Humbly Serving

I think that all of us struggle with pride and humility. Or at least, that’s what I’m going to tell myself to feel better about it. But I feel the inner pull, the tension to seek after my own benefits and well-being before others. I struggle with it in my family, relationships, ministry, and pretty much everywhere. On most days, I submit to God and “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3-4). But I confess…I struggle with pride.

Pride is a big deal here in Uganda, especially for men. Uganda is not unique in that way, but here we see this struggle unfold in many churches across the country. It usually manifests itself in the leaders and they set the tone for the whole church. We regularly see church leaders fighting over control, authority, and power. They jockey for resources and being close to those who have resources. And most commonly, they fight to keep other leaders from growing and developing within their churches. And so when we talk to them about raising up leaders from within their churches, they automatically feel threatened. They fear this idea because it could cost them their title of pastor and their authority over the church. “If someone else comes up, then I must be down. And if I’m down, then I have nothing.”

Which is why Albert has been such an interesting person to disciple over the past year. Like all of us, Albert has his struggles. But unlike many of us, Albert has chosen the path of John the Baptist when he said, “He must become greater, and I must become less.” (John 3:30). Albert has been a pastor for many years. In fact, a few years ago when a church was in trouble and needed help, the other pastors from the area thought that Albert should be the one to go there and help them. So he had been pastoring that church for several years, away from his family and traveling a good distance to serve. When some things happened at that church, it was decided it would be best for Albert to return to his home church. People in the area assumed that when he returned he would retake the position of pastor and would be the authority at the church. But Albert chose a different path.

Albert looked at the men who had been leading the church he was returning to and saw many strengths and gifts in them. In talking with Albert, he said, “I want to see them grow. I know that they are the ones who can take the believers to the next level.” But he also wanted to serve there. So he offered to disciple the current leaders at the church but to take no title or position. He is pouring into them what he has received. And I do believe that God is using Albert’s humility to set an example in his church and area. I pray that God expands that example and it becomes contagious amongst the leaders.

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:5-8

My prayer is that Albert’s story is an encouragement and a challenge to each of us. How are we serving? How does pride get in our way? How are we seeking after our own desires instead of the “interest of others”? We are all still on the journey to be made into the image of Christ. Let us not forget that humility is the way of Christ. I know Albert challenges me to be humble and play in the background!

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Stories of Transformation

God is at work here in Mbale, Uganda! (Really, God is always at work in all places, but you get my point.) There are many different ways in which we see Him leading the mission work, but the best ways are stories of transformation in the lives of leaders. I’m honored to share these stories with you: Continue reading

Daring to Dream for 2019

This is our BIG prayer for 2019!!!

Every year we look back on what we have been a part of and reflect on what God has done (and is doing). We also begin to dream and plan for what the new year will bring, praying that God will continue to exceed our plans and goals with what He will do. After reflecting on what God did in 2018 through NTCC-Mbale (see post HERE), we are now daring to dream about what God might do in 2019: Continue reading

A Rare American Christmas!

We were so blessed to spend Christmas this year in the States. We were able to visit supporters, churches, friends, and family at an incredibly fun time of the year. Plus, we were able to remember COLD! (Gina and Adalyn were less excited about it than I was.) Having spent the past two Christmas’ in Uganda and away from family (for the most part), we truly appreciate the joy of sitting at the same table, sharing the same meal, watching kids open presents, and simply being together.

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2018 In Review

In the words of the great Garth Brooks, “Looking back…”

Every year we look back on what we as a mission in Mbale, Uganda have been a part of to reflect on what God has done (and is doing). We also begin to dream and plan for what the New Year will bring in the ministry, praying that God will continue to exceed our plans and goals with what He will do. Here’s an overview of what the ministry focused on and did in 2018 (2019 Preview is coming SOON). Continue reading

DBS Impact Story #3

Another DBS Impact story, this time from a church member at Bwikhonge Church of Christ in Bulambuli district (about 45 minutes northeast of Mbale). John is my co-leader in discipling other leaders and has been using DBS for over a year in his church and community. John talks frequently of the growth he sees in people and in his church, and he credits much of that to the work of the Holy Spirit through DBS groups. Continue reading