Earlier in March, the Mission Team set out on a journey to visit some of our most remote churches and leaders. Because of the distance and difficulty getting there, it had been almost 4 years since we had visited this region. The anticipation and expectations were high! The churches in Northern Uganda (Lira, Kitgum, and Lamwo districts) are not only far away from Mbale, but also great distances from one another. But there we went…with a mission and a purpose: to visit, encourage, and love our brothers and sisters.
We began by visiting churches in Lira area. We spent one full day (almost 10 hours) driving from one church to the other, stopping for a few minutes to pray/encourage, and then back in the car for the next journey. There were roads and there were “roads.” There were streams to drive across AND streams to walk through. And at each church we stopped at, we found a small group of church leaders eager to be prayed for, visit with shortly, and share in the Lord. Whether they had a church building or met under a mango tree, the Spirit of the Lord was with them, and they were encouraged by His presence. The next day we had a meeting with all the church leaders from these eight churches. Dennis encouraged them with the Word of the Lord, we answered questions, and worshipped together. Though it was a challenging day, it was also a day of great joy.
The next day we visited one of the churches in Lamwo District…so far North that we could actually see South Sudan from the church. We held a gathering of all church leaders from both Lamwo and Kitgum churches (11 churches in all). There was a goat slaughtered in the name of the gathering (lunch, but I’ll spare you the pictures of that one) and there was A LOT of singing, dancing, jumping, drumming, and rejoicing in the Name of the Lord. It was quite energizing!
After the singing, we held an important meeting where we helped members of the churches in the area wrestle with divisive issues. We used Paul’s teachings in 1 Corinthians 10 to help guide the discussion:
“‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but not everything is constructive.” – 1 Corinthians 10:23
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31-33
As we taught and encouraged, we pray that the Unity of God’s Church is front-and-center for these churches, and that the Lord empowers them with spiritual maturity beyond their years in order to peacefully, lovingly, and honestly work through these things.
While we praise God for these men and women who love Him, we also continue to pray and seek guidance as to how to best disciple and equip these leaders for discipling others. The distance is TOO GREAT for relational discipleship, so we continue to ask God for his provision! Please join us in this, as well as praying for encouragement, God’s provision, and the Spirit of the Lord’s continued guidance for them. Thank you!