Back in Manitoba

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Thanks for your prayers as we travelled. We had good flights and no problems making our connections through Brussels and Toronto. The team was happy to see family and friends waiting for us in the Winnipeg Airport!

Continue praying for the team members as they readjust to Canadian culture, the COLD weather, and resume their studies at SBC. Pray that the lessons we learned would remain with us, and that some of the key relationships we built with people in Arua would be able to continue across the thousands of kilometers.

 

 

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Last Day in Arua

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Today is Sunday, the day of fellowship amongst believers to gather together and worship the Lord! However, today was also a very sad day, as this was the last full day with the Kruse family and our time in Arura. However, in God’s strength we finished the day with little tears!

Last week we were introduced to a ministry here in Arua called Cheka Child. One of the leaders of this ministry was named Pastor Steven. After hearing that some of us on the team could preach, he invited us out to his Church on Sunday to preach. Having spent Friday night and Saturday morning in his home and village, and meeting the people, I had a desire to go to his Church and fellowship with the believers.

However, I would do more than just attend. Knowing that I was coming, I was asked to preach. I was excited with this opportunity because I believe that God had given me a message for that morning. Steven had told us that there are many people who call themselves Christians, go to Church at 7:30 in the morning, but live their lives very differently the rest of the week. For this reason, I believe God gave me the theme of – being born again – 24/7 lifestyle Christianity. Meeting Pastor Steven that morning he gave me a new nickname, Pastor Steven Young! As we, Ralph, Alysia, and I, were brought into the Church, we were given the seats of honor, the chairs on the stage. Before preaching I was asked to join the other pastors in prayer and given a white robe to wear for me to preach in. The message was received well and the Church welcomed us warmly after the service.

After this service in Ajono, we rushed back to Arura to attend the South Sudanese Church, the Church where half the group attended last week. There we worshiped with our Sudanese brothers and sisters. We sang songs, watched the children’s choir sing and dance, and listened to a evangelist preacher preach. After the service we fellowshipped with friends we met last week, and said our goodbyes to them.

We then went to the Kruses, had lunch, and spent the next few hours debriefing a little as a big team. Following the debrief, we had the opportunity to leave Arura and go for a hike in the valley that surrounds Arura. Here we climbed rocks, waterfalls, and marveled at God’s beautiful creation. This was very refreshing and energising as we were completely exhausted from the week previous.

The day ended with authentic Ethiopian food, however not before a 30 min. search for some of the team who got lost on bikes cycling to the restaurant. Though the sky was dark, God answered our prayers and brought Joel, Lindsey, and Colton safely to the restaurant! The food was great, fellowship was encouraging, and saying goodbyes were hard. Our day was at last complete. The day was fun, encouraging, and saddening all at the same time, but God was faithful and has continued to show us His greatness through it all!

Prayer Requests

  • We fly out of Entebbe to Brussels in 6 hrs. 12 min. Pray for safety and that we would be open to divine appointments God may have for us.
  • Pray that we will not forget all that God has done in and through us, and the work that God is doing and needs to be done in Arura.
  • Pray for strength as we come home and many of us are faced with the school life right away!

Again, thank you all so much for your continued prayers through this mission. God has been seen in so many beautiful ways in this mission and we give Him all the glory, honor, and praise!

To God be the glory forever and ever, Amen.

Steven Warthe

 

Homestays & programs

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On Saturday we woke up with our homestay families and had a wonderful new breakfast with tea served with hot milk. It is a tradition for MX3 teams to always have a house stay with locals but this year we weren’t too sure how it would happen until the last moment. We had hoped to do this earlier but nothing had worked out. Our team visited a ministry called Cheka Child earlier in the week, and we met Pastor Steven who helped lead the ministry, and was well respected in his village. Cheka Child is a ministry enabling children from the community to go to school. The guys stayed at Steven’s house and his brother Jovon hosted the ladies for the night.

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In the morning we went on a tour of the village and met the families of Ajono. We walked around  meeting the women – going into their kitchens and seeing how they cook and do life. We prayed with a group of people from each household and we gained a following of children as we went along. Later on we prayed and sang songs with about fifty kids, and then they shared some of their songs with us. Right at the end we walked past a soccer field and a number of the kids played soccer with Lindsey and Steven with a garbage-bag-ball. That was a blast to watch them have so much fun playing barefoot on the hard ground with a simple ball the kids had made.

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The ladies on our team asked if they could help with cooking when we got back but our host said it was nearly done and just to wait. It was a strange experience for us being hosted in this culture because we were left alone as the food finished being cooked. However, they did give us a pot of appetizers that we weren’t sure if we should eat or not. There was so much in there and only seven of us.

It gave us a good time to debrief what we had just experienced in the village and think about the culture for ourselves, but we didn’t know what we should be doing. The snack was so good, it was called Ajono chicken because it looked and tasted like KFC on first appearance, but it was just breaded and deep-fried veggies. After lunch did show up it was almost time to go back. David picked us at 2 and we went through some more formal good byes and David joined us for lunch too before we went back.

We went back to VTC to clean up and get ready for a farewell program at Maggie’s school with the parents of the students and a number of missionaries. That went very well but was an interesting experience because we didn’t know how it would flow until we were up and doing it. We started by singing the songs we had been teaching them this week in the morning. Then the recorder class I had been teaching got a chance to play through two songs and I was very proud at how much they did learn even though they couldn’t play together too well yet. Then there were a number of readers theater performances by some of the same kids from the older class joined by some missionary kids.

We had a potluck goat roast after the program. It’s cool seeing something like that which we have in our culture practised in their culture. We then said our final goodbyes to the children and parents before the night was done. It was a great time of fellowship and reflecting on the time we had spent with the children.

Colton

Village Homestay

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Today we got up an hour later, as everyone just seemed to be really tired. After breakfast and devo time everyone except for Prof. Carl and Steven went to Rauka School. As always we started off the day with songs and a short drama. The drama of the day was the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. After this it was time for Phys Ed with Coach Shelvis and his Assistant Coach Nancy. The children enjoy this class and worked really hard. Coach Shelvis emphasized the importance of teamwork and encouraged older children to lead their teams well. The older kids did really well in helping out the younger ones.

I tried to help the little two year old children to engage in the activities as well. This was challenging but all in all it was a rewarding morning. Prof. Carl and Steven went out to Brook’s village ministry again. When we were done at the school we walked to Borderlands for some coffee and a little bit of downtime. Alysia, Lindsey and Colton stopped to buy some street meat for lunch (roasted goat). We went back to VTC to eat and then just after lunch Rolf came to take us to the cloth market.

Around five we were dropped of in a nearby village for our homestay. We stayed with Pastor Steven’s family. The village consists of groups of several small houses or huts where different family members live in, and we learned that people sometimes are buried on their own yard when they die. Pastor Steven took us for a walk to their water source and their church of which he was very proud.

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On our walk we walked passed a group of small children who were heating up rocks on a fire so they could bake potatoes! Some of the children had small babies tied on their back, and most of them seemed quite intrigued with us! But one kid just burst out crying when he spotted us. We walked back from the church in the dark, which seemed to be really complicated for James – he tripped about ten times 😊. Meanwhile Steven and Colton joined the local guys for some soccer, and they came back really dirty and sweaty.

Around nine thirty we had supper with our host family. We were all really hungry at this point and the food was delicious. At ten thirty our other host came back from helping out with some funeral / burial preparations. He then pulled up a chair and started his very formal and lengthy introduction. We were all quite tired and struggled to stay awake, but it was a great eye-opening experience into the life of  Ugandan village dwellers.

Gabi

Kuluva Hospital

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Every day of this trip has been incredible but Thursday was especially great because I was able to spend most of the day in the hospital! Not because of an injury or illness – don’t worry! Rolf dropped me off at the Kuluva Hospital at 8:30am, just in time for their morning devotions. Being the only white girl in the crowd I stood out. The lady leading the morning devotions and announcements called me to the front to give an introduction. Ugandan culture is big on formal introductions and farewells. I introduced myself, where I am from and why I am at the hospital. It’s a good thing I am not shy because there was about 100 or more people in that room.

The hospital was started in the early 1950’s by African Inland Mission missionaries. It is now run by local doctors, nurses, and one expat doctor, Dr. Luke. Dr. Luke is from Australia and is living and serving in Arua. I followed Dr. Luke on his rounds and met several nurses and three medical interns. Because he had the interns and myself with him, the rounds took a bit longer because we kept asking him questions as we observed him diagnosing patients. The most common diagnosis in the hospital was malaria. The most interesting diagnosis was a patient who had a very enlarged and rigid stomach. Dr. Luke was going to drain the stomach contents in the afternoon, but I was only planning to be at the hospital till 12:30pm. But I did not want to miss out on watching this procedure, so I stayed at the hospital till it was over. I won’t go into details on the blog, but it was neat.

At quarter to 3pm, Dr. Luke showed me a path up the Kuluva hill and I hiked up to find the rest of the MX3 team. They brought me a Rolex (best street food in the world) and some fresh bread. The food has been a huge blessing here, it’s so tasty! Our team joined our friend Bobby for the New Believers Bible Study. Several of us from the team were able to join this Bible Study last week so it was really great to re-connect with some of the same people and kids.

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I had one hyper little boy sitting on my lap and pretty soon he fell asleep. Shortly after he fell asleep, one of the women came over to me and offered to take him and lay him down on a mat under a tree. But I was more than happy to hold a sleeping toddler. One thing I have observed about this culture is how children are burdens because until they are useful to work and do chores, they just take up time and resources. It made me think of the story in Luke 18 where Jesus invites the children to come to Him. He welcomed them to him with love.

After the Bible Study on the mountain, several of us hiked down and then we went back to VTC. We stopped in at the card makers ministry – small group of people who get together every week to have a Bible study and make cards to generate income. Our team spent some time with them before going to a missionary’s house for supper. The food and the company was great! We were tired by the end of the day, but it was such a good time.

Praise and prayer requests!

  • Safety – we’ve had some interesting times with local transportation.
  • Health – continued health and strength, especially for those who have not been feeling good recently.
  • Transition – getting ready to leave Uganda and head back to Canada.

Lindsey

 

Kid’s Ministry

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Wednesday was a busy day for us. We ended up going to many different ministries around Arua. We were back at Maggie’s School once again. We did our program of songs and a skit. We taught them a couple of new songs, like Love the Lord, which goes over the greatest commandment, and has kind of been our theme song, while we have been out here as we keep having that verse show up. Then we moved to the classroom to help teach. I ended up teaching science and helped the kids in my class learn the different parts of insects and more specifically bees.

From there we went to a learn about an organization called Cheka Child (Love Child). They are an organization that helps sponsor kids so they can get an education. We also met a man named Richard who had benefited from one of these sponsor child organizations. It was really cool to meet someone who could be considered a success story of a sponsor child organization.

We also helped out with MK’s by putting on a program for them. We did this last week too, but somehow, this week the number of kids seemed to increase a lot. We did songs and skits, similar to what we have done at Maggie’s. We also played many games with kids, who seem to have a lot more energy than we do. I think it’s safe to say that at the end of it, we were all quite tired.

Prayer Requests:

  • Goodbyes –I can’t believe we are already at the point where we have to do this. Good byes are never easy. Pray for us as we end up having a lot of good byes over the next couple of days. As well, that we would remember the people we have met and that we would not forget the people nor the lessons.
  • Energy – We’ve probably asked for this one a lot, but keep praying that we would have the energy to finish strong.
  • Traveling – We are going to be traveling over the next couple of days, so pray for safety as we do so.

Thanks all for your support.

Nathan

Murchison National Park

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The morning started off like all the other mornings. NOT! Woke up to Ustaz Carl yelling down the hall “Rolf will be here in 20 minutes!” then turning over in my bed to look at my phone, only to realize it’s 3:30 in the morning. Most of us had just a granola bar then we stuffed 9 people uncomfortably into an 8 seater van and were off to Murchison by 4:15 am.

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The next two hours were spent either sleeping or grumpily trying to sleep. We arrived in Pakwach (a town just outside of the park) and got in a much more comfortable safari truck. We entered the park as the sun was coming up. Gabi, Alysia, and I took the first, cold, yes cold, and bumpy, ride on the roof of the truck. As we went through the park we saw many different types of animals, including antelope, water buck, giraffes, warthogs (which we will call warthehogs now due to Steven Warthe’s fascination with his new family) but it was getting to the point of the day when the lions would go into hiding so we were getting antsy that might not see any lions.

All of a sudden, our tour guide slammed on the breaks and turned off the road, much to the chagrin of the people on the roof who were almost thrown off the truck. We all were trying to see why he did this when out of the corner of our eyes we saw two lions laying down, we were able to get within 20 feet of the Lions which was an amazing sight.

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As we turned around our tour guide told us not to tell anyone because he could get fined. As we drove to the road a soldier jumped up, took a picture of our van – and we were caught, but it was well worth it as he let us continue back to the road. We continued on to see hippos floating in the Nile river, cape buffalos, the shoe billed crane, which is very ugly, and many dead carcasses. After a while we crossed the Nile on a ferry and drove an hour and half to an amazing sight.

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As we got closer to Murchison Falls we parked our car and walked the rest of the way. The falls were spectacular as the powerful Nile River flows through a gorge 3 meters wide and 45 meters deep. The tour guide was a bit nervous with us being around the falls due to a story of a guy falling in during one of his trips. The falls were so powerful and the cool thing was since it is the dry season the falls were lower than normal. We all were amazed by the sight, sound, and power of the falls.

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After the falls we took the road back out of the park seeing many of the same animals and sights. Then when we were outside of the park we came across multiple elephants grazing by the highway. We were able to get pretty close and get many cool pictures. After that we spent some time at a touristy place looking at elephant bones and attempting to play some strange instrument. From that place we hopped into another vehicle to take the long drive home. Altogether it was a day full of adventure and excitement.

Some prayer requests for our team are

  • Energy
  • An extra dose of spiritual caffeine for all – not sure what that means but we need it
  • Goodbye’s are wearing our team down so pray for us and the people we are leaving
  • Steven and Carl might be preaching tomorrow – pray for wisdom

Thanks for your prayers, James

day 12 journalling in the dark

journaling in the dark