Monday, May 26, 2014

May Update, Pallisa Training

Dear Friends and Family!

Well this time being away from home has been a wonderful lesson of how God goes before and prepares the way! Moses says in Deuteronomy 31:8, “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you." (NLT) He definitely has gone before us in preparing the way for our training. We had a successful TOT1 for the past 5 days, in a place called Pallisa, which is found in the North Eastern part of Uganda. For those who may not know what TOT1 means, it stands for Trainers in Training, and 1 meaning it’s the first training we had with this group. We normally like to do 4 trainings to get through all the lessons we think are necessary for them to be officially trained in CHE.
Trainees meeting to discuss issues in their communities!
This is the vehicle we used to get there and the training was done in the building just to the left!
Me teaching a lesson on different roles of the CHE Committee
Some very special to CHE is that we as teachers/ facilitators must sit! Because we want to be on the same basis as the learners! Because we want everyone to be on the same level and also, we are all there to learn from each other!! I like this ALOT!

I want to share a few of the things that Jesus blessed me with through this experience. This was not my first training but it was here in Uganda. I felt so encouraged with the participation of our trainees. They were very excited about the training because many of the participants were anxious to learn the lessons we had prepared and many were just curious because they did not know very much about what CHE stood for in the first place. It took awhile at first for them to get going but we think they caught on and were getting the point of the training. One of the main points we hope we were able to get across was we want them to be doing development and investing into people lives. We desire for them to pursue spiritual growth and not just physical. After the training, I think it is easy for them to point out the ways that they need to grow physically, maybe health wise, in sanitation and hygiene, because the people here have many needs. But when you think about helping them spiritually there are many things that may discourage someone from sharing with others about what following Jesus means and looks like. At the end of the training, we believe they understood what the point was for us to come, but now the implementation is what we will wait to see. Some of the trainees were pastors so they were already involved in encouraging people in their walk with the Lord, but others we weren’t sure where they were in following the Lord. So please pray for this group of 25. They were fun to be with and I had a wonderful time getting to know them!
The classroom we met in and some of the attendants!

Some of the attendants to the training!

The Groups combined list of all the attributes of what a good trainer should do!!! They are pretty good at writing their own ministry description :)

One of the other facilitators, I call her my Aunt Beth Muehleisen. I enjoyed getting to be with her and her husband, Uncle John. They are great people to learn from and work beside :)
I want to share about a one of the lessons we taught during our training that seemed very impactful. Its main purpose was aiming to show them that their reliance on outside help was not helping them permanently, but instead was crippling them. So we used the story involving three people, an outsider visiting the village, and two villagers, to teach them this lesson. We had them act out the drama. So it starts out with the outsider and the villager crossing the river. In our imitation of this drama, we had the people imagine that the road was the river. 
The villagers knew some of the rocks to step on but needed the help of the outsider to attempt to even cross the river. So the outsider together with the first village man worked on crossing the river and together made it to the island in the river. Then the outsider went back and showed the second man how to walk across. 
We see that all three made it to the island. Then from the island the outsider took the first man and went the rest of the way to the other side. 
The outsider once reaching the other side of the river then left the villager to help his friend to get safely to the other side safely. Once they both reached the other side they were very happy. The man that the outsider taught first was happy because he now had the confidence to go across himself and show others now that he could do it himself. So slowly this man was empowered and many more were then able to cross the river without drowning. And the outsider left this community and moved on to another to help more people.
This is a simple story but it does not only pertain to them physically, it can also be used to reach them spiritually. The outsider can come in and share how to lead people to Christ, and many will come to know Him, but then the local people are able to go out themselves and be teachers and preachers of the Word! Just this simple act of teaching and empowering gives the people so much more faith and are then able to go out and do it themselves.

Uganda is a very blessed nation is so many ways!!! As you can see it is very lush!!! The colors are so vibrant and I just love to  see how well they keep their gardens!!

Some more of our attendees, just a wonderful group discussing on ways to help their communities!!!

A sweet boy who was around during the training!!

One of the trainees, a lady brought her little boy! he was a joy to see everyday! Just a delight!!! His smile would light up the room even when he was sleeping :)

I think he just woke up from a nap but look at his sweet eyes and smile :)

This sweet lady was a blessing to all of us, she was one of the cooks and had previously not been a Christian before helping us with the food for the training. On the Sunday Morning service she came up and asked if she could give her life to Jesus! Precious lady! We praise Jesus her soul has been saved!! In the picture she is cleaning through the rice! that is what she is flipping in the air, with such ease :)
I cannot thank you enough for all your prayers in lifting us up this week. We definitely appreciate them and most of all we thank Jesus for all the ways he helped us trainers through this time. He is such a faithful Father in going before us and preparing the Way! I pray you know He is using you in whatever aspect of work you are in! I am thankful he chose to use
me here in Uganda!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Transitions to Uganda

Spring 2014 Update
Dear Friends and Family,
I pray this finds you all doing well and seeing signs for warmth that comes with the promises of springtime. Well this finds me in Kampala, Uganda! The Lord has lead me here to help the World Gospel Mission missionaries with the Community Health Empowerment or Evangelism (CHE) program. It has been a wonderful time! I am now in the midst of trying to learn another language, culture and way of living. Although I am in the neighboring country to Kenya, which is where I grew up, things here are not quite the same.

Transitions are never easy; especially when I thought after Christmas I would be going back into South Sudan. There has been unrest going on since December 15th, so World Gospel Mission has decided that it would be better for me to work out of Uganda instead. There is a possibility of going back into South Sudan. If it would become possible to return, I would like to finish up the trainings we started there and have closure with the many friends I made while serving there. You can definitely be praying for that possibility. There are still tribal issues going on with the leaders there. In the Sudan Tribune it was said that, “The United Nations estimates that over 10,000 people have died while a million displaced since the outbreak of the conflict.” This is the current news there and although there are no apparent killings going on in the area that I lived in, there are many people still dying in the country. Please pray for Peace to reign in this nation. Also the rains have now come, and will be there for a good 6 months. Because of this many have already died from unsanitary water and their living situations. Please pray for South Sudan. Pray for their leaders to make good decisions and for empowerment for the Christians to stand and proclaim the Good News!

Traveling to CHE Communities, The Community of Kiriyandongo
In March my colleague and I did some visits to CHE communities. Traveling to get there took us about 4 hours longer than we expected!!! Traveling in Africa is always an adventure! But the Lord was so good; when we finally arrived such warm and welcoming people greeted us. I had never met these people before and they were so happy that we took the time to come and visit them!
They were a joy; we got to meet many people. As you can see in the pictures previously and  the one following, they are people who have joy regardless of their circumstances! At least they smile like they do! Hearing the CHE representative, Samuel, talk about the ways that CHE is helping them was very encouraging. We see that this community is ready for their next training. 
This is one of the things that I am working on here in Uganda, trying to see where the different areas are at in being ready to move forward with the CHE trainings. The CHE program consists of a 4-part training. For each training we do, we try to assess how the people are catching onto the material before we continue to hold future trainings. There have been quite a few years since these groups had training. Our desire is to see these groups continue to move forward with their implementation of the CHE program. In order for this to happen they need to become fully equipped with all that we as CHE trainers can give.This area has many good things happening, but they are also facing many challenges. They have many health needs, and we were able to give them some advice on various issues but they really need your prayers. They desire to grow but there are so many things that are holding them back physically. Pray that their faith would be strengthened with what they can do.
My Colleague Jennifer Wasirimba
My friend Jennifer lives out on an island here in Uganda called, Buvuma. She is Kenyan and her family still lives in Kenya. She has been a wonderful travel buddy to the different CHE communities. She knows the language very well and therefore is a great asset to have along!!! She is also a great translator and awesome motivator for the people we are visiting! Which is exactly what we need to keep people moving forward in their implementation of the CHE program! Jennifer is a registered nurse and is a great resource for the people because many have health issues. Because of these health issues, it seems to us that it holds the people back from being able to move forward with CHE. So it is wonderful that wherever we have gone they are all prepared with their questions for her to answer and help them with! Of course many of the questions she cannot answer, but she can give them some help with what to do!
Prayer Updates & Requests:
Ø  Continue to pray for the opportunity for us to be able to go into South Sudan and do the last CHE training.
Ø  Pray for the country of South Sudan, and continued unrest. Also for those still serving there and trying to point the people to Jesus!
Ø  Pray for protection in traveling, in and around Uganda.
Ø Pray for continued health!

A BIG Thank you!
I wanted to say thank you for all your continued support! Because of all your generous giving we were able to also help some of the other ministries going on in Uganda. I wanted to share with you some about what those are!!
·      The first one being, we helped send money to the Kampala International University Ministry! We have a building that is adjacent to the University and is open for the students to come and get help! We have graduated students who are there to help give them counseling, discipleship and prayer. This ministry provides a safe place for them to go and share what they are going through. Every Sunday we also have a service in one of the University’s lecture halls.

·      The second being, we helped send money to support orphans at a school on the Buvuma Islands.  This money went to help buy children school uniforms, books, and one meal a day. It also went to help the school reroof one of their buildings because one of the big storms that came through tore off their metal roof. (Pictures below)


University Ministries

I have been so blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of this unique ministry with the students from the Kampala International University!  Every Monday evening we have a time to gather and lessons are taught from the Bible! We have a time for sharing and also prayer. Pray with me as I see how the Lord desires for me to get involved with them! Possibly through a Bible study with a few of the girls, or maybe He just wants me to be available to just talk to them. I have been blessed by them all and enjoy so much this chance to get to know them! I wanted you to meet some of the ladies I have met and enjoy getting to know! The ladies with me below are: (left to right) Anita, Phiona, Laila, Natalie and I. They have all either graduated from the University or are currently studying there!  Pray for them and their journeys with Christ!
University Ministry Online: