Determination

Today we met with one of our Bible School teachers. He told us of an incredible testimony that I had to share with you! 

One of the students finishing up at Kitgum is blind. He lost his sight in high school. He walks every day to class 6 miles. That’s 60 miles a week! He even arrives first for class! 

He works hard to come and study God’s Word. How often do I complain that I am too tired, too busy or it’s too hard to study God’s Word?

I asked how does he read the Bible? How does he prepare to preach? The teachers only response was that he has God’s Word memorized! Oh, that I would do the same! 

This blind man is one of the best students in this class. What a picture of determination to study, know and apply God’s Word despite obstacles. We too often spend our time seeking lesser things. He was a great inspiration to me today. I pray he will be a great inspiration to you as well.

Blogging

When we first started this blog, we were here in Uganda for three months. It was a time of exploration. We had been coming to Uganda for a few years bringing teams. We used those months to seek the Lord and He used that time to solidify His call for us to be here in Uganda.

Blogging became a way to communicate to you, our ministry partners in America. It was a way for me to process the events that were happening. It was an avenue for our family to give testimony to what the Lord has been doing as well as to share our hearts.

It has been a long time since I have written in this blog. As I sit here I am enjoying writing even this small letter. It’s like I am sitting down to coffee with you my friend. It really does help me to be still and think things through.

As we approach two years into our time here, I have realized that there just hasn’t been a whole lot of time to still myself enough to write. There is constantly a note in my to do list that says …. BLOG. To be honest I have about 7 that have been started, but I never seem to finish them. Please forgive me. Facebook has been a quick way for us to give you a glimpse into our lives.

There is another very important reason I have not been writing, something that paralyzed my writing. In the time that we have been here, we have learned a few things about our Ugandan friends.  Information is very important. They are very free to give generously of their things, but information about them and their life is very sacred.  We have heard stories about missionaries who share testimonies without permission and leave the person feeling very exposed. Instead of rejoicing together at what the Lord has done, it broke trust between them. Never do I want to share at testimony that causes pain or hurt to one of our Ugandan friends.

Another thing that I have learned is that sometimes as a Westerner, we like to discuss things that are different about the culture here. We laugh sometimes at things we see, or get frustrated about things that are different than our home culture. Sometimes through these “culture shock” experiences the Lord teaches us great things. However, sometimes as we share these things, our Ugandan friends read/hear them in a different light than we are meaning to share them. They can feel as if we are talking negatively about their people and home.

We are guests here. We love Uganda. The Lord has us here for a season and a purpose. As our supporters/followers expands, we now have many Ugandan friends who read what we are writing.  I never want my words to hinder any of the relationships that the Lord has so richly blessed us with.

Finally, that doesn’t mean that the blog is finished. I almost feel revived, just sharing this with you friends. I will do my best to ask permission before sharing testimonies and pictures. I will seek perspective before commenting on cultural differences. But know, there are so many incredible things that won’t get shared.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.IMG_8533

Christmas Calendars

CHRISTMAS IS COMING!

This year we are working on Prayer Calendars for our supporters instead of Christmas Cards. Each month will include pictures of different aspects of the ministry and a suggested prayer request.

Please be sure to send me an email with your current address if you have moved in the last year so that we can make sure you get your calendar. jerilynsemail@yahoo.com

Thanks printingcenterusa.com for doing some incredible work for us at an incredible price.

http://www.printingcenterusa.com/printing/catalog-printing , http://www.printingcenterusa.com/printing/calendar-printing

 I would definitely recommend them for your printing needs this Christmas.

Multiplication

” From the beginning of Christianity, the natural flow of being a disciple of Jesus has always been to make disciples of Jesus. “Follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19). This was a promise.  Jesus would take His disciples and turn them into disciple makers. And this was a command: He called each of His disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching themto obey   Him. (Matt. 28:19-20). From the start God’s design has been for every single disciple of Jesus to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples until the gospel spreads to all peoples” -David Platt, foreword to Multiply

  

This picture defines multiplication to me. 

This is Sam. Sam graduated from one of our village Bible Schools. Brian taught alongside Andrew Muwanguzi in the school Sam attended. Sam is now receiving further training through our BTCP class and is training to teach in our Bible Schools.

Andrew is also one of our Bible School teachers. East Africa Outreach has been investing in Andrew for years, helping him further his education and training. 

So here we are joining these two men in a ministry opportunity they have initiated in their own to continue to encourage and strengthen these pastors who have graduated from the program. These pastors are in turn inviting their church leaders and fellow pastors to come along and join the fellowship.

Multiplication!  We have found it a great investment to teach, train, and disciple pastors and church leaders. Reaching one who reaches many is the strategy of the Bible Schools, but how encouraging it was to see it play out today.

  

We are planning on returning back to the states in the fall for a few months. We hope to get around to all of our support churches. If you would like to schedule a speaking engagement to hear more about what God is doing in Uganda please email us at jerilynsemail@yahoo.com
 

Never doubt the power of prayer.

I feel like the last few weeks, we have been moving a mile a minute and there are so many things to update you on. The last thing I wrote to you about was my “lack of visa” problem. Well… if you follow me on Facebook, you know that we did in fact get the visa and made the trip to Kenya. The trip was amazing by the way, but the way the Lord worked it out for me to get the Visa was an absolute miracle.

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We were scheduled to leave on Sunday and this was the Friday before. I sat outside to have a quiet time and basically I told God that we needed to hash out this whole Visa thing. I made a list of all the reasons I wanted to go. I told Him that in my mind, none of these things were incredibly selfish, and that His Word says that I don’t have because I don’t ask. So I started another list of the specific things I was asking for. One being that we would get the visa by Monday, so that we could actually make the trip, just shorten it. Finally, I again surrendered to God’s plan, even if that meant we didn’t get to go. As I was finishing my list, the Lord brought to mind a man named Isaac that works in Immigration here in town. It was as if He was saying…. “Go see Isaac.”

So asked Brian to go by there and see him. A few hours laster, Brian called and asked if I could be ready to go to Kampala in 15 minutes.  Much later, all of our day’s assignments were delegated, we had a driver and we were on our way.

We arrived at the Immigration office and there was NO ONE IN LINE. I mean there were like two people in the security line. Last time, there were hundreds. We walked right in. A man directed us to the right building. We walked right up to the man we were looking for and told him our situation. YOU WON’T BELIEVE THIS…. He said, “Your passport is right here.” We walked in and out of immigration in 5 minutes. We called the driver to come get us and he hadn’t even found a parking place yet. Other missionaries we have talked to said that I am probably the only one in Uganda who has ever gotten what they needed from Immigration like that. It was unbelievable! Thank you for praying!

I also want to update you on a few other things we have asked prayer for:

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  1. 3 Stones Ministry.  We just finished module three about Biblical roles in the family and children’s rights. With women and children often being dispensable in this culture, this was a controversial module. The last few sessions the women at one of the classes have not been attending. They have been cooking the lunches and then after the meal, returning to the garden. So, this time we hired a cook to help them and encouraged the teachers to focus less on writing. None of these ladies have any education and the thought of taking notes has to be overwhelming. We also had our trainer spend some extra time during their home visits to encourage them. He was actually very surprised to find that many of these ladies were taking very seriously the sanitation teaching that they were learning. Our next module in March will be about prenatal care and early childcare. This is another module that has the potential to make real life change.  The two villages where we are doing the training have really been very receptive. We have even scheduled another training to work with the parents of a Compassion International Site to teach them how to make tippy taps and fly traps.IMG_5276
  2. Hannah Moshi Child Sponsorship Program. On February 27th we have our first meeting with the sponsored children! We still have just a handful of children who need sponsors. I have faith that they will be sponsored as well. If you are interested in sponsoring one of these last few ones, please SIGN UP HERE. This month we are working on getting all of these guys new uniforms, school supplies and personal letters from each of their sponsors. Can’t wait to tell you how things go. God has absolutely paved the way for this program to get started. In 50 days, these 50 children’s lives have been changed. Thank you for being a part.
  3. Terry and Debbie fly back this weekend. For some reason they trusted us enough to leave us in charge after just 3 1/2 months of being here in Uganda. Well, I am happy to say that we didn’t burn down the church and with the Lord’s help, I think we kept everything floating. Please pray for them this week as they say their goodbyes. It’s such a difficult thing to say goodbye.

Thank you again for your prayers. We know that we can do NOTHING without HIM.

Now we have a new prayer request. In just 16 days, we face our first Election here. It could pass smoothly, or it could be a complete upheaval. You just never know. We are stocking up in case we get stuck and fueling up and gathering our bags if we need to get out quickly. Thankfully we have my passport and could leave if needed.  Our prayer is this, please pray for a peaceful election and wisdom for the Western population as we go about our daily duties during this time.

Love you all! Thank you again.

 

They told me there would be days like this

Back in July we started working on the paperwork to get our resident visas. After lots of redo’s Brian received his work visa in October. The children were approved for their student visas as well. My visa is a dependent visa, so once Brian’s was approved mine should only take a few more weeks. That was the end of October.

After many emails and phone calls, still no visa.

We had a plan to visit Kenya after Christmas. One of my closest friends’ family is planning to move there to work with the Masaai people. They were going for a vision trip and well… I want to see her! I want to see where she will be living. I want to share this with her.  I wanted to take a little trip with our family for Christmas.  SO WE NEED THAT VISA.

Again after many emails and phone calls leading up to Christmas, nothing.

We decided to go up to Kampala and sit in the office until we got some answers. Finally on the way to Kampala we get a response. They won’t be in the office again until next week. So we decide to go to immigration and try to get it ourselves. When we finally find the immigration office, there is a line completely out of the complex and down the road. There were hundreds of people there to be seen on the first office day after the holidays. We realized that even if we stood in line, we wouldn’t be seen that day. Later on we found out from the lawyer, that no one in immigration would have been able to help us, because the receipt for our payment is held by the lawyer.

Are you getting frustrated? I know I was.

Brian had to stop and add some minutes to his phone, which usually takes a while. I pulled out my journal and began documenting all of the things that I felt the lawyer had done wrong. The more I complained, the more the still small voice reminded me that He is in control.  My ranting became replaced with a submission to whatever He wanted. I began writing out this verse:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him….

My plotting was replaced with a desire for my actions and attitudes to reflect Christ no matter what happened that day. And then the rest of the verse came:

and He shall direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6

So we never got the visa. In fact, we had to leave our car in Kampala for a few days to have some work done on it. And, in the middle of the craziness I accidentally threw Brian’s fake tooth away with our lunch trash.  The day was full of possibly frustrating situations. But I remained with great peace! You know I have read about that somewhere, that peace that passes understanding.

So what about that visa? Well, the office doesn’t open until one day after we are supposed to leave. If we can get it then, we will postpone the trip a day. But if not, we don’t go. And as much as I want to see my dear friend, I am at peace either way.

How about you? Is there something robbing you of the peace that God promises? What do you need to trust Him with?

 

Finish the year by starting strong

Thank you for making 2015 one of the most incredible years of our lives. Thank you for partnering with us to bring Biblical Truth to East Africa.

Yes, we primarily serve in Uganda. Being here for six months has shown us, however, that this town is a strategic spot for reaching all of East Africa. Jinja is a melting pot of East Africa. If we can reach them and train them before they return to their home, they can bring the gospel to places we would never be welcomed.

Would you consider helping us start off 2016 strong with a end of the year gift?

Here are some needs we see for the upcoming year:

  1. New roof for Acacia Community Church, about $1,000
  2. BTCP Class funding, Biblical Training Evening Course for those who work during the day in Jinja. Each student pays a small amount for their book, but there are other financial obligations to keep the class running.
  3. New Classroom for Acacia Community Church’s Children’s program.

Thank you for giving towards our general fund! If you feel led to give to any of the above items, we say thank you in advance.

To donate, click here.

50 Children in 50 Days!

Four years ago we set under a stick structure with a tattered tarp roof and heard Pastor Robert share his heart to reach his Muslim Community. The hill where the small school/church met was once the place where the Muslims of that area beat and killed people for breaking the Muslim laws. Pastor Robert knew that the Lord wanted to use that hill to be a place of new life in Him, not a place of death.

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His vision was to open a much needed school, where he would teach the children the Gospel, with hopes that in the future there would be a church. Within one year some of the families were begging Pastor Robert to open a church on the school property so that the children could hear him preach.

God has done some incredible things in Nzigu!  East Africa Outreach and Macedonian call have walked along side them to build classrooms, purchase the land, and build a church structure.

Now there are over 200 children attending the school. Unfortunately about 50 of them are completely unable to pay their school fees. Most of these children are orphans, taken in by distant relatives or other families. These children have no way of paying for their education. The goal of the school is not only to give them an excellent education, but to point these children to Jesus. With that in mind, the school doesn’t want the children to stop coming to classes.

Having 50 children who can not pay for school has created some financial strains in the school. It has made it difficult to pay good teachers, to provide lunches and even to get the basic materials for the classrooms.

That’s why we have begun a child sponsorship program! The children are on their long break from school and will return in February. Our prayer is that when they return, we will be able to announce to these 50 children that they can continue to attend school and that their fees are paid for.

You can be a part!

For $25 a month you can give a child not only an education, but point them to Christ.

$25 includes their school fees, uniforms, lunches on school days as well as materials for a discipleship program on Saturday mornings.

You can communicate with your child via email or postal mail.

Sign up today to begin a life changing relationship with one of the children from Hannah Moshi. 

 

 

What’s a Village Bible School?

So often when I tell people that we do Village Bible Schools, I realize that their first thoughts are filled with crafts and children’s games. Although we do minister to children, this part of our ministry is no child’s play.

We bring Biblical Training to the rural villages, where no Theological training is available. Most of these pastors have had no training whatsoever. Many of them have been placed in the position because they are the only upstanding man in the community. Some do not own their own copy of Scripture. Many of the Pastor’s preach things they have been taught through the grapevine, something they heard on the radio, or even something they dreamt about the night before.

Although on paper, Uganda is a Christian nation, there is not a lot of the true Christ being preached. (On paper America is a Christian nation as well, but well…) The harvest is ripe here! God has had His hand on this nation for years, and the Gospel has advanced, but so has false teaching. Satan has twisted the truth and he does it well.

Our goal in these Bible Schools is to give a good foundation to those who teach the masses. We provide a 9 month program free of charge to these Pastors. We send a teacher to them one week a month for the nine months. They learn Doctrine, Pastoral Leadership, Church Organization, Church History, Bible Study Methods, Preaching, about Other Religions, and many other subjects. When they complete the course, they receive the equivalent of an Associates Degree from the Uganda Baptist Seminary, an IMB Seminary.

Here in Jinja, we are strategically placed for maximum impact in East Africa. Jinja is a melting pot of East African peoples. Even in our own compound there are 4 different nations represented (plus the USA!). People come here for work or education and then return to their homes. We have the opportunity to train them up and the sending happens naturally.

We ask you to pray for these schools! Our current budget only allows us to run 7 schools at a time. We have many other schools on a waiting list. We also have teachers who are so excited about the program that they have volunteered their time to teach the class without pay or transportation help. We have one of these special classes starting in Mombasa, Kenya this month. Keep those other special classes in your prayers as well.

Village Bible School Prayer List

  • 1st Week of the Month: Busia
  • 2nd Week of the Month: Gulu and Kaliro
  • 3rd Week of the Month: Pakwach and Kiyinde
  • 4th Week of the Month: Bugiri and Lira

Pray that those who have begun will remain committed and finish strong. Pray for protection for teachers and students as they travel to school.         Pray that the students would understand and clearly be able to communicate the truths of Scripture that they are learning.                             Pray that the Lord would open their eyes to the false things they have been believing and teaching and that they would respond in repentance.     Pray that family and friends who attend graduations will accept the gospel. Pray that Pastors be men of integrity and character. Pray for open doors to teach the schools in the South Sudanese refugee camps.

Thank you for delivering the Truth to the nations of East Africa! May He richly bless His work in us!

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All Authority is His!

Thank you everyone for praying for Debbie Nester. Her surgery was a success! Just one month post surgery and after many Physical Therapy sessions, which she refers to as Physio-terrorism, she is able to walk without a crutch for short spurts.

The Nester’s did delay their flights back to the United States by two weeks to allow her some extra healing time. That was a great move, both for her health and also for our preparation for their leaving. They are now back in Virginia for the holidays. They have a packed schedule full of family and speaking engagements.

Our prayer is that she will continue to heal while there without any complications and that Terry would be able to clearly communicate the vision for East Africa Outreach as he speaks in various places.

With their absence, Brian will act as the director of East Africa Outreach. We are still trying to wrap our minds around all that includes. We are one week into our new roles and responsibilities. And although, I feel like we gotten a lot of things done. I feel wiped out. We only completed two days of school. And to be honest, it has been so busy that I have struggled to calm my heart enough to spend meaningful time in with the Lord.

Sunday, we had a guest speaker, who was continuing in Ephesians 1.

15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love[f]toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

He shared some of the main themes of Paul’s prayer for this Ephesian church, but spent the majority of his message reminding us of the Authority that Jesus actually has. What an unexpected insight on this passage for me. Jesus knew this was exactly what I needed to hear. In light of the full authority that Jesus has, I still have to submit to that authority in my daily life. I have to slow down from all the tasks I am doing to “serve God” so that I can “be with God.”

I have to be filled up with Jesus so that I can BE Jesus to my family. Because, let’s face it, they are the ones that saw the worst of me this week. It’s easy to stop what I’m doing to attend to a visitor, but then I may bark at the children for the mess they made while I wasn’t paying attention. They are the ones who pay when I am running on fumes.

My heart’s desire and my goal for this week is to seek the Lord first. To be filled with Him for my tasks, and not just go at it on my own. When I feel overwhelmed, take some time to return to the Lord for fuel, nothing else will satisfy.

What about you?