Trip to Uganda 2018

15th and 16th July 2018

Today's final blog from our Uganda Mission Team was written by Christian on the flight from Entebbe to Dubai and covers their final two days in Uganda.

 

Just like last Sunday, the team split up to resource different churches. Ralph, Jane and Sandra went to Myeri BC and Judith, Olly and I went to Rwamukoora BC. I can honestly say that I've never gone to church before with a Bible, a screwdriver and pliers - but more on that later.

When we arrived at Rwamukoora there was only the pastor and two other people sat in the church which was a bit disconcerting. We did wonder if perhaps the activity there over the last two days might have tired people out and maybe just a few would turn up, but a few songs in and the church was filling up nicely. Their new banner was also proudly displayed at the front of the church. 

Pastor Charles was prayerfully leading the service and Moses (a teacher we knew from Mary Grigg Christian School) was helping out too and translating for us. After some really uplifting singing and dancing, there was a time of testimonies. Judith offered some thoughtful  reflections from Colossians and her own experience, and a few other people from the church gave some encouraging words too. 
It was at this point we discovered some interesting life background about people we had seen. I was especially moved to hear from the secondary head teacher from Mary Grigg school (Patrick, who was married to the bubbly Geography teacher, Maureen). He explained that he was an orphan and yet had excelled in education against all the odds to become a graduate - and he gave all the credit to God for getting him through. This was clearly his motivation now for serving in education at Mary Grigg school, which has a number of orphan children attending.

After a few more songs, including a special 'a cappella' one to 'welcome the word and welcome the Spirit' I was asked to bring the message. This was about holiness and freedom in Christ and it was well-received with some good interaction from the congregation. Following this the pastor offered an opportunity for people to respond and come to the front for prayer. A few did and he prayed for  each of them, placing his Bible on their head and praying fervently for them. All this continued with a backdrop of songs and drumming. 
When the service was finished (and while we waited to be picked up) I took the opportunity to visit the Vocational Centre again with Moses (the computer teacher). There was one PC that would power up but it wouldn't properly boot and was giving some cryptic error messages. Armed with tools we opened up the case to see what could be done. Trying some ideas we managed to clear one error but not the other, so the net result was no better. It's a crying shame that the computer course which had successfully trained 25+ people into IT jobs hasn't run for 2 years now because of the useless, broken PCs that are littering the room (the one we were looking at is 26 years old from 1992). I could go on about this computer graveyard but I'll save it for another day...
After a typically tasty lunch at Paul and Christine's house we then learned that the pastor at the 6th church (Nyakati BC) was keen  for us to visit after all. There wasn't much time but Paul said that apparently there was a passable route we could attempt to use (even though he totally wrecked his pickup truck taking some iron roofing sheets up there previously). Our expert driver, Stephen, was up for the challenge so we set off asap. Yes, the road was passable, and no, it didn't deserve the label 'road'! In some places we really held our breath waiting for the crunch of the underside of the vehicle against sharp rocks. Most of it was more like a footpath. Every so often we saw locals looking on in disbelief that these 'muzungo' would be so ridiculous as to bring a vehicle up this route. We just smiled and waved to add to their confusion. 
Finally we reached the site of Nyakati Baptist Church. We were greeted with singing and drumming again and sat down on some benches for introductions and a short impromptu message from Ralph about the Lord's prayer. The church was built on land that the pastor and another leader owned, and it resembled a shelter as there weren't any solid walls.
This other leader was married (though his first wife had died) and had 10 children from the age of 13 to a young baby (who were all there). Paul explained that he had been seriously mentally ill and God healed him after they  prayed repeatedly for him - as a result of that they planted the church. 

It was a slightly awkward meeting because we had to leave so quickly, but hopefully the people were encouraged that we made the effort to get there on the last day, even though it wasn't for their usual service. The final picture etched in my memory was of a toddler who wandered past us carrying a large axe - this is Uganda after all!

Now final day.....

The sun rose this morning (Monday) on our final day in Uganda. I'm typing this (on Tuesday) sat on the plane about to leave Dubai for Birmingham where we are due to arrive at 12.20pm. It's been a smooth but tiring journey so far but we're nearly home. Even a flat tyre on the truck didn't set us back more than 20 minutes on the way to the airport. It's been an amazing 2 weeks. Hard to sum up in a sentence or two. Lots to process and equally large amounts of sleep to catch up on. We all feel privileged to have shared the experience. Thanks for journeying with us through this blog!





 

 

14th July 2018

This report is by Christian

Today has been another really good day in so many ways. It was the final day of the 2-day 'conference' which Paul had arranged for all the churches to attend. Most special was the genuine feeling of community. Not all the churches were well-represented im number, but there was a real feeling of unity between everyone who came.

Ralph had the novel idea of using a tall drum as a lectern during our talks which worked well!

We all gathered at Rwamukoora BC and Paul led the meeting which started with lively praise and worship. This was followed by some thought-provoking teaching by Ralph on the prayer of Nehemiah which was well-received. After that I spoke on another type of prayer; the spiritual gift of praying in tongues. This was something I felt God challenged me to do late the night before, and it turned out to be helpful teaching since we discovered afterwards it was a topic that was not clearly understood and had caused division in other local churches because of abuse and misunderstanding.

 

After some more songs from the various church choirs we split into groups for different activities

At this point the team had to be very flexible as we had a lot of people of different ages to engage in activities (and not quite what we'd anticipated) so we all pulled together to make it happen. Ralph took the church leaders outside under a tree with Paul translating and continued discussion around the Nehemiah theme. Judith and Sandra worked very effectively and creatively with the women and finished making colourful banners for each of the churches. The letters for the writing (some in Rutooro and some in English) were all cut out of material and they had organised the necessary letters the night before at the hotel so that things would run smoothly - and they did

They also had to occupy a number of young children and did some crafts with them making paper people and animals and even dressing them with material. (At some point Judith even gave some children a lesson in how to use her camera - multitasking at its best!)

Jane dived between the various crafts helping out and also organised a group of women who were learning to crochet. All this time they were being careful not to stand on babies who were laid out on the floor on mats to have their afternoon naps!

Meanwhile outside, Olly and I were also under pressure because we still had to train a small number of people from the various churches in some more ukulele skills; especially tuning using a digital tuner, how to read chord diagrams and more strumming skills. Since we will be leaving the 5 ukuleles as gifts to the churches we knew this teaching had to be successful. We had handpicked 5 talented people to train intensively for a further 2 hours (and 4 of them had turned up) but outside we found about 30 teenagers all expecting to play the instruments!

The only possibility was to divide into 2 groups and for me to take a small group of 8, leaving Olly to manage 20+ teenagers on his own with 3 ukuleles to go around. He did this remarkably well and managed to keep them engaged for a good while before breaking out into a  frisbee session!

At the end of the afternoon everything had been achieved and the 5 banners (below) looked great. We made it back to the hotel and were all exhausted. All we could manage was to crash in the garden and drink a 'soda'. All in all it was a great day of building relationships and community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13th July 2018

Judith is our reporter today:-

I think we all agreed with Olly when he said "Today has been a great team day!" We set off for Rwamukoora Baptist Church not knowing what to expect (nothing new there!) We were due to meet leaders and women (a number of whom were also leaders) but had no idea how many would turn up. It was, after all, a work day and all the pastors and leaders have other jobs - farming, taxi driving, building etc and would have to travel several miles on foot, motor cycle taxi or in a few cases their own motor cycle, to be there.

We began with a lively time of praise worship, some in Rotooru and some in 'English'. This allowed more people to arrive - about 50 in total with representatives from all 6 churches. Our first task was to share with them something about Queen's Road and the life of our fellowship, as a way of building our partnership with them.  Each of the members of the team contributed something of the areas they had particular involvement in.
It was great that the whole team was involved - and especially Olly as he shared about JAM (Pastor Paul did a good job of explaining the title in translation once he realised it wasn't what you spread on bread). Ralph followed with a talk about the church as the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12)... with humour and interaction.

This was followed by an activity in groups of three using pictures to illustrate different aspects of church life... praise +worship, fellowship, fun, caring, evangelism, preaching, studying the Word and building. Each group was given 10 beans to 'vote' for what they thought was most important, then  what they thought they were best at. A challenging and thought provoking activity which he might well try at QRBC some time. 

Christian was asked to bring the morning (it was now about 1.30pm) to a close by sharing some passages from Scripture - especially around Romans 12:1-2 and the real meaning of 'worship'.

By now it was a welcome lunch break but we were keen to get to the school to deliver  some of the stationery and footballs we had brought. The P4 class came out of class to bring the postcards they had written in reply to Olly's classmates - a brilliant moment of togetherness.

After we had enjoyed a tasty lunch at Paul and Christine's, and the conference attendees a lunch on the grass outside the church, we divided for our afternoon session with Ralph doing more Bible study with the leaders. Christian and Olly went to the vocational college to see what could be done to help with the old and broken computers and Jane, Sandra and myself with the remaining women creating banners.

Please pray for stamina for the remaining 2 days - that we may remain 'in the moment' with the people we meet. That we might bring encouragement in sharing in the Good News of Jesus. Check out Colossians 2:2-4

 

12th July 2018

The day started with some of us material shopping as we needed fabrics suitable to make banners with women and young people at the conference at Rwamukoora church over Friday and Saturday. The tiny shop was run by a husband and wife and he was sewing garments with a treadle machine whilst she was serving us. The churches we have visited have very little decoration and so we hope each group attending can take a banner back to their church.

Pastor David's House

We then drove to the home of Pastor David and his wife Irene from Kidudu Baptist Church, where we were given a small meal. Their eldest daughter, Rachel, had come home from boarding school for a day to meet us. It can be difficult on these occasions to talk at any depth with the pastor or wider family as the tradition seems to be that food is served to the visitors and then the family withdraws to another room if there is one.
We then spent a short time formally greeting the congregation at Kidudu BC. The plan was then for those members who could get there to join with Kyenjojo BC for a joint meeting. Pastor David runs a taxi service (as well as a small shop and he also makes and sells bricks) so 10 adults squeezed into his average size car to make the journey.

Kidudu Baptist Church

Kyenjojo Baptist Church

At the joint meeting Ralph preached an interactive exposition on the birth, life and death of Jesus from the gospels and then Jane gave a teaching session to the adults.  Christian and Oliver did some ukulele sessions with the young people and Judith and Sandra worked with the children.

No way through, no u-turn

The challenge of the day was getting to Pastor Elijah’s house for a meal.  He had told us we would have to ‘walk up a steep hill’ and he wasn’t exaggerating. It took two attempts to find a suitable track to get the car halfway up the hill. Then the rest of the way was on foot through banana plantations and farm land.  A relative and two of his children came to meet us to show us the way.

Path to the Pastors house

We were rewarded with a fine meal all home-grown on the farm. We asked Pastor Elijah what his challenges were and one of the biggest was the distance he lived from the church.  To walk would take 2 hours but he usually goes by motorbike.

At the end of the visit we were accompanied back down the steep hill by many from his family including his elderly mother, babies being carried, his sister plus nieces who were carrying sacks of grain down the hill to deliver in the village. Quite an adventure today!

The Pastors Cow

 

10th and 11th July 2018

Over the last 2 days, Sandra, Judith, Christian and Olly spent time at the Queen Elizabeth Game Park. Here is a report from Olly...

Our adventure began with a boat trip on the Kazinga Channel between Lake George and Lake Edward. We were lucky to spot a wide variety of wildlife during the 2 hours on the water. The first thing we saw were Pied Kingfishers that burrowed their nests in holes in the rock at the shore of the lake. The kingfishers have keen eyesight and are excellent at fishing.
Secondly, we saw hippos lounging in the water. At first they looked like rocks from a distance, but the closer we got the clearer they became. They stay low in the water and feed off the short grass as their heads are too heavy to lift and eat the longer grass. Flying overhead were a number of different birds including: African Fish Eagles (which are loyal to a single mate for life), Maribu Storks (one flew over my head... huge) and Egyptian Geese (these look deformed!).
Over the radio the driver informed us that there had been a sighting of elephants on the other side of the channel. We motored over there and were just in time to see a herd of elephants coming down to the water to drink – even some babies! On our way back we saw some water buffalo and spotted Nile crocodiles which blended into the long grass very well. That night we stayed in some traditional wooden cottages which had running water and a flushing toilet. The bed nets had some mosquitoes already on them and we had to thoroughly decontaminate them. In the night there were apparently hyenas roaming the site. We also spotted a hippo in the dark on the way back from dinner! I slept very well and wasn't bitten, but my dad woke up multiple times listening to the squeaks, squeals, shrieks and some flapping
above his head.  In the morning we woke up bright and early at 5.30 and were escorted to breakfast by a security guard.After breakfast we were picked up by our guide in a spacious van with a sunroof - I took advantage of this! As we arrived at the game park we caught the sunrise along with loads of antelopes. Almost every turn we took there was a herd of antelopes. Excitement built as our guide got a call that there was an elephant sitting close by. We took another turn and there she was just a few metres away from the van and enjoying a dust shower as protection from the sun. This was an incredible sight and my highlight of the trip.
We also saw water bucks, water buffalos, warthogs and many birds of different shapes and sizes. Our guide was very determined to find a lion but they must have been hiding that morning. In the end we gave up as time ran out and we headed back to the lodge to checkout. The drive back to Kyenjojo was bone-shaking and took several hours but it was all worth it. We stopped off at Kasese and met Christine who had been shopping for material and picked her up for the journey back. After a pitstop for a soda and chipati we were back on the road (I think I dislocated a vertebrae). [Don't say that Olly - it will upset your Mum! Editor]
Coming through Fort Portal we bought bananas at the roadside. We were pleased we did because shortly afterwards several baboons ran across the road and surrounded our van! Christine threw about 10 bananas outside and we watched the animals demolish them. We slept very well that night when we finally made it back to the hotel.

 

 

 

10th July 2018

Judith, Sandra, Christian and Olly have gone away for one night to view game so this is from Ralph and Jane:-

Having waved the others off on their adventure, we were able to catch our breath before Paul arrived.  A very valuable time was spent listening to his vision and plans for the churches.  Interestingly, it was his visit to QR that was the starting point for his present initiatives.  He saw various groups at our church drawing in outsiders to be part of the activity and wants to replicate that here.  Later in the day, he walked into town with us and we passed this hairdresser's shop.                                 

We are remembering you in prayer for the Church Meeting tonight.

 

9th July 2018

Down on the farms with Ralph reporting

On the way to pick up Paul, we visited one of the carpentry graduates from the Vocational School.  It was good to see him at his shop using his training, and the tools received from Tools with a Mission. 
We were only four from QRBC today as Christian and Ollie were taking a rest day.  The rest of the party were Paul, Stephen (driver) and Pastor Eliya.  (Christian preached at his church on Sunday). Pastor Eliya also helps Paul with the Sustainable Agricultural Project funded by Operation Agri.
We visited four farms.  Paul had trained three of them in 2014/15 and one in 2016/17.  Two of them had made amazing progress in becoming commercial rather than subsistence farmers.  The other two had definitely learned new methods and were producing things they could sell, but didn't leave us with the same 'Wow' feelings.
It was a long day with miles of dusty roads and amazing driving by Stephen down footpaths!   We picnicked by the road in a small trading centre on snack bars (from UK), eggs and bananas.  We also each had a soda at 20p each.                We saw donkeys used for ploughing and transport, particularly of water, improved goats, pigs, cows and hens.  The farmers had learnt how to care properly for them and how to provide suitable housing.
  New ideas like compost heaps (using animal manure) were clearly being used to produce healthy bananas and coffee.  Most of the farms were on quite steep slopes and had been protected from soil erosion by planting Napier grass along the contours. Some farmers had been given grafted fruit trees,mango and orange.  One farmer was growing pineapples. 

 All in all, it was an encouraging day seeing the results of the training Paul had done and witnessing the leaders he had trained, training others.

 

8th July 2018

Yesterday morning (Sunday) we split up and visited 3 different churches, so here is a report from each...

Ralph and Jane say:

We were the last ones to be dropped off at our church, Nyarugongo Baptist Church, and Stephen the driver stayed with us. We had previously been to this church on Wednesday so knew some of the congregation. The first part of the service went as usual, drums, singing/praise and introductions. Then Ralph was asked to speak. People had gradually arrived during this time. Apart from no choirs, the service seemed complete. Except Jane was then asked to take the children out for Sunday School and Ralph to bring the Word of God. We’re not sure whether his first sermon (Ralph style) hadn’t seemed like a sermon to them. Anyway improvisation is a way of life here. Ralph squeezed another sermon from his memory and Jane used the children’s Bible pictures to tell some Bible stories – adding in some relevant African stories. Some of the children could answer questions in English but Esther the Sunday School leader ably translated and encouraged participation of all the kids. We still finished in under 3 hours!

We were then treated to lunch at the Pastor Rose’s home, entertained by her daughter, Mariam, who had come all the way from Kampala to meet us. We were able to leave the 2nd sewing machine with Pastor Rose and she was delighted with the gift. Thanks to those of you who gave us sewing machines.

Sandra and Judith now

We joined worship at Kidudu Baptist Church and were welcomed by the pastor, David. It was easy to spot the youth choir in their bright pink tabards. There were about 15 adults in the service and about 30 children from babies up to about to about 13. The youth leader was only 18. The young people were very excited to hear about our children and young people in JAM and were delighted to see the post cards we had brought from our church. We were invited to bring greetings from QR and while Paul preached to the adults we took the young people outside under the tree for our teaching session. All of the older ones who could write have completed postcards for us to bring back to you. The Sunday service lasted about 3½ hours so I guess a bit longer than yours at QR today. The collection included a little cash but mainly gifts of food from their farms which could then be auctioned to raise cash. I don’t think QR collection plates could cope with whole branches of bananas. Our church also had a keyboard which the pastor and his son played –a change from just drums.

Christian and Olly report

This morning we visited the youngest of the Kyenjojo district churches which was planted in 2012; Kyenjojo Community Baptist Church. We arrived and were greeted outside by the customary singing and dancing, as well as the leaders, Pastor Elijah (pronounced ‘Eleeyah’) and his assistant Robert who’s English was excellent (we later discovered he was actually a trained lawyer but was not active in this and was concentrating on church work). This church was different to others in that it was constructed almost entirely from bamboo slats, with a half-bricked wall at the back, and a corrugated metal roof which made a racket when the loose bits flapped around with gusts of wind!

After a couple of songs and a reading, one of the members came up to give a talk about the Israelites entering the promised land and overcoming their fear of the inhabitants they would drive out. He spoke with energy and enthusiasm. We then had the opportunity to introduce ourselves, and getting out our trusty ukuleles we lead the congregation in some worship. This was well-received and broke the ice nicely. At this point the pastor handed over to me to bring the sermon. I’d been formulating what I should say over the last few days and thankfully the message God wanted me to speak became clear. It was based on John 15 about the vine and the branches; ‘abiding in me and bearing much fruit’ vs ‘apart from me you can do nothing’. I talked about the importance of the Word and the Spirit and freedom not to sin and squared up against the prosperity gospel, since we’d heard previously that this was a problem in the churches. Afterwards we were served lunch in the church (rice, yam and meat) and then the children went outside and Olly introduced them to the wonders of the frisbee, which they loved and kept shouting “Me, me, me”.

The object on the left is for making music - it is filled with ball bearings and is a home made shaker type of percussion instrument.

I invited the remaining 10 or so adults to write some greetings to QR on paper that we’d taken especially. I gave them pens and waited while they got their heads together and formulated a letter which we will bring back to show you all. While we were waiting to be picked up I had the chance to sit with the leaders and ask some direct questions about the church, the challenges they face and their strengths and weaknesses. What followed was a surprisingly honest and transparent self-assessment and I was really impressed with the things I heard from the leaders, their passion to build a strong church, and their self-awareness and humility in sharing these things with a stranger. I believe God opened up the way for this honest conversation because the assistant pastor told me that my message had spoken to him and challenged him. Praise God.

 

7th July 2018

A brilliant (and long) report from Olly

Newsflash! A big red bag arrived today in the post containing the 2 lost sewing machines and box of wool... hurray!
To kick off the day we visited the house of Pastor Charles from Rwamukoora Baptist Church.  We were warmly welcomed by decorated banana trees at the entrance and patterned arrangements of picked flowers and grass guiding us to their house.

We all went into his small house into the first room that was probably the size of a double bed. There were 11 of us in the room at the start but by the time we left there was about 20 people in that space.

The first thing I smelt was cow dung. This gave me the impression that their house must be made of it. Jane later informed me that it was true and that people used cow dung in the walls to make them more water resistant.

\ Next stop: Myeri Baptist Church! Once again we were warmly welcomed with energetic singing and dancing. We then went into the church building, which I wasn't too keen on as it was infested with hornets! We all gave our greetings and introduced ourselves one-by-one. Ralph then gave a talk on the feeding of the 5000 using picture boards that we took with us. He then did an interactive activity about working together and being productive which involved joining hands and anything else they could find to touch the opposite walls of the church. This was well received by the people.
The pastor's wife, who was actually Catholic, prepared a meal for us including matoki, rice, beans, yam and meat. Though we were quite rushed eating as we were told we had to get moving to the next meal soon! We talked to the pastor and asked questions about the church. He said that one of his biggest concerns was about teenagers dropping away from church and people being too materialistic. Judith and Sandra presented them with gifts from QRBC and Dad and Jane prayed for the family and the church.
The youth were then sent out with Dad (Christian) and I for a short ukulele lesson. We saw smiles and proud faces as we wrapped up. Judith and Sandra did some fun work with the younger children and they all went away with smiley stickers stuck on their clothes. Ralph and Jane spent time with the adults and did a Bible study on Proverbs.
Last stop: another meal at Pastor George's house (Myeri church pastor). Here we met his wife Margaret, their 6 boys, 1 nephew, daughter-in-law, baby grand-daughter, grandmother, 4 dogs, several chickens and a bunch of other random relatives we weren't introduced to.  After another meal Jane presented Margaret with a sewing machine and she was very pleased.
By this time we were pretty flaked out and set off back to the hotel. We took a detour to look at some huge tea plantations, but on the bright side we witnessed a beautiful sunset too.
To finish, here is a list of things I have enjoyed and learned so far in Uganda:
• Meeting kids
• Getting used to the culture such as the people and my surroundings
• Playing frisbee to break the awkwardness
• Visiting churches (very different experience)
• African music (singing and drumming) & dancing
• Making kids laugh and smile so genuinely when doing things that would never make kids my age laugh over in England
• Seeing projects that have made people's dreams come true
• Learning to appreciate things I’d take for granted in England e.g. relationship between family back home (being away from them for
so long helps me realise how much I really love them), church (you don’t need a big building to praise the lord... Jesus was born in a stable!)
• Shoving 11 people in a 8 seater people carrier (no seat belts on the dirt roads of Africa....insane)

 

6th July 2018

This report is from Judith

\ Today, once again, we have been humbled, challenged and excited to see the ways God is at work among his people here. This morning we visited the JAMSTC vocational college - a project very close to Paul's heart. We saw much potential but as in other places we visited lack of resources limit what could be achieved.
\Training in hairdressing and tailoring still take place - and it was good to meet three girls who completed their training today. Please pray that they will go on to find employment or eventually be able to set up in business.

 

 

 

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\ From there we moved onto the neighbouring plot of land on which Rwamukoora Baptist Church is built. It was for this church that Queen's Road had contributed the iron sheets for the roof - and very impressive it looked too. Following a time of introductions, lively singing and a short message from Ralph we split into three groups. Christian and Olly led the youth in worship, prayer and ukulele teaching - very successfully enabling more singing and joyful experience.

Sandra and Judith were with the younger ones age 3-12 looking at the story of the feeding of the 5000. At one time a herd of cows, some with impressive horns, walked between our groups (we were outside!) - all of the youngsters were unphased by this!

Jane held the women's group in the church - and at the end some of the women showed some of the garments they had been knitting.

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Our final visit of the day, having once again feasted on Christine's cooking, was to walk to see Paul's fishponds. Nine pools, impressively dug by hand, and now filled with fish.

It continues to be so humbling to see for ourselves the many ways Paul and Christine are serving God in their community. But we are also being challenged to see the limited resources they are working with.

Please continue to pray for their energy as they take us round to meet people and that we might be an encouragement as we receive so many blessings from being with the people here.

 

 

5th July 2018

The blog so far has been written by Christian but today Sandra has offered her impressions:-

\ Today (Thursday) we spent the whole day at Mary Grigg Christian School, which was started by Paul Kyalimpa and opened on the current site in 2016. The school has 165 students from reception age up to 16 years old. We were given a tour of the school and the new buildings under construction. This was followed by the whole school giving us a 'royal welcome' with songs, dances and a poem about peace.
We then split into pairs and visited all the classes between us. In each class we introduced ourselves and led age-appropriate activities such as sharing Bible stories, singing songs and demonstrating the ukulele. Some of us were able to join lessons in Geography and English too. \
\ The standard of teaching was very high even though the only resources (except for the teacher's skills) were a blackboard and chalk! At the end of the school day we joined in with the pupils and staff in a funny and highly-energetic song and dance routine.
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After school Paul and Christine gave us a tour of their farm (which covers 61 acres on total). The animals on the farm ranged from dairy calves to chickens (1000's of them!), rabbits, goats and pig breeding, plus 15 bee hives, not to mention the various crops, fruit trees and kitchen herbs etc. To us 'city dwellers' it was enlightening and even included a demonstration of their bio-gas system which produces methane gas to cook with, and all from cow dung.
\ We also had chance to meet more of the extended family who live with Paul and Christine which was helpful to understand who's who. We ended the day tired but blessed and inspired by these amazing people of Uganda. \

 

4th July 2018

Today we visited the first of the 6 churches: Nyarugongo BC. We arrived to find a mud and wattle building with a corrugated metal roof, filled with 20 children age 3/4/5 sat on wooden benches and a young male teacher. The children were receptive and we warmed up by doing some counting and singing with them, followed by a short story with picture cards about the parable of the lost sheep. Paul's daughter, Josephine, and the assistant pastor joined and helped a lot with translation. \
\ The children were a joy to interact with and enjoyed high fives and thumbs up games. We then moved outside and split up to spend some with either the youth group or the women who had come along for a Bible study. The youth there were aged 11+ and their leader,  Esther, was passionate about her role and spoke good English. After some time getting to know each other she offered a short report about their activities and the challenges they face... it was a privilege to understand first hand their successes and ongoing struggles.

We then enjoyed some time together playing frisbee and teaching a keen young lad, Simon, some ukulele basics which he loved.

After a colourful display of dancing by some of the women, next stop was a visit to the pastor's house. She's called Rose and she welcomed us with some typical local food, which we ate it with our hands.

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\ The day was summed up for me by the words of one women's group leader called Beatrice. She said "My heart is so happy. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for taking an interest in the Kyenjojo Baptist churches." So really this is what counts. To share time together and actually start to understand the people who are our brothers and sisters in Christ. They really appreciated it as much as we did.

 

3rd July 2018

We left Kampala in the early afternoon and headed up to Namirembe Cathedral to admire the view from the top before heading west to Kyenjojo. This was a long 150-mile (ish) journey with plenty of hair-raising vehicular manoeuvres to keep us entertained. Today's best one was a motorbike transporting a broken motorbike laid flat across a rear carrier... with a passenger sat on top of the cargo and hanging onto the rider! There seems to be no limit to what people will dare to carry on a motorbike over here. \
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We arrived in Kyenjojo and checked in then headed off to Paul and Christine's farm for some dinner. Stepping out of the van, the first thing that hit us was how wonderfully bright the stars were in the night sky... beautiful. Christine was very happy to greet us all and had prepared a lovely meal. We met their children too and shared some time together over food.

 

Tomorrow (Wednesday) we start the first day of the programme and we'll see how that goes. Certainly we will need to be flexible and adaptable but there will be more to say about that tomorrow. Oh some other good news, Ralph received notification this evening that the lost baggage is on its way to Entebbe airport! Quite what baggage materializes we shall have to wait and see.. \

 

2nd July 2018

A very quick report as all tired.

Journey was reasonably smooth. First plane significantly delayed which caused a problem with connecting flight from Dubai but thankfully they delayed the plane until we were all there.

Amazingly the majority of the luggage came through in Entebbe! Unfortunately 2 sewing machines and a box of wool didn't materialise though. These have been reported and will hopefully be located and delivered to Kyenjojo.

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Paul and his daughter Joy met us at the airport along with another driver. They transported all our luggage (and us) directly to the hotel in Kampala which was great. There were some frightening sights along the way... the best one being a family of 6 on 1 motorbike with not a helmet in sight!

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This evening we had a some time to relax and had a meal together in the hotel which was good. The shower was also surprisingly hot!

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Tomorrow (Tuesday) we make an early start 7am and then will be on the road again by 11am heading west to Kyenjojo. Bit of a whirlwind and culture shock for some of us but we thank God for a safe journey so far...