A few months ago I was approached by Jeff Atherstone, the principal at Gaba Bible Institute (GBI), to join him and an American film crew in the creation of a handful of promo videos for ARM. I didn't really think much of it at the time, but have got to say that I feel so blessed to have gotten the chance to work on such a noteworthy project.
This week has taken the four of us, Jeff Atherstone, Jacob Lewis, Jeff Henson, and myself, to the North of the country. First Soroti, and then Lira. We've been documenting the struggles that Ugandan pastors face on a daily basis, and I gotta say it's really opened my eyes! It seems I've come so accustom to noticing the young and the sick, that I've never really thought about the welfare of the shepherds. It's really crazy to realize that almost every pastor here has had no training what so ever, and since their not really looked at as a big investment by their village, no one is willing to send them to bible school. Seems a bit strange but here's how it traditionally works;
A community will come together to fund a village member who shows a good amount of potential in the hope that that vary member will then return home and get a good paying job. That person is then expected to turn around and fund others in the community to enable them to achieve the same thing. The problem with this system is that most Ugandan's know that a full time pastor will most likely end up a poor man, making it less enticing to want to send them to school. It's a scary thing to think about since these figure heads are the ones looked to in times of crisis but will be the first to tell you how ill-equipped they are.
That's why this week has been so great! Not only have I been able to work with an amazing group of guys on a fantastic team, but I've also grown in an understanding of what the church here really needs. Equipped Leaders!
I now want to ask you for two things...
First and foremost, PRAY!
Pray for the conditon of the church nt only here in Uganda, but at home and all over the world. Pray that God brings healing and colaberation to the many communities that are the church.
Secondly, I would ask that anyone who reads this will take a look at what GBI is doing and really consider how easy it could be for you to take part in the transformation!
This week has been amazing to say the least. We packed up early Sunday morning and jumped in a taxi with our pal Morris en route to Bombo! We found ourselves filled with anticipation of what the week's medical mission would hold. We joined a team of doctors and staff sent through Peninsula church to Bombo Pentecostal Church. When we got to the church, things looked like business as usual. The church was still a church and service went on just like the previous times we visited. It wasn't till church ended that we realized what we had gotten into. In just a few hours, BPC was changed from an unassuming Ugandan church, into a full blown medical clinic complimented by it's own full service pharmacy. We arrived Monday at around 6:30 and were shocked to be greeted by about 200 people waiting to receive free medical care. The mission was off and running and before we knew it we had reached the end of our first day and saw over 500 patients. The week went on in pretty much the same way only differing by the increase in people waiting for us each morning! The turn out was amazing and trumped only by the stories behind each case. The boy in the picture above was one of the most alarming. He had been quietly waiting for his turn to see a doctor all day and was finally told that he'd have to come back early in the morning due to the number of patients in front of him. As he limped away, Coryn was shocked by the look of pain on his face. She asked what was wrong and the little guy just pointed at his hip. Upon further inquisition, we learned that he had undergone a hip surgery a few years back that had gone horribly wrong! The surgeon had fused the boy's growth plate to his hip eliminating any future growth of his leg. As if that wasn't bad enough, his body had now rejected one of the surgical screws which was now shooting out of his skin about 3 inches . We couldn't believe it! We almost sent the poor guy home and he didn't even try to plead his case to us! The doctors saw him immediately and had the screw out and the wound disinfected in no time. The saddest part of the whole thing was realizing that it was a 10 minute procedure that could have been done 2 years earlier when the problem started but, since access to proper health care is scarce, the family had no other option. I was just told today that the boy is screw, and for the most part, pain, free.
I could go on all day about cases similar to this but I'll save you the time. Besides the general medical problems, the team also performed a number of hernia and cosmetic surgeries. I can honestly say, after spending a day filming in the surgery room, that I've now seen things I'd never seen before. I was amazed, not only by the skills of our own doctors, but also the ingenuity of the local surgeons to do so much with so little. It was also interesting to have the sounds of roosters and goats filling the air during surgery!!!
By the end of the week, we saw over 2000 patients and at least 400 people came to Christ! We really felt God working on the grounds of Bombo and our hearts! Coryn and I really hope to be part of the team next year before we go!
Till next time...
This week has started off great! We really enjoyed church on Sunday and got all of our cleaning and shopping done Saturday before the rain. The school that Coryn teaches at just got out on holiday so she started helping out at ARM's new baby home. I think she's really loving it over there and is getting pretty attached to the babies there.This little guy is Daniel. He's about 7 months old and was abandoned at birth. He's got cataracts really bad so the poor guy can hardly see. When he first arrived, he was really malnourished and the doctors didn't give him much of a chance. It's been really great for both of us to see him progress to a fairly healthy baby right before our eyes! We are a little worried because the doctors think his cataracts might be a symptom of a more serious heart condition and are taking him for further testing this week. We hope you'll join us in praying for this little life and the testimony he may one day become!
Til next time...
I suppose we can't let them build up like we did in the states. We're learning pretty quickly that even though Uganda seems to move at a slower pace, it's not a place you can just put things off for another day. Everything we do seems to take some kind of planning down to the remembering start the hot water 15 minutes before we shower. It's definitely a different way of living for us. Good news is we finally have our internet working and can interact with all you beautiful people a little easier! (and cheaper!!!)
Our friend Hope came and stayed the night with us on Friday and was amused, to say the least, at the way we cook our food and generally run our house. She helped us out a lot by taking us to the market and showing us how to negotiate for food. I think the best part was at the butcher! Coryn almost lost it when the butcher hung a fresh that was still twitching only a few inches from her face. I made Hope scrambled eggs in the morning but she wasn't too fond of them because they were "too soft". I figured out later that they don't put milk in their eggs.
On another note, We're glad to hear that our Friends Don and Elaine, who we were with for our first two weeks, have returned safely from their trip through the Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi.
Pastor Alex and his wife Millie, who they partner with in Bombo, and two other Americans, Jackie and Mark.
We're sad to have to see them go at the end of the week but excited to see how they'll further their ministry state side.
Coryn and I are getting pretty excited for a medical mission we'll be assisting with at Alex's church in Bombo towards the end of the month. We're not quite sure what our roles will be yet but We've heard that the word is getting out and the need should be huge!!
All in all, I think we're getting used to things pretty well around here and are able to concentrate a little more on serving and a little less on cultural differences. Till next time...