Phil Graf and I returned this past week from Uganda where we took back-back-flights to the Entebbe airport, then drove an hour-and-a-half to the place where we stayed the night. Unfortunately, our suitcases didn’t make the flight change in Amsterdam so we slept in our clothes the next two nights (we had already slept in them on the over night flight to Amsterdam). The next day, we were joined by six Ugandans that we have been training to be trainers, plus Sammy Diab and Jane Hawkins from Brazil, then drove seven hours to the eastern Ugandan city of Soroti. There are lots of bumps on that road…Oh, my aching bottom.
In Soroti, we were there to coach the Ugandans we have been training as they trained other local Ugandan pastors. Four of our Ugandan trainers have been with us from the beginning of our three-year, four Phases of On-Expedition training (“Romans as a Life and Mission Map”, “Empowering Leaders for Multiplication”, “Aligning Your Heart With Father God’s Heart,” and “The Book of Acts and Multiplying Viral, Missional, Church Planting Movements”). These men have attended each of these four Phases four times each.
Four Ugandans (Jedidiah, Michael, Chris, and Moses pictured in long sleeves above) have progressed over the past three years from “Participants” to “Contributors” to “Co-Presenters” to “Lead Trainers” — in all four On-Expedition Phases. Thus, they are now “Master Trainers” and will lead the On-Expedition training in the various regions of Uganda, and across Ugandan borders into neighbouring countries. It was a joyous moment to celebrate with them and give each of them Master Trainer certificates.
Also pictured above are the pastors in the Soroti region who have completed Phases 1, 2, 3, and 4. We gave long sleeve shirts to the Master Trainers and short sleeve shirts to the others. Pictured below are all of the trainers and pastors being trained.
I didn’t feel well during the last few days of the training, especially in the evenings, so skipped a couple of dinners. Fortunately, I was okay and able to fully participate in the training during the daytime, as well as make the seven hour return trip to Kampala. That night, however, I broke out in a fever and ached all over. In the morning I emailed an SOS to several fellow trainers:
Moses, Phil and Sammy, I haven’t been feeling well the past couple nights, and this past night woke up a number of times through with a headache, joints aching, stomach ache, and a fever. Not sure if it’s a virus or maybe malaria? Could you stop by my room upstairs at the hotel and give me your input? I wonder if I should go to the clinic and have a blood test?
My teammates (from three different continents) concurred and took me to a clinic where I was diagnosed as having Typhoid. I was prescribed some antibiotics and spent the rest of that day and night in bed. Fortunately, I felt well enough to make the flights back home (the doctor said it was okay for me to travel and that I would not infect anyone). The second flight was brutal as there was very little cushioning in my assigned seat and the flight was full. I stood for four-and-a-half hours of the ten hour flight. I have a new metaphor for hell…a flight that never lands with no cushioning in the seat.
Back home, I saw my own physician a couple hours after I arrived, and he confirmed that I was given the right antibiotic, and that a week’s treatment should clear up the Typhoid…just drink lots of fluid and get lots of rest. I told Sharon that the doctor also said I should get a lot of TLC from her, and that the symptoms might last four or five years. She didn’t buy it! Dang!
GLAD TO BE HOME, GLAD I WENT
I came back a little worse for wear but full of joy at what God is doing through the leaders we have had the privilege of training in Uganda. Following is just one story of one of the men who attended our training.
From Rebel Leader to Church Leader
Charles (not his real name) was a rebel fighting in a rural area against the government forces of Joseph Kony. Like most rebels, he had a regular job and a regular life, and he fought alongside cousins and neighbors and friends. He knew some of Kony’s soldiers in the region and they respected him. One fateful day Charles’ forces ran into the soldiers, and unintentionally a Kony soldier was killed. Charles was tipped off to flee, or his mutilated body would be left as a warning to the rebels and civilians alike. Charles ran about 30 kilometers to the home of a former work colleague who took him in, protected him, and sent help to Charles’ family. The colleague was more than a friend; he was a pastor. He told Charles about Jesus Christ, and Charles surrendered his life— to Jesus as his Savior. Charles became a pastor over ten years ago, dedicating his life to share with the hurting and scarred people around him that the Savior who rescued him can rescue them too.
Thankful to be home and on the mend; thankful I went.
Our God is a mighty God,
Linus (and Sharon)