Over the years I have had the privilege of traveling to connect with and encourage leaders around the world. Thank you to all of you who have been praying for me on these trips since I began serving as Global Connections Coordinator for FCA USA almost 2 years ago. I just returned from 3 weeks in Uganda, Burundi, and Rwanda, and I can tell you that God’s Kingdom is advancing around the world and the gates of hell are not prevailing against the called-out-ones of Jesus Christ!
I want to give you a quick glimpse into what God is doing through several of our Global Affiliates in the three countries in the Great Lakes Region of Africa that I was able to visit on this three-week trip. My wife, Sarah, and daughter, Abby, worked hard to be able to join me for 2/3 of this trip, and some generous friends helped Abby with the remainder needed to make this happen; truly a life-changing investment for her. I was greatly encouraged by the work being done in this region: The partnership that our churches have had with the ministries and leaders connected to World Outreach Ministry Foundation has borne much fruit.
It was a joy to be able to connect with Pastor Steven Mayanja, his wife Cissy, Bob Mayonza, and many others who are connected to Uganda Christian Outreach Ministries. We were also able to visit the Medical clinic in Seguku and to visit and speak at Seguku Worship Center with Pastor David Stuart for two services on a Sunday, the first service was all English, so you can check it out HERE, or HERE if you want to just hear the message that I shared. We also got to speak at a chapel service at Yesu Akwagala Bible School (Yesu Akwagala means “Jesus Loves You”) and at several High Schools.
We made a quick 72-hour trip over to Burundi for two days of seminars with Burundi Christian Outreach Ministries. I did not know this before preparing for this trip, but Burundi is considered the poorest country by GDP and among the “saddest” due to the impact from years of war and violence on society and individuals. Talking with Pastor Ezechiel, the leader of that group of churches, we found out that smiling was rare in the communities when they began over 1o years ago, and that it wasn’t until the ministries of reconciliation and healing came in to transform people’s hearts that you could begin to see smiles and joy. The welcome that we received was so warm and the worship was so joyful that you would not have known that you were in what the world considers one of the “saddest” countries in the world: God truly transforms hearts and entire communities!
We gathered with pastors and church leaders from over 10 churches to spend time in prayer, worship, and teaching on church and ministry leadership from Pastor Steve Mayanja and I. It was a powerful time: You’ll get a chance to hear him preach at the FCA USA Convention in a few weeks!
We also got to see the Primary School that has been founded in the village we were visiting. It was particularly challenging to hear of four teachers who have been volunteering their time for the last 2 years to teach students from 8 AM to 1 PM and then going to their gardens to work in the afternoons to be able to provide for their families: May God give us all that level of dedication for the work of ministry that he has called us to!
Speaking of dedication, one thing that the people we met had was dedication: Everywhere we looked there were plots of land that were cultivated: Where the world has declared poverty, God has provided resources and the dedication to steward those well!
That dedication was recently seen in the perseverance of Pastor Ezechiel with processing his visa to be able to join us at the FCA Convention in Minneapolis…After many appointments he was granted his visa today and he is looking forward to the opportunity to get to know all of you in Minneapolis!
We had a great time with the leaders there and this is their greeting to you:
From Burundi, we went back to Uganda for a few more days of ministry in my role as International Ministry Director with the Pilgrim Center for Reconciliation before traveling to Rwanda for a week of ministry training with Rwandan and Congolese leaders. God is doing great things through those servant leaders from various denominations and fellowships. Lots of good ministry during my 12 days with the national leaders of Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo!
On the last Sunday of the trip I was able to spend the day with Pastor Canisius Gacura and his wife Allen. They are wonderful people doing a great work in Kigali. They are pastoring a church called Nyabugingo (life-giving) in the part of the city known as “the place of the dead”.
Pastor Gacura was so joyful and humble, yet the depth of what God has done in him became clearer as I read the story of his life the following week. This is one of the most powerful stories I’ve ever read: I can tell you that his story will both challenge and encourage you to reach beyond yourself and live an unlimited life! It should be required reading for being a spiritual leader:
(This book is helping with the construction of the new church building and ministry center along with the partnerships with many of you). Buy it Seriously
This trip was longer than usual (23 days total) and very full of many good things. I am thankful for all of your prayers because there are many things that could have gone wrong while traveling for so long and with so many different things to get done in so many places, yet things went very smoothly. I was able to connect with many wonderful people from these ministries, and many other ministries I was not able to include in this update. I also enjoyed being able to eat fruit that I grew up eating (matoke, pineapple, mango…yum!) and it was also pretty cool to see THREE of the Great Lakes (Victoria, Tanganyika, and Kivu) and eat fresh fish from them…Delicious!
May God continue to provide for the advancing of His kingdom around the world by the power of the Holy Spirit through each of our local churches to make disciples of all nations!