On the Way Home!

It’s hard to believe that we are now on the way home after 15 days in the field. This morning was a hard day for my family. We said goodbye to our Africa family this morning. I don’t know how many of you know this but we have four Sudanese children that live here in Uganda. Faith’s brothers Majok (23) and Anei (21) and Rebecca’s brother and sister, Aguer (23) and Abong (18). There were many tears as the day for goodbyes came all too fast. The last time we saw them was two years ago. They had all grown and changed so much it is hard to believe that they are all young men and women now. I saw so much love in them for us and for The Lord that I was blessed beyond measure. There is truly no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in truth. Anei was headed back to physician’s assistant school today that the rest were beginning to prepare for another semester of school. Majok is in the University studying business, Aguer who did not start school until 5 years ago just passed into secondary school and Abong who also started schooling 5 years ago is in her last year of primary school. In addition to our four kids, we also take care of Faith’s dad Garang whom we were able to bring to Uganda with Majok and Anei 14 years ago. We love them all so much and it is so hard to leave them behind not knowing when we will be able to return. Faith clung to her brothers and her dad and wept with them. I did not feel threatened at by the love Faith has for her dad. I know she loves me with all her heart. Even many of team members had tears in their eyes as they said good bye. They had taken our family into their hearts and loved them all in such an incredible way.

This has been such an incredible team. We have driven from one end of Uganda to the other spending countless hours in the vans. All without a complaint! Anytime we asked them to do something they immediately responded and always choose ministry needs over their own personal comfort. They labored tirelessly from early morning to late at night only to do it all over again the next day. I know they were tired sometimes exhausted yet they pushed on in order to share the Gospel and the love of Christ with more people. It has been a joy to serve side by side with them. With so large a team (20 from here and our 5 Sudanese that joined our team in Uganda), it could have been so different. Some of the areas that we were working not just resistant to the Gospel but in some cases had violently opposed it. Yet even in those areas we felt the peace and joy of The Lord. We knew that it was also because all of you at home were praying for us.

We all experienced so much. From seeing Muslim’s turning their lives to Christ to, hundreds of hands go up to accept Him n a small village along the Sudan / Uganda border. We have seen the wonder of creation as we encountered lions, elephant, antelope, crocodile and giraffe in Murchison Falls National Park. Our hearts were broken as our kids from Sudan and Garang shared their testimony of war, death and heartache contrasted with the salvation and love they found in Jesus. We all cried tears of sorrow over the life they had lived as Garang related how Faith’s mother was beaten so severely by the Muslim militia that it sent her into labor. He said that she died two days after Faith was born. Anei remembered that day though he was only about three. He remembers hiding in the bush, hearing the gunshots, crying, his dad telling him that he needed to be quiet. Majok had gotten lost in the chaos and Anei was worried about him.

It was truly a trip of contrasts. The beauty of creation contrasted with horror of poverty and disease. The hopelessness in the faces of so many without Christ contrasted with the joy of those who accepted Him into their heart.

One of our drivers, who I will call Ali (not his real name to protect him) who traveled with our team was a devout Muslim whom our other drivers had been witnessing to for some time. Our lead driver said that he invited him to drive our team because he wanted him to experience Christians who love him and be a good witness. He said, “I told him, you come and see these Christians, they are really different.” All we knew was that he was a Muslim. Our team loved him with the Love of Christ. About six days into our trip we were all gathered together on a large rock we call “Prayer Rock,” to celebrate communion with the church leaders in Midigo. One by one we came forward to take the elements of communion. I had explained communion to everyone there mainly because I wanted Ali to know that this was something that we do as believers. Then I saw Ali come forward to take the elements. I signaled to Hollow to continue on in worship and went to talk to Ali. I again explained what communion was and that this was what we did as Christian’s to remember the sacrifice that Jesus had made on the cross for us. I told him that we did this in faith and that it only really had meaning for us as Christians. Ali looked at me and said, I know this. It is what I want. That day, as Ali prayed the sinners prayer, in the middle of the bush in Africa on top of a rock, another child of God was born again! i was in tears. Praise The Lord!

This was one of the most fruitful trips that I have ever been on. Truly God deserves all the glory. All we did was show up. So many accepted The Lord and were plugged into good bible teaching churches. I know that all of our team members have been so touched that they will never be the same again. Thank you to all who have prayed for us! You were with us every step and every kilometer of the way!

Please don’t stop praying until we are all the way home!

Pastor Gary

Sent from my iPad

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