Mission to Uganda Feb 13th to March 11th
The team consisted of Laurie, Janis and our friend Hazel Crossley who came to teach in one of the primary schools for the month. We arrived in Uganda on the morning of March 14th and were met by Pastor Jimmy and John our driver. We arrived in Masafu later that day and settled into our accommodation. Hazel stayed in a rented house and was self-catering, assisted by Justine who proved a great help both in the house and at school. Hazel had a full timetable of classes in the school and had some sessions for training teachers and giving help to members of the community who were seeking to make some nursery school provision in their areas. Hazel’s work was much appreciated. She had taken out a good supply of resources., and some beautiful picture dictionaries donated by Revive&Thrive who help us with a considerable amount of aiid.
Teachers and Pupils were delighted with the books.
In fact, this was the FIRST TIME that children in 3rd year primary had handled a book!.
Janis and Laurie had a programme of prison ministry, church seminars and Sunday services. There had been a plan to go into Tanzania but various reasons made it evident that it wasn’t possible at this time.
We ministered in two prisons in the area, Masafu and Namayingo where there was a good response by the inmates to the Gospel message (16 in Masafu and 44 in Namayingo). In Masafu we provided sleeping mats for the inmates.
We then travelled north to Mbale and the Mt Elgon region where we stayed with Captain Alfred Wafula and family for a week and ministered in the 5 Salvation Army Corps that he is in charge of as District Officer. Many people were both challenged and blessed by the ministry, and in each place a number of people came forward to the Mercy Seat either for salvation, to make a deeper commitment or seeking to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Preaching with translation Attentive listening
Seekers at the Mercy Seat
‘Let the light shine’
Using the ‘Energy Stick’ to illustrate the need for unity - being 'lights' in a dark world!
The whole congregation joined hands and made a circle. If the circle is disconnected by letting go of even one hand the light goes out - unity is broken. ! This proved to be a very powerful illustration.
Ministry to the children – the story of the lost sheep .
Having sung ‘ The Lord is my shepherd, I’ll follow Him always', many of the children decided they wanted to be followers of Jesus and knelt at the Mercy Seat.
In each place only a drum was available to accompany the worship. But they all sang well.
The meeting especially for women drew members from two Corps ( Salvation Army churches) in the area and also some from other churches.
Laurie and Janis were presented with African clothes which had been made especially for us.. We put them on over the clothes we were wearing. Janis managed to put the dress on back to front!. But we were amazed that they had managed to make garments for us to fit!
Two corps combined for the final meeting as one of them was in a place where they felt our car wouldn’t be able to reach because of its location and the steep unmade roads in this mountainous area.
Many needs were shared with us at this place, especially the need for a medical centre. Land is available if a centre can be build and staffed. There is no accessible health facility in the area and the hospital in Mbale can take up to two hours to reach, Consequently it is not unusual for emergency cases or pregnant women with a difficult labour to die on the way to hospital.
Isaiah 65:24 ‘ Before they call I will answer’ - Amazing provision!
Half way through the week Pastor Jimmy had to leave us to go to Kampala to collect his passport – hoping to get it for the proposed visit to Tanzania, In the event it wasn’t available, which was one reason for the cancellation of the Tanzania part of the mission. Then we were told by John our driver that we would have to return from the area early. The school he runs had been suddenly closed by the government and he had to go to sort out the problem. Also the car we hired was not a 4 wheel drive and was having problems coping with the terrain. But we felt we shouldn’t have to let people down and were sitting in the Captain’s house discussing what to do when the Divisional Commander (DC) arrived to see the Captain. Having heard our discussion he said ‘ no problem – we can get a Salvation Army Vehicle and you can use my driver- no need to pay him’ So the next day John left and the DC and the Captain went to Tororo early and came back with a 4 wheel drive and driver Bramwell.
They stayed with us at the Captain’s house for the 3 remaining days of the mission, and the DC became our translator. This really was a God-send as the car we were using would not have coped with the roads leading to the areas we had to visit on those days .
We ministered in Bulubo prison in the area and 32 inmates responded to the Gospel message. ` We were allowed to photograph the giving out of aid to the women prisoners
The Salvation Amy driver took us all the way back to Masafu On the way, we had lunch with the DC in Tororo and then made a visit to the Salvation Army Children’s home, which houses 39 children. The premises seem quite run down and in much need of refurbishment.
In some rooms there were large holes in the ceiling, aused, it was said by, termites.
The nursery school on the premises caters for 60 children, most of whom come from outside the home and are fee paying. But even so there was an obvious lack of educational resources, and the outdoor play equipment looked very tired and some items were broken.
In the dormitories there appeared to be insufficient mosquito nets – it was explained that some children shared a bunk. However, the children seemed quite happy and we are sure the staff are doing their best to give them the love and attention they need in spite of these difficulties, which really come down to a lack of funding.
We ministered in 5 other prisons - 2 in Tororo (Mukuju and Kisoko prison). This was an encouragement to many inmates who had already become Christians. Then Kityerera and Mayuge prison and Iganga main prison . There were responses but we don’t seem to have the figures. However, the ministry was profitable and appreciated by the inmates. Laurie and Janis went to different churches on the following Sunday. Janis was in the Baptist church in Busia, where Compassion International have sponsored about 200 orphans. Laurie went to another small fellowship where his message was greatly appreciated.
ONE DAY IN KENYA
We visited Kenya for one day to inspect a piece of land donated to Streams of Mercy Kenya by Pastor Rose. The vision is for a centre to be built on the site which will provide accommodation and support for prisoners who may not be able to return to their home area for various reasons on their release. Also offering some vocational training to give ex- prisoners and other vulnerable people skills to enable them to earn a living and support their families. We prayed over the land and had lunch with the Pastor’s family.
We also led a seminar with a small group of Pastors who had gathered from various churches. Part of that ministry was about the need for unity in the church and between churches, and accepting each other in love regardless of origin or background. This proved to be a very important message given the tensions which do exist between different tribal groups in Kenya.
One Pastor wrote to us recently saying ‘I'm pastor Emmanuel Wekesa from Webuye where you came and ministered the word of God about 'unity' Actually you touched my heart and I will never forget.’
We led three days of seminars at Divine Hope Church Three people came forward and accepted Christ as Saviour.
Then we met with the latest vocational training group who were about to complete a course in Tailoring and gave out certificates.
We also commissioned the group who were about to commence training – most in tailoring but some in carpentry or hairdressing. We brought a message of advice and encouragement to both groups, and viewed many of the garments that had been made.
We visited the Webster Foundation International in Jinja, where training is given in keeping poultry, goats and pigs as well as agriculture, and they are also expanding into fish farming.
Most of the training is given to Pastors who are not fully supported by their churches as many of the members are poor themselves and can give very little. . So the pastors are given skills enabling them to become self -supporting and able to feed and clothe their families and educate their children. Each pastor attends for one week a month for 6 months and then is given a supply of chicks to commence their own poultry project. They need to be sponsored to do the course.
We then went on to Kampala where we spent 3 days with the church choir , teaching them some more English songs in 4 part harmony, which they greatly enjoyed and felt they had learned a lot.