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The account of my sojourn in Uganda might well be entitled “An African Adventure for the (Far) Less Adventurous“! I have so enjoyed experiencing the faces and places of Uganda from afar through the eyes of Steve as he has worked and ministered, traveling there over the last four years. This year, in October, those images became reality as I made my first trip to Africa.
We traveled with good friends from Memphis Matt and Suzanne Wukasch and Chuck Walker, and joined Oleg Maksimchuk and Oleg Nikolaenko from Word of Life Church in Philadelphia to tour and fellowship with the staff, friends and supporters of World Shine in Kampala and Rwentobo, as well as fellow believers in Jinja. Everywhere we were greeted with hearty welcomes (“What took you so long?!”), warmth and genuine hospitality. What a delight to actually see and touch dear friends I’ve known only through pictures or occasional Skype calls, and to visit Medad and Connie’s home and meet their family. I was struck by the beauty of the people, inside and out, and by their honest, practical faith in the face of great difficulty.
Visiting the school in Rwentobo was a long-anticipated highlight of the trip and a delight. Those faces! “Babies” to adolescents, some bold and affectionate, grabbing my hands and rubbing them, others shy and reticent, peering from a distance, all curious, all beautiful–they captured my heart. The faculty and staff are beautiful as well, hardworking, dedicated, and working wonders with limited resources…powered by the love of Christ. Another highlight for me was visiting and worshiping with the young men and women of World Shine’s Vadieshkol fellowship. Wow! To know them is to love them.
I returned home with images and experiences tucked away to treasure–a new connection to the ministry as Steve makes his frequent returns to continue the work. You might want to pray and consider tagging along with him on one of those future trips (even if you, like I, weren’t born with a heart yearning for adventure!). It was a joy!
Hallelujah. Thanks to a special donor in Memphis, the World Shine Foundation Primary School Bus has arrived in Uganda and will soon be taking at-risk schoolgirls to and from school each day. Currently, these girls walk up to 2 hours each way to school on back roads and highways. This 29 seat bus can handle about half of our targeted area, transporting each day 58 girls. We are also hopeful of securing a second vehicle to go with the one that has arrived to increase our coverage. These wonderful gifts offer these girls protection and you can help protect these girls. The annual cost of operating the buses is not small. Fuel, drivers, and general maintenance is estimated at more than $20,000 per year. Please help keep these buses running.
Last month 4 flights, 6 states, and 600 driving miles took me to the Virginia / Pennsylvania area to meet with several supporters of World Shine Ministries (WSM). What a privilege it was to see them, hear their hearts for the ministry, discuss ways to help, and tell stories of wonderful times in Uganda. Many thanks to the In the Garden Missions team who drove 2 hours to meet with us! Many thanks also to Ron and Mary Buch of Breakout Ministries who hosted me, hosted our meeting, and gave me their pulpit to tell the story of World Shine. The congregation sent me off with gifts to take to the staff of the World Shine Foundation Primary School. Thank you Breakout!
I also had the privilege to speak Sunday night at the Word of Life Church in Philadelphia and thank them for their sponsorship of 29 students and for building a new library for the school. I am excited to take 2 of their members to Uganda next month to help finish the construction of the library.
World Shine Ministries is blessed to have some pretty great supporters.
In October of 2015, Joel Jassu, our director of the University House of Prayer, began assembling 2 teams to do missions work in Uganda: 1 team of Westerners and 1 team of Africans. From the start, the 2 teams worked together to hear from God and plan the mission. Ultimately, we assembled a group of 14 Westerners (11 from Memphis, 1 from Baton Rouge, 1 from Seattle, and 1 from Italy) and 18 Africans (13 Ugandans and 5 South Sudanese) to become the Tugende Team. The teams came together in Kampala, Uganda, on July 22 to begin the 17-day mission that would take the Tugende Team from the west of southern Uganda to the east of southern Uganda.
In the West, the Team worked with the 600+ children at the World Shine Foundation Primary School in Rwentobo and did service projects. With class sizes of 55-60, these teachers are real troopers, working very hard each day to impart knowledge and instill Christian values. In order to celebrate the staff at the school, we had an opportunity to bless them with a surprise appreciation dinner and some much-needed encouragement.
From the school as a base, we sent out teams to do evangelistic missions in neighboring schools, churches and homes in the area to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Many young people came to the Lord, with many testimonies of healing and great encouragement.
In the East, the Team went to Kachumbala, to the eastern office of World Shine Ministries (WSM). Working with the local WSM staff, we held several youth missions in prisons, high schools, K-12 schools, and hospitals, and also held several open air crusades to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. During this portion of the mission, the team was joined by several other college students from across the country making a total of about 62 people who saw over 630 people come to the Lord in 2 days. Hallelujah!
For the final days of the mission, the Team settled in Kampala and held a retreat for 50-60 young adults to dig into the Word and study how to make disciples. We had lectures, discussions, prayer, worship, study time, and fellowship. Leaders had an opportunity to work with emerging leaders to model and train. All were taught, encouraged and released to make disciples for Jesus Christ across the world.
The motto of World Shine is Reach, Raise, Release: Reach through evangelism, Raise through discipleship, and Release to influence the nations for Christ. This mission touched each of the 3 “R’s”. Hallelujah.
Thank you for going with us and doing this work with us through your support and your prayers.
By the way, “Tugende” means “We Go” in the Luganda language.
Making disciples of Jesus Christ – raising up godly men and women to lead Uganda and influence the nations for Christ – is a cornerstone of World Shine Ministries.