September 2019

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10

When we moved here to the village of Adak, God gave us a burden for our neighborhood and a desire to see the Gospel come to life in our community.  Within a few months of being here, I (Matt) started a bible study on Tuesday nights for the youth of the area.  We pray that some of the seeds that were sown at that time will continue to grow, but it didn’t take very long for us to see that we needed a different approach to reach our neighbors. Then, at the time that we were closing down that Bible study I started meeting with one of our neighbors who’s name was Daniel.  Together Daniel and I read and talked through the entire New Testament and the impact that God’s Word had on Daniel’s life was tremendous. The same week we finished Revelation, Daniel left to another town in order to study nursing. With Daniel gone Noelle and I started praying for further direction from God concerning our village and within a short amount of time we had around 15 men meeting in our home every Wednesday night to fellowship and study God’s Word and Noelle started a separate study with a couple of the women from the community! Our goal with these studies is to lead people into developing their own relationships with God where they know how to pray, how to read the Bible for themselves and understand it, how to memorize scripture, and most importantly give them an understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Praise God for his faithfulness to seek out and save the lost.

God has also been moving on the “official ministry” side of things.  

This past month our pastoral students got to learn about Israel’s return from exile in the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, andEsther.  Please continue praying for all of the churches they represent.

We just finished construction on another chicken house and now have the capacity for 6,600 chickens!  God also provided BAM with a means of transporting our large loads!

Our finished chicken houses!
Our new “Lorry” (that’s how you say truck)

And we have been very happy with our medical staff who in the last month have seen over 300 patients, immunized more than 400 children, delivered 48 babies and treated many tropical diseases including 143 cases of malaria.

Patients in the clinic waiting for treatment.
We just had this beautiful mural painted in the patient waiting area by a man that was adopted as a child by the the missionaries who founded our clinic

God bless you
Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline and Noah!

Harris Family Update – August 2019

So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.  “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”  John 13:12-14

In the month of August I had the awesome privilege of teaching at the first pastors conference put on by the Northern Uganda Calvary Chapel Association.  This Association was formed in 2018 as a way to help shepherd the Calvary churches in the area.  The theme of the event was servant leadership and we took 2 days to look at Jesus example of washing His disciple’s feet.  The Holy Spirit guided us as we taught and touched the hearts of the pastors who were listening to inspire them and challenge their methods of leadership.  It was a wonderful time of fellowship and growth and we are thankful for what God did.  Please pray for us as we prepare to teach at a few more conferences coming up.

Me teaching at the conference

I’m very excited that recently Noelle has been meeting with two of our neighbors to teach them biblical womanhood.  Noelle is taking them through the creation account in Genesis, showing the equal value men and women have, and explaining the different roles God has given us respectively.  Please pray for strength and wisdom for her as she continues through the study with these women, and also homeschools our kids.

“Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.”  1 Tim 4:12

In Christ,

Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline and Noah

Pastor Bongonyinge George

As a family we have decided to visit the churches of our students and friends to see how they are doing and to bring them some encouragement from God’s Word.  With the permission of each pastor we have also decided to allow you to join us on that journey so that you will be more informed as you think about and pray for the churches of Uganda.  We pray that these short Pastoral Bios would encourage you in your walk with God and that you would grow in your love for Jesus as you see how He is moving in the hearts of so many people!

Pastor Bongonyinge George and his wife Adoch Grace

Bongonyinge George was born in a small village to very poor parents.  From the age of 10, he began working in people’s fields to earn his school fees.  Even at a young age, he valued life, counseling one young man out of killing an old woman, and when he worked for the government prison he would bring back escapees alive while others were not so careful to do so.  Once while working as a prison warden, 120 prisoners escaped, for which he was sentenced to 2 years on the other side of those bars.  While there, he was helped by a Four Square church who assisted in transporting prisoners to the hospital and paying their fees.   After his release in 1977, he joined the Four Square church, which later turned into a Calvary Chapel.  He went on to serve as assistant pastor in several church plants from that same Calvary. George and his wife Adoch Grace have 8 children and care for 4 orphan boys. Pastor George was among our 1st class of graduates from the Terebinth School of Discipleship and in January of this year pastor Bongonyinge planted Lwala Calvary Chapel under some mango trees. Calvary Lwala has around 40 members and their theme that Jesus Christ is God’s revelation to us was taken out of Revelation 1:1.

Calvary Chapel Lwala

   Pray for Calvary Chapel Lwala 

  • Pray that God would continue to grow them in faith and love.
  • Pray that people’s hearts would be transformed by the Gospel.
  • Pray that they would have a place to meet in the future.

Harris Family Update July 2019

“The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their stronghold in the time of trouble” Psalms 37:38

July marks 2 years since my family moved to Uganda.  It has been amazing to reflect on that time and see how faithful God has been to shape us and to work around us.  We are so grateful for the call God placed on our lives and I am grateful for the joy and peace that Jesus has brought to our family as we lean on him.  

Madeline’s first birthday two years ago!

My wife Noelle had the blessing of traveling to the United States for a few weeks this past month to visit her family.  The main purpose of Noelle’s trip was for her to spend time with her father who is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s.  It was really a blessing for Noelle to see her dad and it was very encouraging for her father to be able to meet our son Noah for the first time.  Despite taking a little while to warm up to him, Noah really enjoyed his grandpa.  While she was in NE my parents had the opportunity to pay them a visit so that my Dad could meet our son for the first time as well!

During Noelle’s time with her family, I (Matt) stayed home with our daughters as a single dad.  It was hard to be without Noelle but my time with Emma and Madeline was very rewarding.  Because I took a lighter workload, I was able to spend a lot of time playing, reading, praying and singing with my little girls.

A sample of some coloring pages Noelle has been drawing for the neighborhood kids.

God has also continued to show himself faithful on the ministry side during the month of July.  Our pastors studied through the books of 1st and 2nd Samuel and got to enjoy seeing David as the picture of Jesus the King of kings.  
At BAM (Business As Mission) God has been going above our expectations and our goods have been selling as fast as we can produce them.  We are now supplying 6 schools with our products and despite having 1500 laying chickens we have been selling out of eggs every week.

“But for you, O Lord, I do wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.”  Psalms 38:15

Love you guys,

Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline and Noah!

June 2019

“Trust in the lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.”  Psalm 37:3

After graduating our first class of pastors we shifted the class week of the second group a couple of weeks back, giving us much needed time to rest and extra time to work closer with the other parts of ministry.  God has really been doing a lot in each area of His work here!

People eating lunch at a church Matt was teaching a conference at

At BAM (Business As Mission) we are well on our way towards making a self sustaining ministry!  God provided the funding for us to start building our last chicken house which will put our final capacity at 6,000 birds, 5,000 of which will be laying at any given time.  This increase has allowed for us to buy a second set of maize milling machines so that we can have one set solely for the use of the community, and one set for us to produce our maize products with.  We also have partnered with more schools in our district who are getting regular shipments from us.

The clinic with the new fencing!

We are also seeing God’s hand moving at our clinic.  We start off every day at the clinic with morning devotions which all of our staff and our patients, who are able, attend.  Discipleship always feels slow but “in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Gal 6:9b).  Recently we have been going through the book of Proverbs which is a great book for laying a foundation of biblical principles and for revealing our need for a savior.  The work on the physical side has also been going well as we continue facilitating the community’s medical needs.  In the last 2 months Northern Uganda has had a 3 year high in malaria cases, so please be praying for the health of the people here.

Operation Christmas Child came to our church!

The time away from class over the month of June has allowed us to cultivate our home life.  Our friend Luke and Matt have been able to start a Youtube channel to document our time here and Noelle has gotten to spend time teaching our kids diligence as she works in the garden with them almost everyday.  It sure is amazing how responsible and happy a trained child can be!  Every week day (with supervision) Emma and Madeline walk to the well and pump their very own 6 liters of water, then they happily drag that water home and keep it outside in the sun so that they can bathe themselves in warm water later in the day!  We have running water at our house but we just use things like this as training opportunities.

The kids growing up in Africa!

May God bless you guys.

Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline and Noah

May 2019

“If they had stood in My council, then they would have announced My words to My people, and would have turned them back from their evil way and from the evil of their deeds.” Jeremiah 23:22

Took this pic on a recent hike

This past month we had the awesome privilege of graduating our very first set of pastors from our Pastoral School of Discipleship.  3 years ago more than 25 pastors and church leaders joined Terebinth Ministries in a trek through the whole of scripture and on May 27th, 15 of those pastors received certificates of completion!  We are so proud of those 15 pastors who took 1 week out of every month to live together, pray together, study together and worship together in order to grow in the grace and knowledge of their Lord Jesus Christ.  We pray that God would bless them and keep them as they lead others into relationship with our Father.

Terebinth’s graduating class of 2019

This whole year, and especially the month of May was filled with weddings.  In May alone we had 8 wedding invitations!  It was has been a unique experience to attend weddings in another culture.  Most excitingly my brother’s and Noelle’s brother’s weddings were among those 8.  I had the joy of flying to Mexico to join in my brother’s celebration, but we are very sad that we didn’t get the opportunity to attend Noelle’s brother’s wedding.  We are looking forward to her being able to see her family sometime this summer.

Matt as a “smart boy” (groomsmen) at a friend’s wedding here.

During my time in Mexico I also had the privilege of visiting other missionary families and touring their ministries and church plants.  It gets hard to keep a good perspective when you’re out on the field and It was extremely encouraging to see faithful people enjoying their Lord and the work He has given them.  

“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.”  Ephesians 1:16-17

With Love 
Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline and Noah

Harris Family Update – February 2019

“By awesome deeds You answer us in righteousness, O God of our salvation, You who are the trust of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest sea; Who establishes the mountains by His strength, being girded with might; who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the tumult of the peoples.  They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.”  Psalm 65:5-8

The month of February transitioned us from the dreaded dry season back to wet season, from blistering highs in the hundreds to moist upper eighties and nineties, and as always, God is still good.  It is amazing to watch God’s awesome power as he controls the times and seasons of our planet.  After seeing something over and over it becomes easy to forget to praise God for His constant provision for us and that the natural patterns of nature are held together by the word of our Father.  It is sad how we separate the natural from the supernatural as if God is only displaying his presence through things that we can’t understand.  As we are here in Uganda watching the trees flower with new life and hearing the music of the wildlife, we are taken back by the splendor and majesty of our King!

Us having dinner with our medical staff!

“Pure and undefined religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself stained by the world.” James 1:27

Many of you may know that we have the awesome privilege to be here in Gulu serving with my long time best friend, Luke Buescher.  Luke and I met through a spring break missions trip when we were 11 years old.  And since that time we have lived together in 3 different countries and have preached the Gospel together through many different avenues.  The evil that has taken place here in Northern Uganda has left many children without parents, many families without homes and many wives without husbands.  God had opened wonderful doors for us at Terebinth Ministries to reach out to many in need through the launching of our brand new widows ministry and my friend Luke has agreed to help lead that program as its assistant directer.  Our Widows Ministry will both provide livelihood for widows in need and discipleship for our pastors as they “adopt” the widows of their communities.  As our pastors have studied through Gods Word they have been exposed many times to God’s desire to care for the orphan, the widow, the poor, the Levite, and the sojourner, and now God has given us the ability to disciple them into fleshing that out in their own neighborhoods!

Luke Buescher with a group of the widows selected for the program
Thank you so much for your partnership with us in the Gospel!
In Christ
Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline and Noah!

Harris Family Update January 2018

“Therefore everyone hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matt 7:24
Matt teaching our second set of pastors

As we continue in our mission training pastors in the Word of God, it is easy to see the Holy Spirit moving within the church as they learn to stand on His Word. To stand on the truth of scripture is to stand on the nature of the One who created all things, and that is the only firm foundation on which to base one’s life. “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor 3:11. It is necessary for someone to truly examine their beliefs and motivations to see exactly what determines his actions. How you were raised, what your teachers said, what society demands, what your peers pressure you into, what you think is necessary for survival; all play a role in shaping your thoughts, and ultimately ruling your life. It is always painful and hard to expose what you have believed in for so long, to reshape your identity and to transplant yourself onto a new foundation. But any foundation apart from Christ is just sand anyway, it will crumble. And as we watch our new set of pastors stare intently at the perfect law, it is amazing to see how God is transforming their hearts and blessing them. And the fruit of abiding in God’s word is clearly evident in the lives of the other set of pastors who are nearing their graduation.

This was at our house the other day. Can you count how many birds are on the pig?

On the same note it has been a pleasure for me (Matt) to watch God stir Noelle’s heart with compassion for the neighboring children. There are close to 50 children near our home who are left to raise themselves and each other as their parents dig in their gardens and go about their regular business. It is an everyday thing to see a 3 year old carrying an infant on their back. When we were new on the ground it was easy to expend the energy necessary to love on them and take care of them, but over time it became a chore to answer the door for the 15th time on a Sunday, or to break up the 3rd fight of the day on our lawn. However, within the last month God has convicted Noelle about serving Him begrudgingly on this front, and my wife’s love for them has convicted me. The fruit is small but it is a reward in itself to strive to live in obedience.

Some of the neighborhood kids

Also, after 2 months of hard work we have finished remodeling our clinic!

“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains.” James 5:7

Pastor David Kizito

As a family we have decided to visit the churches of our students and friends once a month to see how they are doing and to bring them some encouragement from Gods Word. With the permission of each pastor we have also decided to allow you to join us on that journey so that you will be more informed as you think about and pray for the churches of Uganda. We pray that these short Pastoral Bios would encourage you in your walk with God and that you would grow in your love for Jesus as you see how he is moving in the hearts of so many people!

David Kizito, his wife Julian, and their daughter Heaven

Pastor David Kizito Came to know the Lord at a very young age when a preacher told him that God had a plan for his life. David took the Gospel to heart and has tried to spread the good news in many ways to the people around him. In May of 2017, Adak Bible Community Church planted Odongkicel Bible Community Church and placed David at it’s head. About 90 people there share the vision of preaching the Gospel, teaching the Word of God, and planting future branch churches. David, his wife Julian, and their baby Heaven are our neighbors in Adak Village, and David is one of our employees at our Business As a Mission. In the future we hope to have him as one of our students at the Pastoral School of Discipleship, but for now we enjoy discussing the Bible together at work.

Odongkicel Bible Cummunity Church
Pray for Odongkicel Bible Community Church:
  • That the members would be firmly planted in the Word of God and filled with love.
  • For the family’s of the church to be strong in the Lord.
  • Pray that the congregation would be unified in their vision of spreading the Gospel and planting future churches.
  • That David’s family’s needs would be met

Harris Family December Update

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now…. And this I pray, that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ.” Phil 1:3-4,9-10

As 2018 fades away we would like to take a moment to thank you for your partnership with our family in the Gospel, as that is the core of our relationship with you as part of the body of Christ. No matter where you’re at on the map, you find the same things at the heart of mankind’s problems; selfishness and pride, which lead to all sorts of destruction whether it be extreme poverty, murder, immorality… and today, just as it was since the first man sinned, the solution for mankind is reconciliation with our Creator. No matter how noble a cause may be, if void of the redeeming work of Christ on the cross, it will fail to touch man’s true need. So we praise God that you have endeavored to join us as we seek to spread the truth of God through Northern Uganda, and we pray that our relationship with you would continue encouraging you to do things of eternal consequence in your neck of the woods, as there is no one in the world who does not need further Gospel transformation.

Serving our customers at BAM
The harvisting of one of our tilapia ponds

December was a busy month for our family. Although the pastoral school was on break for the month, our work was certainly not. The holiday rush created an increase of work at our Business As Mission. It is rice harvesting season here, and have been milling up to 2 metric tons of rice most every day for the surrounding community. Our second batch of chickens, numbering 990 hens, have started producing eggs. We harvested one of our tilapia ponds. Planted a crop of green peppers. And we’ve continued producing fine Maize flour and pure sunflower oil throughout the week. Most of Matt’s time throughout the month was taken by overseeing the remodel of our dilapidated medical facility which we hope to complete sometime this month. Despite seemingly mundane work, God is ever at work, and even two of the contractors got saved. Noelle also has had an exciting opportunity to begin discipling a young woman in the community. As a family we had a restful Christmas Day, and even Boxing Day, which is very celebrated here.

It’s hard to believe that Christmas has come and gone considering the fact that the climate here is still the same as when we arrived in April, and we praise God for what He has done in that time:
-Praise God that he brought us here to Northern Uganda safely!
-Praise God that our son Noah was born healthy!
-Praise God that in 2018 our first group of 17 pastors have studied through and tested out of Mark, Psalms, 1 & 2 Timothy/Titus, Ezekiel, Daniel, The 12 Minor Prophets, Matthew, Luke, Acts, Romans, and 1 & 2 Corinthians!
-Praise God that in 2018 our second group of 32 pastors have almost finished the Pentateuch with only Deuteronomy remaining having studied Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers!
-Praise God that our medical clinic saw close to 4000 patients in 2018 including delivering more than 200 babies!
– Praise God that things are going well at the Business As a Mission and that we are on track to have our ministry operations self sustaining as of 2021!

“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” 2 Cor 5:18

We look Forward to a fruitful 2019 with you!

In Christ
Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline and Noah