Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Preacher of the Day

We were on our way to church when we got a phone call. We had just stopped to buy some sugar and soap to bring as a gift for one of the student church leaders we train, when the phone rang. It was Cissy, our student at Kingdom Life Training Centre, we were going to worship at her home church with her to encourage her and see the ministry she is involved with there. She was wondering where we were... But let me back up a little bit... She had told us that Sunday School started at 10am and then the main service followed. Knowing that 10am didn't really mean 10am, and that we didn't really want to sit through sunday school and the main service, as sunday school is like a mini full service on it's own, and the main service would last a good few hours on it's own. We decided to leave home around 10:30am to a place we thought was about 30 minutes away. That way we would arrive right near the end of the sunday school and just in time for the main service to start. We were traveling with one of our co-workers and she had confirmed with Cissy that we would be coming for the main service. When she asked her for directions, Cissy told her that she had already told me (Beckie) the directions so I would know how to get there. So our co-worker knew that I knew how to get there, and I knew that she knew how to get there because she had called and confirmed. So back to the phone call. After asking where we were and confirming that we were indeed coming, Ruudy asked whether the service had started and the conversation went something like this:
Cissy: No, we are waiting for you guys to come.
Ruudy: No, just start, it's already late, we will get you when you are already going, you don't need to wait for us.
Cissy: But we cannot start without the preacher.
Ruudy: The preacher? He's not there?
Cissy: But you are the one preaching.
Ruudy: Me? Oh...But you have your preacher, we were just coming to listen.
So after that conversation, while we were still waiting for our co-worker to buy the things we began discussing sermon ideas. At least we had the rest of the car ride to come up with something. We trusted that the Holy Spirit would lead Ruudy as he decided on what to share if indeed he was the preacher of the day.
Once our co-worker came back into the car we were on our way. Just which way, we were not quite sure. Because it was then that we realised that none of us actually knew where we were going. We had been given only a town-center name where we could turn from and then a village where the church was. So we stopped a couple of times to ask people on the way, and of course all three times we got three different answers. Some had us turning right off the main road, others left, and still others to just continue. Finally we got some somehow helpful instructions and found the road we were to turn on, or at least so we thought. We got Cissy on the phone again and tried to confirm whether that was the right place, she asked us if there was a big tree there, and sure enough we saw a big tree, this must be the place,(and I'm thinking, I guess every other center probably also has a big tree, but let's just hope for the best). So we turned and drove on that road hoping that it would lead us to the correct village. We were driving amidst fields of sugar canes, and I was beginning to wonder, because I wasn't seeing any houses, but suddenly we saw Cissy standing in the road, with the rest of the church ready to welcome us. They began singing and drumming as soon as they saw us, and ushered the vehicle into the parking lot, i.e. the shade of another big tree. We parked and as we came out of the vehicle there was much singing and joy and they greeted us and received us warmly. They then led us to the church office where we met with the pastor, where it was confirmed that Ruudy was indeed the preacher of the day, and when we told him we just found out on the way coming that this might be expected of him, the Pastor told him that that's why as Christians it's important to always be ready to share the gospel at every opportunity, to be ready in season and out of season. So, it was now probably around noon and so we thought we would go directly to the service, which hadn't yet started because it was waiting for the preacher. But then we saw they were first serving us tea. So we first took tea, bread and bananas, and then we were ready to go. As we were taking tea I occasionally glanced outside and saw that people were lining up. I wondered, but realised when we were finished that they were ready to escort us into the church. Since Ruudy was the preacher they put him in the middle of two lines of people singing as they led him into church. I followed from behind, videoing everything. Anyway, to make an already long story a little shorter, the service was beautiful, we had a great time of praise and worship and felt the presence of the Lord in the place. Ruudy shared a powerful word about the love of God as our Father. I don't remember exactly what time the service ended but it must have been around 4pm. There were various little choirs who had to lead us in worship, and there was still a short sunday school service, and there were introductions and dancing and singing, and more dancing and singing. The place was full of the joy of the Lord and we were so blessed.  After the service they led us back to the office while they prepared a table for us for lunch. We ate and chatted with the pastor and a few other people and then went to leave. Well...the car wouldn't start... so after all of our good byes, we came back out of the car, popped the hood and began investigating the problem. I knew there was no other car near by to give us a jump, though they did say there was one not too far away. But using the combined resources of the congregation, they tested the battery with a wire that they got from who knows where, and then proceeded to use that very wire to tie the terminal to make the attachment tighter. With everything in place we tried starting again, and sure enough, it started. We were finally on our way home, and it was around 5:30 by the time we arrived home. What a long day! But we came back feeling refreshed and blessed. While we were talking with the pastor at the church he kept saying that they were so happy with Kingdom Life Training Centre because the students that they had sent for past classes had come back transformed and they could see a great difference in them, and they were telling us of three more students they wanted to send for us the next class. Praise God! It's encouraging to hear such things, and we thank God for the transformed lives we long for for our students. We tried to put together a short video of our time at the church. Hopefully it will help give a better picture of what we've shared here. The video is at the end of the post.

For those of you who pray for us, please continue:
We thank God for my sister Christina and her family have arrived safely and are adjusting to the culture and climate. Keep praying for them (Benj & Christina and their kids Isaac & Ellie) as they adjust and settle into the ministry that God has for them here.
We will be having our last class for the current group of students on March 16-18, called Simply the Story, and then they will be graduating hopefully on April 9.
We will be starting a new group of students either the end of March or the beginning of April
Our teammates will be traveling back from the US the beginning of March
My Mom and sister Meredith, will be joining us in Uganda for the first two weeks of March.
Our LoCoDI students in Soroti are headed back to school this week, and so the Saturday program and the purity clubs will be starting up again after this holiday/election time.
We had presidential elections in Uganda, the current president "won" but it was declared by many observers to not be "free & fair". The opposition is not happy about this, and is trying to appeal the results. Keep praying for the peace of this nation as it seems still the air is somewhat unsettled and the people are frustrated with the current situation. The current president is the only one Ruudy has known, as he has been president for the past 30 years. People are desiring change, but not getting that desired change.
Also, last but not least, Ruudy was in an accident with our van at the beginning of the month.  He is fine and that whole story, is another one altogether, but suffice it to say, we have to repair it even though it wasn't our fault, (and even repair the other people's vehicle also, like I said, it's another story altogether). We had gotten this van around September of 2014 when we found a buyer for our Rav4 and some friends were selling this van at a good price. Since that time unfortunately it has been one thing after another. We've spent quite a bit repairing it and now with this accident we are repairing more and as the mechanic has been working on the van for the past two weeks he has discovered more issues with it and is recommending that we get rid of it. We also think this would be wise as it seems to be just a hole that keep swallowing more and more money. We have a chance to buy a land cruiser that would be the cost of the van plus about $1,500, and then we would have to put about $1,500 more into making a few adjustments and improvements. Please pray with us for the release of these finances and prayerfully consider whether you could contribute something to help us reach the goal of buying a "new" vehicle. 

The damage of the vehicle from the accident

In process of repairing the van
Valentine's celebration

Had a farewell party for my computer students, Abella and I have had some chances to share Christ with these girls.

Ruudy attended a rally for the FDC presidential candidate when he came to Jinja

Goretti, Christina, Izaac and Beckie enjoying some lunch on the way back
to Jinja from the airport.

Ellie and Benj enjoying lunch too...

Thanks for all of your prayers and support. We couldn't do all that we do without your help and the grace of God. Thank you for standing with us. May God be glorified in all that we do. Be blessed.