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Jinja

Jul 30 2018

Our initial contact person here in Uganda is Joseph Sserwadda. He is the director of Agape House, which is the orphanage where we typically spend our mornings. Although we are not staying with him, I guess you would say he is also our host here. Yesterday he sure had a full day planned.

He started at a show at his own children's school. This is a private school (they almost all are. Nothing controversial about school choice in Uganda.) While it is run by a lady Joseph describes as a charismatic Catholic, it is nonsectarian. The audience- both kids and staff- were a mix of Catholic, evangelical and Muslim; perhaps a few other less prominent faiths as well. Again I was amazed at how fine everyone was with a Gospel presentation in a school this diverse. Discussing this with Joseph later, he told me the number one thing Uganda has in its constitution is freedom of worship. I guess if Muslims wanted to do a presentation in schools, they would be given the opportunity too. Christian teachers can tell the students that our message was true and Muslim teachers can explain why the Gospel is not. So different from home where everyone is looking for a reason to sue, and every school administrator hides trembling from the possibility of a law suit.

From there we left Kampala with Joseph and a photographer named Moses, and we headed to a region known as Jinja. It was a long, long, long ride, much of which was on very bumpy and, due to some rain, slippery red dirt roads. I began to wonder if it was worth the trip, especially since Joseph never told us what we were going to see. But oh, was it ever worth it. Jinja is the place where the Nile River starts. (Yes, we were at the Nile River with a guy named Moses.) He brought us to a remote location where the Nile is a series of waterfalls and rapids. I've never seen anything like it. Then we hiked along a jungle trail that ran alongside the Nile. We met a group of young men who ride the rapids without a vessel of any kind, just life jackets. They demonstrated for us as they dove into the rapids (serious, serious rapids) and let the violent current carry them perhaps 200 meters to a calm pool where they got out. In exchange for their demonstration, Rose and I did a juggling demo.

We left the falls, but our day was not over. Joseph had a trunk full of kids' clothing, and we stopped in a few locations to distribute them. We were truly in the heart of the jungle now. Some of the children were scared of us, and we were told it was because they had never seen white people before. Many of the kids were dressed in rags -think Huckleberry Finn - or were not dressed at all. People were literally living in mud huts. We had been to some remote villages earlier in the trip, but nothing like this. Finally it was time for a long ride home.

This was a tremendous day, and a hard day. It was hard because God started to peal back a mask I didn't even know I was wearing. Right underneath the surface, I saw how selfish and comfort-addicted I can be. I saw how little my faith is. When we were in the jungle, Joseph told us there in this region there no hospitals, police or cell service- but wouldn't tell us what we're going to be doing- I must confess I was angry and scared that we were put in this situation. Me, who speaks so dare I say proudly of visiting prisons, yet right beneath that "I'm confidently serving the Lord" facade is anxiety, doubt and lust for security. As the Apostle Paul taught, the new nature of Christ and the old nature of self are in a battle. And yesterday that war became very clear to me.

Please understand that, looking back and even at the time, the day was amazing. But God clearly took the opportunity to show me things about myself that I need to look at, pray about, and trust to His infinite grace

A Few Testimonies Minimize

 

The presentation was fun and encouraging... The gospel message was clear and encouraging. I purchased your book and just finished it. Your scope is broad and again encouraging. May God continue to bless your ministry. I will encourage others to read your book. -Parishioner of a local church

"Hey, I  wanted to say that was a great message in chapel today! It touched something:) thanks for doing it!" -High School Student  

"We are so grateful that you brought your amazing ministry back to our church this year... The Gospel message you bring applies to all!  It is such a positive, valuable work that you do."  -Coordinator of Christian Ed. UCC Church

"There's no questioning it. This is powerful stuff. It's extremely touching at times, never less than entertaining, and I see a lot of sincere love for Jesus in you guys."  -Dwight Lilies, song writer

The Lord has given you a wonderful window through which to present the Gospel!   - Field Director of Alliance Missions to Paraguay

"What a wonderful ministry to both children and adults.  In past years it has been a struggle to arrange programing that would hold the attention of all ages, but also challenge each heart with God's gift of Salvation.  Thank you for sharing your ministry."  -Sunday School Sup't.

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