To sum up our summer in three words….encouraging, fruitful and well spent. We were encouraged by the increase in the number of students that chose to attend the discipleship training for pastors and leaders in Midigo, Uganda. It was fruitful in that we were able to see children, refugees, high school students and elderly people come to Christ. Our time was well spent because the work in Uganda is growing and it is well positioned to seize the opportunity to reach the community, the refugee camps and the region with the Gospel. We felt spent for the Lord everyday as we laid our heads on our pillows exhausted in the best way possible. We remained healthy and strong in the Lord and we know it was a direct answer to many of your prayers. Thank you for lifting us up!
Rejoicing Going On In Heaven
August is the month we have always celebrated the birthday’s of Heather’s mom Janice and step dad Bud. Now that they are in heaven, it is different so we try to celebrate in a way that honors the amazing legacy they left for our family to carry on. In God’s amazing timing, we were able to spend time with Nadia Esther who is their sponsored child, who our family has now adopted. When we left Uganda last year, she expressed interest in attending the high school youth conference that was held at CC Midigo shortly after our departure. This past month she was on a break from the tailoring school she now attends and she came to visit us. She shared how it was at that conference that she gave her life to Christ. Buddy would have shouted “all right” and “that is the best decision you could have ever made.” One of the highlights this past month was attending a women’s conference with Nadia Esther and standing side by side in the front row as we worshiped the Lord together.
Mission Impossible – Accomplished
We had a large task this summer, to meet with 414 children in the Promise Child program in Uganda to take new photos, interview them, pray with each one, and give them opportunity to write a letter to their sponsor. We are excited to report that together with a fabulous team of ministry workers, missionaries and visiting team members we were able to finish the task this month. Heather was blessed to be apart of the lives of these precious kids all summer long. Daily there were ministry opportunities to give a word of encouragement, to share a scripture, give hugs, hold a hand, meet needs, seek medical attention, share the good news and pray for each child that she sat face to face with. Those cards with a child’s picture hanging on fridges in the states are Joel, Evelyn, Robert, Brenda, Godfrey, Charity and hundreds more. Each of their sponsors will receive updates of the incredible ways their lives are forever changed because of the Promise Child program. To be apart of life changing and kingdom work never gets old. It was a challenge, but oh so rewarding to see it not only accomplished, but to know we served each child well as if they were our own.
School of Ministry in Soroti
Dr. Juventine who is a dear friend of ours desired to start a School of Ministry (SOM) in his hometown of Soroti where church planters could be trained and sent back to their villages. When we visited for a few days last summer, we saw a skeleton of a building that has since been completed. In the middle of August, we relocated from Midigo to Soroti to finish the summer. The Soroti SOM now has a library, dorms for up to 24, computer lab and classrooms. This year, they started with 12 students and Bond was privileged to teach for the last two weeks of August at the new SOM in Soroti. One of the students that are attending the one-year program is Fred who was a former student of the summer discipleship training that Bond did last year in Midigo. It is a great blessing to see how his desire to be trained for full-time ministry is now happening as 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
From Africa to Asia – Change of Plans
As some of you may know, we have a wonderful opportunity to start a new work in South Asia. There have been many meetings, several trips and much prayer that have led up to now. With the construction scheduled to start this week, Bond felt it was vitally important to get on the ground and be part of the beginning stages of construction. There are also many details in setting up a new bible college and that requires him to physically be there. He is now traveling directly from Uganda, Africa to South Asia to spend several weeks with our ministry partners who have already relocated their family to the campus. Heather and Breanna will continue to the states as originally planned due to several prior commitments. Our family will be reunited in the states in late September / October and then head together to Asia for November and December (at least that is the plan for now). Please pray for wisdom for Bond as he is in South Asia and works with contractors, local leaders and begins the work in a whole new place. Pray for clarity of mind, clear communication and for favor with everyone he comes into contact with. Pray for a tremendous amount of faith and grace as there are many details that are undecided and uncertain….at least for now.
With Love From Uganda,
Bond, Heather and Breanna Gaona