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Uganda Winter 2013

African Renewal Christian University, Uganda January 11-26, 2013

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.

Field Notes   Uganda Winter 2013

Jan  28th,  2013Back Home

by Joe Propri

We've been home two days now, arriving in the U.S.A. Saturday evening. I was assigned the journal entry for Friday evening, but was unable due to a hurried schedule of finishing class, loading luggage, eating, saying goodbye and traveling to the airport. We then flew to Amsterdam through the night and then split into three itineraries. There was little internet access and we spent almost 24 hours traveling (and waiting in airports) before we arrived home. I was in no condition to write. In fact, after a few hours with my wife, I slept from 10pm to 9:30 Sunday morning. And then I rested!

I am now completely unpacked, cleared all the emails, and caught up on most everything I missed. That is probably true of the rest of the team. We all thoroughly enjoyed ministering together, making new friends in Uganda as well as making new friends on the team. What a great bunch of guys they all are! You got to know them in Tom's last journal entry. But, Tom didn't mention Tom!

Tom is an ideal team leader. He was on top of the details of the trip, and had been to ARCC in Uganda before, serving on a team last August. His previous experience served us very well and he often reassured us if various concerns or questions were raised. He was always smiling, comfortable and content, and seemed to be in a state of wonder. I've been on six overseas mission trips and I've never seen anyone adapt so easily as Tom. He often said he could just stay and live there! And I believe he could. Why, he when he awoke, he immediately arose, dressed and went the long walk to the cold showers. He called it "invigorating." Most of the team said nothing because we don't believe complaining is biblical.

Tom was always available to help out in whatever ways he could. His comments and input during the many theological and bible discussions were always weighty and welcomed. I look forward to another trip with Tom.

As the team said goodbye, many of the students and staff expressed hope that we would all return and continue to teach God's Word to them. They are hungry for more. TLI is doing a marvelous work in caring and providing for the Ugandan church. Regardless of the teams they assemble, you can be confident of quality in ministry and dedication to the glory of God.

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Jan  24th,  2013The Treasure of Earthen Vessels

by Tom Brown

As we prepare to depart from Uganda, we leave behind the seeds of our labor, and in God’s grace, I trust seeds that will grow fruit as sweet as Ugandan pineapple. There are seven making up our team; each an earthen vessel in the spirit of 2 Corinthians 4:7 and each uniquely gifted by God. This post is about the seven who make up the “Winter Uganda Team 2013.”

There is Ben. Ben is on staff with Training Leaders International as the Director of Short Term Ministries. Conscientious of every detail, methodically deliberate in every pursuit, a true redeemer of every hour; Ben manages his class with precision. I have the privilege of being a reserve teacher in my home town for the public middle and high schools, and thus I observe many professional teachers. Ben shows professionalism in the likeness of the best teachers. As I observe Ben in action with his Ugandan students, I marvel at his creative diversity of method, his personal engagement with each student, and his ability to measure the effect of each lesson in the moment. Ben demonstrates the ability to teach in a manner that would prove affective in any culture, secular or Christian. It has been said that print crystallizes thought. Ben’s class is on research and writing -- may the seeds of this skill result in theological print that one day will stand the test of time in Uganda for the glory of God.

There is Randall, a 29 year-old PhD student from Southern Seminary; Randall, with his winsome smile and subtle humor keeps us smiling and lighthearted. A passionate teacher of the Word of God, Randall clearly demonstrates that he is not interested in displaying his knowledge, but rather in helping the students with theirs. Randall teaches the Pentateuch. With elated enthusiasm, Randall expressed his great satisfaction as his students, in the last days of his class, grasped the big story of redemption in the progressive revelation of the Pentateuch. Randall spoke how good it is to know the individual books in isolation, but how excellent it is to see the individual books of the Pentateuch in the unveiling drama of redemption fulfilled in the Christ to come.

There is Andy, a 30 year-old MDiv graduate from Southern Seminary and a solo pastor of a country church in Vidalia, Georgia. Andy is deeply thoughtful and often lost in wonder at the majesty of God’s Word. It is encouraging to see Andy’s freshness of wonder, even after years of theological familiarity and settled Christian growth. Andy spoke of his greatest compliment as one student, a Ugandan pastor learning from the book of Ephesians in the class “Spiritual Formation,” asked Andy: “Can I have your notes and will you help me prepare to preach the book of Ephesians to my church?” And so the multiplication of the Word begins its journey, as did the ministry of Jesus Christ through the “greater work” (John 14:12) of the Apostles as the book of Acts tells the story.

There is Don, a 64 year-old DMin graduate, master of Puritan history and Reformed theology; Don comes across as a seasoned teacher in the classroom, calling each student by name, and teaching in a manner that invites each student to participate in discussion around difficult theology. Don’s breath of historical knowledge usually brings clarification and closure to difficult theology as he naturally illustrates his point. Don spoke this evening of the ‘endearing growth’ of his students: “After two weeks of teaching it is going to be hard to let them go…the most marvelous delight that any true teacher could receive among students – tossed by the cultural winds of false teaching – is seeing them get it fast, receive it in faith, and quickly anticipate the consequences they will face as they tell others of their past error in understanding the Bible.” Such ready reception is certainly the surprising work of God.

There is Beverley, younger than Don in every way; Bev is the best thing that ever happened to Don! Bev’s warm disposition and infectious smile naturally invites the girls of the college to talk for hours with her about spiritual matters. Bev is an affective and personal counselor of women. It is not unusual to hear Bev and a student laughing into the late hours of the night. Bev made such a beautiful observation as she reflected upon the abundance of teaching we have in America, contrasted with the abundance of hunger found in Uganda. As Bev thought further on the contrast, the thought came of the parable of the sower and the seed in Matthew 13:1-9. In the parable it is clear that true reception is not in the sowing of seed, but in the reception of the soil (Matthew 13:18-23). And so, Uganda has the better part, awaiting only the food that lends to eternal life (John 4:10).

There is Joe, a 66 year-old professional biblical counselor and seasoned teacher of the Word of God. Joe captured his class with a depth of biblical understanding met with intimate practical application.  Joe teaches biblical counseling. Of the highlight of Joe’s experience among the students was a seemingly collective understanding, almost as a ray of illuminating light, as one student expressed in the affirmation of all: “The Bible is practical; we don’t merely believe the Bible but live it out, and it works.” It is good to see the Word understood among the students, but it is better to see it received into practical application of life. Africa is crying for the word that lives in the streets. Joe’s class is a drink of cold water to a thirsty people.

These are the seeds we pray that God will bring to fruit as only He can do. May He take the seeds, sown in human frailty, and establish them to “…the praise of the glory of His grace.”

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Jan  23rd,  2013Serving and being Served

By: Ben Stafford

I came to Uganda to serve, primarily to give two weeks of my time to teach Christian leaders about research, writing, and thinking skills. In addition to that I, and the team, sought to be an encouragement to the Believers here at Africa Renewal Christian College.  In our best moments we have sought to do this without expecting recognition or anything in return.  It was and has been truly a delight.

On Friday, my role adjusted a bit when I got injured playing football (soccer) with some workers here, scraping my shin pretty badly.  The wound needed to be cleaned and dressed twice daily and today is the first time I'm letting it air out. For a few days I found myself in a more or less helpless position of needing service and accepting it in full measure.

One of the young ladies here who takes care of us, Peace, who always makes all our meals, was diligent to clean and dress my wound every time it needed it. She has no medical experience or training yet she clearly did her best for my leg. She was never in a rush to finish and move on with her life, and never scared of getting dirty with my blood or looking at my wound. She simply thoroughly and methodically did was needed to be done. In the midst of cleaning I may wince or clench my fist in pain. Her soft voice would respond, "you paining?"  "Yes, but just ignore me" I would say. 

It was humbling to be in a position where I needed to be served. There was no way around it (Unless I wanted the wound to go uncleaned and without new dressing).  So I would have to ask, even though I knew it would be a painful experience, "Peace, can you come clean my wound this evening?"  After maybe 5 times we got to the point where we could do it together without hardly trading a word - silently, methodically, and together taking care of it - she unwrapped tape, and I cut and so on.  She would sit next to my foot, likely silently praying, while the hydrogen peroxide dried waiting to then place the next gauze and wrap on. 

Likely for the rest of my life I will have a scar on my left shin and it will be a reminder to me to both be willing to be served and to serve in the same selfless and loving way Peace did me.

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Jan  23rd,  2013Prayer for the churches

By: Andy Miller

I have had two main prayers for my spiritual formation class. The first is for the students directly to grow in Christ-likeness through the Word. I love how the class has taken a very devotional direction since we first started. We are now calling one another by name and discussing our lives and ministries. My second prayer has been for God to strengthen the churches through the students.

It is beyond me to know all ways in which these prayers might be answered, but it was good today to have one example. After a very good discussion in class, a student named Tom told me he wants to preach through Ephesians in his church. We have been going steadily through Ephesians in class. He asked me if I could write down some thoughts from each chapter to help him in his study, which I happily agreed to. What a joy to know that many of the truths we have shared in class will now be flowing out to a congregation in Uganda. It is satisfying to know that the Word is going forth.

With only two days of class remaining, I am thankful to the Lord for what He has taught me. This trip came about so quickly for me in the last few months of 2012, and what a great experience it has been. Both the preparation and the ministry here have encouraged me in Christ. 


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Jan  22nd,  2013Moses

By: Randall Breland

 Building relationships with the students at ARCC Uganda has been a tremendous blessing these past 10 days. They have been teaching me a few words in Luganda (their second language), showing me how to properly eat sugar cane (apparently I have eaten it wrong my whole life!), and teaching me how to make Ugandan rice and beans (delicious!). 

Besides these fun things, these students have taught me so much about character. One of these students is Moses Noagijimana, who is a pastor in the capital city of Rwanda, Kigali. He serves on a team of pastors in a church of over 5,000 people. This dear brother is 29 years old, and walks with a cane and a prosthetic leg.  He is a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, where the government killed 500,000 to 1,000,000 Tutsi’s in approximately 100 days.  By God’s grace, Moses lost his leg, yet survived the genocide.  He is now a walking testimony to that horrible time in Rwandan history, and he is a walking testimony to the mercy of our Savior. 

Moses did not become a believer until 1992.  He was a practicing Muslim, until one day a college professor shared the Gospel with him.  This message really concentrated on the “hope” that is in Jesus.  Moses shared with me the fact that he had no hope as a Muslim, and had turned to doing drugs to help him cope with the past tragedy in his life.  Upon hearing of the hope that is in Jesus, he expressed faith in him and repented from his sins.  Hallelujah! Moses is a testimony that the spirit of God is just as busy in Africa as he is in the U.S. or other places of the world.

Now Moses is a pastor, and has traveled to Kampala, Uganda to receive a diploma in biblical studies here at ARCC.  He will graduate in February.  It has been a joy to teach him.  He listens with a sober attentiveness that shows his eagerness to learn God’s word, and his love for it.  He asks great questions, and is excited to take back the things he is learning here to his people in Kigali.

I have to confess that there is something about him that I envy.  You only have to speak with Moses for five minutes to know of his deep trust in King Jesus.  He carries a contentment and peace that few of us could understand.  What an honor it is to learn from his perseverance, faith, and love for our King!

Please pray for Moses, and other students like him, who are persevering in the Gospel.

Show Comments   |   Leave a Comment  |  Tags:  pastors, africa, arcc, uganda, rwanda
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