Roadtrip 2018: North Carolina

24 May

Our 9th state on this trip was North Carolina.  We had 2 stops there, both right around Charlotte.

First up, we stopped for dinner with Tim & Paula – both are vets who have served with CVM long-term in South Africa and also in Soroti.  As we were talking, we realized that we actually live on the same road that they lived on when they were there 18 years ago!

Then we spent 2 nights on the south side of Charlotte with our friends from Fuel Uganda.  We have worked with them several times when they come for short-term trips and they are one of the partners that we work with in our Batwa ministries.  We had some good chats with them thinking through some future ministry possibilities and we ate some really good barbecue.

Wednesday morning came very early and we headed back to Portland.  Nathan loved the plane rides, of course.  And he got to fly the plane again…

IMG-0657

Advertisements

Roadtrip 2018: Virginia

22 May

The drive through West Virginia and Virginia was beautiful.  The weather was perfect, the rolling hills and the green trees made the hours of driving quite pleasant.

We spent our one night in Virginia at a 200 year old farm owned by Jack & Mary who have served with CVM for a number of years – Mary has done a number of livestock projects with us in Uganda so we had some good time with them to plan some more projects for next year.  Nathan’s favorite part was the horse (and also the dogs, the cats, the snakes in the tree, the cows, the wild turkeys, and the donkey).

A few minutes away in downtown Salem we stopped off to greet Rachel, the immigration lawyer who helped us get Nathan’s visa last year.  She did a fantastic job for us, so we wanted to stop by in person and thank her for all the hard work.

IMG-0654

Roadtrip 2018: Kentucky

20 May

After a short 7 hours in the car through Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio; we arrived in Maysville, Kentucky on Thursday evening.  We met up with Rachel’s parents and all of the brothers and sisters, spouses, and children for 3 fun-filled nights on the southern bank of the Ohio River.

The occasion: Granny Ann’s 100th birthday party.  It was fun to be together with the Kentucky family to celebrate Rachel’s grandmother.  We ate a lot of good meals together, visited some Amish stores, and walked down by the river.

We head out of Kentucky on Sunday afternoon.  The rest of the family flies back to Portland but we continue on to another state: Virginia.

Roadtrip 2018: Michigan

19 May

Sunday afternoon was a long drive around the southern edge of Lake Michigan up to Grand Rapids.  We spent 3 days enjoying time with friends that we have served with in Uganda at one time or another and who now happen to be in and around the Grand Rapids area – Steve & Tanya, Jennifer, Ben & Christina, and Dave & Veronica.  It was fun to see these friends in their native habitat after having spent so much time with them in Uganda.

Plus, Nathan got to spend some time on the beach at Lake Michigan, he caught his first fish, and he tried out paddle boarding!

Next up, a 7 hour drive down to Maysville, Kentucky for the big party.

Roadtrip 2018: Wisconsin

15 May

Roadtrip 2018 has begun – heading through 9 states in 12 days.  First stop: Wisconsin.

We flew into Chicago on Saturday and headed up to Grafton (north of Milwaukee) for a night with our friends David and Kelly.  Kelly and Rachel taught together when they were living in Mexico City.  They made it out to our place in Portland before we left for Uganda and even came out to Soroti to see us last year.  This is our first time visiting them in their place.

Sunday morning we spoke at the 2 different churches where Kelly is pastoring.  After our double churches, we had a picnic on the shore of Lake Michigan before jumping back in the car for the next leg of the journey; Wisconsin through Illinois and Indiana to Michigan where we will spend our next few days…

Turkeys making a difference

5 Apr

 

A report came into my inbox this morning from a student that graduated from our School of Ministry program and is now serving with me at the church as our missions intern.  Ken wrote to me about the story of faith in someone’s life that began with a turkey loan we gave out in June 2017.  In his own words, Ken writes:

“The Lord led us to a home where we met Mzee (elderly Man) Olaboro Clement and his wife Akayo Helen Grace, The former is 67yrs and the latter in her 50th. Both were very sad or looked sad at first glance, but thanks be to God they welcomed us to share with them the message of hope. In our first encounter, Mzee Olaboro and wife were inactive members of different churches; Mzee Olaboro belonged to the Anglican church of Uganda while the wife was a member of the Catholic Church; Mzee was not willing to surrender his life to Jesus Christ.

I praise the Lord for the Turkey revolving loan project which was an act of love and hope. It opened a door for us to continue ministering to the lives of the poor in our community. I being one of the students’ school of ministry, we were given opportunity to choose a Turkey loan family to benefit from the project and be able to continue discipling; God guided me to pick Mzee Olaboro Clement.

At the time I met Mzee Olaboro Clement, he was a hopeless drunkard and could not take responsibility of anything, so I had to consider his wife as the beneficiary of the Turkeys. Therefore, I continued following up with him and invited him to attend our Sunday fellowships and by the grace of God, one Sunday in September 2017, I led Mzee Olaboro through a confession prayer and he declared Jesus Christ His Lord and personal savior. Through the revolving loans’ project, I have seen and had many testimonies of how God has opened doors for sharing the gospel and through discipleship many lives have been changed and developed spiritually.

After a year’s training in school of ministry, I have learnt to develop action plans, therefore part of my action plan this year is to continue visiting our church community and disciple new believers particularly the illiterates who are less privileged to learn on their own through reading the bible. Therefore, in February I started the local language (Ateso) Bible study fellowships that meets once weekly together in the homes of the turkey families rotating regularly and after a while, Mrs. Akayo Hellen invited the fellowship to be permanently conducted in her home which is a central place for all members.

Recently as we were studying biblical foundations and were discussing repentance and baptism, all members of the discipleship who weren’t baptized, requested to be baptized and all together we baptized twelve believers including Mr. Olaboro, His wife and Daughter on 25th march 2018. We Praise God for the provision of the Turkey Project because it’s an act of Love to the communities that improves nutrition, livelihood of the People and above all, it’s opening doors for the gospel to reach the unreached. May God bless the donors and increase you greatly because we have achieved this together for the Kingdom of God.”

I love being a part of this work.  I love how God has used veterinary projects to open doors for the gospel.  I love to see my students putting into practice what they have learned in the classroom.  I love to see people being baptized and living a new life in Christ.

Webpage clean-up

2 Apr

I have said it before, and I will say it again…we are miserable at blogging.  I have such a hard time keeping this blog current.  If you didn’t know any better, it would look like we haven’t done anything in the last year.  In addition to that, most of the info we had on here was out of date.

So, I am excited to reveal our new and improved blog presence.  Feel free to navigate through all the tabs – all the text and pictures are current and accurate for you.

We will hopefully have more to update you on in the days, weeks, and months to come.  But for now, enjoy a few pictures of Nathan:

School of Ministry – The Beginning

3 Mar

We are just coming to the end of our second week of school.  It has been quite the experience.  At some moments I begin to feel a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing and I just have to relax and remember that we only do this by God’s strength and according to his plan – why should I worry about  things that are outside of my control.

I love having the school up and running.  I love being with the students every day.  I love teaching classes.

win_20170220_15_07_22_pro

The first week I was busy doing a lot of teaching as I covered an overview of the Bible.  This week has  been a little more relaxed for me as we start to settle into our routines.  I have been teaching some of the Biblical foundations classes looking at some doctrinal topics that we can draw out of various Bible passages.  This afternoon, I taught my first session in a series on Tentmaking – looking at practical ways that these students will be able to support themselves and their families as they engage in ministry.  I took the students out to the demonstration farm in Obule and gave them a brief introduction to some of the agriculture topics that we are going to look at this term.

win_20170222_09_33_29_proRachel worked with the students the first week giving an orientation to the library computers and she is looking forward to integrating some computer practice into this term.

win_20170221_18_00_54_pro

In addition to a variety of other quizzes, assignments, and memorization, I gave the students a “Bible Resources” assignment to give them practice using their concordance and their Bible’s footnotes and cross reference system – they spent a few hours in the library laboring through all the work I gave them last week.

We are still working out some of the finer details – how do we install the new photocopier, what is the most opportune time to serve porridge, do we have enough mosquito nets, where are the extra light bulbs, how many rolls of toilet paper do we go through in a day, do the beans have the right proportion of soupiness to be served with the posho, at what height should we hang the clock – those are just some of the earth shattering crises that I had to deal with today.

I am really loving every moment of this school and being with these students.  I know with confidence that this is the work that God has been preparing us for over these last few years.

A New School Year

4 Feb

The books are unpacked, sorted, and on the shelves.  The desks are moved into the offices and the bunk beds are in the dorm rooms.  The kitchen is waiting for its finishing touches.

Calvary Chapel Soroti is ready for a new school year to begin in our new school.  The School of Ministry is scheduled to take its first class of 10 students on the 20th of February for a year of intensive discipleship, Bible study, and training in practical ministry skills.  This day has been long-awaited and we are very excited to make this a central point in our ministry here.  Through this school, we hope to train and equip national Christians to go out into their communities and serve wherever God has called them – multiplying the discipleship efforts of the local church.

For more information on the school, please be on the look-out for our February prayer letter from CVM.  There are some real and practical ways that you can be involved with the opening of this school:

  1. Pray for us leading up to the big day on the 20th – there is still a lot of work to be done on curriculum, policies, teaching schedules, and more.
  2. Pray for the students as they commit to rigorous study over the next year.
  3. Consider coming over for a week or 2 (or more!) and teach a class.
  4. We are still in need of about $5,000 to put all the finishing touches on the school and dorm rooms (things like finishing the kitchen building and buying all the pots/pans/utensils, installing a 10,000 liter water tank, hooking up internet in the library, putting up a clothes line and buying mosquito nets – among so many other little things that go into opening a school for the first time).
  5. In an effort to provide this year of learning to deserving students at little cost to them, we are also looking for individuals or groups willing to sponsor student costs at $100 a month to provide for their meals, academic materials, and other costs of running the school.

If you are interested in being a financial partner with the school, donations can be made through our “Calvary Chapel” special project account at CVM (here is the link, make sure you select Calvary Chapel as the designation).  To help me with planning, please let me know if you are interested in monthly sponsorship towards student costs.

Turkey Payments

2 Feb

Yesterday was a big day for turkeys in Obule.  It was the day for people to pay their turkey loans.  We gave out the loans in July last year – a pair of turkeys to 20 vulnerable members of the community.  People have been working hard and taking care of their turkeys, and it has paid off for them.  Over the last few months, the eggs have been hatching and the young poults have started running around.

The church’s turkey committee has been visiting each of the participants at their homes and keeping track of their turkey progress.  Ten of the participants were ready to pay back their loans – a pair of young turkeys to pay back for the turkeys given to them in July.  The turkey parents and any other turkey babies are now fully owned by the participants; most people we talked to are excited to be able to sell off some of the other young turkeys to help pay school fees.  We expect the other 10 participants will have turkeys old enough to pay back within the next few months.

After a few hours driving around the village with the church’s turkey committee, we delivered the poults to our newly constructed turkey house at our demonstration farm.  The committee will be busy over the next couple months, keeping the poults at the farm until they have grown up and are ready to be distributed to the next group of turkey revolving loan participants.