Uganda 0213 Update #2

2 Tim. 3:16 (NKJV) – “16  All Scripture  is given by inspiration of  God, and  is profitable for doctrine, for  reproof, for correction, for instruction in  righteousness,  17 that the man of God  may be complete, thoroughly equipped for  every good work.”

Right now I am somewhere over Egypt. A land that at one time held the Israelites in bondage and another time shield the young savior. As I look at the moving map of our plane projected over the Middle East I am reminded of so many who are in bondage to sin and death at this very moment. The thought of this should inspire us to be even more fervent and bold in our witness of Jesus Christ and the salvation and hope that only He can give. I have been inspired by the inspired word of God to trust in Him, to cultivate faithfulness, to love Him with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. I am inspired to serve Him, not in my own strength and wisdom but in His. I am inspired to take the message of the Gospel to my neighborhood, my country and to the uttermost parts of the world.

This is leg 3 of my five part trip to Uganda. So far I am doing well, getting rest and feeling the peace and presence of God.

I just met a friend of mine in the airport in Frankfurt that I had not seen in years. His name is Yassir and we used to serve together in Sudan. Yesterday, I called another one of my friends when I was at the airport in Denver. He lived in Colorado and God brought Bill to mind so I called him. His phone connected me to an overseas phone which was answered by a voice I didn’t recognize. He said, “Gary, is that you?  Gary Kusunoki?  This is Yassir.”. He was with Bill in Egypt and they had been talking about me earlier. When Bill saw my caller ID he handed the phone to Yassir and said, “you have to answer this. You won’t believe who this is.”  As we talked I told him that I was thinking about him because I was going to be in Frankfurt the next morning and the last time I saw him was about 10 years ago in Frankfurt. He said that he was going to be arriving in Frankfurt tomorrow morning about 1 1/2 hours before me. We arranged to meet in the transit area. Only God could have orchestrated that!

We met and spoke of family, old times, and our heart for the lost. He has continued to work in the Middle East and said that the Spirit of God is moving mightily there. People in unreached and unreachable areas are getting saved through dreams of Jesus and other outpourings of His Holy Spirit. Over 1 billion Muslims who need to hear of the cross of Christ. People need to hear. It gave me an even more fervent passion to pray for those all over the world who have dedicated their lives to sharing the love of Jesus in some of the most difficult mission fields. Many missionaries and believers who are weary and feel as if they can’t go on. God will give us the strength if we will but trust Him in absolute surrender. If we will but trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross.

Keep praying!  I’m getting closer!

In Christ Love,

Pastor Gary

Uganda 0213 Update #6

Today we went for a meeting with the Yumbe District leaders. The first man we met was James who was the Secretary of Social Services. He is the lone Christian among the executive council and he asked for our prayers as things can be very difficult for him.

He said they heard of the work that was done with the last team in the medical clinics and veterinary programs and are very happy with the results. Many of the people were very happy that we not only cared for their people but also their animals. They were very happy with the work that had been done.

There is a real gap in what is able to be done by the government.

He said, Calvary Chapel is unique in the district in terms of their care for the people.

James said the greatest need is for the Gospel as this is really an unreached area.

The medical and educational work being done in Midigo is very historic in terms of this area and so very promising.  Pastor Brent told him that Janay Hamrick the missionary from Calvary Chapel of Westgrove is going to be teaching education and computer science.  He said that this has never been done before and is not even in the secondary schools. 

We then went to meet the Chief Executive Officer of the district.

Pastor Brent said that what has been done was in the name and love of Christ.

The CAO said he was very humbled by the work that had been done. He said the 13 years Dr. Emuku was here has contributed to our stability. It shows the commitment that Calvary Chapel has to care for people. You came first when everyone else was running away. He said again that he was humbled and happy with what you are doing. His own secretary is taking her child to the boarding school in Midigo. He sees that he will have to come himself and see the facility for himself.

People of Midigo talk about Calvary Chapel with very peaceful hearts.

He then asked us to close the meeting in prayer. Pastor Brent prayed in the name and love of Jesus.

(If this is a repeat email or the first time getting an update and you would like the past updates please let me know. I have to be very creative on how I send this due to the connection being so sporadic)
Pastor Gary

Uganda 0213 Update # 7

Philippians 1:12-14 (NKJV) 12  But I want you to know, brethren, that  the things  which  happened to me have  actually turned out for the furtherance of  the gospel,  13 so that it has become  evident to the whole palace guard, and to  all the rest, that my chains are in Christ;   14 and most of the brethren in the Lord,  having become confident by my chains,  are much more bold to speak the word  without fear.

One of the reasons I love ministering in the church in Africa is that it reminds me so much of the New Testament church. Especially here in Midigo. The people here are considered to be by and large unreached with 99% of the population not being Christians. As you can imagine this can make for a very hostile environment in which to plant and grow a church. On Sunday, Calvary Chapel of Midigo will celebrate its 12th anniversary. Their growth in the Lord despite overwhelming circumstances and persecution is so inspiring. They are constantly being threatened and those who accept the Lord are often beaten and threatened with death if they do not recant. Still the church has persevered and reached out in love to the entire region. The spiritual growth of the people despite the persecution demonstrates the power of His Holy Spirit to give us power to be his witnesses in any circumstance. We are encouraged back home to be bold witnesses knowing that it is the same God who is empowering and overflowing from the lives of the persecute believers here.

The church here is so hungry for the Word of God. They want as much teaching as they can get and it is such a joy to see their desire to learn as much as they can.  It was really encouraging to see that they were putting the teaching that Chris DeRuyter and I did into practice.

This afternoon Dr. Juventine and I walked around the hospital compound and reminisced about the beginnings of the work here. We went to the mango tree where he first began to see patients and then walked the wards. The Lord has done such an incredible work of grace here. A maternity ward, an operating rooms, outpatient clinics are just a few of the miraculous works God has done. When Juventine first arrived 4 children were dying of malaria everyday. Mothers were dying and childbirth and infants were never being born. Since that time malaria deaths have been reduced to just a fraction of what it once was and maternal mortality reduced by more than a third. God has saved so many lives not just spiritually but even more importantly spiritually as hundreds of people have come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. How humbling it is to be even a small part of God’s plan.

Please continue to pray for the work here. The hospital is in need of many upgrades and funding to continue their mobile medical clinics. The hospital beds need new mattresses and sheets as well as more personnel to keep the hospital clean and prevent infection. We need two Christian doctors willing to do as Juventine did and come here to serve the Lord and the people of Midigo.

I praise God for all that He has done!

In Christ,

Pastor Gary

Uganda 0213 Update #8

“Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the strength of Christ may rest upon me. Wherefore I take pleasure in weakness: for when I am weak then am I strong.” 2 Cor. 12:9-10

I am on my way home now retracing the flights I took just six days ago (with the exception of Denver since I’m going to LAX). I’ve been thinking about the things that the lord has taught in just the last few days. When I was checking in today the airline representative asked me what I enjoyed the most on my trip. I said the people. I have so many people here in Uganda who I am privileged to call friend and brother or sister.

One of the greatest lessons I learned from the people is strength. I learned this through watching the lives of the Christians in Midigo. They live with so little by our standards and yet have so much more joy than those of us that have much. The Christians in Midigo are surrounded on all sides by those who would love nothing more than to destroy them. They are weak from an outward perspective having no way to protect themselves on their own. As we drove through the streets of Yumbe a town about 35 minutes south of Midigo we saw a group of Pakistani Muslim clerics walking down the road. They are here going from hut to hut spreading hatred for Christians. The work in Midigo has aroused their anger as the Gospel is going forth and people are coming to the Lord. They have tried to stir up the leaders in Midigo and encouraged them to burn down the church but the Muslim leaders have refused. They said, “these people care for us.  They teach our children and treat our sick. They are good people.”

It struck me as I heard this that their strength is the love of Christ that overflows from them. They love the community and the community loves them. The Christians trust in the Lord and He gives them His grace, mercy and strength. I see them as great Christian soldiers standing valiantly in the fight.  In humility they see themselves as simply believers and are so grateful when we come over to teach, or play with the children or work in the hospital. I taught Philippians on this trip but I learned more by their example of humility then I ever gave them.

I have been reading a book called “Humility” by Andrew Murray a 19th century pastor. In his book he says, “Let us learn the lesson – the highest holiness is the deepest humility. Yes, let us ask whether we have learnt to regard a reproof, just or unjust, a reproach from friend or enemy, an injury, or trouble, or difficulty into which others bring us, as above all an opportunity of proving Jesus is all to us, how our own pleasure or honor are nothing, and how humiliation is in very truth what we take pleasure in.”

This is so where I desire to be but it is where so many believers in Uganda and other persecuted regions of the world live everyday. His strength being made perfect in their weakness.

May each of us learn the lessons of the suffering church. As the church in Smyrna, rich in their poverty and suffering for the Lord (Rev. 2:9).

Thank you Pastor Juventine, Pastor Charles, Pastor Sam and all the believers at CC Midigo for teaching me this lesson.

Awadifor – webele inyo

The Missions Blog for Calvary Chapel San Juan Capistrano