Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We have a few updates and testimonies to share with you. God is continuing to work in Uganda! Just three days ago we met with two of the women of the Karamojong Bible study (In the picture). The woman who acts as the leader of the group expressed her continued trust in Jesus, although they are enduring some persecution as a direct result of their new faith in Christ. However, she also testified that her and her family had been struggling for quite some time with malaria, but since we shared theLord with them and prayed for them, all of them have been delivered and not one person has malaria in her home! The other woman also testified that she has AIDS and though she was getting some pills to help her she continued to grow weaker and weaker. Once she began fellowshipping with us she testified that she has since gotten much stronger and has felt much better. She had her blood tested in a local clinic and they said her blood indicators were improving. Praise God! These people have a lot of challenges to overcome in order to follow Christ, but praise be to God they are still standing. They also decided as a group to begin meeting every evening house-to-house to pray together. Please pray for them and for the work of the gospel to prevail in their lives.

Please continue to pray for us and for Laborers to be raised up out ofAfrica. Right now we are receiving applications for the first year ofthe Discipleship School. We will be accepting twelve who have a heart to be missionaries. This will be a formative year in which we lay the foundation for sending out future missionaries to North Africa and unreached nations.

We are anticipating the upcoming internship and need prayer that God would release all the finances to run to program including housing, food, transportation, and training for these first twelve students. The total increase in our costs will be between $400-500 dollars per month. Please keep these needs in your prayers. We are blessed to know you, and thank God for you.

In the Love and service of Jesus Christ,
Jesse and Rachelle Digges

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Testimony Time!

We have taken long in updating this Blog, but for good reason! God has been moving and we have been busy. We want to take some time to testify about what God has done in the last couple months.

July Youth Ablaze Team
In July we had a group from Youth Ablaze come and join together with some Ugandan Youth for ministry. They developed an awesome VBS program for the impoverished children at a ministry called "Smile Africa" as well as spoke in a High School, held a 2-day youth conference, and ministered in local churches. God is awesome as we saw many salvations and lives impacted by the Gospel. It was an awesome 3 weeks!

August Medical Team
Dr. Bob led a medical team from Albany Med who offered free medical services in rural areas. The Youth Ablaze Uganda team traveled with them around Tororo, translating and serving those who came for care. They also used the opportunity to preach the gospel and were able to lead about 40 people to Christ over the course of the week. Jesse and another young man prayed for a woman who had shooting pain through her back and chest that contorted her body and afflicted her for more than a year. When they prayed she was completely healed and she praised God and brought another friend for prayer also. The woman was moving freely and jumping without pain! Praise God for everything he did and for the sacrifice of the medical team who saw around 600 patients a day!

Jesse and Denis (a Ugandan) have been able to go into a Karamojong village and share the gospel. This tribe of people are the most outcast in our region, they live in abject poverty and have a mindset that they are somehow lower than human. The Lord opened a door through one family's tragedy, the death of a boy, to share the love of God with them. Even while sitting around a drinking pot, people listened intently to the Word of God and about 6 0r 7 stood to receive salvation. Jesse and Denis have been going back weekly to visit and pray with the young believers. In fact, the woman who owns the brewery where the people of that place gather to drink got saved and wants the Lord to help her start a different business, something that pleases God. Her parents are dead, and she is the provder for her whole extended family. Please pray for these young believers, that God would set them free from every curse and stronghold in their lives and that the Lord would provide for the woman's needs. Her desire is that the hut where the people now gather to drink would become a place of prayer and fellowship!

Since moving here in May, we have had many invitations to speak all over the country at conferences, seminars and churches. One in particular that stood out was a youth conference called "Youth Ablaze" in Mbale. A few years ago God spoke to the pastor the words "youth ablaze" and he wrote it down to remember. They began an annual youth conference gathering 1000 young adults by the same name, and felt instantly connected with us when we came. Through our time there, God called many to full-time missions and made a serious impact on their lives. We loved their passion for the presence of God in worship and felt right at home!

Smile Africa
Since our time with the children of Smile Africa in July we have felt very connected with the ministry. They clothe, feed, bathe, and educate over 400 children 6 days a week. The children come mostly from the Karamojong tribe and are severely malnourished and neglected. We hope to continue serving with the volunteers there and minster the Father's heart to them.

Marriage Course
We have begun a 14 week marriage course run by Paul and Jean McFate with 7 other couples in our area. It is a good opportunity to get to know other couples and each other better :)

Awinjo House
We are doing a weekly Bible study/teaching with the youth at Awinjo House, a discipleship ministry for youth from troubled backgrounds run by Ken Knowles. Our hearts are so connected with those kids, ages 6-22, and we are focusing on the Father heart of God.

What is next?
God is directing us for this next season to 'bunker down' here and really start establishing the House of Prayer Missions Base. We feel the first step is to find a location in the heart of town to begin gathering people for continual prayer. We will start by opening it everyday from 6am-12pm and open it up to the region. Our desire is to be open 12 hours a day by January. We are also beginning a weekly Encounter service on Wednesday nights and weekly evangelistic outreaches on Saturdays. Two of the young adults we have been working with are in the process of planting churches in the village this month. Our long-term vision is a House of Prayer Missions Base raising up laborers to plant churches in the context of night and day prayer. We are beginning the first full-time Discipleship School in January with 12 Young adults, so please pray as we take applications for the 12 openings. Also, we are holding 3 regional youth conferences in each of the 3 districts in Tororo over the next 3 months. The purpose of these is to stir up the call of God upon this generation, calling them into lives of intimacy with Jesus and the Great Commission.

Please Pray For:
-Wisdom as we determine the youth who will do the Discipleship School
-To find the right location in town for the prayer center and Youth Ablaze office
-Finances for a 15 passenger van before the school starts
-For the people in the Karamojong village to stand in salvation
-For Denis and Peter, the young men planting churches
-For finances for the discipleship school, roughly $400 a month
-For open doors in the Muslim community
-For greater power and anointing on our lives to see captives set free from demonic powers and sicknesses. That the dead would rise, the deaf hear, and the blind see.
-Grace to deal with baffling cultural differences :)
-To see doors opened and laborers sent in the North African nations; that God would give us the strategy and the wisdom to accomplish His will.

God bless you and thanks for praying!
Jesse, Rachelle and Hadassah

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Moving Rapidly Forward!

Praise God! Jesse, Hadassah and I have so much to share as we continue moving forward on this journey God has us on. The Lord has a real call upon the young adults of Uganda, and it becomes more evident everyday. We continue to be amazed that the vision he gave us of the Lord sending out arrows of light from this region into North Africa is one that is reiterated and confirmed by so many that we have met, here and in the US. He really has an inheritance stored up for this orphaned generation, if they will say "yes" to Him!! We believe that is why we are here, to serve them in their primary call to love Jesus with their whole being, and then in the call to reach the nations with the Gospel.

To that end we have begun putting down roots here in Uganda. We have moved into our home, which is too big for us, but we feel instructed to use it as a base of operations for the time being. We have a separate building on the property that we are renovating to use as a kind of dorm. We plan on hosting a full-time live-in internship that will be a community approach to discipleship. Prayer and worship will play, and already does take, a central role in our day-to-day lives, and we see it as the fuel for all that we do. God has already brought together an inspiring group of Ugandan young adults through past trips from the US, whom we fondly call the interns. They have rallied around us and are helping us adjust to life and teaching us many things. We love seeking the face of God with them! The Lord has already opened doors for Youth Ablaze to minister to the youth of the whole region through a regional gathering expected to bring 500 youth! We are praying and fasting, asking the Lord for his guidance on how best to serve them. Right now our main focus is on hosting the team from the US who are coming in July. We have a full schedule of Boot camp, Open-air preaching, VBS, youth conference and ministering in schools. Please pray for God's grace on the whole team, Ugandan and American, for health, safety, and for the power of God to be manifested!

On a more personal note, we have been struggling with some sickness and believe it is the enemy coming against the Holy momentum that is building. We ask for your prayers that we would know how to stand against the devil, and that we would walk in victory. Also, we have taken in a young girl named Christine. She is 13, her father died many years ago and her mother has completely rejected her. She is very bright, speaks English, loves school and loves the Lord. We prayerfully have taken her in and are supporting her. Please pray for the Love of God to penetrate and heal all wounds in her heart, that she would know her purpose and the Love of her heavenly Father.

We will write again soon, as we now have Internet access at home.We thank you for reading and may God bless you so much!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Our First Week = Learning Patience

Praise God! He is able! I find myself writing today at the home of Paul and Jean McFate in Tororo, Uganda, our new hometown. After a few days of family gatherings and tearful goodbyes, we set off for the airport last Tuesday morning at 5:15am. After a lengthy check-in (because of all our excess bags), we boarded the 7 hour flight to London. Not far into the journey Hadassah developed a fever and started to get sick. She slept most of the way after that and when we arrived we had to run to the next 8+ hour flight. Upon arriving we discovered that the airline had misplaced 7 of our 13 bags so we waited at the desk to file a claim. I realized immediately that Africa runs at a much slower pace than the west. There is a lot of waiting and looking around before anything gets done. God is going to teach me patience! We spent the following 3 days at the home of Ron and Shirley DeVore who have a lovely guesthouse right outside of the capital city of Kampala. We would spent the day out in the city shopping and going through immigration, then our evenings at there home in good company. We had so much to accomplish and it all had to be done in a couple of days because we had scheduled the moving truck to pick us up on Saturday. By God’s grace and with the help of the McFates we were able to do all the important stuff in time.
When the truck came we loaded it up and set off on the perilous roads to Tororo District. We didn’t realize that the Ugandan national soccer team had a game outside the city that same afternoon, so we were stuck in very heavy traffic (including scores of motorbikes and pedestrians) for hours. We had planned to get into town by 7pm. Instead we had to travel by dark. The highway is a combination of badly deteriorated pavement with massive potholes, and red-dirt packed stretches, which are shared by vehicles, tractor-trailers, pedestrians, bicycles, livestock, motorcycles, you name it! Traveling by night is very slow going. When we finally pulled into Tororo is was after 10pm. Hadassah had basically slept in my lap the entire journey and was very patient. (Her car seat was one of the lost bags). She still was feeling somewhat ill so she needed the rest. As we rounded the corner with the house almost in sight, the big diesel moving truck ran out of fuel. We almost cried, but instead we laughed. We took another vehicle to town, stopped for a container, searched for a fuel station open that late, filled up the engine and eventually got it started. Then, we completed the last mile to our house, unloaded the entire truck, paid the drivers, and went to the McFates house, where we got to bed around 1am. Like I said, everything takes longer in Africa. The whole journey probably would take 2 hours on US roads.
Anyhow, we are getting our stuff moved in and organized at our place, which is just so beautiful. The property is like the Garden of Eden, with a giant mango tree, an avocado tree, and a small cornfield (I am not joking) all walled in by tall hedges. For the last 3 days we have been cleaning and organizing the house, interviewing Watchmen, and having the house fumigated for cockroaches :) Tomorrow we will spend the day in Mbale (about 45 minutes away) where we can get a propane tank and other needed supplies. Then we will be ready to move in by the end of the week!!!
There are three houses on the compound where the McFates live. One is theirs, the second belongs to Ken Knowles (another missionary), and the third is called Awinjo House. It is used as a house for children 6-22 who are orphans or whose parents cannot care for them. The house parents are Michael and Immaculate, some of the sweetest people I have ever met. Last night we joined them for worship and prayer. The children all gathers in the main room and sang songs and cried out in prayers for one another. It was so beautiful. Several of them had been in the hospital being treated for malaria that day. We were honored to join them in worshipping Jesus. The youngest is 6, her name is gracious. Every time we get out of the car or come out of the house she runs and jumps into our arms and hugs us. She is unbelievably precious. Hadassah has many friends over there. They pass her from person to person until she gets tired of it. Or they will swing with her on the rope swing or run with the puppies (oh yeah, we got a Great Dane puppy on our way from the city, his name is Zion). This has been a very busy time, but we have had the chance to stop and enjoy it too.
Finally, we are making many good contacts and relationships with others who serve the youth in this region as well as some of the Interns we knew from before. We are praying that God will continue to order our steps as we step out in faith. We miss our friends and family back home, but God is putting good people in our lives here. May God bless you!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

One Week Left!

As we look forward to a new life in Uganda, it comes naturally to reflect back upon the last phase of our lives here in the US. I imagine it is similar to having a terminal illness, because every moment is suddenly so valuable and you choose carefully how you spend them. I have found myself looking around at the ways I spent my time and just thinking, I could have done so much more! Now, looking at the last few days living in NY I realize more and more how important the people God puts in our lives are to us and how they really make up our lives. Life is NOT stuff! Wow. That really hits you when you see all of your stuff go out the door. Life just boils down to the reality, and the questions you can't ignore are 'Do I really have a life in God?', 'Where have I been storing my treasure?', 'Has my life here had any impact upon the people around me?' These are tough questions, but I would rather face them now than in eternity. Praise God that His grace is sufficient for me!

Now, with a new beginning in a very foreign place, my prayer is that Jesus would be revealed for who He is. We truly are ambassadors of Christ, and I do not want to be a bad representation of Him to people who may have never heard His name before. So Lord, please purify me and remove those things which do not reflect your love and mercy. I want to be a vessel of honor for Your glory in the earth!

We are flying out on the 27th of this May, and will be spending a few days in the capital city, Kampala, to purchase the necessities for our home. We will then head "Home" to Tororo, where we will settle in, but not for too long! We will be helping to host a short-term team from the US for the Month of July. (We are so excited to have youth from the US joining with youth from Uganda to serve the poor and bring the Good News!) Please pray that we would have God's Spirit as we travel, and adjust, and for the summer program to be very fruitful. Thank you for reading, I will write again once we arrive in Tororo! May God bless you!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

We are ready to launch!

Welcome to our blog, a place where you can read about our family and life in Uganda, Africa, and hopefully be drawn closer to God through Jesus Christ. We are both excited and saddened to announce our departure on May 27th to East Africa. We will be working with International Accelerated Missions, focusing on discipling young adults in the Great Commission through IAM Youth Ablaze. We are so grateful for God's hand in our lives, and for all of those who are supporting us in this venture. Check back as we will be adding MUCH information in the coming weeks. May God bless you!!