St Francis of Assisi ‘s quote, “Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.” has made a profound impact on my life. I was not a born preacher, or evangelist and often wondered if I was missing the mark in some important way. I felt better when I learned that God gives different gifts to each of us. Even though I am not shy I am a little introverted which can make me more comfortable somewhat in the background. When Jean and I go together she is the “preacher”. I speak to groups when called on but I wouldn’t call it preaching. Jean has a gift I don’t have and I am OK with that. However, it is very important to me that I “preach” with my actions. I am described as a humanitarian sometimes and that is OK to a point. Mostly I am just trying to be what God has made me to be giving Him all the credit for who I am and what I do. I really want to be His hands and feet when He needs me to be.
I have been asked, by one of the readers of my newsletter, to say more about the spiritual impact HELP is having on the Masese community. Of course this is hard to quantify but it is ultimately important. We are not ones to keep count as our direction is not to bring any glory to ourselves by bragging on how many “salvations” we have brought about. We are well aware that God gives the increase. We may be planting or watering and that is OK with us! It is all for the Kingdom.
Our school is a Christian School. It is well known for that. We sing Christian songs, pray every morning before school, teach Bible stories and Christian values. There are Muslim children in our school who are learning about Jesus. They are allowed to go to prayers in their Mosque on Fridays when we have Christian Studies if their parents want to take them. We love them all the same.
One day we were walking near a classroom where Billy was teaching math. We were surprised to hear him explain that the plus sign in addition was to remind us of the cross of Jesus. He said that every time they use the plus sign it should remind them that Jesus is a good addition to our lives. Never thought of that before. Our teachers are all Christians and are encouraged to live above reproach since they are ambassadors of a Christian School.
Jean has been preaching in both small and large churches in the area since before I ever came there. As soon as a church finds out she is in the area they start trying to get on her schedule to speak at their church. Now there is a group of 29 pastors in the Masese area we are partnering with. The leader of that group is the Spiritual Oversight Pastor of the HELP Project . Not only does Jean meet with them each time we are there but together they put on a Pastor’s Training conference last year. After we left we heard there
had been 67 baptisms resulting from the conference. There are also 50 churches started in other areas as a result of this conference. We concluded with a one day women’s conference ministering to 160 women.
An interesting realization is that we actually get more from the faith of the Believers in Uganda than we bring. Because they often have nothing to rely on except for God they rely on Him. As Americans we have our doctors and our money and opportunity to eat well and live in healthy conditions. We don’t “need” God quite like the Africans do. Of course that is a misconception but until we are in the proverbial foxhole we don’t turn to God like we would if the bullets were flying. In Africa poverty, malaria and all kinds of “bullets” are flying. God is being petitioned and worshipped and given the praise better and more abundantly than anywhere I have ever been before.
Three times Jesus ask Peter “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
John 21:16-18. I love Jesus and endeavor to feed his sheep in the village of Masese. We help feed them physically and help feed them spiritually and help feed them emotionally. Body, soul, and spirit are all important to the Kingdome of God!