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