Ministry Focus: Compassion Ministries, Food Distribution, Worship outreach
Nothing reflects the love of Christ more than reaching out to the poor and needy, and Africa is a needy continent. This team will take the principles of our Open Food Pantry ministry to Uganda, serving with Grace missionaries Russ and Sue Carr, who head up the Sports Outreach Institute.
Updated Wednesday, April 13
We are thankful to God for the safe return of our Uganda team this morning. Thank you for praying them through their outreach in Africa. Be alert for opportunities to hear and celebrate their stories in coming weeks!
Updated Tuesday, April 12
E-mail from Sheri summarizing the final few days of the team's ministry
Saturday: We spent the day together at a beautiful private park just outside of town sharing a picnic, games, singing and communion with the Good News Football Team. We’ve been praying for this to be a special day of honor for the Pauls and Timothys of this ministry as well as their families. It felt so good to see them just relaxing, spending time together, singing, and playing with the children. What a perfect culmination to all that we’ve been praying for our brothers and sisters. The pantry gift is nearly complete now and we were able to present the Pauls with their encouragement books as well as a “how to” study the Bible book by John MacArthur. It was especially encouraging when the director shared with us that our team has been a unique team that has encouraged them in ways he can’t even express.
Monday: We finished shopping for the pantry – quite an adventure! Thank you so much for all who have given to our team and specifically for this pantry gift. This morning was a sweet time of fellowship as we put on the finishing touches and dedicated the pantry. We shared in our last morning of devotions, prayer and singing as well and said our good-byes to many since we will be leaving tomorrow evening. They have been so encouraged by this gift because they see it as an opportunity to model and encourage love for each other through giving of their own means to sustain this pantry. The encouragement books we have been filling up for the last year+ have been a real lift to them. The Pauls love them so much they plan to do their own encouragement notebooks for their Timothys! God is clearly at work, moving thru the Sports Outreach Team, renewing them and giving them the strength they need to carry on in the most difficult day-after-day work God has called them to do working in the most painful and challenging areas of Kampala. There were many things shared this morning as we all expressed how we have seen God at work these past two weeks. It was a powerful moment as Samson read Habakkuk 3:17-18. “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
Tuesday: We've had an amazing two weeks here and truly these last couple of days have brought into full view the reason and the timing for which we were brought here; encouragement. The tools we brought - the pantry gift, the picnic, encouragement notebooks and the readiness to serve alongside them in their various ministries were all brought together on Saturday at the picnic and Monday as we dedicated the pantry and spent our last morning together in devotions. We saw our prayers from two different continents converge with all the purpose and meaning that only God can orchestrate. Our hearts are simply too full to convey all that we're feeling right now. Suffice it to say, he hears us when we call.
Updated Friday, April 8
E-mail from Martha
(Editor's note - this edited e-mail gives us an idea of what the day-to-day schedule is like for the team)
Tuesday started out with devotions and worship with the Sports Outreach Ministry (SOM) team. We started on our projects. Ed worked hard with a group of SOM men to build shelves for the pantry. Wood was brought in on a boda boda, a Uganda term for motorcycle. Nathan was able to have a theological discussion with the team men. Jon worked in the woodworking shop and then did a jam session with some of the guys. The women of the team took a tour of the school and were impressed with all the vocational activities.
That afternoon we were able to go as a team to another slum. A group of women were expecting us. Ed and Denise gave their testimony. Jon sang worship songs. Martha, Sheri and Denise were part of a discussion group. We then shared a children’s story to show the ladies how we love our children by sharing God’s word with them.
On Wednesday we started the day with devotions and praise. We then loaded on a big bus, with the SOM men and our team, about 20 of us. We headed to another Remand “Home” in a remote location (another child prison). The team has come to a consensus that traveling on the roads in Uganda make the Indian Jones ride at Disney Land look like a kiddy ride. When we arrived at the Remand Home, they had the children all in one large room as they sang praise and worship songs Uganda Style. Steve and Kim shared their testimony along with Jon to about 70 children. They then split up the boys and girls. The boys went with the SOM players to play volleyball. The girls sat with Martha, Sheri, and Kim. Martha shared her testimony, then Sheri and Martha shared the story of Daniel and the Lions. We left them with homemade bookmarks of Bible verses. They were appreciative and soaked up all the attention. The SOM routinely visit these children, about once a month. They are the shining light in a dark world for these children. The ride back to Kampala was fun because we stopped at a drum shop. Some of the Muzungus (we foreigners) bought drums. We let the SOM and Jon play them all the way back as the rest sang praise and Worship songs.
Updated Thursday, April 7
Phone message from Dave Stimson
The Uganda team is doing well during their full week of ministry in Kampala. They have spent time building relationships with the young people at the juvenile detention center, and have made good connections there. Dave and Sheri had the chance to share their faith with a young prostitute, and introduced her to a local church pastor so someone in his congregation can follow up with her. They spent Thursday working alongside and getting to know the Sports Outreach staff, and were encouraged by the sense of partnership that is growing. Sheri has had the opportunity to share the philosophy of the GBC Food Pantry ministry with our hosts, and dream about how that approach might open doors of ministry in Uganda.
They are looking forward to a busy weekend of ministry, including a staff picnic that is designed to encourage our hosts and strengthen them for their ongoing outreach in challenging situations. Thanks for continuing to pray that our team would bring refreshment and renewed energy to our African brothers and sisters.
Updated Tuesday, April 5
E-mail from the team
After 33 hours in travel our adventure to Uganda was mostly without incident (however we did use our triathlon skills running from plane to plane, gate to gate). We were thrilled to have our entire luggage arrive with us safely intact. We arrived at our guesthouse with a meal waiting for us at 1:00am. We were so tired that we didn't even remember our own names. It would have been helpful to have nametags. :) It was 2:00am Friday morning when we headed off to bed for our first night's sleep since leaving Grace Wednesday morning.
After a year and 1/2 of this much-anticipated trip we had our first meeting with the ministry leaders and Good News team. What an incredible, heart-felt experience to meet these dedicated frontline team members. Words do not describe the experience of finally meeting people whom we have been praying for over a long, long year. To worship God together in UGANDA, yes we said UGANDA! Even though a little jet lagged, we soaked in every moment of this experience.
After morning devotions we loaded up in a van and drove to to Entebbe (a small town outside of Kampala) to watch the Good News Team do what they do best, outreach to children on the football (soccer) field. We saw these young men who were (are) living in the slums play soccer and then bring countless number young adults to Christ. It was awesome to see our team spring into action reaching out to the crowd drawn in by the game. They sang, played with children and even had an opportunity to share an evangelistic cube with young children.
The very next day we worked in the Slums doing community service. We worked alongside the community and the SOM team to clean out drainage ditches as malaria prevention and outreach to the community. We then shared stories with young children and passed out meals to hungry children.
Sunday was our first day of Uganda style worship - an aerobic, lively way to show praise to God. Part of the team had the opportunity to teach Sunday school alongside the Sports Outreach team and share the salvation story thru the wordless book.
More updates to come, Grace to You!
P.S. To Pastor Mike: Next missions training please include a segment on how to remove lizards from ceilings in guest rooms.
Updated Sunday, April 3
E-mail from the Stimsons
Thank you so much for all your prayer! We are thanking God for our safe arrival, good adjustments and great team attitudes. What a blessing to be here after such a long awaited arrival.
The Good News Team has been most gracious in their welcome. It is truly a priviledge to witness these godly men in action. They are an inspiration and of great encouragement to our team. Pray that our time here will be of encouragement to them and bring honor to God for the good things He is doing.
We're also thanking God that we now have access to a modem in the evenings so you should be hearing from us more regularly! Check back soon for updates from the team!
Gratefully serving, Dave & Sheri
Updated Saturday, April 2
Phone call from the team
Team Leader Dave Stimson called yesterday with news - the team will have little access to the Internet, so they will try to communicate by phone every few days.
Their first day of ministry included involvement in a soccer and "netball" outreach with their hosts from Sports Outreach Institute. They also visited the sites where they would be serving for the rest of the trip, including the Remand House, a kind of juvenile detention center. The team is tired, but doing well, and grateful for your prayers.
Updated Thursday, March 31
Phone call from Dave Stimson
The Uganda team has arrived safely in Kampala, after a long but uneventful trip. All of their luggage arrived with them. They are resting in preparation for the beginning of their ministry tomorrow. We're grateful for your prayers for them!
Updated Wednesday, March 30
The Uganda team was prayed for and sent off by a supportive group of Gracers early this morning, setting off on their long-delayed and much-anticipated ministry in Africa.
Updated Monday, July 12, 2010
Terrorist bombings during the World Cup final on Sunday in Kampala killed dozens of people, creating an unsettled security situation in the city that was to be the focus of our team's ministry. In light of that, our host organization has recommended that we postpone the trip, and we have accepted their recommendation. Thank you for praying for the team as we adjust to this change, and begin to plan for future opportunities to serve there.