Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ugandan Church Services

The team split up into smaller groups of three or four and visited seven area churches today. Most of the churches are constructed of wood and mud, sometimes fabric for a roof, banana leaves and poles for walls. Most are situated near a hill. It is a beautiful and picturesque environment for worship and we felt privileged to be able to participate in the services we attended. 

Before departing for our respective churches, Isaac had an impression while in prayer that the God was calling many more to know Jesus as savior and asked the team to share the good news and give people an opportunity to respond at each service. God was definitely leading and moving- many professed Christ that day!! 

Isaac was able to share a little more detail about the church plant he visited (which started up just about a month ago). He said there are about 15 adults and 15 children who attend on a regular basis. As a result of Pastor Moses and Isaac being in attendance that morning, multiple local villagers (non-believers) came out to see what was going on/what the service was all about. Four of these individuals came to know Jesus as savior!! In addition, some local politicians visited. The most prominent of the politicians (most similar to a councilman in the States) is a believer and declared that he will always provide support to this local church as long as they are "preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ". What favor and kindness from God! 

At 6 pm Ugandan time (10 am USA time), Isaac and Drew brought a second gospel message on the local radio station. It has an audience of around one million people. There were many more wonderful stories of God's grace in the seven churches and throughout the day.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Last Day of Youth Conference

Today was the last day of the youth conference, Jeff Martin and Peter Giglio taught and Whitney Hall shared her story. It was a powerful time. 
Instead of participating in village outreach the team attended a concert put on by the youth ministry. It was a great time. The entire team danced for the Ugandans for two songs. They started out by doing the electric slide to a Ugandan song which the locals thought was hilarious. Then a young man taught our team a Ugandan dance that they performed to the second song. In addition Isaac taught a short gospel message. 

Gia stayed back at the guest house because of a painful wisdom tooth. There doesn't seem to be any serious infection but she is in significant pain.  

Friday, January 13, 2012

"Busy" with Service

Friday, January 13

Friday was another very full day. The Youth conference continued; Gavin, Isaac and I taught. In addition, Andrew wrote a skit on the bus on the way to the village. It was based on his story of being delivered from the occult and witchcraft. A ten member cast from our team performed it. The crowd went wild with excitement. Andrew then shared his personal account of being delivered from the occult. This was an important time of ministry as followers and non followers struggle greatly with fear of local witch doctors and the power and influence they have.  
We pray the good news will go forward, believers will be strengthened and the evil practice of witchcraft will be abolished.

Friday also saw the conclusion of the Pastor's Conference. Robin taught and then handed out Certificates of Completion for the week-long course. 
 This was a significant moment for the Pastors/Leaders (and for their congregations) as none of them have had any formal training. One Pastor shared his story. In 40 years of Pastoring, this was the first time he had ever received training. It brought tears to our eyes seeing the smiles on their faces. To God be the glory!  
Peter Giglio stayed back at the guest house to rest due to a slight fever from a spider bite he received. Peter is doing well.....   The site had begun to swell a bit over the last two days and required attention from our medical team. We also contacted our physician in the States who directed care for Peter via the internet. There was no infection and the wound is healing well.  Peter is feeling better he will be teaching both Saturday and Sunday.  

Saturday will be the last day of the Youth conference. The team will also participate in Village Outreach.  

Highlights from the Day

* Everyone with cold symptoms fully recovered- there is power in prayer! 

* Isaac kindly received a gift rooster from a young boy who attended the Youth conference four years ago and professed Jesus at that time. This is a very generous and meaningful gift. We ate the rooster for lunch on Sunday.
* A young woman, named Fortunate, was singing a special song in honor of Robin. Fortunate's story is pretty amazing; she attended the Youth Conference in 2010, she had plans to drown herself in the local river, when God intervened and delivered that day. Today she is a young woman of much faith and a leader of her peers- God showed his mercy & kindness!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Preparations for the Youth Conference

Today was a great day! The team completed preparations for the Youth Conference which begins Thursday the 12th. We are anticipating over 500 attendees!   
Our team visited two areas today to participate in village outreach. Over thirty people professed wanting to know Jesus personally, God is good! Many more locals will be coming to the village Churches this Sunday to see what all the excitements about.

The "fields really are ripe for harvest!" Isaac said and he  asked me to thank CLC for sending this team into the harvest fields.  

Robin Boisvert completed day three of the Pastors Conference today. He is doing an amazing job!  
Tomorrow's Schedule
Youth Conference (all day) 
          Pastor's Conference (Robin will teach 1/2 of the day and Isaac will teach 1/2 of the                   day) Prison Outreach (at the end of the day)   
Thursday, January 12
Thursday was a "super-busy" day for our team - they accomplished much! Our basic schedule for the day was:

Youth Conference- AM
Village Outreach and Evangelism- AM
Pastor's Conference- all day
Prison Outreach- PM

In order to meet the needs of the day, we split up into smaller groups. Some folks participated in the Youth Conference including teaching and worship.  Drew Garfield, Jason West, and Andrew Sandor taught. That morning, other team members also visited two area villages to participate in Village Outreach. Robin taught at the Pastor's Conference in the morning and Isaac taught on being image-bearers of God (Genesis 1-2) in the afternoon. Robin got some much deserved rest that afternoon as a team visited the local prison. Men on the team shared the gospel with prisoners and ladies on the team reached out to the wives of prison workers.They live in a nearby village just outside the prison gates. Much fruit came from the day and many were encouraged and many professed faith in Jesus throughout the day!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"People are Getting Saved Like Crazy"

God is working mightily through the team in Uganda and pouring out His kindness upon them! They continue to be healthy, doing well, and enjoying themselves together as they serve. 
Please pray for continued health, strength, and joy.

Today the team completed work on the remaining widows' homes. They mixed cement by hand and applied it to the structures. It has been hard, physical labor in the heat, but everyone is doing great. In addition, around 100 people came out both days to watch the team work. Some ladies on the team spent the time creating games, preaching the Gospel, reading the Bible, listening to, and praying for the children in attendance. Isaac said they did an outstanding job caring for these precious ones. 
Please pray for the encouragement of the local Church & for the salvation of many as a result of our team's labors.

Today was also the second day of the five-day Pastor's conference led by Robin Boisvert. The attendance increased to over 120 participants. Robin is joyfully teaching almost non-stop from 8:30 am-5pm each day. 
Please pray for continued stamina for Robin as he teaches & for the Pastors and leaders attending.

Additionally, attendees have begun arriving today for the start of the Youth conference on Wednesday. This is a great opportunity for the team to begin interacting with those they will be serving in the days ahead. 
Please pray God would direct and bless these conversations/interactions and for the upcoming conference.

Tomorrow will also find our team splitting into smaller groups to begin village outreach and evangelism. They will be visiting areas nearby churches that have been planted by Kiburara Gospel Center.  
Please pray for God to open the hearts of the villagers and for wisdom for our team as they seek to share with and serve these folks.

Lastly, I was able to get more information regarding the radio broadcast on Monday. Drew Garfield opened up the radio program by speaking for ~5-10 min on who they are & why they, as Americans, have come to Africa. Isaac then preached a message focused on the Gospel for ~35-40 min. Isaac said they were surprised to learn that the listening audience is around one million people in Western Uganda. It is a secular station that has a portion of airtime set aside for Christian programming. Listening to this radio station is apparently a very popular activity among local residents, believers & non-believers alike.  Many people have approached to talk because they heard the message on air. Isaac also indicated they have received much favor as the owner is a Muslim who communicated directly how much he "thanks God" for them & for the message they are preaching. "People are getting saved like crazy" is a direct quote from Isaac (thanks be to God!). An additional radio broadcast will occur on this Sunday, the 15th.   
Please pray for continued fruit from the previous broadcast & for many more to be reached through the upcoming message.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Homes Built, Pastor's Conference and Radio Broadcast

All is well with our team in Uganda.

Today the team refurbished two widows' homes and will refurbish two additional homes tomorrow. The Gospel was preached to many kids that came to watch the team work. Ladies from the team came up with games and other creative ways to teach about Christ to the children.

In addition, Robin began teaching almost 100 Pastors and church leaders today.

Lastly for today, the radio broadcast of the Gospel went well; thank you all for praying!

The schedule for tomorrow will be the same. Please continue to pray- God is answering your prayers!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ministry to Begin Tomorrow

The team retired for the night at the Kamwenge Guest House around 10pm Uganda time.  Isaac said everything is going great; the team is doing well, everyone is healthy and enjoying their time together. 

Tomorrow morning, the majority of the team will begin the repair of widows homes and Robin, the other pastor on the team, will begin teaching at the Pastors' conference. Please pray for the Church to be built up, encouraged and  the gospel would go forward through these efforts!

On a side note, Isaac also said the radio broadcast of the message Moses asked him to preach has been rescheduled for next Sunday evening, as the bus got in a little late for it to happen tonight.

Made it to Kiburara

Received news this morning that the team made it safely to Kiburara, the village where they will be serving. This is what Isaac, the team leader, wrote:

"Arrived safely in Kiburara. Team is all well. We prayed for CLC and did a Sunday morning service on our bus ride here!"

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Uganda 2012 - Arrived Safely in Entebbe

Greetings! My parents have asked me, Tessa, to once again write blog updates as I receive news via email on the team. This is the first update from the team leading Pastor's wife.... 

Everyone on the team is doing well overall & will have the opportunity to get a full night's sleep at the hotel in Entebbe tonight before boarding the bus for Kiburara in the morning - which is great since they had been awake for nearly 36 hours and the bus trip has historically been a bumpy, non-restful adventure each year.
Prayer requests: 

1) a couple of folks have mild cold symptoms - that they would resolve quickly 

2) for the bus ride to go smoothly - they hired a new company this year as their usual company sold it's business 

3) Isaac will be preaching on the radio tomorrow evening their time (11 am our time tomorrow morning) and asked for prayer. This is quite an exciting, new opportunity for our team to reach folks in Uganda-  please pray for the gospel message to go forward!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


It has been a year since my return from Africa – and my time there was a sensory overload; without a doubt this was one of the most AMAZING experiences of a lifetime!

As I remember all the stories, friendships, and moments of shear wonder (did I mention Sade’s bus driving abilities), I will need several postings to fully share all my astonishing experiences. 

Of course there were the oblivious experiences – a far away land with exotic plants, animals, and a very interesting people. But beyond the oblivious are the internal experiences that are not immediately obvious to the eye. Those internal events, which define who we really are and what we feel inside - those places where our doubts, fears, anxieties reside where our hopes, trust and compassion resides; that area in our hearts where others cannot see.

My posting the night before I left for Uganda was a bit prophetic. In that posting I mentioned lessons learned leading up to the trip. Lessons like asking others for help, not being so self reliant and learning to depend on friends, not being so self sufficient and learning to depend on God.

These have been valuable life lessons, which I can take with me for the rest of my life. Lessons learned even before leaving the country… But God was good and knew there were more to come, much more to come and more he wanted to show me.

to be continued........

Our Last Day

Monday was an exciting day. Forty-two people were baptized in the river, with a heard of cattle looking on. 

Many of them were new believers who had given their lives to the Lord during our eight-day stay! This was the largest group requesting baptism in all the years of our trips to Uganda.

Monday evening the team returned early to the guesthouse to pack and rest in preparation for the nine-hour bus ride to Entebbe at sunrise Tuesday morning.

We arrived in Entebbe about 4 pm and checked into a hotel to shower and have dinner. Everyone was doing well and healthy! 

Tuesday evening we needed to getting ready to leave the hotel for the Entebbe airport. Take off was late Tuesday night for a connection in London at dawn. Then leaving the London Airport for Dulles at 6:05 am our time. We would arrive at 2:30pm Wednesday east coast time. A two-day trip.

Day Eight

This has been the busiest trip to date since our teams began going four years ago in 2007. We were unable to get back to the guesthouse as early in the evening as hoped. As a result, though in good spirits, everyone was physically tired and in need of rest.

Sunday was a great day! Our team divided into six groups to visit and serve six area churches. Adam, Paul, Eric, Peter, Isaac, and Robin each shared a message at one of the six churches.
When I say area local churches, think of large one-room building (looking more like a farmer's barn, than a church building). Think also that these buildings were not even there two or three years ago.

Grace was poured out on these new believers. Pray that their lives will be permanently changed as they seek to grow in their faith.

In the afternoon, our team attended a concert performed by the "youth" (high school aged singles) from Pastor Moses' church. They had written and produced excellent songs, which they performed along with dance in honor of our team. What a blessing!

Day Seven

Saturday was the conclusion of the Youth Conference. Pepper and Robin shared. Robin taught on remembering and applying the Gospel through the "five finger reminder", that is to say "Jesus died for my sins".

Eric and Pepper did an amazing job leading worship. They were able to, for the first time ever in the four-year history of Covenant Life Church's trips to Uganda, get the local residents involved in singing and dancing with our team! (Historically, those attending the youth conference would watch and observe quietly).

Adam and Pami organized drama presentations this year and did an outstanding job. The drama was saturated with pungent content and humor (they were quite funny!).

On a side note, Saturday morning, Jason and Isaac were able to rescue a local village dog that had fallen into an eight to ten foot open well the evening prior. The poor guy had been treading water for hours and was very grateful to be rescued!

Saturday afternoon the team divided into eight groups and participated in door-to-door village outreach. They shared, & prayed for folks (often for healing), and passed out mosquito nets to those they visited. 

The local farmers had been very hospitable. They were very open to talking and praying. They kindly invited our teams into their homes. There were two men waiting for one team when they stepped off the bus, asking to know more of Jesus and expressing a desire to follow Him!

Torrential rains fell for about an hour during the village outreach on Saturday afternoon and everyone was soaking wet by the time they returned to the guesthouse (and it was a little unexpectedly cold), but we were all in good spirits and singing on the bus as we returned to the village.

Many more had heard the good news message and received invitations to visit area Churches on Sunday. It was a powerful time of ministry for all!

Day Six

What an exciting couple of days for our team! God met us at every turn. What a wonderful time to labor and to share with the wonderful people of Uganda. Many lives have been changed forever! Ours and theirs. 

Friday was the last day of the Pastors' Conference. Isaac was able attend a portion of the PC and emphasized what a joy it was to observe Robin so effectively leading and equipping these dear men who are so eager, hungry, and grateful to learn from God's Word.

Robin taught directly from Biblical text and those present were voraciously asking questions and taking notes. There was also a time of prayer and ministry. Isaac said Robin did a wonderful job and simply is "The Man"!

Friday also saw the continuation of the Youth Conference. Jason, Adam, and Isaac each taught a message that morning.

Friday afternoon the team participated in another open-air outreach in the center of Kiburara. Eric shared an excellent message and Katie spoke to approximately 200 children, sharing God's grace in her life through the difficult period when her brother died several years ago.

Sara and Megan rested at the guesthouse on Friday as a precaution, because of their cold symptoms, but they were feeling much better by the afternoon! They were able to rejoin the team on Saturday. Everyone on the team was now healthy.

Day Five

The first portion of the day found our team once again participating in the Youth Conference and the Pastors' Conference. Peter, Isaac & I each shared at the conference, while Robin continued investing in the local Pastors. 

One exciting highlight of the day was the two gentlemen who wandered in to the Pastors' conference and professed faith in Christ after hearing Robin teach!

At 4 pm, the entire team gathered and split into three groups. The first and second groups took part in hut-to-hut evangelism at a nearby villages, and passed out much needed mosquito nets to local residents. 

Peter, Sherly, Mary & I were on team two. We were taken on a long drive down some remote pitted dirt roads and dropped off in front of a hut. We walked up a trail for about one or two miles and stopped in to visit with several families. It was cool to actually see them at home in their huts. Even though they had dirt floors they were very neat and orderly.

The third group participated in an open-air evangelistic crusade in the heart of Kiburara. More singing, dancing & sharing.

Day Four

Day four was the beginning of the Youth Conference. (in this venue "Youth" is more accurately defined as high school aged and young singles). 

Many participants traveled long distances to be there, mainly on foot. The attendees mostly sleep outside on mats and have a long "chow line" for meals of rice and beans. Blaise shared the first message of the day, followed by a teaching from Isaac.

I cannot adequately describe the times of worship, dancing and singing. The worship starts a full hour before the message is shared. By the time you are done everyone is smiling and covered in dust from jumping and dancing on the dirt floor of the worship center.

One of the day's highlights was the start of the Pastors' Conference, taught by Robin in another location nearby. The local Pastors expressed much gratitude for his wisdom and Biblical knowledge. Robin knocked it out of the park!

Day Three

On Wednesday our team participated in the second annual Uganda vs. USA soccer match. 

It was not an entirely fare flight. They were much more talented than us. They were kind and loaned us three locals (including an excellent goalkeeper Andrew). It would have been a total blow out without his skill and talent at the net.  This game was eagerly anticipated and much talked about in the village, it was an all out regional event. 

Local residents were excited to come see the "muzungu" play their hometown soccer team. Final score 2-1. They won. Over 1000 locals attended the 4 pm game. This was a great opportunity to mingle with the locals.

Pepper was our only casualty. One broken nose. Did I mention this was full contact soccer?

Day Two

Day two started similarly to Monday. Early morning, sun rays through the window, the crow of a rooster outside of the guesthouse. 

After freshening up in the bathroom, a splash on my face, shave, and a bucket of water over my head. I knew it would be another hot day. I arranged my work clothes on the bed, placed all my backpack items out, made sure I had sunscreen and plenty of bottled water. 

Breakfast was in the large open “cafeteria” the next building over down the cement stairway. It had long folding tables surrounded by plastics chairs. The menu same as yesterday was dry toast with jam, hard-boiled eggs, and bananas. We were asked to load the bus for this day’s construction project. Different widows homes with a new “crew” of men and boys to help.   

I was expecting the work to be something similar and the work the day before, and it was somewhat repetitive; but this time I was a little more confident in my masonry skills. 

False hope, this Muzunga was no expert at the wattle and daub 


method of construction! It was interesting to see the ladies and two other men from the guesthouse working with the children and village women. The songs and skits were sometimes raucous.