fred and I preaching ---each taking a night.

Tomorrow morning at Sunday services I will preach at the 8:00 am service, and Tim will preach at the 10:30 service. Services will conclude at 1:00 pm.

Next Sunday we will all spread out and go to other churches to encourage the people in the Lord. Please pray for God to accomplish His purposes, and to bring healing to Jim and John with their yuckiness right now.

God bless, Scott