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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.

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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.

Another week, another wall

19 Apr

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.

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It doesn’t look very welcoming yet, but this will be the main entrance to the building.

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I will soon have an office – below is the hallway leading from the main reception area to some office spaces.

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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.

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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.

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This is why we do what we do

16 Apr

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!

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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.”

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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.

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School of Ministry – Construction Update

10 Apr

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.

1.JPGAbove is the view into the large room that will be the library.

2.JPGThis 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.

4.JPGAbove you can see the walls going up for the men’s dorm rooms.

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School of Ministry

28 Mar

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.

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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).

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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. 

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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. 

Another Picture of a Dinosaur!

29 Aug

Day 12…

Today is the last post of our 12 photos in 12 days (I realize that this one is actually a day late – it should have been up yesterday, can I blame it on the time difference?).

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The reason that I am a day late is that we had to make a last minute trip down south.  We have made 2 previous unsuccessful attempts at getting our driving permits here, so we contacted a friend to give us a little help – a driver that we have worked with frequently.  He knew that we could get through the process more quickly at the Jinja office (we don’t have all the services here in Soroti so it is a bit of a challenge because you have to make several visits to the local office and then several trips to Mbale which is about an hour’s drive from here – the whole process taking weeks).  With the help of our friend, we were able to get through the whole process in just a few hours – actually about 6 hours.  We still have to go back in about 2 weeks and pick up our actual permits, but it is such a relief to have that confusing and complicated process done.

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So we ended up spending the night in Jinja – since we were there, we decided to take Nathan out for a boat ride on the water to see the official “Source of the Nile” where the river starts from.  In the 3 years since we have been here, we had never gone out to see it so it was a fun little outing for the family.  And yes, there is a dinosaur on the edge of the Nile in Jinja; who knew?

Joy to the World

27 Aug

Day 11…

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For our church’s Christmas party this last year, Rachel arranged with some folks from our church in the US to send stockings with some small candies and gifts with my parents when they came to visit us.  Over 200 children from the community came to the party where they had a meal, Rachel read to them the Christmas account, and they took home their Christmas present – the only present some of these kids would receive that year.

Rhoda’s Rabbits

25 Aug

Day 9…

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After a year of meeting together, the Obule rabbit club received their rabbit loans.  Each of the 9 members received a rabbit pair and will now identify someone else in their community to develop a discipleship relationship with and pass on 2 rabbits to that person.

Date Night, take 2

23 Aug

Day 7…

Date Night

For the last year and a half, we have been leading the Marriage Fellowship at our church.  It is starting to become a tradition, that after we finish a teaching series, we have a “dinner & a movie” night.  It is not common for people to go out for a date night with their spouse, so it is always a fun time for everyone.  This is now the second time we have hosted this and we look forward to many more.