Sunday, July 27, 2008

More on Uganda

Since my post two weeks ago, I have not given any more info on our trip to Uganda, so I thought I would tell a little more about it. The first was the broad strokes. Now for some detail. The weather was magnificent - I was expecting Waco type weather without A/C, but was pleasantly suprised to find high temps of 88, quite cool in the shade, and lows of 70 and actually requiring a blanket at night. We did have running water and flush toilets, although they were outside; but no electricity. Therefore when the sun went down it got dark quickly, and was amazingly dark, especially before the moon came out. The good part was that the stars were unbelievable - I felt like I was seeing what the Persians saw 2000 years ago. We did have headlamps and could do some reading and visiting but what it really meant was that you went to bed early. Life was definitely more simple and I could get used to that - though it was hard to let go of the Western mindset.

Since we were part of a total team of 23 Mzungus (white people), we often had to split up what we did during the day. A lot of us worked side by side with the Ugandans at RG. That involved making bricks, harvesting G nuts, washing clothes, tearing down termite mounds, clearing land, construction work on the orphan homes, painting, ect. At other times we went in to schools to give our testimony and play with the kids. One team went overnight to another village and had a healing service and fed some orphans. One day we held a medical clinic on site at RG and saw over 100 people. Another day we worked with a local church to do a community health evangelism project - we helped build a fence around a water site. So as you can see, we were plenty active and I think helped the work at RG, both in terms of actual work and also in fostering better relations with the local community and other churches.

As I reflected on everything going on there, I recounted all of the things that I enjoy. There was various types of construction ( electrical work, plumbing, carpentry), unlimited opportunities for gardening (both vegetable and flowers), lots of bird watching and plenty of photo ops, eventually there will be a medical clinic to work in or to teach and also a Bible school in which to teach, opportunities for hiking and National Park adventures, plenty of room to jog. The only thing I did not see was tennis, but who knows but that may be in the plans. In taking all this in, I felt like God was saying to me, "Why do you think I put all of these things in your life? It is what you were made for. The other was just preparation."

I hope that gives you a little better idea of the trip. May God bless you.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Community. It is an interesting word and conjures up a lot of different mental images. Whether we like it or not, it is something we all need and something we were all created for. God never meant for us to live life in isolation. Unfortunately, in our present society, we tend to live more isolated than ever before, even when we are around other people. What is Christian community and how is it different from community in the secular world?
In looking at the Scriptures I find that there are four main areas that create a sense of community. The first is a common purpose and a common vision. For the Christian, that would look something like the vision statement for our church - to love each other, love God and love those who do not know Jesus. That common purpose does not mean uniformity as each member should be allowed freedom to express his own giftings and personality. Secondly community should create a safe environment in which members are able to share their hurts and struggles as well as their victories. There must be an openness, a deep sense of trust, times of confession, forgiveness and accountability. This is not something that comes easily or quickly, and requires regular meeting together, including eating together, partaking of communion, serving together and fellowship.
The third area is encouragement. This is something we all need and community is the proper place where this can take place in all truth, and without flattery or ulterior motives. A part of this is to build each other up, helping them to see their own potential and giftings while letting them exercise them even if it is awkward at first.
Fourthly, community in a decidedly Christian context, should be a training ground for the exercise of our unique spiritual gifts.
So how is this achieved? I have outlined some things already. Others would include proper teaching in all these areas and then having it modelled regularly. Extensive times of prayer are needed both corporately as well as individually, where each one prays for the other members. Lastly we need to be ready to bear each other's burdens. We see these concepts throughout Scripture and outlined in the familiar passage in Acts 2: 42-47. These goals are lofty. Are they obtainable? I think that even in today's society this can happen through small groups within the church.
Incidentally, the pictures are from Uganda and do not relate to community, except in the larger sense of the worldwide Christian community.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Well we made it back from Uganda and our specific destination, Restoration Gateway. We had God's blessings the whole time - travel arrangements all went smoothly, no one got sick, and there were no relational issues - pretty amazing when you think that our team was made up of 23 people from 4 cities - all that to say that we thank you for those who prayed.

For those who do not know Restoration Gateway (RG) is a project that God put on the heart of Tim and Janice McCall in 2005 and has worked through them in a mighty way so far. It is 500 acres on the Nile river in Northern Uganda and a multiphase project to reach out to the civil war ravaged people of that area with hope and the Gospel. The first phase is an orphan home which is now being constructed - 35 homes in 5 pods of 7 homes each. Eventually there will also be a medical clinic, hospital and nursing school; a Bible college, pastors retreat, and tabernacle; an agricultural and fisheries demonstration facility. There are currently 45 Ugandans working 6 days a week at the project. Each morning they begin with an hour long devotional service. They are taught the Word, Christian living and how to live in community. The results just in the lives of the workers so far has been staggering.

We spent our time working alonside the workers and developing relationships, going in to schools to share and play with the kids, doing work projects with local churches, holding medical clinics. I will share more on this later but you can go to their website at to learn more about it.