Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tororo - Running Start

So I didn't get a chance to post at all from Uganda. The internet connection there was so slow, it took about five minutes just to get to the Yahoo login screen, and another five to ten minutes to get to my Inbox.  I sent one email to my family to let them know we've arrived safely and that they probably won't be hearing from me again soon, and another update to the church family.

We spent our first morning in Kampala together with all the other teams and a few of the local pastors. We had a commissioning service, and soon after, each team left for their assigned regions. Pastor Philemon and Pastor Joseph from Tororo came to pick us up. The drive from Kampala to Tororo takes about 4 hours. On the way, we pass through a forest inhabited by baboons. We saw a few by the road.

The first evening in Tororo, the pastors gave us a surprise. Our original schedule included five crusades, and a five-day pastors and leaders conference.  We thought we had our hands full, and then we were given this revised schedule.

Day 1 to Day 2: (Rubongi village)
9am to 12pm - Door-to-door evangelism
4pm to 7pm - Open-air crusade

Day 3 to Day 5: (Tororo)
9am to 12pm - Door-to-door evangelism
4pm to 7pm - Open-air crusade

Day 6 (Sunday):
Speaking at four different churches

Day 7 to Day 10:
9am to 2pm - Pastors and leaders conference
4pm to 7pm - Revival meeting

Here is team Tororo on the first official working day of the trip.

Door-to-door evangelism had to be one of the toughest challenges for our team. Each one of us had to lead a team of local people to visit homes one by one to share the gospel. We were the main speakers, and the local people were there to help us as interpreters and guides. None of us was comfortable with the idea but we went along with it.

The first day of door-to-door was rough. I didn't understand anything about their culture, so I was awkward during the small talk and stumbled my way through the gospel presentation.  Yet despite that, the Holy Spirit showed up. On one of the first homes we visited, there was an elderly lady with poor vision, her eyes were half-closed. I prayed for her eyes to be healed and Jesus healed her! Her eyes were opened wide and she kept looking at me with eyes of wonder. When the other people saw that she was healed, they brought all their sick, young and old, and I prayed for all of them. Many people believed in Jesus!

After that, we had our first crusade. Herman shared his testimony, and many people responded. What touched me the most was seeing a group of tough-looking young men, about six of them, come forward to receive salvation in Jesus. It is rare to see young men give their lives to Christ. The next day, these young men came to the church for their first discipleship class.  The pastor asked me if I could come say a few words to encourage them. I agreed and found myself joining a men's discipleship group conducted in Japadola, the local language. Regardless, we are now a family in Christ, and that transcends language, race or sex. After they finished the class, I told them that following Jesus is probably the best decision that they've made in their lives, and that this is just the beginning of a wonderful journey.  I encouraged them to read the bible, and if they encounter something in it that seems impossible, to believe it by faith, because nothing is impossible with God.

Day 2 of the crusade, I helped Kevin with the children's program. Kevin was trying to make the kids remember the bible verse "Day and night I remembered you in my prayers".  He drew a sun to represent the day, and a moon to represent night. But when he showed the kids the moon and asked what it was, they unanimously responded "banana"! I couldn't stop laughing.

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