Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” —Matthew 19:14
Summer is always a crazy time for us in Uganda. For most of the summer we have teams coming in and out of the guest house to serve with various ministries that Far Reaching Ministries has in Uganda and in Sudan. It is amazing to be a small part of what God is doing in and through so many peoples lives. While the summer keeps us busy at the guest house it is also a busy time at church and in the neighborhoods.
The Ugandan school year begins at the end of January and ends in November. The school year is divided into three terms with a break in between each term. The longest break besides the end of year break is after second term. This term break is 3 weeks at the end of summer. At Arise Christian Fellowship we always try to plan something to reach and occupy the kids during this time. When school is in session we have about 80—100 children. When school is on holiday that number can double.
This year the Sunday school teachers decided to focus on the gifts each child has and teach them how to use their giftings to worship God and minister to others. For almost 3 weeks the youth were meeting and learning about gifts and trying to figure out what their gifts were. Many of the youth love music so there was a lot of singing and dancing as well as playing sports.
On the last Sunday of their school holiday most of the church service was taken over by the children. They were serving in various ways, some helping behind the scenes while others used their gifts publicly. We had a choir sing 4 songs, where the youth took turns singing solos as well as in unison. Some of the teens danced to contemporary worship music. A group of girls traditionally danced to worship in the Luganda language. Another group of children recited from scripture and our own Luke played the piano.
It was such a blessing to see this future generation becoming aware of their gifts and how to use them. As child after child shared something with us I was moved to tears thinking how awesome our God is that even a child can know Him and have faith to publicly serve and follow after Him.
The only group that did not share in some way was our youngest class which is our largest class. On this day of children’s service there was a huge downpour and because most of our children come on their own from the slums they could not make it. We decided to postpone their performances and service till they could all be there so no one was left out.
During their term break the youth did not just learn about singing and dancing for Jesus but they learned about how to share His love with others who do not know Him. They put this into practice by having a sports outreach. The theme they came up with for the outreach was “Christianity is Fun” We went a little bit further than the churches neighborhood to a neighboring slum area. The youth who are gifted in sports, particularly soccer, gathered children from that neighborhood together to play sports with them.
Sports, like soccer, are a big deal here in Uganda. Therefore many children wanted to be a part of the event both as players and spectators. Before the games began the youth served all those present a breakfast of porridge. After breakfast they broke up into 3 groups: Soccer, netball, and spectators. The games continued till late afternoon with a break for sodas and cookies in the middle. During the break our youth took the opportunity to share their testimonies with others and tell them about Jesus. They were also able to get to know these children and hear about their lives.
I believe it was very beneficial for both groups of children, for the ones we were trying to reach and for our youth to realize that there are youth with similar backgrounds and struggles as them. At the end of the day the youth from Arise once again served these children whom they now knew a bit better and gave them a hot meal. By the end of this outreach there were so many children that we actually ran out of food. We are very thankful for those who contribute towards our children’s ministry and help make outreaches like this possible.
While Luke, Laylee and Liana have enjoyed participating in the church activities, they have also been having a busy summer of activities. Luke was part of a large chess tournament. There were hundred s of children there. He won 4th place in his age division which is 9-12yrs old. We are so proud of him, he only turned 9 this summer. He was then invited to be part of a delegation of Ugandan chess players to a competition in Holland but we had to decline at this time as he is so young to travel alone and neither Brian or I could go. Hopefully, in the future he will get another opportunity since he is very passionate about chess.
All of the children have been taking Karate. This summer they had their testing to move to the next belt. It was a strenuous test but all of the children passed. Laylee and Liana moved up to an orange belt and Luke received his purple belt. We are very proud of all our children and their commitment to the activities and groups they belong to as well as their love of Jesus.
Thank you for praying for our family
and for the ministry in Uganda.
Brian, Jill, Luke, Laylee, and Liana
- Continue to pray for my family as we prepare for the loss of my father. Pray for my father to be comfortable and not to be afraid.
- Praise the Lord for the ministry and spiritual growth of the youth at Arise Christian Fellowship.
- Pray for the youth to continue to use their gifts and share the love of Jesus even when school returns.
- Pray for the youth who attended the outreach to come to know Jesus and to find a good Bible teaching church to attend if Arise is too far.
- Pray for all the outreaches and ministries of Arise Christian Fellowship.
- Pray for Brian as he pastors and leads the ministry team at Arise Christian Fellowship.
- Please prayerfully consider becoming part of the Kanyike Family support team