PRENOTE: BECAUSE OF THE LACK OF INTERNET OVER THE WEENEND, I AM SENDING THIS LATE. This describes Saturday, Feb 2 and Sunday, Feb 3. And was sent in the evening on Monday, Feb 4.
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I have three non-negotiables when I come to Africa. Internet capabilities, a way to get hot water to bathe in, and a cooled room (fan or AC) where I can escape the constant heat.
I heard a preacher one say, “Confession is good for the soul but it’s bad for the reputation.” So, here goes my reputation.
It has not been as easy to escape the heat on this trip like I am normally able to do. When I’ve had AC it’s been on and off. Fans have not been as helpful keeping my room cooled when I am trying to sleep. And Saturday the power went off in the guest house we were sleeping in which turned the fan off. Fortunately, with windows open, the room cooled enough during the night to get some sleep.
I graciously insist that I have a way to reach the internet when in Africa. It enables me to relay reports and prayer requests to you. Plus, it allows me to stay in touch with my family.
Friday night, the manager at the guest house where we stayed assured they had wifi. For some reason my phone could connect but this laptop would not. So, there was no report sent Friday. Then on Saturday, the guest house we were in had wifi but the power went out (see above) and that took the wifi down So, there was no Saturday report and no connection with home.
The inability to escape heat as much as normal, plus the down internet, then the 11 hours riding in slow traffic, in the heat the last three days has added to the challenge of this spoiled, mild weather city-slicker. But when I start to feel sorry for myself, I reflect on the challenges others face and mine are nothing. Like I said, I am a spoiled city-slicker.
OK, now that I’ve ruined my reputation, I’ll get onto todays (Saturday’s) report. Click here to read more.
Hillary and I slogged our way through Kampala. There is no way to escape major traffic jams where you move inch by inch, literally. Sometimes you are not moving at all. I put pictures into the album yesterday showing the traffic. It was worse today. I’ll put a picture or two into the album (NOTE: Which I did Saturday night from here.)
SOS AND SHANNON HURLEY
Hillary and I came here to connect with Shannon Hurley of SOSMinisries, Uganda. Shannon, and his wife, have been here 15 years. They’ve settled in a village area and have built a complex in the middle of it that includes a school, pastor training center with dorms, classrooms, faculty offices, library, computer center, etc. The School IS now through grade 6. Their plan is to add one grade a year up through grade 12. There is a soccer field, basketball courts, and a kids play area with bars, swings, etc. All in all, SOS owns 160 acres.
I’ve known Shannon for 16 years, or so. But this is the first time I’ve visited him here in Uganda. The reason we met was to explore ways to possibly work together, since we are both committed to helping churches become spiritually strong through expository preaching.
He explained the training program he is implementing at the Shepherd’s Training Center. Hillary and I went through our training plan.
REVEALING FACT BEFORE I GO ON:
Studies have shown that more than 90 percent of the untrained pastors and church leaders in the “evangelical-church-world” will never find their way into a formal Bible school of any kind. This highlights the huge need for high quality, non-formal Bible and theology training, which is what we provide.
Back to my review of the day.
I have two overarching objectives in this ministry. First, I want ITEM to be used of the Lord to get a movement of expository preaching started that will affect the African church in the next generation. Second, I want ITEM to be a catalyst to the blending of quality formal and nonformal training. A marriage of the two would go a long way to better meeting the need of the evangelical church in Africa, it not in the world. Today’s conversation was positive but Shannon is launching his schools this week and says it will take a year to settle in but after that, who knows what we might be able to do.
As they begin to train Bible expositors through the Shepherds’ Training Center and send them back into their regions around Uganda, we can connect with them and use them as models for those we are mentoring to do the same.
We also talked about having their graduates join us, using ITEM curriculum to train even more pastors at the nonformal level per ITEM’s plan. Then as men complete our training, those seeking formal training can be pointed in the direction the SOS Shepherds’ Training Center.
We also talked about having a “come and see” seminar at the SOS location for denominational leaders. (Note: In a later conversation with Hillary alone, he thinks he knows enough leaders from several denominations that we could do it on our own and have it be more interdenominational then in the future, still do what we talked to Shannon about.). With the size and scope of SOS, Shannon is going to meet a lot of evangelical leadership in Uganda that could benefit ITEM long term.
ON TO SUNDAY
Hillary and I attended the church on the SOS grounds. The sanctuary was packed with 400 +/- representing all ages, on hard wood pews, with no fans. So, we sat in the back near the door.
I asked his wife during breakfast if their service was more Ameriany or Africany. She suggested if was probably more Africany because they are in no hurry. It was! ????
It was loud and long. The benches were hard and he room was warm. I was very encouraged to see Ugandans with their Bible open going along. He preached from Matt 5:27-30 on adultery and looking at a women with lust in your heart. He hit is hard. He pulled no punches and it’s nedessary.
THE UGANDAN FAMILY SITUATION
According to both Shannon and Hillary, the family structure is almost nonexistent. For various reasons, men and women do not get married, they live together and have children together. They keep their personal money as their own and if the relationship gets difficult, the woman returns to her parents and the children are abandoned. This, according to the two men, is way too common and it is the same inside the church, and the majority of the pastors (I think they said) are no better.
So, Shannon hit this very hard and was quite explicit in his illustrations. He also talked about lusting and fanaticizing, pointing out that just thinking about it makes you as guilty as doing it.
BACK TO KAMPALA
The church lasted two-and-a-half hours (very Africany). When it was over, Hillary left right away to make our way back to Kampala where we spent the night.
SPOILED CITY-SLCKER ALERT
I insisted on paying a little more than normal to get a nice room with AC and hot showers and strong wifi, which we did.
I am currently about 30 mins away from boarding my short flight, Uganda to Kenya. After a major layover (8-9 hours) in Kenya, I’ll board the KLM flight to Amsterdam and from there the Delta flight to Portland. Lord willing I’ll touch down around 11:45am on Tuesday.
Sorry this has been so long. I am combining the Saturday and Sunday blog offering.
Thank you for coming along and for praying. I appreciate each one.
By His grace,
PRAY FOR SAFE, ON TIME FLIGHTS.