Posted by: jacobgillard | July 30, 2009

The 500 Catechisms of Runyankore Lutherans

Keeping the catechism within reach

Keeping the catechism within reach

Greetings in the precious name of Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords!

My work still involves heavy-duty teaching for 22 men twice a month here in Kampala as well as frequent trips in every direction to visit and encourage these men and their congregations.  One such trip was July 5-8 on 900 km of rough roads in 2 vehicles with at times 12 men with the primary objective of distributing 500 catechisms in the Runyankore language.  Many thanks to the Lutheran Heritage Foundation (LHF) for sponsoring the translation and printing! You can see photos here.  Notice they’re even geotagged thanks to a recently donated GPS unit!

My workmate made a very thorough report of the trip here.  I’ll assume that you’ve read his report and just provide a few and varied supplements below.

The dedications started with the usual greetings.  Some congregations had verbal reports/requests.  Immanuel, Ishongororo supplied a written report and I think I passed it on to Pastor Charles.  The dedication sermon was usually a devotional thought on Isaiah 55:11 and Jeremiah 31:34.  We didn’t stack the catechisms on the altar for dedication because we reasoned together that the holiest place in the sanctuary was their heart and that’s where God wants his Word to dwell.  We then lifted up the catechisms and dedicated them to God in prayer.  We did this 10 times, taking turns leading the program at each location.  We were fed very, very well.  The dedications in the villages were very well attended.  The two dedications in the towns were not so well attended but it was a weekday and those people had jobs and school to attend to.

We stayed Sunday night at AAA Guest house in Mbarara.  Monday morning we visited the Int’l School where TEE student and expedition member Moses Ahimbisibwe is a student.  I preached on Luke 10:25-37.  The student body couldn’t understand why verse 27 is bad news (Law).  Lots of work to be done there!

We stayed Monday and Tuesday night at Resort Garden Hotel in Ibanda.  It offers really fabulous accommodations.

Tuesday morning we visited Light College in Ibanda where TEE student Robert Baingana ministers.  I preached again on Luke 10 and these students were more astute when it comes to Law and Gospel.

Tuesday afternoon we were able to visit TEE student Gordon Turyamusiima along with his wife, daughter, and sister at their home.  We rejoiced with him as he had recently been delivered from a near-fatal accident.

The entire team was present at all the dedications except for Monday late afternoon when we split up and sent one car to Good Shepherd, Kemihoko and one to Immanuel, Ishongororo.

Pastor Samuel O., Regional Rep. Fred M., and our four TEE students Robert B., Moses A, Benjamin T., and Gordon T. should be commended for researching, coordinating, and praying over a very nice itinerary for us.

Financial Overview:  Accommodation and food for the entire party was 856,000/= and transportation expenses were 900km x two vehicles x 463/= per km yielding 833,400/= for a total of 1,689,400/= ($808 at 2,090 UGX to the dollar).  Therefore, we can say that it cost $1.62 to distribute each catechism—an interesting factoid that may be useful when creating budgets for upcoming translation projects.  It is true that we could have done it in one vehicle and with a smaller team but the presence of a large group was a BIG encouragement to the people.  Furthermore, the boot of one of our vehicles would have just barely held all 500 catechisms and left no room for baggage.  Splitting up the books also made for better handling on the bumpy roads.  The funds came from our “station travel” budget which is funded by generous donors in America so it didn’t divert funds away from TEE or any other important LCMU work.  Shauen and I are so happy to have facilitated getting this precious resource into hands, minds, and hearts.  It was money well spent.

I think I can say that the 500 catechisms have met our immediate needs.  We may request more the middle of 2010.

We thank God for journey mercies and thank you for reading!



  1. Great recounting! I read this aloud to Ari’s dad David. So great to hear those familiar blue-bound books are in new communities & hands (and in a local language).

    How does one say “What does this mean?” in Runyankore?

  2. Should I have written the entire entry in Dr. Seuss’ meter?

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