Sunday, 6 October 2013

Final Hours

Some of the team with Paul & Emma at some luxurious resort!

On the last full day in Uganda, Nigel writes from Iganga: “I had another inspiring day with CFE where God moving in these vulnerable communities is evident at every turn.

The day was split into three and began with a thrilling visit to a new CFE church plant about 45 minutes from Iganga at Lwerera. Next I had an opportunity to visit two families where a child in each family attends the Child Development Centre in Mawagala and the CFE school.  Finally I visited a centre which is supported through the work of CFE by St James, it is called Nabikoote.

In amongst the people who are benefiting from Love Africa

The church plant at Lwerera is in a strong Muslim area but is flourishing.  CFE has shown the love of God to this community and has among other things built dwellings for several very vulnerable individuals.  The church now numbers 350 adults and 200 children. I will always cherish the welcome I received there.

In Mawagala I visited one Moslem family and one Christian family.  I have seen both families before over the period since August 2008 when CFE established 4 child development centres in partnership with Compassion International.  The transformation in the children has been wonderful since CFE began caring for their physical and spiritual development.

Finally I moved to Nabikoote where I heard how the lives of that community that was badly affected by HIV/ Aids has been transformed through the holistic work of CFE.  Individuals in the community praised the work of God in their lives and the love shown by CFE supported by St James.  They knew the names of several visitors from St James and were so encouraged that they are prayed for by our church.

The contribution both financially and through prayer by St James is making a palpable difference to these communities and advancing the Kingdom of God.  All the communities I have visited here have asked me to send their love and greetings to the Church  in Gerrards Cross.”
Then Frank from Entebbe: “We had a leisurely start to the day with final preparations for the service at the Kakira Christian Centre which now meets in the classrooms at Tumaini. Pastor Nicholas asked us to turn up at 0945 for a start to our contribution at 1000, and we believed him! When we joined the service the worship group were leading a praise session (with electric keyboard and sound system), the Sunday School, Youth Group, Choir and a couple of other unidentified groups ministered to us all with worship songs, some in Lugandan and some in English all melodic and inspiring and accompanied by dancing. There was a collection taken in the final song, people were invited forward to give their gifts, mostly cash but included a tied up live chicken! (note to self - must try this)

After a couple of false starts the "dear visitors" were called on at 1130. By this time Phil had cut 2 worship songs, the children's story and the Bible story from the St James contribution. 

Frank offered greetings from the people at St James and shared that people were worshipping at the 0900 service as we worshipped here at Kakira and were united in a common faith. I read the letter of greetings from St James that Martin sent and then we celebrated the huge hearts that Pastor Nicholas and Maria have for the children at Tumaini. The St James group ministered to the congregation in song (no dancing) with "Lord I lift your name on high" which we were relieved to find everyone knew.

Phil preached on Nicodemus and the fried egg. Each phrase was translated, even though the message of Jesus calling Nicodemus by name and his personal transformation (raw egg to fried egg) was enthusiastically received by the English and Lugandan speakers.

Phil led an informal and moving communion where the St James team served the congregation, all the Tumaini children took communion too. The service finished (1245) with a blessing and Pastor Nicholas praying over the St James team and offering thanks for the links between Tumaini and St James.

The departure was difficult, hugs and hand holding from the Tumaini kids, letters to St James and a slow drive with much waving and shouting of greeting to everyone. We came back into Jinja to collect our bags and start the drive to Entebbe. As we got closer to Kampala the traffic got slower with trucks labouring up the hills in the city. Paul said it was  a boarding school visiting day and that many parents were clogging the roads as they drove to out of town boarding schools. It took more than 4 hours to reach the Peniel Resort hotel, again worth comment on trip advisor, especially when we found we were 1 room short and 2 men had to share (but only pay $27 compared to $45). Phil and Christopher "manned up" and shared! The menu was limited for our last dinner and debrief, Chicken and Chips or Chicken or Chips. The group refuelled and there were some fantasies about a green salad and a glass of white wine, really really cold white wine. 

The group spent an hour or so on our debrief, reflecting on the trip, what surprised us, what we would take away and how individually we will respond to the experience of the Love Africa projects in Uganda this week. We reflected that we had experienced all aspects of the Love Africa projects, the single centre specific high engagement projects like Rahab and Tumaini and the PEP process in action at the community and individual level in Soroti, UWCM, ACET and CFE. We agreed that we had heard clearly stories of how Love Africa had impacted these people and communities. Everyone was so impressed with the knowledge and professionalism of Paul and Emma from ACET, we are privileged to have them as trusted partners for Love Africa.

If you would like to hear more then please come to Annette's Thursday evening or Friday morning session when a couple of people at each event will speak about their experiences.

We agreed to finish the trip tonight and say our thanks and good byes as we will be in different seats on the plane tomorrow and will want to collect bags and meet family as quickly as possible. Thanks to everyone who has followed, supported and prayed for the trip. Your support has been appreciated by all of us. If you would like to experience an exposure visit there will be another visit in 2014. Early start tomorrow for the flight back.

In your prayers please 

- remember the children of Tumaini, pray for their health, educational and spiritual development
- pray for discernment from PN for how he will address the issues facing the home in the next year
- give thanks for the work of ACET particularly Paul and Emma who devoted so much time to the trip
- give thanks for all the Love Africa projects and all the lives touched and transformed
- pray for safe travel for the group and health on the trip back.”