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Uganda (Kampala) May 2016

African Renewal University, Uganda, Uganda April 29 - May 15, 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. May Courses: Christian Leadership OT Message and Theology Introduction to Christian MIssions

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

May  9th,  2016Capturing the Ministry in Uganda

    Beautiful countrysides, stunning sunrises and sunsets, flavorful peppers, and what I believe must be the sweetest mango in creation. Uganda is treating us well. But along with these blessings, our team has encountered the faithful hospitality of the Ugandan people. These brothers and sisters know how to welcome others.

    By all reports, our classes are going well. This trip I am teaching an introductory course in Christian Ethics. Last week the students and I were able to cover a lot of ground. While spending a bit of time on various philosophical "-isms" is a necessity, most of our time has been spent with Bibles open, working our way through passages of Scripture and seeking to apply God's truth to current ethical issues in the lives of the students.

    We covered some complicated questions. Are Christians under the Law of Moses? Are the Old Testament case laws useful, and how are we to interpret them as Christians? What do the Ten Commandments really say, and what place do they have for us? We also considered 1 Corinthians 8, 9, and 10, verse by verse, and thought through how Paul handled ethical dilemmas, such as eating meat sacrificed to idols.

    This week we turn to topics more directly facing the churches of Uganda: poverty, war and peace, justice, sexuality and marriage, and many more. If the students continue to perform as they did last week, good times are ahead.

    Yesterday we went out preaching in village churches. I went to a very small, newer church. The pastor had mentioned in his welcome at the beginning of the service that the village was consumed by witchcraft and the church sought to fight back against the devil. I decided to changed the message I was to share, and I preached on "True Spiritual Warfare." I taught about the distinction between the works of the God and the works of Satan, and I showed how the ultimate miracle and greatest way to see God's Kingdom come is to preach the gospel message so that men and women are born again by faith in Jesus Christ. The church received the message with gladness. I ended my sermon, and they asked me, since we had time, to preach something else! I thought, "Wait until I tell my home church this!"

Yes, the Lord is moving here in Uganda. We are thankful to all who have supported us along the way. Rest assured that the Spirit is at work bearing His fruit in many hearts, including ours.

Serving with you,

Jake Porter

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May  7th,  2016The Fruit of a Week of Teaching Behind Me

Dear TLI friends,

    It is hard to believe that one week has already passed here in Uganda. It has felt like a roller coaster ride in some ways! We arrived late Friday night after a long grueling trip of 20 hours. Bedtime on the first night was after 1:00am. The night was even shorter as I woke up at 4:30am and unable to go back to sleep. 

    In spite of the tiredness, jet lag, and lack of rest, each of us were asked to preach the next day at the local village churches. We did have a restful Saturday and God gave me a decent sleep that night. I also asked family members to pray for and with me. And God answered our prayers. I believe God did empower my words and I felt lifted up and "carried along by the Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21). It was a wonderful time of worship, singing and dancing that went on for an hour before I was asked to preach. Then I preached for another hour...with a translator.

    There were about 100 people (60 adults and 40 children) in the congregation. Many adults were under 40 years old. I had asked God to give me a younger audience because of my preaching topic. I spoke on The Freedom of Forgiveness from Psalm 32 and felt the message might resonate well with a younger generation who needed to know that God had not given up on them in spite of spiritual failures they may have encountered. The pastor thanked me for coming and invited me to come back again.

    This past week, Monday through Friday, I had the privilege of teaching 16 lively and motivated Ugandan students who probably range from 20 - 55 years old.  This was an answered prayer as well since I was asking God to provide me with at least 12 students to help cover the 12 Minor Prophets. I wanted to have them study, prepare and share with the class as a project presentation.  I figured 27 books was enough for me to cover in the Old Testament Survey course I was asked to teach in TWO WEEKS time. Some how, we made it through 17 of those books this past week, starting with Genesis and ending on Friday with Nehemiah. 

    Am I tired?  Yes, but I am also energized by the opportunity to share Gods word with these eager minds. I was touched by those who indicated to me that God was using this class to touch their lives. Just today, one woman said to me, "You are really speaking to me, it is as if God is having you here just to speak to me because of what I am going through in my life right now."  Praise God!  How wonderful to know that what God has given me to share is meeting the needs of other students.

    Another encouraging thing for me is that several of the students have asked and are even paying for a personal copy of ALL my notes. I have over 100 pages of notes; the students say they don't mind the volume of notes.  Wow! I can't ever recall any of my students in the U.S. telling me they want all of my notes and are willing to pay for them. 

    So where do we go from here. Tomorrow is a day off and we plan to visit a botanical gardens and monkey sanctuary, buy some Ugandan crafts, and go out to eat in Kampala, the capital, and them go home to get ready to preach on Sundayagain, and then prepare for our second week of classes. PLEASE do not stop praying now.  We all need God's grace, strength and words (1 Peter 4:11) for the coming week.

Warmly in Christ,

Tom Kehn


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May  4th,  2016Off to a Good Start

  It is the rainy season in Uganda. Periodic downpours occur of a torrential nature, and following each downpour, the mosquitos swarm. Electricity is unreliable and the humidity is high. The pounding rain and dim lighting would frustrate both teacher and student of our American way of life, but in Uganda, it is all part of day to day living; the students press on paying little attention to the changing forces of nature. They are seemingly indifferent to these conditions. 

    Although having completed only two days of teaching, the responses among our 4 teachers are: positive encouragement, surprising reception, and pastoral ministry beyond the classroom as students delightfully pester each teacher with questions ranging from the course material to personal advice on spiritual matters.

    Sitting at the dinner table, Maria, a student in Tom Kehn's course Old Testament Message and Theology, sat with us and expressed her grasp of the course by the helpful illustrations used by Tom. Tom asked, "What illustrations were helpful?" Maria was able to recite the illustration, and from it, her grasp of the flow of the Old Testament message. 

    My classroom door is near Ethan's room. Ethan is teaching the course Spiritual Leadership. As my class took a break, I could not help but hear the chatter of conversation from the students of Ethan's class. Ethan later expressed his delight in the student interaction and how he himself is learning much of Ugandan Christian culture as the students wrestle with the implications of pastoral leadership. 

    Sitting in the teacher's study room, Jake Porter, teaching Christian Ethics, expressed reluctance before his first day of teaching over a difficult set of foundational material that sets the stage for the following scriptural material. His reluctance was quelled as students actively engaged the material. On the second day of class, Jake expressed that he was able to do a verse by verse study of 1 Corinthians chapters 8, 9 and 10 -- a set of chapters on mature spiritual liberty. Jake also expressed his delight in learning the nature of Ugandan Christian culture as the students related the biblical text of Corinthians to Ugandan Christian tradition. 

    These are a few initial results of students and teachers in the very early hour of what will be 45 hour courses. As the courses progress, we will continue to tell of God's hand in the lives of both student and teacher. 

Tom Brown    

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