Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sunday in Uganda

Kingdom Preparation Center is a wonderful small village church pastured by our dear friend, Pastor Peter. It opened in January of 2008 –meeting beneath a mango tree. They hung a piece of an old tent to block the view of the street so people wouldn’t be distracted by those passing by. They had four chairs and the rest of the people sat on the ground. After some months they asked the railroad people for permission to construct a small building as they were meeting on land owned by the railroad. After paying $50 to the railroad they were given permission. They constructed a church with thick tree limbs and poles. Then nailed rusty tin panels taken from a torn down building to them forming walls. There were poles down the center aisle of the church supporting a new tin roof.

We sat near the front of the church with our plastic chairs planted firmly on the cow-dung-mixed-with-dirt flooring. The room was warm and crowded and we were grateful for the gaps in the walls that allowed the breeze to sweep over us. There were beautiful freshly picked flowers tucked here and there into the tin panels.

Everyone rejoiced with the assistant pastor who was presented with a bicycle so he no longer has to walk the long distance to church.

People stood to tell of God’s faithfulness. One woman told how she had come out of a family heavily involved in witchcraft. They say she has gone mad because she became a Christian.

When the offering was collected they presented two baskets. One for the church and the other for the “needy”.

When it was time for Pastor Peter to speak the whole church applauded. He stood and said, “If you have decided to clap your hands to the Lord you can continue to clap.” Pastor Peter challenged us by saying God wants us to do something now. He said: “Many people are still waiting on the Lord since they were born! They are nothing doers!”

After the service we assembled in the village of Juba. They had two shallow wells that would dry up during the dry season. When the rains came and the wells filled up the water would be contaminated with worms. The water would need to be boiled but since firewood is expensive people didn’t bother. The only source of water would be a tap where the inhabitants would have to pay and many could not afford it. Scott Forman of Anthem, AZ, president of Water for Our World, was touched by what Pastor Peter has been doing in Juba and when he witnessed the conditions of the people there he signed up 30 runners for the PF Chang Marathon. With the money raised Water for Our World teamed up with Hope 4 Kids International and paid for a deep new well allowing the village access to clean, free water!

There were many local politicians attending the dedication, including the mayor of the Tororo district. Each one gave a speech. One said, “You can not claim to see God when you ignore your neighbor who is sleeping on the ground.”

We then dedicated the Vision Nursery School in Juba that was begun by Pastor Peter. Juba is a poverty stricken area with great needs. It’s kind of a remote area where people were not aware of the value of education and didn’t send their children to school. Pastor Peter and his friends went house to house speaking with parents on the importance of early childhood education. They then called a village meeting where they expressed their views more fully. A few children came and the school began. By the end of the first term there were 36 children attending. Parents weren’t able to pay the fees but he children were allowed to come anyway. Kent and Laura Dirks of Minnesota were touched by what Pastor Peter was trying to do and came alongside him and along with their church Lord of Life Lutheran; Peter was able to build his school. Another team member, Gwen, helped out with the teacher’s wages. More children came. Kendra, the Peace Corp worker gave the community a seminar on health and hygiene and HIV/AIDS awareness. The attendance is almost 100 children today.

The children are fed lunch at school. Those who can’t afford to pay for lunch are asked to bring maize. That seems to work out for them. The children all wear uniforms and find great joy in attending.

We went back to our hotel rejoicing about what God is doing.

1 comment:

Community of Grace Lutheran Church said...

I've been keeping up with your blog, and today, I'm just so overwhelmed with joy hearing about some of the fun things that I've been involved with on this side (PF Chang half-marathon to raise money for the well, gathering pillow cases and sewing supplies, packing food with FMSC) and what joy you're having watching the results of our team work on that side! Wow! WOW!!!!! You are doing amazing work, my friend!