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Uganda (Kampala) January 2016

African Renewal University, Uganda, Uganda January, 2016

The Holiday Term at Africa Renewal Christian College is a part of a 2-year Certificate Program for pastors, church leaders and lay-members of the church that desire to be equipped for ministry. The training attracts mature adults that are already serving in ministry and are unable to attend bible college full-time to due family, ministry and work commitments. This mature group of students provides a tremendous atmosphere for dialogue and debate as students learn how to apply God's word to their lives.

Follow along as teachers in the field offer their experiences as they share theological training with local church leaders.

Jan  21st,  2016Finishing Reflections

As this TLI mission draws to a close, I find myself still in love with Jesus. He has kept me full of His joy and I am blessed to the core of my being with His presence.

My struggles have been few.  My texting speed is the only real frustration and I would love to be able to talk to my precious wife Irene with a clear phone connection.  The staple diet of rice and beans is supplemented every couple of days with a restaurant meal down town Kampala.  I had ice cream the other night and have eaten crocodile, blessbok and ostrich.  Here on campus we have been offered some snake - black mamba - but I don’t know anyone on the team too excited about that.  We often have been without electricity.  The generator is switched on for essential lighting, but most mornings I have started teaching at 7:00am with the students standing next to the windows or outside until the sun rises. This morning’s ou door teaching about the imminent return of Jesus was such a blessed worship experience.

This time in Uganda has been soul-stirring and very spiritually sobering.  Poverty is an arm length away but so is the amazing evidence of the power of the life-changing gospel.  I am stopped in the walkways before and after class by students loaded with questions.  That is such a beautiful experience.  I am happily worn out from talking to men and women, many who are physically impoverished but spiritually wealthy.  Their joy is because they have been "arrested" by the saving grace of Christ Jesus and they simply hunger for more knowledge of Him. 

I am so rich.  I have had the privilege over the years of studying the words of Christ and worshiping Him in very comfortable settings and with all the modern electronic conveniences.  Now He has given me time and opportunity to be "poured out" (as Paul writes), for the cause of maturing the saints in a very different situation.  By God's amazing providence, I am a servant of Christ here right on the equator in the middle of a very mild summer. Many of you are giving yourselves to serve Christ sacrificially in the middle of winter on the other side of the world.  May He be pleased to use us right where we have been planted by His providential hand.

- Rod

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Jan  20th,  2016Sowing and Harvesting

In this second week of teaching I have seen the “light” of God’s word take hold of some hearts and minds in my ‘Christ-i-am’ worldview class. It has been like flipping the switch to my dark dorm room.  It is not often that our God gives his servants the privilege of “sowing” or “watering” and literally experiencing an immediate “harvest.” God will not allow us to the glory due to His name, but He will encourage us. I am humbled and filled with thankfulness to Christ for this opportunity to be His conduit—His ambassador—here in Uganda for two short weeks. Here is one example of what I recently taught: Christ is the ‘Chief’ Shepherd and the ‘Chief’ Prophet (Heb. 13:20; 1:1). The church functions as a unified body because Jesus is its head—He alone has purchased its salvation; Jesus is also the source and dispenser of all truth—His words of life have come through Him directly while he lived in this world and it is He who also has spoken though the Old Testament prophets and the apostles.  All his words are now preserved for his chosen people in the 66 books of the Bible.  It alone is therefore sufficient for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3-5).  My greatest thrill in life is teaching the marvelous truths of Christ and his kingdom (Luke 8:1).  

- Rod Wilton



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Jan  19th,  2016A Surprising Danger for a Ugandan Pastor

At the end of each day in my Christian Leadership, I've had the class spend fifteen minutes journaling some reflection questions. I had talked about dangers and threat to leadership in the local church like apathy, need to be liked, etc. Today's journaling question was "What dangers do you personally face in ministry?"

Pastor Okullo wrote this:

"Comfort is a danger I face. You may need to lead, but lack some things that you may be used to. For example, 1.) when you are leading in the town and God takes you to the village, 2.) when you have branches in the villages and don't want to visit them because poor transport, 3.) when you don't want to go and pray in the bush beause there are no beds there, and 4.) when you want sophisticated machines in the church. If not, you don't fit well."

Pray for leaders like Pastor Okullo who are faithfully serving rural churches in Uganda, being trained for further minstry. Pray that Christ would be more satisfying than comfort.

- Josh

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Jan  15th,  2016Teaching at AfRU

What a week it has been in Uganda at African Renewal University! I am thankful for an amazing, God-given opportunity to love Christ by teaching believers in this part of the world to grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus. The kingdom of God is visibly seen in the faces of total strangers who very quickly demonstrate that we are bound together in our hearts and minds because we have encountered the same Savior.

The ARU campus is in a beautiful setting.  The view is one of green, rolling hills. The perfect weather makes the challenge of teaching across very minor cultural barriers a total joy. We began teaching this morning without lights but the fun was having 20 students all stand next to the windows for 20 minutes trying to read a few lines.

Christian service often calls for “sowing and watering” without immediate reward. In this situation however, the Spirit has initiated a response to the teaching of the Grand Narrative of the Bible—a Christian world view—that has been a total delight.  What a privilege it is to hold a Bible in my hand and know that Christ is “feeding His sheep.”  We are blessed to be God’s conduit through which the treasures of Christ flow.

- Rod Wilton

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Jan  13th,  2016The Need for the Word

Reposted with permission from Mike Berry's blog Truth in the Mountains:

I wrapped up teaching my first day, and I'm excited and exhausted at the same time. A bit excitausted if you will. (If Stephen Colbert can invent truthiness, then I can make up this one)

Today I introduced the class to Hermeneutics or Inductive Bible Study if you fancy that better. We began with the writing of the scriptures: the who, when, where, how, of the divine inspiration of our inerrant Bibles. Stories were shared, favorite passages studied through new lenses, and often mishandled texts like Jeremiah 29:11 brought into the light of context.

It was awesome!! Not just the time in God's word, but watching students begin to open up to the intense and important task of systematic study of scripture. Washing away the years of shared "knowledge" and letting the very word of God speak instead of opinion, is of utmost importance. These students love Jesus and want others to know him too, but they need a firmer foundation to lead and love their congregations well. That doesn't happen outside of the right teaching of God's word. You can care for people and lend some comfort, but eventually that runs out when the world is shaken.

The core of the Gospel is that Jesus saves us through his work on the cross, and we know that because of the scriptures. Paul restates this fact twice here: 

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 ESV

Without God's word, you can't begin to understand the depths of His love for you.

The work that TLI is doing here and around the world is eternally important. By strategically sending pastors to train other pastors, the theological and gospel spreading impact is exponential!! What a blessing to each nation that gets newly trained and equipped pastors to spread the name of Jesus.

Well, I'm so excitausted that I need to head off to get some rest.


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