Sunday, June 12, 2011

2011 Forging Forward!

The last 18 months have been a literal whirlwind. We are currently in the States for 3 months traveling and sharing, and we are getting the chance to take a breath and look back over everything the Lord has been doing. Our general feeling is: WOAH! Just to summarize a bit, the Missions Base in Uganda is growing in size, in depth, and effectiveness. The Lord has been faithful to bring together the needed staff members from both Kenya and Uganda with specialties in the areas they are needed. He has also brought in an amazing group of young adults whose whole aim and passion in life is to serve the Lord. They are coming from at least a dozen different tribes and as many different walks of life. Our student body includes a married couple who were called into cross-cultural missions separately from a young age, a former street boy turned worship leader, three former Muslims who are preparing to go plant churches in Muslim areas, a young single mom turned preacher, and many other remarkable people with amazing stories of how God has brought them up and called them into His army! I hope to highlight some of their stories one at a time in this blog, as well as the church planters who are being sent out.

- 2010 School Photo -
18 Full-time Students, 1 Full-time Intercessor, 6 Full-time Missions Base Staff, and 6 Children

In the past year we have mobilized teams of African young adults on missions throughout Uganda, to the northern region of Karamoja, all the way across to the Western border with Congo. In December 2010, our graduating class took a three-week mission into Northern Kenya where they experienced what it is like to minister in a completely Islamic area. The testimonies are awe-inspiring; that God loves these people so much He is pouring out His spirit with miraculous healings, salvations and deliverances taking place.
Jesse was able to personally lead several people to the Lord, one of which is named Muhammad (pictured), and had been a Muslim and an alcoholic for his whole life (he is in his 30's). He is now one of the students going through the Discipleship School with a vision to return and reach his tribe and the surrounding tribes with the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the year 2010 our team spent a total of 118 days in 20 different locations preaching the gospel and ministering to the needy with approximately 1166 souls confessing Christ as Lord and Savior! Praise God!!!

The Lord has always given us a focus on unreached, unengaged people groups, but more recently He has drawn our attention to some specific tribes in our region of the world and we are praying for open doors to send laborers in. God answers prayer and doors are opening! We received a request from a pastor friend in Mount Elgon Kenya for one
of our graduates to assist one of his members in planting a church in Southern Sudan where he had begun a Christian school. Joseph (pictured), one of our grads was ready to go, and as I right this he is on a difficult journey with another brother to work in a very remote area with no access to any real roads, power, phone, nothing! We are able to support him with a small among each month as well as covering his travel expenses. There has been no known evangelistic work in this tribe in at least 2 years. We are very excited about this new venture, and are praying for the Gospel to bear fruit in this hard and difficult land. Will you pray with us for Joseph and others like him who are going where no one else will go and for a church to be firmly established among the Toposa?

Lastly, a note regarding our little family. The Lord has blessed us with a small house to rent, and our daughters are doing wonderfully. Hadassah is "4 almost 5" as she says, and Bethany is going on 2. Haddie has started home schooling and Bethany is running around while taking her time talking :) We are blessed by the gift God has given us of raising our children on the mission field. They are learning from experience what it means to wait on the Lord, and what true poverty and suffering looks like. They also are getting a good helping of old-fashioned fun and childhood, uncluttered by the materialism and indoctrination going on in the Western world, for which I am constantly grateful.

This is the scripture the Lord put on my heart recently as an encouragement:

"Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph,
and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge
in every place. For we are the fragrance of Christ
among those who are being saved and
among those who are perishing."
2 Cor. 2:14-15

Bethany Rose and Hadassah Marie, Enjoying Easter Sunday at Grandma's house in New York

Our recent visit to the young church planted in Karamoja, Northeastern Uganda by Youth Ablaze graduate, Paul Jaka. In the past two years Paul, his wife and three children, moved to Karamoja, planted two new churches (under trees) and have adopted two orphans. We are able to support him with $100 per month and he has started a small business.

New believers being baptized in a water hole. There has been an extended drought in this region so the water hole was even smaller than usual. More than 20 people went through the baptism class and were baptized this day. Glory to God!