“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
Dear Friends and Family,
This past month brought us to another season in Uganda. Its not the rainy season or the dry season, it’s the soccer season! In Uganda, soccer, or as its called here, football, is almost everyone’s favorite pastime. Schools have soccer teams, businesses have soccer teams, the police have soccer teams, churches of every faith have soccer teams and even the various market places here in Uganda have soccer teams. Whether they play it themselves or they watch it from the sidelines, football is a national pastime. This time of year is when the local teams are in their playoffs or tournaments.
Arise Christian Fellowship has its own football team. It is made up of young men most of whom received salvation through the market ministry. They are registered in the local area with the Kampala market teams. Our church is just a couple of streets above one of the largest markets in Kampala and one of the larger slum areas. Right now our playoffs are happening every Wednesday. Since soccer matches always draw large crowds, and the playoffs even larger crowds, we see this as a chance for outreach. Church members attend the games to support our team then during breaks or half time they mingle with the crowds and find opportunity to share Christ with others.
The team themselves are not slacking when it comes to sharing their faith. The pray and share devotions during practice and before games. They also share Jesus with other teams they play against or practice with, always inviting them to join in their times of fellowship and prayer. While many people respond positively to the Gospel message not everyone does. Sometimes there is a tough resistance against our attempts at evangelism and some attitude given to our players for being Christian. Despite any negative attention the team and church members might endure, they continue to love football and to love sharing their faith. We pray for more opportunities like this and for those who hear the gospel to come to know Jesus personally as well as to go to a solid Bible teaching church.
I know I talk about the youth at the church quite often but the truth is they make up the majority of our church. Actually, in Uganda the youth make up the majority of the whole population. 77% of the population are under 25 years old. When I think of this I think of Jesus telling His disciples to let the children come to Him and I always think about the verse that says to train children in the way they should go and when they are old they won’t depart from it. The world as a whole is trying to teach children a way they should go and in Uganda culture and tradition is still so strong, teaching the children the way they want them to go. As a church we are trying to reach out as much as possible to the children, the teens and the young adults to point them to Jesus so His way to go fills them and protects them from all these paths that lead to no where.
At church we have a very strong Sunday school. The Sunday school teachers don’t just teach on Sunday but they have meetings down in the slums where most the kids come from. The assistant pastor has a Bible club in the area where he lives. Our teen and young adult leader has Bible studies on Saturday. The youth group also meets during the week to play games and to watch a Christian movie. Luke enjoys it especially when they organize themselves to play basketball. He is hoping to get them to play more, mostly because he loves basketball but also because they get out into the community more like the soccer team. Through the youth ministry we recently had a couple of youth who had been coming for a while who expressed their interest in getting baptized.
Talking about youth, I have to share something very sad that happened recently, involving our family. A couple of Sundays a go I noticed my brother in-law was not at church. Brian told me that one of their cousins who lives near by lost their child. Their child was abducted walking home from school and he was found to have been sacrificed (beheaded). Yes, child sacrifice is still a thing here. My brother in-law had gone to help the family make arrangements and to talk with police since obviously the child’s family was overcome with grief. My kids always think I’m being overprotective but I think this was a wake up call for them. The incident was in the local paper. They have caught the woman who was responsible. Please keep the family in prayer and continue to pray for Uganda that these horrible traditions would end and the children of Uganda would be safe.
Thank you for praying for our family and for the people of Uganda.
Brian, Jill, Luke, Laylee, and Liana
- We are so thankful for the many ways the Lord has blessed us and for everyone who supports us and the ministry in Uganda.
- Please pray for the soccer ministries at Arise Christian Fellowship. Pray for the evangelism and disciple that is taking place during the playoffs.
- Pray for the Sunday school and Youth leaders as they minister to the kids in the church and in the community.
- Pray for my kids to be a light amongst the youth they interact with during their activities.
- Pray for all the new believers and those recently baptized to continue to grow in the Lord.
- Pray for Brian’s family has they mourn for the child that was sacrificed. Pray for safety for all the children of Uganda.
- Pray for the Kanyike children to get called for their citizenship interview.
- 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.