Posted by: jacobgillard | August 4, 2021

A Gamechanger

This would be an answer to prayer. Might there be unintended consequences? If so, what?

Posted by: jacobgillard | November 28, 2016

Iron Sheets

It is an absolute joy to see what Ebenezer Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kampala has been able to do as they received strength from the Lord of the Church!

old structure in front now put down to get parking space.JPG

The temporary structure (front) dates to late 2011 or early 2012 and was demolished to create room for parking. The new structure (behind) was built as money was raised over the course of the past 4 years.

roof tras-frame.JPG

These iron rafters were installed mid-to-late 2016.

front view.JPG

The iron sheets were installed earlier this month. Praise be to the Living God!

Posted by: jacobgillard | April 22, 2015

Checking In

We enjoy fond memories as we look back upon our season of service in East Africa and we cherish the friendships that continue despite time and distance.

I don’t post very much on this blog but when I view the site stats I see that it remains a useful resource for at least a few people over the course of a year. Enjoy!

Posted by: jacobgillard | October 4, 2013


how africa developed a drinking problem

Round out the discussion with

Africa’s Drinking Problem: Alcoholism on the Rise as Beverage Multinationals Circle


Does Africa Have a Drinking Problem? Yes and No

Posted by: jacobgillard | August 24, 2013

To Everything There Is A Season

The blogosphere is riddled with enthusiastic reports by new missionaries starting ‘grand adventures.’ What is missing is the other side of the circle: disengagement. What follows is a guest post, shared with permission of the author, but edited for length. This honest post grapples with disappointment, pain, burnout, and disillusionment. May it balance the blogosphere.

I have been wrestling for almost 2 years with some of the things I see going on with Western Churches and organizations which are engaged part-time in Africa — either in poverty relief or Spiritual mentoring.  I have seen a blatant disregard for the dramatic differences in culture and a kind of imperialistic ‘we must save the poor African’ kind of attitude. I have also seen us lead with money, turning good Church bodies into corrupt battlegrounds who are no longer proclaiming the Gospel as they fight over western resources and the power that it brings.

Africa is poorer economically and Spiritually than when I first came to her, while many organizations continue with exactly the same kind of poverty alleviation ministries that got her there in the first place.  It amazes me that normally conservative thinking people will dump money into “Social Programs” in Africa while railing about the dependency created by the very same kind of programs here in the US.  Additionally, our very wealth seems to taint efforts at Discipleship and spreading the Gospel, because our resources attract the corrupt and corrupt those who were on the right track before we came. Certainly, what we are doing is not working.

A full-time Missionary goes into a place and spends years assimilating the culture before engaging in ‘Jesus business.’  This was extremely successful in areas like Bible translation and spreading the Gospel to the unreached and it still seems to be a viable strategy.  Unfortunately it’s a strategy the modern, instant gratification, western world now finds unacceptable.

Most of my efforts for the last 8 years have been focused on trying to guide congregations returning from short-term missions to do the right things for Africa (which usually means doing nothing other than learning about the culture).  Successes have been few as most of the lessons fall on deaf ears.  After almost 25 years of part-time engagement in Short-term Missions, I have decided to retire.  I will be withdrawing from all boards immediately.  I am tired and  frustrated.

Am I done with Africa?  No, I am not.  Once the mud of Africa gets between your toes it’s impossible to get out! My prayers will be with you and your endeavors, as I know each of you are trying to live out your Faith, in part, through your work in Africa.  I will also pray for the many friends I have across the continent and I look forward to visiting as a friend.

I do retire somewhat despondent but far from beaten.  The Savior has shown me unbelievable things and amazing peoples.  That will be enough as it is exactly what He intended!

Keith Montague
Mzee Chief Keith

Keith has engaged in part time overseas ministry for almost 24 years. His first encounter with the Mission field was in support of Lutheran Bible Translators missionaries in Liberia, West Africa in 1991. It was a place that was in true need of aid due to their ongoing civil war. Preparation for that trip was extensive: 6 months of intensive cross cultural training that included a lengthy reading list and weekly training sessions with seasoned missionaries.

The next 10 years were spent training and leading teams of young adults and teens on short term missions in South America, Mexico, and Africa.  It was during this time that he learned that the only successful path was to collaborate with missionaries who are already working on the ground.

For the subsequent 13 years Keith focused focused on his first love, Africa. Recently he has attempted to mentor congregations and small NGOs to increase their cross-cultural competency before they engage with the culture or a project.

Posted by: jacobgillard | December 21, 2012

African Influence, Early African Christianity

I recently bumped into this resource, The Center for Early African Christianity, and I thought it was worth sharing. The paragraphs below are from one of their recent emails.

A revolution is presently occurring as the centers of Christianity’s influence shift from Europe and North America to the majority world in the south. This shift is exerting a profound impact on the formation of Christian theology and practice. Lamin Sanneh writes “Christianity has not ceased to be a Western religion, but its future as a world religion is now being formed and shaped at the hands and in the minds of its non-Western adherents.” Amidst this realignment a new reformation is taking place as the Church in Africa discovers the great riches of its ancient Christian heritage.

The Center for Early African Christianity exists to make these ancient African Christian riches available to those presently living on African continent. It was the African Fathers who nourished the Cappadocians, Jerome, John Chrysostom, and Ambrose—the great forefathers of Western Christianity and the foundation stones for the Western intellectual tradition.

Tragically, for many reasons, Africans have been severed from their own legacy, the ancient African Christian ideas and practices that in many ways deeply shaped Western culture. The African Church hungers now for what its ancestors first achieved in terms of spiritual depth, biblical interpretation, and sensitivity to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Yet there are obstacles standing in the way of the African Church re-connecting to its legacy: the soulless secularism of the West endangers the entire world…

[read the rest of the article here]

Center for Early African Christianity

Posted by: jacobgillard | August 10, 2012

6 Months Out: All Baggages Have Reached Well!

A meaningful memento (gifted to us by Lutheran Church Kampala) recently retrieved from the final suitcase bearing our Uganda stuff.

It is quite a feat for even a small family of four to pack up and move 8,000 miles. We can now report, that as of this week, the last of our personal effects have completed their journey from Uganda to Minnesota. We certainly acquired many household items over the few years we were in Africa, but it made sense to sell much of that—Michelle did a great job organizing that series of sales, by the way.

What remained didn’t even come close to filling a container so we packed up our tubs & duffels (50 pounds each!) and brought a dozen back with us as our checked bags. Another ten made their way back with a few different friends—and friends of friends—who leveraged their network of contacts and orchestrated some amazing routing and hand-offs to bring the bags to the Twin Cities! At the risk of omitting someone, allow me to mention that it couldn’t have happened without Jim, Bethany, Janet, Cindy, Dean, Julie, Carl, Grace, Emma, Judith, Elijah, Nate, Rhoda, Philip, Hans, and Becky. We’re so thankful for these folks and their help!

Lately our home has been filled with many warm thoughts and pleasant remembrances as we’ve unpacked the final 5 bags—recently arrived—especially the suitcase we had written off as lost but which arrived Wednesday evening and contained the many gifts showered upon us by Kampala Lutheran Congregation on our farewell Sunday. All this seems to be happening at an ideal time: 6 months into our journey of re-entry and transition back to life in America.

Posted by: jacobgillard | April 5, 2012

Holy Week Greetings!

Greetings, in the Name of Jesus, on this blessed Holy Thursday.

I know that many of you would be interested to pray with us regarding our next place of service.  We are currently exploring a service opportunity in the home office of a USA-based missionary fellowship.  We have some key interviews in early May and we’ll keep you posted.

In our last email blast I asked you to pray for my exit interview with LCMS World Mission in St. Louis.  I thank the Lord for blessing me (Jake) with safe travel and constructive conversations.  It is unknown at this time if the counsel I gave will make a difference in LCMS policy in Uganda.  Please pray for a God-pleasing outcome.

The sale of our Honda CRV in Uganda has finally cleared.  Please pray with us for the sale of our Toyota Landcruiser and thank God with us for our friend, Jeff, who is helping with that.

See our family activities over the last two months in 24 photos here.  The girls did one month of swim lessons and have already advanced to level 3.  They’re also in the homeward stretch of finishing kindergarten and first grade.  They really like riding bikes, playing at the edge of the pond, and asparagus hunting at the farm.

A blessed Holy Week to you and yours, even as we are reminded about the one who suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood (c.f. Hebrews 13:12).

Jake, with Michelle, Amelia, and Evangeline

Posted by: jacobgillard | April 5, 2012

…In the Woods

Our fellow missionary, Ginger Taff-Lagergren, introduced our girls to “Lost in the Woods” and our girls enjoyed the book and DVD quite often while in Uganda.  We visited old friends in Michigan this past weekend and they live just minutes from where the “…In the Woods” magic is made so we just couldn’t resist stopping by to thank them for their efforts.  You’ll love the nature and wildlife photography here.


Posted by: jacobgillard | March 24, 2012

Genocide in Nuba Mountains

It was back in September 2011 that I wrote this post entitled, “Will Nuba be the next Darfur?”  In that post I mentioned that I am in possession of gruesome photos smuggled out of that war zone—photographic evidence of genocide victims in the Nuba Mountains.  Unfortunately, the situation has not improved.  Crimes have been reported, documented, and substantiated; yet few are crying out for justice.  Hence, the activism of someone like George Clooney.  This article by Eric Reeves is entitled, “Why George Clooney was arrested last week” and was posted today on Sudan Tribune.  It goes a long way toward interpreting Clooney’s actions and substantiating the veracity of the atrocities.

Also, here is an op-ed article by Nicholas Kristof who has gone to the ground to give us an eyewitness report.

Older Posts »