Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Great Day in Uganda

Today was wonderful...excellent...awesome...of course, things were immediately better once we finally got our luggage...except for P. Chad...they brought him the wrong suitcase, so he had to wait a few more hours...but he finally got his, and he and Lori and Erik and Karen went back to Kampala and had an amazing day at Good Shepherd's Touch...Erik will probably blog about their experiences later...

Because of the luggage drama we missed the morning meeting in Bewenge, but after lunch the Pastors Rogers and Joel and I took the long, arduous journey back down there for an afternoon service. First, we toured a school that is in dire need of help, met with the Headmistress, and had a good prayer with her. Then we returned to do a session at the church with the bats (they were a little more subdued today, but P. Avery said she counted about 50 of them, still...)...

The church was filled...about twice the number of people that were there yesterday, and many of them had testimonies of healings from the outdoor service yesterday when I laid hands on them. After the teaching I laid hands on all the Pastors that were there, which is really the thing I love doing the most here, while a kind of monsoon swept in. After the service we ran for the car and headed back to Kampala to attend a cultural center there that has a really nice and impressive kind of outdoor dinner theatre where they do an evening if tribal dances and Ugandan ancestral music...

The presentation was absolutely amazing...the energetic dancers were incredible, and the rhythmic, percussive music is very powerful and dynamic. What was really, really cool about the evening, however, was what happened when the emcee/producer was doing his part of the act. He was in the middle of doing a kind of semi-stand up comedy routine when he noticed that I was sitting in the front row. I still had on my clerical attire (with collar) because we had gone to the theatre straight from the afternoon service. Suddenly, he became very serious, even tearing up, as he talked about how honored he was that a Bishop (he referred to me as "Lord Bishop") would come to see his show, and approve of it. He said that the European missionaries had stolen so much of African culture, telling the people that the drums and the ancestral dances were pagan and even demonic...he talked about how his mother became so religious and would only sing the hymns of the high church, telling him that he could never dance again. Then he began to say, nearly verbatim, the things that I said last year in Pastor Ben's church when his young people did the native African dances in church...he shared amazing revelation about how his ancestors were worshipping the one true God, and how my/our presence there tonight was a confirmation of that. I don't think I'm explaining it well enough, but it was really something...

Then the whole team came back to the hotel and had a great time of sharing about the things of God, and the things that had happened during the day...they really are an extraordinary group of people...

Tomorrow we're in Kampala all day...

Love to all...


Donald said...


P. Avery said...

Just finished streaming, ya'll looked GREAT, Family! (Props to Dad Swilley :). Soooo good to worship with you!

Tweets just spun the hourglass and never went anywhere tonight, so I'll try this. Which reminds me that knowing about lots of ways to communicate "caint hoit!"

How mind-expanding is it to think this message will be beamed from one side of the planet to the other, processed for the right account and sent back to this side of the planet for approval in another part of the same hotel and then beamed back to the servers on your side of the planet to be posted for you and me to read from anywhere? Amazing...but NOT as much as CITN is!

I do want to add something to the quote Bishop shared from the director of the Cultural Center that we enjoyed last night. As he pointed Bishop out in the audience, he said he was honored to have "my" Lord Bishop with us (or in the house or whatever).

Ya'll that point of spirit to spirit recognition of "our" Bishop as "HIS" Lord sitting there was huge.

I would not be surprised at all to find out that he or someone in his household received a healing last night.

If this doesn't go through, I'll revert to a 1977 thing P.Ernie and I did while he served in Korea-- writing each day but putting them all in the mailbox at the end of the week. We actually made tapes but you get the idea.

Gotta at least try to close my eyes a few hours. Love ya'll. Your prayers, declarations and agreement are coveted and working!

Northern Light said...

AMEN and THANK YOU ALL for being there, for being who you all are, and for sharing with us !

Northern Light

Son of Zadok said...

The message transcends all cultures.

It sounds like the atmosphere and energy are charged.

We are sending our love to you all.

Continue seeking glory, and honor, and incorruption, life eonian !

Rom 2:7

Anonymous said...

As I was reading this post I felt the Holt Spirit take hold of my heart. By the time you got to the part about the MC's revelation and the stolen right (if you will) to worship the one true Loving GOD by so called religion. It hit me like a ton of bricks and with tears flowing. I realized their is so much to be done. I thank God I am apart a ministry that not only understands this but is willing to put it's money where it's mouth is, so to speak. Thanks to each and every one of this GOD team. GOD's Blessing to all. Keith PEACE!!!

PattiL007 said...

It is so wonderful to hear of the fabulous work you are all doing there and of the amazing connections you are making on HIS behalf. I have a feeling the emcee is another world changer...thank God for the symbolism of a clerical collar and for your openness of spirit! Such a privilege and an honor to be associated with all of you!

Pop Swilley was GR8 tonite and it was a real pleasure to hear his brother's (Harry's) story of survival, too! Praise God!

Have a FABULOUS Thursday in Kampala, Team U-2!

PattiL007 said...

Bishop...I think I would feel the same about the bat issue, however, I thought this information might be useful in changing our perspectives on bats...

The animal symbolism of the bat speaks of:

* Illusion
* Rebirth
* Dreams
* Intuition
* Initiation
* Journeying
* Inner Depth
* Communication

Let's face it, the bat isn't the most popular of animal totems. In fact, it's largely misunderstood and so therefore many of its symbolic meanings are inappropriately fear-based.

However, the very savvy Native Americans approached the realm of animals from a position of honor - knowing that all things are connected.

The Native American animal symbolism of the bat comes from a keen observation of this magnificent animal. These people recognized that the bat was highly sensitive to their surroundings and so therefore was considered a symbol of intuition, dreaming and vision. This made the bat a powerful symbol for Native American shamans and medicine people. Often the spirit of the bat would be invoked when special energy was needed, like "night-sight" which is the ability to see through illusion or ambiguity and dive straight to the truth of matters.

The bat is a symbol of rebirth and depth because it is a creature that lives in the belly of the Mother (Earth). From the womb-like caves it emerges every evening at dusk. And so - from the womb it is reborn every evening.

It is a symbol of communication because the Native Americans observed the bat to be a highly social creature. Indeed, the bat has strong family ties. They are very nurturing, exhibiting verbal communication, touching, and sensitivity to members of their group.

If you have the bat as your totem you are extremely aware of your surroundings. Sometimes you can be overly sensitive to the feelings of others. Additionally, you are quite perceptive on a psychic level, and are prone to have prophetic dreams.

* Dying to our ego (self-centeredness)
* Loving our enemies as ourselves
* Going within to touch and overcome our inner demons
* Exploring the underworlds of reality to expose myths and reveal more truth
* Renewing our thoughts and beliefs on a moment-to-moment basis: IN THE NOW!

All of these tasks can be harrowing experiences. This is why the Native American symbolism of the bat deals with initiation; because this creature takes us to outlandish extremes. But rest assured, the bat is never leaves our side while we are journeying, and the devotion of the bat will never fade. It will eternally support us on our spiritual path - ever faithful and forever loving us on our journey to maintain our highest potential.

Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

Amalia Amaki said...

Great News! Miss you!

Anonymous said...

Jean de Sousa said...

So glad you finally have your clothes! Sounds like things are
going well. Be Blessed and love to all..

Anonymous said...

Nancy Courter said...

When His Hands went to New York in June we saw an African tribal dance presentation by the Harlem was very cool--drums, bright colors, rhythmic, and powerful! Love hearing about everyone's experiences!!

Anonymous said...

Amalia Amaki said...

Wow...this is a wonderful report - the drum and dance testimony is one that is told so often in that region of the world.

Anonymous said...

Tonya Mack Robinson said...

Absolutely Amazing ! Glad you got your luggage :-) Praying for favor over the whole trip !

Anonymous said...

Darlene Swilley said...

i know it did....cant live w/out THINGS!!!!CHURCH WAS really good....Dad did very good,,,,glad you could stream some,,,,he was so glad....xo

Anonymous said...

Willie Bush said...

good stuff. love back to all.

Erik said...

Hello Everyone,

Wed., 02 September, 2009.

Mookama Yebazibwe !!! (Praise God in Bantu Lugunda language)

When we arrived this afternoon in Kampala at Good Shepherd church , ministers at the conference were sharing about challenges and blessings in their home churches across Uganda. This included favor with local communities and government regarding caring for the children left as orphans, programs to train or employ women in skilled trades, and issues of aids awareness. The challenges , of course, included those very same issues, and the ways in which blessings emerged out of the challenges.

The earth floor, tin and wood siding and the cool breeze coming through the building under grey skies contrasted with the sun and heat of Tuesday. The conference was in day two, a day of settling into nuts and bolts of the conference. There were a number of smaller groups around discussing various topics, as we walked down the dirt road and then side trail to the church. We made are around the goats, chickens, and neighborhood children running about, (Did I tell you about the wild monkeys we saw yesterday in the neighborhood?) . We were greeted by Pastors form the church, and some children from the church ran to see Pastor Lori. Down to work, the conference area was in a subdued buzz of activity.

We each had a chance to meet with some of people we had met the day before, discussing some of their plans, experiences, follow ups from the day before in one on one conversations. Pastor Rachel from Good Shepherd , erected a canopy to display the clothes for sale made by women in their job and trade skills program. Busy activity everywhere. I met with a pastor who is getting certified with Cisco (The computer networking company) , was looking at MIT in Boston, or an internship in Finland, once his next course is completed, he will be one of a handful of people in Uganda with these skills. He also turned out to by interpreter later in the day. No slouches here, these are focused dedicated people.

-- continued --

Erik said...

part 2 --

We then settled into meeting with two groups, the married pastors and the single ones, Pastors Chad & Lori met with he married pastors. Their discussions focused around embracing the spirituality of marriage, the friendship, the romance, and family recognizing it is a critical component of success in their ministries. How that works into the benefit they can provide for the real challenges their congregants face, while still maintaining time for themselves and their families. All of them are in the ministry because of their love and care for the people they serve, and managing the demands on them with all of the natural issues they face in their communities.

I met with the singles, along with Pastors Rachel and Pauline of Good Shepherd. The discussion there focused on two separate areas. One – not pushing to get married, while not avoiding it, enjoying the time and growth wherever they are at. The singles had more time for their community in one sense, but also found themselves lonely or exhausted. We talked about the ‘ Better to want something you don’t have, than to have something you don’t want ‘ scenario. That lead into a somewhat common issue for the single women pastors. As the society is changing, they still face more difficult financial issues than the men. They face real issues of settling for marriage that is practical to get financial stability. They have responsibilities for their communities and families (parents, widowed siblings, etc) and for those who were widows, their own children or grandchildren, but with less opportunity then the men had for earning. In our discussion about this, women getting together to establish small businesses, and even have their churches begin such things as farming or service oriented business to employ congregants, help finance the church and their community efforts, and actually pay the pastors. The men also shared the understanding that they can help the women pastors or women in their communities succeed , so they do not have marriages of convenience and compromise, which produces other community problems, such as spread of aids, orphans, and lacking nutrition .

Both groups have deep, complex issues for which determined faith combined with action brings vision and strength in their work with their local communities.

These pastors have the determination to be agents of change in their communities, along the struggles we all have.

Keep them all in your prayers. None of them will back away from the future they are manifesting here, and the support in The Spirit will give them the strength and clarity to see their communities self reliant, healthy, and strong.

PattiL007 said...,25

This link above is for a clock to help us to keep track of the date/time in which Team Uganda is operating...please continue to lift them up in prayer as they Speak To Nations and do the work of the Lord in Uganda!

Praying and sending them powerful positive thoughts and words...that is OUR part of the mission and is as important as anything else you have or may do for them...and for the Ugandan people!

Pastor Ernie
Pastor Avery
Pastor Chad
Pastor Lori
Karen Long
Erik Stremke
and Joel Nunn

These men and women of God and of CITN have stepped out in Faith and are busily ministering the Word of the Lord, and we MUST support TEAM Uganda all along their way! The work of the ministry is wonderful but can be physically taxing and arduous as well...they NEED OUR PRAYERS! They pour themselves out like water for the people and it's up to us to help them stay strong and ready and in season throughout the entire trip! We WILL NOT allow ourselves to become complacent in our duties...we will pour INTO THEM as they POUR OUT for others!

Thank you, CITN Fam, for hearing my heart regarding this important time. Team Uganda is doing this work for the people of Uganda AND FOR US...we are very much a part of everything they are doing and they NEED US. We have a job to do and we must complete it...Together we work to fulfill the Great Commission to go into the world and spread the GOOD NEWS!

Team Uganda: Your Feet are BEAUTIFUL as you stand on the MOUNTAIN of God's Word preaching the TRUTH...the Gospel of peace and...GLAD tidings of GOOD things! THANK YOU for all you are doing...We Love and Appreciate you!

Blessings Blog Fam...and Team Uganda!

karl cobos said...

Was just in prayer for you guys in Uganda.
...I'll do my best to read the updates soon.

Enjoy hearing of the testimonies, the promoting of love and good works.

Erik said...

Have a little break, and wanted to share a fun adventure I had yesterday ( Wed, 02 Sept.)

Due to the change in schedule, we had some time between noon and 2 PM. Bishop with Pastors Avery and Ernie, and Joel had left already, and Pastors Chad & Lori, and Karen were resting.

2hrs, what to do in Kampala?

Pastor Ben’s wife, Rosette had asked if we wanted to see the real, raw Kampala. I said, absolutely!!!!!

We went off to the downtown market area. This is NOT like anything in the U.S. We arrived outside the main market area, with traffic streaming from every direction. Their driving rules are very different. It works, but it is nothing like what we are used to.

So, the adventure began just getting out of the van. Then to walk across the intersection, to an entrance to the market area. I learned real quick to follow her exactly where she walked, and to stop and start exactly when she did. Cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles, come literally within inches (seriously, like 1-3 inches) of people at every turn, sometimes quite fast for a busy street teeming with people, vehicles, and an occasional animal.

Once I made it through my first intersection on foot, I was getting pretty confident :) . We walked into the shopping area, which turned out to be maybe ½ mile deep, and a mile long. These are stalls, packed on each side, with dirt walkways maybe 4 feet wide, and the stalls about 12 feet tall, covered. Inside, there of course are a ton of people, buyers and sellers with everything possible, plus eating areas.. Fabrics, shoes, clothes, tailors, blacksmiths, toys, candy, meat, cell phones, cosmetics, on and on, everything.

The stalls are about 6 feet wide, 12 feet tall. Every step, you are generally watching not to run into someone, and where you step, because the ground is uneven, and an occasional puddle. Plus, when passing the cafĂ©’s, the cooking is done within a few feet of where you are walking over open fires. It all works though. This was super fun.

We walked, checked out various vendors, (very motivated sellers) . Did a tour of about half of this particular market, and made are way back outside to a street.

Once outside, I realized we were on a street with stalls for metal working, foundries, pipe making, etc. Of course, cars, bikes, buses, trucks zooming by, with narrow sidewalks. How much more fun can it get ?

– Then I spot a stall with cooking pots, all sizes . Rosette saw me looking at it across the street, and said, let’s go, you can always use a pot. (we talked about cooking the day before). I was across the street like I did a hundred times before, no worries. It is kind of dance between the people and the vehicles.

The pots were totally cool, and made right there. I picked out the size I wanted, and Rosette handled the negotiation on price in Lugandan language. The haggling was friendly, and it seemed they were close to a final price for me to consider. Then, Rosette dropped the pot on the ground, and spoke to the seller. I was surprised, the seller laughed. Rosette told me she was checking the warranty quality, and picked up the pot and dropped it again. It seems it passed the possible damage test. She was really good at this ! I purchased the pot, and I know no one else in the U.S. will have one like it. Oh, I got a ladle thrown in too.

Then we were off to another nearby shopping area on foot, where she was going to buy school supplies for the children at the orphanage they operate. I was getting good at navigating the streets, even walking a bit ahead of Rosette with my new found street skills:) .

Erik said...

part 2.

This area was a street, maybe 12 feet wide, with buildings 4- 6 stories on each side. There was maybe a sidewalk 2 feet wide, and the stalls were about 8 – 12 feet wide occupying every available space. People and vehicles used the street. Far more people than vehicles , but that did not stop the vehicles. Can you picture this? We found the stall, and Rosette went right into the negotiation. I could not understand the words, but could the body language and facial expressions. After some back and forths, and possible abandoning the purchase, I saw the look of resignation on the sellers face. She was really good. The items were agreed , packed up, and set for pick up. While all of this was going on I was checking out the street from where we stood, about 200 yards from the corner, so , we were in the thick of it. The stall next door had various pretzel and that type of things for sale, So while I was watching the negotiations, and the commerce, I enjoyed fried corn kernels , holding the bag with my new pot and ladle.

We made it back to the van through lots of turns, several intersections, over and under, down an alley way, and poof, there was the van.

Anonymous said...

WoW!!! The event about the African culture
worshiping was inspiring! Change your perception,
change the world!!!!!
The world already is the Lord's!! The kingdom has come.
The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of god
and of his Christ. And He shall reign for ever and ever! (From Handel)
I really needed this, because I have been very negative in my
thoughts and hopes for my adult children. I will choose to believe
that they are being taught by God and guided by him,
even thought they are not in a church home.

Thanks for blogging-and thanks for going. I have been very interested and concerned for
Uganda for decades.

Anon in North GA

Brenda said...

Good to hear things are going well over there and that people are being healed and learning about the love of God. I think you all are wonderful and that you are just great for allowing the Holy Spirit to move through you the way that he is moving. It take special people to not just talk about a problem but to roll up their sleeves and say what can I do to help the solution. Each of you hold a special place in my heart. I'm sending money to my adopted son so he can come and hear Bishop, he loves him so. His brother has aids and things are not good for them in their little village but he wants to come and see God's Man as he put it.

Larry Usher said...

Awesome happenings in Uganda...praying for you all & love you all. Just know it is wonderful being back! Great coverage Erik!
Last night's service was great as well! Just a word I needed to hear...such a great testimony from Bro Harry, I receive my healing too...there is nothing too hard for God.
Great challenges bring great testimony, don't ever give up...there are more that be with us than be against us, and with the Lord we are a majority every time!

Bro Lar

lhollow27 said...

Mystic-WOW that is awesome. I hope they have a chance to read that. God bless you and I am praying for you all.

PattiL007 said...

lhollow27...thank you, that's very kind...I know our fellow CITNers have been in and will continue to be in prayer for this great mission and these great missionaries...there's something different about this day...