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.
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.
Rachel 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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- Pray for the students as they commit to rigorous study over the next year.
- Consider coming over for a week or 2 (or more!) and teach a class.
- 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).
- 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.
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.
This has been a season of construction. Work on the School of Ministry building at Calvary Chapel Soroti continues on. The crew has been diligently working on plastering the ceilings and walls with cement. The window frames are installed along with the electrical wiring. The doors have been ordered from the local carpenter and the first of them should be ready for installation this week. With a little paint, the inside of the building will almost be ready for use as we continue work to finish up the outside of the building. We are thankful for God’s provision of the resources needed to finish this work.
In other places, this time of construction continues on. Out at the demonstration farm in Obule, I have been busy with our builders there to put up the rabbit and guinea pig barn. As a place for teaching, I am planning for a variety of hutches/housing options that will go inside this barn. We will try to demonstrate an array of options to stimulate people’s creativity as they get ideas of what might work for them at home. Everything from wire to sticks; bricks to bamboo; simple to complex.
Once the grass thatch on the roof is complete, the only thing remaining is to put the final coat of cement down on the floor.
The construction continues on the other side of the country. In May, I was in Kanungu District which is in the SW corner or the country. There is a community organization there that I am working with to set up a piggery project that they will use as part of their program to diversify income sources for coffee farmers in the area. The organization will maintain a piggery building for demonstration and teaching purposes and will be giving out the piglets as loans to the farmers that they are working with.
They are about to finish up on their construction and I hope to go back down next month so that we can bring in the pigs and get the program up and running.
Next up on my construction to-do list is to start building a very similar looking piggery at the demonstration farm in Obule. The land has already been cleared next to the rabbit barn, now I just need to track down our builder and we will be ready to go.
If you are interested in partnering in any of these livestock projects, please let me know. We have a Livestock Program special project account at CVM specifically for this.
Construction continues on the School of Ministry building. A lot has happened since my last update. The walls are finished. The roof structure has gone up. The timber framework for the ceiling was constructed and installed along with the wire mesh that holds up the concrete ceiling. They finished casting the concrete ceiling last week, so this week the first of the iron sheets went up on the roof.
The first of very many iron sheets to be put up.
Once they got them started, the progress was quick. All the iron sheets should be up by the end of the week and then they will be ready to begin installing the doors and windows, probably next week. All the doors and windows are ready and waiting for installation:
Keep praying for the progress of the school, for the construction, for safety for the workers, for the curriculum that we are planning, and for provision of all the necessary resources to get this project ready for students in January 2017.
Construction on the School of Ministry continues. I hope I am not overloading you with construction pictures, but it is only because we are very excited for this project. This will be one of our major focuses of work during our next term.
It doesn’t look very welcoming yet, but this will be the main entrance to the building.
I will soon have an office – below is the hallway leading from the main reception area to some office spaces.
The largest space in this building will be the library, where students from the school as well as pastors and other people from the community can come and study and access a wealth of educational resources.
The walls are quickly going up on the dorm rooms. There are 6 dorm rooms in this building that will be used by our male students. As more funding becomes available, our plan for the future is to put up a separate building that will accommodate female students.
I would like to introduce you to some of our newest brothers and sisters in Christ. Last Sunday we had a baptism service planned, but unfortunately the city’s water supply was off and we couldn’t fill up our little swimming pool at the church. We were not deterred though. After our regular service finished up, we all loaded into the available vehicles and headed over to Soroti’s newest hotel which happens to now have Soroti’s only public swimming pool!
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
We baptized 4 people – 3 young men who had just finished going through the new believers class I have been teaching at church, and 1 lady who Rachel has been meeting with weekly.
The city’s water supply was on enough of last week that the crew could finish up the foundation and start putting up the walls on the School of Ministry building. The walls are exciting because they are going up so quickly – we are really starting to see progress being made and you can start to get a better idea of what the final product will look like. The pictures below are after 3 days of wall construction.
Above is the view into the large room that will be the library.
This is the front of the building with the entrance at the center. The left side of the building will be the men’s dorm rooms. The right side will be the library, equipment room, and a few offices.
Above you can see the walls going up for the men’s dorm rooms.
In our prayer letter this month, we shared with you about a new project that we are very excited to be involved with. Here are a few pictures from the beginning stages of the construction of the School of Ministry we are putting in at the church. Construction has been stalled for the last week as the city’s water has been out and so they were not able to mix cement to complete the foundation. Assuming the water supply is back this week, work on the foundation should be finished in the next week or 2. Below the pictures is a short excerpt from our prayer letter describing the school.
The foundation for the school. In the background you can see the existing church compound with the main church (left) and the children’s ministry building (right).
The beginning stages of construction. All the bricks, sand, and stones for the foundation and the walls are already on site.
Our in-country partner, Calvary Chapel Soroti, is moving forward with plans to establish a School of Ministry. This is something that we have been praying about within the church leadership for almost 2 years, and God has finally opened the door. Essentially, it will be a program for young men and women to experience a year of intensive discipleship, Biblical teaching, and to gain the tools necessary to send them out in ministry. From our humble facility, we hope that we can multiply discipleship efforts by sending out the next generation of Christian leaders to impact their own communities in Teso, Karamoja, West Nile, and beyond.
Our architects’ planning for the future School of Ministry – this building will include dormitories, a library, and office space.
God has blessed our church greatly by providing opportunities over the last few years to acquire additional land surrounding our current property. In addition to this land, we have been further blessed with enough funding to begin construction of a facility on the land to house the school.
A very special thanks to those who have faithfully supported our ministry over the last several years as we were able to leverage some of these funds to help cover the cost of this building. There are still some funding needs to be able to complete the structure and launch the school – please contact us directly if that is something you can partner with us in so we can share with you the details. Please also pray for the construction process over the next several months – we will try to share pictures as we progress. Also pray for the students; that this facility will be a blessing to them and their future ministries.