Life is made up of little moments, and ministry is made up of faithfully doing the “small things.” Psalm 37 tells us to “befriend faithfulness” commit our way to the Lord and trust Him to work out the bigger things. It seems that so often the things that make the most impact are the things we consider to be unimportant—but suddenly we realize that it is those “little” unplanned things that the Lord is using in a bigger way for His purposes. I've seen this happen multiple times over the last couple months. In His gentle gracious way the Lord leads us in his path and then surprises us with seeing Him working through the things we least expect and in a way we didn’t plan. The last few months have been full, in addition to our "normal" ministry activities we finished editing Bible study materials, and I designed and wrote a number of new promotional materials. In the clips below you can read how God is using "small things" to further His work in our community here in Uganda.
Thanks to each of you for your continued prayers, love, and support as I settle into life here in Uganda—they’re much appreciated!
A Gomez & A Little Luganda:
In March our church was studying love, and one of the characteristics of true love was that it has good manners (seeks to understand what is becoming to those it is around.) Well Bekah and I decided one way we could love the people we are serving here was to dress up in their cultural dresses (Gomez) for Easter Sunday.
We mentioned our plans to one lady-but before we knew it, word was around town and all the ladies were planning our wardrobe for us! I was given strict instructions to show up at a particular home on Sunday morning where I would be “wrapped.” When I showed up at church in my Gomez it caused no small stir. (It almost made me a little embarrassed for drawing so much attention at church!) That Sunday I also made an announcement at the end of the service with one of the Ugandan ladies for an upcoming ladies event. However, rather than having her speak Luganda and I English, I spoke in Luganda and she “translated” it into English. The people got quite a kick out of it and although I’m sure I sounded like a baby pronouncing the words slowly, they loved it. At the end of the service I was welcomed into their tribes and given a couple Ugandan names-"Nsubuga" & Nazziwa.” The verdict still seems to be out as to which name will stick-I'll keep you posted! In Uganda any name can be used for a male or female, they just change the beginning of the name-"N" at the beginning makes the name feminine. Several weeks’ after that Sunday people were still talking about how “smart” I looked in the Gomez and it opened new doors for closer friendships. It made me laugh—it was such a small thing but how much it meant to them. This week I started my official luganda language lessons. Pray that God would give me a quick mind and tongue!
Weekly Bible Studies:
I’ve continued to hold my weekly Bible study in the far corner of the village and I really look forward to this time every week. A few weeks ago we met inside one of the ladies huts (rather than our usual under the tree location) because a rainstorm was blowing in. During the Bible study I noticed that one of the ladies babies (whom I hadn’t seen before) looked rather small and limp. At the end of the study I began asking questions about the baby, how old it was, etc. Once we left the darkness of the hut and carried the baby into the sunlight, I realized that she was covered in bumps. They told me she had the measles and was severely dehydrated, as they hadn’t been able to get her to keep fluids down for days. I told them to follow me home and we would arrange for the baby to go to the hospital. As we walked down the narrow trail back to my house, the grandmother said “you must love us all a lot to make this trek every week to teach us the Bible.”
After I gave them the money for transport to the nearest hospital and a letter to authorize them to bill the treatment to our account-the grandmothers eyes filled with tears and she said "waaybalay nyo, nyo nyo." (Thank you much) I told her to thank God because He was the one help truly comes from. At the next Bible study I was greeted more warmly than ever and the little one was out of the hospital and was up and walking with a smile on her face. The Dad of the baby came by and thanked us for helping. Every week without fail the family thanks me for what “we did”. I’m amazed that such a small thing ($8 for transport, and approximately $4-5 for the hospital visit) can open the door for the gospel. The mother of the baby has now been very faithful in coming to the study every week since—she’s even doing homework on her own in preparation for the study! A couple weeks ago during the study a young teenage boy, Moses, from a neighboring hut came and sat down and joined us. He told me he was very interested in the Bible and what was being taught. I’ve invited him to come to church Sunday mornings to hear more-I’m hoping he will come join us at church. Pray that God’s truth would enter their hearts, not just their minds and that His Spirit would be at work in their lives.
Men & Ladies Outreach:
This spring the leaders of our church decided to hold special meetings with the ladies and men of our church. Throughout the month of March the men met every Saturday morning for 3 hours to study how to be a man of God and lead their families. They called it “Men’s Muscle Month!” We are thankful for the number of men that came and continue to pray that God would raise strong leaders up within our local church.
We had the ladies event in April, our theme was “using your gifts to serve the church.” We also had some special seminars on training children and counseling. We had tea and popcorn (a favorite treat for them) and did a special craft. Between the large group sessions we were in table groups. And once again, God changed our plans!
During our first table time together I started discussing spiritual gifts (as we had planned) but I quickly realized that all, except for one, of the ladies at my table were guests. I explained that one would only have a spiritual gift if they were a Christian and had been renewed by God’s Spirit. I then realized that very few of them knew what a Christian was and hadn’t heard the gospel. A few of the ladies that came to the event came from Muslim homes-one confessed that she had even snuck out when her husband wasn’t looking to come to the event! I had the joy and opportunity to share the gospel with them. They listened intently. We continue to pray that God will bring His fruit from this event and other outreach activities in the community. In a few weeks we are hosting a group of professionals to conduct a special birthing seminar for the ladies-please pray that God will use this in our community as well!
One of the new relationships that came through the ladies event was with a lady at Jen’s table. Jen noticed that one of the guests had a toddler that was severely malnourished. She was limp, unable to walk, and had the characteristic soft spot on the top of her head. That evening Jen followed her back to her hut with some veggies, but she realized the baby had very poor living conditions. A few days later she returned to visit the home with our Community Outreach Manager to check up on this family. They found the toddler close to death and decided she needed to go to the hospital. Throughout this last month we funded care for the mother and baby at the hospital. Last night she returned home with the toddler who was walking around and was waving. The little one (18 months) entered the hospital weighing 3 kgs and left the hospital weighing 8 kgs! This mother is now excited to begin coming to the ladies weekly Bible study and church. Please pray for them to come to know Jesus Christ.
We don’t have a clinic or hospital in our community; because transportation to the nearest hospital is so expensive many people don’t even attempt to try to go for medical attention-they just hope for the best or visit a witch doctor. Although we doesn’t currently have the capability to provide medical care for those in our area, every week we drive a pick-up truck packed full of people to the nearest hospital about an hour away. We also make a few night emergency runs for accidents or births!
Our primary school continues to go well and we are thankful for the work God is doing in the lives of the children. They just returned from a three-week break. We have a couple students who didn’t return this semester from a Muslim home. When the parents came to enroll their children the headmaster warned them we are a Christian school and they said “yes, but we want them to get a good education.” Well, I guess while the children were home on break they did a little too much singing about Jesus and were reciting their memory verses to the children around them! Apparently the father received quite a bit of push back from his community—“why are your children singing about Jesus and reciting the Bible all the time?” How wonderful! Please pray for Solomon and Damon, as they will go visit this father and share the gospel with him next week.