It is good to be back on African soil! We landed on the red dirt runway in Northern Uganda earlier this month on Breanna’s 3rd birthday and we have been going for it ever since. We did pause to celebrate our little girl after she recovered from jet lag with a birthday party filled with cake, games, balloons, presents and her Ugandan friends. It is an absolute honor to be her parents and watch as she navigates this life with such love, fun and joy! Thank you for the many ways you love and support our family and especially our sweet Breanna.
Teach, Teach and Teach Some More
Bond began teaching the day after we arrived. All who desire discipleship have been gathering together for two hours in the mornings and two hours in the evenings and we are thrilled that the class has been filled with 46 attendees, which is the largest class we have ever had here. Bond teaches another class just for Pastors and Ministry Leaders, which meets for several hours in the middle of the day and they have been going through the book of Luke. There are 26 Pastors / Ministry Leaders who have come from 10 different churches throughout the region. Since they have traveled to attend the training, they have been staying on-site at the compound and sharing in much needed fellowship as well. Some of the Pastors and Ministry Workers are from the Sudanese Refugee Camp, while others are from new churches that have been planted recently in nearby cities.
When people are eager to learn the Word of God and are literally sitting on the edge of their seats with bibles and notebooks open writing as fast as they can, asking questions, engaged and counting it a privilege to have such an opportunity it is quite humbling. Isaiah 40:8 tells us that, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” and we know the Word that has been taught will far outlast our time together. Thank you for partnering with us and making it possible to host, house, feed and impart the Word of God into many lives during this season.
Be Ready At All Times
Heather has had many opportunities to teach this past month as well. There were several things planned ahead of time as friends who lead women’s and children’s ministry invited her to share at the monthly Women’s Fellowship and teach Children’s Church. But, there have also been other unexpected opportunities to share at the nearby dorms, school and at the Sudanese Refugee Camp that were dropped on her lap.
This past week, women in the Refugee Camp converged in the tent aka “church” during a visit and requested that Heather share with them. When she asked the question, “How many of you are feeling weak or weary?” the majority of women raised their hands. It was apparent by the look in their eyes, that they were in desperate need of encouragement to continue to live in a country that is not their own and in a place that is not their home.
Heather was able to share with the ladies from Psalm 121:1-2, “I will lift my eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” It is easy to get our eyes focused on the circumstances and trials in our lives, but sometimes the simple reminder that the Lord is our help, hope and lifter of our heads is timely when the difficulties of life seem to be piling up.
After teaching the Word, the women took turns sharing their stories. Rose shared about her husband who was killed in the war in South Sudan, Evelyn shared about separation from family members and is wondering if they will ever be reunited, Lillian told of sickness and physical suffering that we could never imagine and all expressed the daily challenges they face due to food shortages, crime and disease that is prevalent in the camp. Wanting to fix every problem each of the women had but knowing that was not possible, Heather prayed for each of the women asking the Lord to help, provide, heal and be the lifter of their heads. The weakness seemed to diminish in that moment and songs of praise began to ring out as their time together concluded.
Next week we have a short-term team coming to serve here in Northern Uganda. Pray as we step out of the classroom to serve together as a family with the team and ministry leaders. Our focus will be on reaching out to the community through hosting a Vacation Bible School for children, visiting the hospital, schools, refugee camp, prison and sharing the Gospel hut to hut.
With Love From Uganda,
Bond, Heather and Breanna Gaona