Saturday, July 23, 2011

Preaching, Bibles, Videos, and Photography in June.

McClain and I had a wonderful month of June here in Uganda. We were able to shoot hundreds of photo's (Brett's FB photos & Clain's FB photos) and we've released 11 of the 16 videos (LivingHisLove Vimeo & ServingHisChildren's YouTube) we've shot for 4 different gospel-centered organizations that are seeking the glory of Jesus Christ. God continued to open doors as we sought to love and encourage our Christian brothers and sisters by helping them articulate their vision for bringing the gospel to people through word and deed. By the grace and providence of God we were able to shoot 10 more videos than we had planned.

Here are links to each of the organizations.

Christian College for Christian Community leaders and Pastors in Buloba, Uganda.

Malnutrition Rehabilitation Center + Developmental org based in Jinja, Uganda.

Ekubo Ministries (Ekubo means "The Way" in Luganda)
Village Development/School/Gospel training org in Bugabo, Uganda.

Ekisa Ministries (Ekisa means "Grace" in Luganda)
Orphanage for the mentally and physically handicapped in Jinja, Uganda.

I (Brett) had the opportunity to preach and teach the gospel to pastors and church members. In Uganda, there are many who have been saved by Jesus but have not received any kind of formal (Bible College/Seminary) or informal (by a seasoned Pastor) training. It was my absolute joy to preach the gospel of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone and encourage them to share the gospel without reserve.
JUNE 7th-10th, 12th I was able to preach and distribute bibles at Faith Christian Center in the village of Mafubira, Uganda. A very good friend and brother named Holiness set up the conference, promoted, and translated for me as we both preached the Word. Over 50 people showed up from 1pm-5:30pm everyday to worship and study scripture together. All in all we believe there were 100+ people that attended at least one of the days. We spent the first few hours in prayer and worship, 1 to 1 1/2 hours preaching, then about 1 hour answering questions that the attendants posed. Pastor Nelson, one of the Pastors from FCC invited me back to preach that Sunday which I humbly accepted. In Mafubira alone we gave away 100 copies of the Biblical Doctrine of Salvation, 15 copies of the Biblical Doctrine of Jesus, and 200 bibles most to those who had never owned their own copy of God's Word.
JUNE 24th and 25th I was able to preach and distribute bibles in the village of Bugabo which is in the bush. George Magera, leader of Ekubo Ministries, set up the conference (we thought it would be one afternoon but it turned into a two day training conference), promoted, and provided a local pastor to translate. Friday the 24th I began preaching around 2pm and took them through the scriptures to show them that the whole Bible is about and points to Jesus. How "(Jesus) appeared at the culmination (climax) of the ages to put away sin and death by the sacrifice of himself." (Hebrews 10:26). We walked through the Fall, the Atonement, the Promises, the Culmination and looked at how Jesus Christ fulfilled everything to the glory of His Father by the power of the Holy Spirit. After preaching for 2 hours (translation makes the sermon a BIT longer) the people in attendance were telling George that "we have to do this again and for much longer tomorrow." The next day we started at 11am and went through 3pm. I was honored to preach two more sermons "Jesus and The Two Lost Sons" out of Luke 15 and "Love Because you are Loved" out of Luke 6 and then answer questions in regards to the sermon text. There were about 20-30 people in attendance and we were able to distribute the 15 bibles that remained from Mafubira.
As an unexpected turn, we met 2 pastors from the Hoima District through our new friend Jonathan. Jonathan is a Missions Director at a church in West Salem Virginia that we met through Serving His Children, and we have already become good friends. His church puts on a Pastors conference two times a year in Hoima, Uganda. We were able to give around 20 bibles to his pastor friends to take and distribute to their church members who were lacking.
July 17th I was honored with the opportunity of preaching at the largest church in Jinja "Evangel Church." Evangel Church is a World Vision church plant that is lead by Pastor Zach, an ex-muslim that God has used to reach many muslims by the gospel of Jesus. While having lunch with Pastor Zach, McClain and I learned that multiple attempts have been made on his life by people of opposing faiths. But he has persevered and will not shrink from declaring the whole counsel of God and sharing the gospel of salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ. I had the privilege of preaching at their 2nd service. I was very encouraged of how many people had gathered to praise the name of our Lord through song, give of their money, and receive preaching and teaching. The gathering was great and I was very blessed and encouraged after the sermon by many church members. They welcomed me back for the next time I'm in Jinja. It was great meeting passionate Christians in a different nation.

By the grace of God I am convinced that many have been strengthened in the gospel by grace through faith and the idea of a "works-based salvation" was destroyed in many peoples minds. All through the power of the Holy Spirit in the declaration of His Word. My hope is that their hearts were burning and their love of the God of the Bible grew as the Word was proclaimed and it all pointed to Jesus.

We had a very busy month of June to the glory of God and we greatly appreciate everyone's prayers and money that was given to send us to Uganda.
All for love, all for the gospel.

Grace and peace to you all,
Brett, McClain, and Candace

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Failing Computers and God's Providence

Hello all,
It was my plan to update about the whole month of June, but as I started writing it became clear to me that I wasn't going to make it further than day 1 of our trip. Please forgive me. We will updating very soon about the month of June.

McClain and my last full day in America was Saturday May 28th. We spent that Saturday night gathering with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Worship, Communion, and a "send-off" was the theme of the night with our new church-plant "Ekklesia Muskogee." As the night came to an end I got out our laptop and started it up to check a few things before we departed. We had saved for over a year to able to buy this computer so we can take it to Uganda in order to save the video and photography that we would capture. That Saturday night at 10:30pm, the day before leaving the country for 2 months, it crashed. Something went terribly wrong with the hard drive; we tried everything we knew but we had no way of fixing it ourselves. Without it we would not be able to save more than 1 or two videos and a few pictures. Naturally, I was beside myself. It seems these things (seemingly trip ruing things) always happen right before a trip you've been planning for a long time. "The deep breath before the plunge" turns into "the deep breath, in which you choke on a gallon of water, before the plunge." What's more, is that God is Sovereign. He allows, even ordains these things to happen. In the moment it seems that we're being attacked by the devil. I don't want to give him that much credit in this case. I believe it was God, our Sovereign creator God, showing McClain and I that no matter what bad seems to happen on this trip, it's actually good. It's a test. It's a display of His providence. That Saturday night when everything came crashing down, it's as if God was saying "How are you going to handle this?" or "Watch this, children. I wasn't lying when I spoke through Paul in Romans 8:28." or "I'm not sure if you understand how much of a loving Father I am." or maybe even "Watch me reveal to you that this trip is not about you, but about Me and my glory."

The night of and day following the "crash" turned into a beautiful display of God's providence and just how much He has changed the hearts of His children. One couple went home immediately and grabbed their laptop for us to take, another friend called and said he would buy a new computer for us to take to Uganda and return to him when we got back to the States. What's more is that we for some crazy reason we had a 5 hour layover in Dallas, on our way to Uganda. What seemed like a nuisance turned into an opportunity to make an appointment with the MacStore, get a taxi to downtown Dallas, get our computer fixed for free, and get back just in time to board our flight to London. As well as getting our computer fixed for $100 (the round trip taxi ride was pretty steep) we got an incredible discount on the Bibles that we brought to distribute to Pastor's and Church Members. What was supposed to cost us $112 per tub x4 ended up being a total of $149. This gave us great opportunities to put that money toward printing off of more discipleship materials and we were able to hire a mother for some work at the house in order that she could make some money to pay her sons school-fees.

It was amazing to see the followers of Christ band together and not allow anything to get in the way of ministering for the sake of the gospel. Thank you for your prayers and financial support of our ministry. More updates to come.

Love, hope, grace, and peace to you all from God the Father, through God the Son, by God the Holy Spirit.
May He receive glory through us forever and ever, amen.

Brett and McClain