The team made it safely to Tororo Thursday evening and on Friday the team split up to work on various projects. The men went to the town park and met in the youth center with about 100 men from the area. We spent the morning preaching on the theme, “Not Ashamed of the Gospel,” covering topics such as how the Gospel affects your personal life, what it looks like to faithfully proclaim the gospel, and team member Sean showed them how to mark their bibles for walking people through the steps of salvation.
After lunch, there were two more teachings and over two hours of Q&A time for the men to interact together on the various struggles that arise when our theology collides with our culture.
The same day, the ladies, and later the younger men, went to Smile Africa, which is a children’s feeding center, day school, and clinic, for orphans and street children. They made their best attempts to hold a VBS style conference for the children, but when one group saw what another was doing, all chaos broke loose. So all the kids made crowns, and got stickers, and then the day turned to playing games of football (soccer), handing out clothes to the kids, and serving them their food.
The Heart of God-East Africa Education Director, Shari Guthrie and her husband John, spent the day training the staff of Smile Africa in CPR and First Aid. At the end of the day, 16 teachers were certified.
On Saturday, the team came back together at the youth center and held a youth conference for over 100 older children from various schools in the area. In the morning, the team presented the gospel through song, skit, teaching, and testimonies. Then after lunch, the Ugandan schools presented back to us with singing, acting, and dancing. It was a great day of cultural exchange for both sides.
At the end of the day, I had the opportunity to preach a brief salvation message and about a dozen children came forward for salvation. They were followed soon after by one of our team members who accepted Christ once back at the hotel.
On Sunday the team split up again to various churches throughout the region. Everyone had the chance to greet the congregations, and in most of the churches, one of the men was asked to preach, including a young man from my own home church, Keegan Cooke.
As the teams went out, I went alone to Tororo Pentecostal Church led by Bishop John. It was an experience of mixed feelings because the people were so strong in worship and prayer, but the other two visiting evangelists – from Kampala, UG, and Nigeria – both centered their messages on financial blessings. While I don’t have any issue with God blessing His people – the Bible says this many times – I don’t believe that it is based on “making a covenant” by “planting your seed money” into the evangelist’s ministry.
When my turn to speak came, I preached on the glory of God and being changed as we sit in His presence.
After service (which ended at 2:15) I was invited to a “quick” lunch with the other pastors. I will say that they are Godly men in their lifestyles behind the scenes, even if their theology is questionable.
After lunch, which went way too long, I had to rush back to the church where our team had assembled and enter into the baptismal waters. With another Ugandan Pastor, I had the honor of baptizing two of our team members – the one saved on Saturday, and one saved on the trip last year – as well as around 20 Ugandans.
Sunday afternoon we loaded into the vans and drove to Mbale, where we are staying for the rest of the trip, but I will wait on the details of being here until another post, except to ask for prayer. As I write, the team has gone to the school to work, but I have remained at the hotel due to major allergies. If I was at home, it would be time for a steroid shot and I’d be back to normal in a few hours, but here, it is drink some water, pop a benadryl, and hope it goes away quickly… No luck yet. Please pray for me, and our return trip home on Saturday.