After 3+ years in Uganda we are now back in the USA. Our lives are richer for having met some very fine people in East Africa and we carry those memories with us. We thank God for the kindness he has shown us by blessing us with prayer and financial partners like you. Of course, this is just a short note for now. We’ll be in touch this week or next with an update on our next steps. Until then, may the Triune God bless you always.
Wednesday, December 28th was a wonderful day in the life of Kampala Lutheran Church, a congregation excited to take the next step as they relocate to a nearby suburb to build their own building on their own land.
It was around 6 pm and golden rays were filtering through the trees. The setting and mood were serene. We were in the middle of the festive season so no one was in a hurry. The building site is nestled in a cozy neighborhood that is not yet built-up. We weren’t very far off the main roads (Ggaba road is 400m to the NE and Lukuli Road is 250m to the SW) but it felt like we were in the village—that’s a good thing! Neighbors and neighborhood children were warm and welcoming as parishioners gathered near the largest tree on the plot—a jackfruit.
We ushered in the construction phase at the building site with a short rite of dedication (liturgy and prayers in Luganda, hymns in Swahili) led by Rev. Jerome Wamala. You can see photos here.
Thank you to those of you who offered prayers and sacrificial gifts that have brought the congregation to this moment—to the Glory of God!
Dear Friends, we really value the relationship that we have with you. This post is about a very special aspect of that relationship—the one where WE post and YOU read, learn & pray! Thanks for walking with us and may the Holy Spirit of Jesus keep you firmly planted in the Word for the duration of 2012! — Jake (and family)
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,500 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.
We just celebrated our 4th Christmas here in Uganda. It’s hard to believe Evangeline was two when we celebrated our first one in 2008. This week we had a party, we went to parties, and enjoyed a festive church service—so wonderful!
People are mourning with us now that we have tickets to return to the USA in late January. Most Ugandans don’t believe it when they hear we are leaving.
Just this evening, we just returned from dedicating the new land for our Kampala congregation. Someone told me in a hope-filled voice that maybe we would return to Uganda someday. I think after three years, we have become part of their normal lives. They are accustomed to seeing us, being with us, expecting us at events, counting on us. But soon we will just get on a plane and we will be gone. It is all very sobering. Thank you for the prayers as we take our leave.
I have had a relationship with a particular Muslim woman for over two years. I have taken my time to live a Christian life and be a friend to her. More recently on two occasions I have shared the Gospel with her. She took to hearing it cheerfully and with a loving openness that a friend would give to another friend. Then this past week I gave her a bible in her own language. I told her that I have known her and she has known me. I said that it is time I give this to her. It was wrapped and she was leaving so there was no pressure for a response. But I am asking that if you have a moment, please pray for my friend, “H”. Pray that she will be drawn to the bible sitting in her home. Pray that she will open it. Pray that if she opens it God will teach her the truth found in Jesus Christ.
Ugandans may not enjoy First Amendment rights like Americans but there’s something very refreshing about how they at least put innocuous thoughts out there for people to react to—and in a big way.
As for myself, I’m not a bumper sticker person but if I were, I might display ‘ssibyangu’ on my back window—as in the taxi above. The translation? “It’s not easy.”
Think of it as roughly equivalent to “Uff Da!”
(And if you’re not from the Upper Midwest you might need a translation for that!)
We were sent to Uganda in 2008 to serve as missionaries with the Lutheran Church Mission in Uganda (LCMU). We began the task with joy and started off by assuming the best about each of our new colleagues. For three full years we have done a lot of listening and observing.
In more recent days, the LCMU has decisively forged for themselves a path upon which we cannot follow. For this reason, we can no longer in good conscience be affiliated with them. Please allow this to serve as an official notice that we no longer serve the LCMU.
The above notwithstanding, it would be impossible for me or any other foreigner to be a missionary of the LCMU because the LCMU no longer has a valid NGO certificate (the previous NGO certificate expired on 24 June 2011 and you can see a copy for yourself here). Mr. Stephen Okello, NGO Forum representative to the October 21-23 “Delegates Conference” in Jinja even stated during the conference that the certificate had expired. The LCMU is therefore unable to cater for work permits for anyone. The LCMU’s ability to present itself before the international community as a legally registered church should be questioned by all.
It is worth noting that the LCMU is not in ‘altar and pulpit fellowship’ with the LCMS—nor has it ever sought to be an official partner church, nor a member of the International Lutheran Council (ILC). That being said, LCMS World Mission has yet to come to its own conclusion regarding its future relationship (if any) with the LCMU.
I cleaned up our email list—the one hosted by Yahoo! Groups. There were 26 addresses that were bouncing and I removed them. So if you’ve stopped getting our email updates (approximately 2 to 6 times a quarter) you may want to sign up again. Do you see the purple & yellow Yahoo! logo in the right column? Just give it a click and follow the instructions.
We have been back in Uganda for two weeks now. (We didn’t post it on this blog but we were in the States for 7 weeks for a much-needed ‘respite furlough’. We sent out three email updates during that time to those on our Yahoo!Groups email distribution list. If you didn’t get it, just give a shout and we can send it your way.)
Now that we’re back, we enjoy visitors welcoming us back almost daily. We love eating local lunch again (matooke, beans, rice, soup i.e. meat with broth, fresh mango, avocado, etc). The weather is fabulous. But a sadness fills our hearts.
We are no longer working with the Lutheran Church Mission Uganda. The church has had some difficulties that make it impossible for Jacob to continue teaching and training their leaders.
What next? We simply do not know. We ask for your prayers in this time of uncertainty. Until we get a better idea, we relish in God’s word, daily prayer, and enjoy every day in this land we have come to care for so much.
Now, let’s end on a happier note with a cute kid pic.
It’s not fiction but real life. Your own government wants to drive you off your land—indeed out of your own country. They want you gone so badly that they resort to the aerial bombardment of civilians. The safest dwelling places are mountain caves and sometimes your only food are greens. Every time you hear the sound of an airplane you run to the cave for shelter. If only it were fiction, but unfortunately this is real life for the residents of the Nuba Mountains—some of whom are your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Abyei and Blue Nile have received some coverage in the international press but in this post I want to draw your attention to a less-publicized but serious and a rapidly deteriorating situation in the Nuba Mountains. Some international observers are concerned that Nuba could become the next Darfur.
Nuba is geographically located in Sudan’s South Kordofan State but many of the inhabitants would prefer to self-identify with the brand-new country of South Sudan when considering social, cultural, religious, and political factors. The Nuba Mountains are a remote area with few roads so most of the movement within Nuba is done on foot. As you can imagine, communication with the outside world can be difficult.
A few of our church leaders in the Nuba Mountains were able to leave Nuba last month and they made their way to Juba. My boss and I met with them there and they were eager to tell us—and the world—about the war in Nuba.
We were also given photos of war victims. The church leaders in Sudan and South Sudan believe they can best honor the dead by the reporting of this war in the international community but the photos of the war dead are very graphic (e.g. decapitated corpses, intestines spilling out, etc.) so in the interest of discretion I can share a private link to these graphic photos, upon request. (Similarly graphic photos are available by Googling “Nuba dead” and selecting ‘image’ results.) My boss and I have no reason to believe that these photos nor the above report are anything but authentic.
How can you help?
I urge you to consider telling the story of the atrocities in the Nuba Mountains. Work it into your daily conversations—in an appropriate way, of course. The survivors, their families, and the leaders in the Lutheran Church in Sudan will thank you.
Learn more about the various challenges in South Sudan on the dedicated page by BBC News, South Sudan: New Nation.