EXHILARATED AND HUMBLED IN UGANDA
Phil Graf and I are now at the halfway point in our training trip to Africa. The response has been exhilarating yet humbling. In Kampala, Uganda we worked closely with Africa Renewal Ministries, led by Peter Kasirivu, who brought together 30 Ugandan regional leaders. Drawing from the book of Romans we imparted a missional theology, a strategy for outreach and multiplication, and a practical plan of action. Our goal, working closely with pastor Peter, was to see Ugandan churches spread the gospel throughout Uganda and also to neighboring countries like Ruanda, the Congo, and South Sudan.
Before the trip, we requested for a smaller, hand picked, number of leaders who would be most likely to take action to ignite a movement of churches to reach East Africa and beyond. We used a workshop format with lots of small group interaction, and with Ugandans doing the application. Here are some of comments we received:
- “The seminar removed a curtain for me to see Romans in a new way and go back and teach my people.”
- “I loved the teaching on the book of Romans. I didn’t know it would talk about mission. I also learned the power of team-work as we worked around tables together.”
- “I am overwhelmed with the love of God.”
- “The exposition of Romans combined heart and head. It was a foundation to take us to the next level of training leaders.”
- “I now see that Romans has a great value for church planting and reaching others.”
- “I am going back on fire. I received a spark.”
- “God is going to do something big. We have learned about networking, hospitality, empowerment, and reaching those God is bringing to us from other nations.”
Both Phil and I spoke at Sunday services at different churches in Kampala. Wow, do Ugandans know how to worship. It was a great experience for us and I hope for those attending the services (2000 in all at the two services I spoke at).
MOVING ON TO SOUTH SUDAN
From Kampala, we flew to Juba, South Sudan. I have never experienced as much chaos at an airport as we experienced going through passport control, getting our bags, having them inspected, and getting outside the terminal. It was wild. Phil’s New York background clicked in, and I drew from my LA freeway-traffic-at-rush-hour experience. We were grateful to make it outside alive, and happy to met by two young and deeply committed South Sudanese pastors.
South Sudan is a brand new country with little infrastructure. Its northern neighbor, Sudan, is seeking to overthrow the South Sudan government, as it is not happy that the South Sudanese mostly black African tribes have broken away from its domination. Armed soldiers were highly visible everywhere we went in Juba.
MORE EXHILARATION AND HUMBLING
We followed a similar format in Juba to our workshop in Kampala. Twenty-three South Sudanese pastors and leaders joined with Phil, pastor Peter Kasirivu and me for training. Peter recounted how the two of us first met after he heard about my book, The High-Impact Church. He went on to share how the leaders we trained in Uganda were encouraged to think missionally, and take action to ignite a movement of people who would reach other surrounding countries, as well as their own people.
Following the Juba training the responses were again exhilarating and humbling:
- “I have learned a lot about reaching out rather than just staying in my own church.”
- “This has encouraged me a lot and thrown me into the fire. It has caused me to focus on big things for God.”
- This has given me compassion to go where people are. I am so excited I don’t know how to express it.”
- “We learned so much. Please come back as we are in need of much more.”
One of the amazing things about the South Sudanese is that they speak Arabic, so we believe that God can use the Christ-followers there to reach other Arabic-speaking peoples. When Arabs see white skin, they think “enemy.” When the see black skin, they think, “Brother!” Our strategy is to work with leaders in Uganda to strengthen leaders in South Sudan who can reach into the Arabic-speaking world.
We are now on our way to Kisumu, Kenya to train more leaders who we believe are strategic to reach Kenya’s neighbor Somalia. We believe that training leaders in one country will lead to reaching people in other country, and that this will then lead to reaching people in yet other countries. It is like a game of checkers where you move from one square to another, sometimes jumping over one space as the Great Commission moves across the board.
Because of our great and all powerful Savior and Lord,