Thanks for your patience, and for getting started (currently 19 comments…and, again, the deleted ones are deleted by the authors, not by me).
And thanks, Erik and Karen, for your excellent reviews. I know you all want to hear the details of the trip, and I want to (and will) talk about it. And as soon as someone e-mails me some pictures, I will post them.
My eyes are a little inflamed from having had lasik surgery right before going, and then riding for hours in open air cars every day in the extreme dust, heat, and exhaust fumes of the overly crowded and traffic-jammed, Ugandan roads…so I have to pace myself a little in writing. I’ll do as much as I can throughout the day, but, in the meantime, continue to post your comments...
ntil you actually set foot on the soil of a place, and breathe in its air, and get in physical touch with its people and environment, you can’t really understand it. Africa is the world's second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² (11.7 million sq mi) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area. With about 922 million people (as of 2005) in 61 territories, it accounts for about 14.2% of the world's human population. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Suez Canal and the Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. There are 53 countries, including Madagascar and all the island groups. In a word, it’s enormous on many levels, and you can never understand or comprehend all of it…but you can’t really understand any of it until you go there…
od opened a door for me to go to Uganda (named the “Pearl of Africa” by Winston Churchill when it was still a British territory) several months ago, through being introduced to Pastor Benard Nadiope of Good Shepherd’s Touch Ministries in the capital city of Kampala. Through a series of events that confirmed to him and me that our connection was divinely inspired, Pastor Ben was ordained with Now Ministries here at CITN on our church anniversary, and then invited me to come to do his very first Pastor’s conference. The purpose of the conference was for me to connect with other Pastors there, and to build bridges between them – most of them from many different denominations – so that more could be accomplished for the Kingdom of God there in that part of the world.
s you may know, Uganda is a beautiful country that has been ravaged by war, the evil regime of Idi Amin, poverty, and the AIDS epidemic. Child prostitution is rampant there, and children, in general, are particularly vulnerable, as the spread of AIDS has created a huge orphan population all over the country. Education, especially in the rural areas, is not easy to obtain, and polygamy is still legal. As a result, women are also easily victimized in the society, at large, and conventional prostitution is the only option that many of them think that they have to make a living.
adiope’s ministry interested and attracted me in the first place because, like Bishop Tommy Smith’s ministry in the Philippines, it is Spirit-filled, yet socially relevant and proactive in its efforts to tangibly light a candle in a very dark place. The children’s home, the vocational training for vulnerable women, the ministry to victims of AIDS, including a very successful AIDS awareness and educational seminar last year, the prison outreach, and the church’s very existence right in the middle of a well-known, Kampala ghetto, all served to convince me that I wanted to work with him. And the fact that he chose to bring his ministry under our covering, and receive me as his Bishop, proved to be an added incentive.
espite the oppressive conditions in Kampala, and of the nation as a whole, Good Shepherd’s Touch Ministries has been raised up in the last five years to become a vibrant, socially relevant and active faith-community. We were there last week to conduct simultaneous Pastors/Leaders conferences in both Kampala and Kamuli, to minister in Pastor Ben’s children’s home, in an AIDS hospital, in a prison camp, and to install Deacons in his church, and to ordain 11 new Pastors through Now Ministries. Over 250 churches were represented in the conference, including Baptists, Pentecostals, Methodists and Roman Catholics. The Pastors in Kamuli were particurarly moved by the fact that we were willing to make the long, arduous trek to the area more than once (apparently, many American ministers are willing to go to the big city of Kampala, but refuse venture out to the other regions). The meetings were very successful and powerful, and the people were very open to us. In short, every one of us fell in love with every one of them!
frica has always been very special to me, but this trip took the connection that I have with the continent to a whole new level. And as I said earlier, Uganda is called the Pearl of Africa, and I shared with the Pastors in Kampala last week about the pearl and the oyster being a picture of overcoming a difficult situation, and how the people being proactive in all of the hardships of that country is serving to create one big beautiful Pearl of Great Price. In the Revelation, John saw “Gates of Pearl” to the City of God, and, as I also said in that meeting, Uganda is the gate to Africa, and in many ways, Africa is the gate to the world in regards to the coming of the Kingdom of God. I could tell you more about the ministry this past week…in the churches…in the children’s home…in the AIDS hospital…in the prison camp…and in amazing, one on one encounters with some of the most beautiful and loving people on earth…but I’ll save it for the service tomorrow night.