A Review of our May Delegation Mission to Uganda
So much of the New Testament consists of letters written to communities of faith for their upbuilding and maturation. The Apostle Paul was responsible for many of these communities and the letters written to address their needs - letters we now study and through which our faith is nurtured. Though Paul might have preferred to speak to them in person, he instead did what he was able to do: send letters for exhortation, instruction, and correction.
We have helped develop communities of faith in India, Uganda, Kenya, El Salvador, and the Philippines. Like Paul, we feel the responsibility for them to mature into Christ. No matter the trip agenda, our primary aim is always toward this end. Last week was no exception.
John Nyago and I had the privilege of traveling to Uganda last week to check in on our brothers and sisters. While with them, we had the opportunity to celebrate their successes, help them with areas that needed improvement, and continue to build biblical foundations for all that they do. Maturity in Christ isn’t merely reflected in church attendance. For our African brothers and sisters, it manifests in lots of ways, including the way they give of themselves to improve an impoverished school, the intentional methods used to grow food for undernourished children, the diligent practice of studying the Scriptures corporately, or the ethical way in which they manage a business. Paul writes, “all things have been created through him and for him,” and we give him glory in every single thing we do (Colossians 1:16, 3:23-24).
John focused his energy on helping our students understand the vision for our Institute program. We talked about the goal of their educational program - what it would mean for them to be “agents of change” in their society. We are building people up for the work of ministry, in order to change the world. Sometimes when in the midst of classes, homework, and responsibilities, students can lose sight of the bigger picture. John helped them to conceptualize the goal of all their hard work. When I asked Peggy, one of our students, about her time reviewing the academic, moral, and ministerial expectations, she smiled and responded, “Excellent, this week has been so helpful! I am happy for what we have learned from John.” John and I were overjoyed by this testimony and others.
While John was working with our students, I worked with our leadership, ensuring that they were rooting their work, teaching, and managerial methods in the Bible and not cultural norms. As an organization, God’s Word is our foundation for everything we do, and that needs continually tested and refined in every culture in which we operate. We want to be good stewards of what God has entrusted to us, so we regularly review our operations to ensure we are managing effectively. We identified some inefficiencies in the daily management of our agriculture efforts, which allowed us to correct and better utilize our resources responsibly. We also spent time looking at biblical texts so they could increase in their understanding of the pastoral care they are responsible for. This is an important aspect in helping our Institute students mature, and thus an area we continue to sharpen. One of our cooperatives, Josephine Nakimuli, thanked my wife for sending me on the trip by telling her “Thank you, but please always keep sending him. We need this boost in order to do what God has for us.”
As far as successes we observed, we were happy to find that The Trade had significantly increased in its sales (3,000% in the last 9 months!). We also celebrated the success of meeting an important goal of ours: providing two lunches every week for children at St. John’s Primary School. We are thankful for these successes and pray they continue as we diligently work to please God. I reminded our cooperatives that we are co-laborers together in this work, and that requires active participation not just in day-to-day tasks, but in the kind of spirituality that can discern issues and propose solutions outside of those offered by the world. It was a powerful time that I am happy to have participated in.
John and I are thankful for the time we had with our brothers and sisters in Uganda. We pray that what we were able to impart to them will produce good fruit. Thank you for praying! Please continue to keep our Ugandan family in your prayers.