Uganda trip slide show:
Also, to capture a sense of the Lord's work on the 2011 Uganda mission trip from the email reports from the field:
June 26 - On Thursday, the 30th of June, a group of thirteen First Presbyterian members will depart Columbia for Entebbe, Uganda, for a twelve-day combined medical/evangelism mission trip. Participants will be Nicole Mishue, Roger Keane, William Burk, Kristy Rollins, Rebecca King, Graham and Ginny Hurst, Bill Bates, Gregg, Rebecca, and Elizabeth McKenzie, Frank and Paula Hill. Joing us a few days later will be Dr. James Durant, a recent addition to the team and a real answer to prayer when it looked as though we were going to be short on doctors. We will also be joined by seven team members from a PCA church in Issaquah, Washington, to make a total of 21 team members. Bill Price, Tom Greene, Caleb Price, Jana Miller, Jeanie Stacy, Luke Irwin, and Curt Brannan will make up the Washington contingent of the team.
We will be holding a free medical clinic in the village of Kitebi, a suburb of the capital city of Kampala where one of the Westminster Seminary students has been laying the groundwork for a church plant. The medical clinic will meet some of the many physical needs of the people of the area, but more importantly, it will open the door for our sharing the Gospel.
Please pray for travelling mercies, team health and unity, for our hosts, Dave and Darlene Eby, and most of all, for the working of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the Ugandan people of Kitebi—that they would be open to the good news of Jesus Christ.
For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace. (Isaiah 55:12)
Team Leader for Mission Uganda 2011
July 1 - Hello, family and friends. All team members (from FPC Columbia and CPC Issaquah) have arrived safely. We're about to hit the bed.
Thank you for your prayers. Tomorrow we will have a short introduction to Ugandan culture, etc., and then attend a Ugandan wedding at a nearby church
For the Team: Bill Bates
July 3 - Just a short message to let you know that all is well. Since Saturday evening we have been mostly without electricity, so the WiFi has not worked. Trusting that we will have power tonight, we'll attempt to send an update. Today we will enjoy the second day of medical and spiritual ministry to the natives. Yesterday, the first day of this ministry, saw 134 "patients" go through our services. With the oral word out, we expect many more today. Our African students have and continue to bless us - with their insights regarding the natives and with their translation skills. They are an integral part of Mission Uganda 2011.
Thank you for your prayers - they uplift us moment by moment.
Email Coordinator for Mission Uganda 2011
July 5 - Greetings from the Bukwenda area of Kampala, capitol of Uganda. We have completed two long days of service to the Africans in this area. But lets go back to this past Saturday.
On July 2 (Sat.) we had a general meeting of the combined Washington (Covenant Presbyterian Church in Issaquah) and South Carolina (First Presbyterian Church in Columbia) teams. That afternoon we attended the wedding of two young people at Zana Presbyterian Church. The service and festivities lasted from 1 pm until past 6 pm (we left at 5:30). What a blessed time. The Africans were very friendly, and it was so uplifting to see the numbers of people (of all ages) who were there.
Sunday (July 3) we attended the first meeting of Grace Presbyterian Church--under a tent. The pastor led the adult Sunday School class, while our younger team members and several natives worked with the children. David Eby, our host, gave a sermon at the worship service. The adults heard/experienced that morning two clear and compelling presentations of the Gospel--always in English and the native language. Music was provided by two bongo drums and a guitar. My, were we blessed. Lunch at the Ebys was a Fourth of July celebration, since we would be working on the Fourth.
On Monday the Fourth we spent our first day at the medical mission site, which was also the place where we had attended church the day before. All but the dental team were housed under the tent (the dental clinic was just up the hill about 10 yards from the main clinic). That day we services about 130 people of all ages, except infants. We had sections for triage, reading/seeing glasses, adult and pediatric work, a pharmacy and just up the hill the dental clinic. Each patient excepts infants head the Gospel at least once. We thank the Lord for our contacts with the Africans. The team arrived back at the Ebys around six in the evening and enjoyed yet another delicious meal.
July 5 (Tuesday)--today--we returned to the medical clinic at 9 in the morning to find about 200 people waiting. Our team of 22 plus eight Christian natives immediately begin our work of tending to the physical and spiritual needs of the patients. By the time we had completed our work at six in the evening, we returned to the Ebys for yet another delicious meal. (At almost every evening meal and often also at breakfast we are served FRESH pineapple--very delicious. We estimate that during the first two days of the clinic we met with almost 350 people!
Our special prayer requests: continued physical strength, patience with patients, spiritual and cultural sensitivity to our African friends, and continued joy in being the Gospel of Christ to part of the Dark Continent.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED PRAYERS.
In Christ's Name,
Email Coordinator for Mission Uganda 2011
July 7 - Dear family and friends,
Once again our electrical power was off -- this time for over 24 hours. For now we have power, so we will attempt to send this email.
From Bill Bates: Today, Thursday, was our day off after three grueling days of runnng the mediclal clinic. Eight of us stayed in the Kampala area, shopping and resting. The rest of us took a 6-hour trip to the upper part of the Nile River and enjoyed white-water rafting down some of the world's most well-known rapids. The rafting experience was exhilarating!
But we would like to have an update from Paula Hill of Columbia...
It's been a great week here! The clinics have gone well but most of all, it has been a joy to be with our Ugandan brothers and sisters as always. What a privilege to share the Gospel and pray over the patients. The young women sharing with the children have done a wonderful job-the children aare very responsive.
The wedding we went to on Sat. Was a great experience-the bride has been on the team with us for a few years so we were thrilled to see her marry. She had rented her dress as they are so expensive and she looked beautiful. Their customs are very honoring to their individual families who sit to the right and left of the couple, but facing them. After the ceremony they left the church and came back in-she had on a lovely long dress and the wedding party escorted them. Everyone then walks up in a line and presents their gift to them and greets them. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire time.
We will worship on Sun. under the tent we've been using all week-it'll be Grace Pres. Community Church's first service.
We dearly appreciate your prayers for us-we have two more days of clinic left and expect even more tomorrow exciting!
Love to all our loved ones and Dave and Dar send their greetings!
July 9 - Hello, all.
Our power has just returned -- after two days. The final two days of our medical service continued the blessings of relief in the week. Tom Greene of the Washington state team has agreed to update you.
Blessings to all,
Coordinator for Mission Uganda 2011
We just completed the medical clinic today (Sat). We served about 1000 people during the week from a medical perspective, and we shared the gospel with even more. We were encouraged with the turnout at the Wednesday evening prayer meeting (about 40) and anticipate many more at church Sunday. The pastor of the new church (Fred Chibaye) Is seeking to purchase a small parcel of land adjacent to the site of the clinic this week. Please pray that the funds needed will be quickly raised.
From a personal perspective, I feel like I have a been blessed to experience life in the third world for the first time, and am awash in the warmth and friendship of the Uganden people. Sharing the gospel here is quite different than I anticipated. Total strangers listen, and many respond positively in one fashion or another. Small comforts (water and power) are a big deal, and cannot be taken for granted. I will treasure the new friendships I have made (African and American), and highly recommend taking the opportunity should you get the chance in years to come.
July 11 - Good morning, all. Thank you so much for your prayers and concerns. This past Saturday we completed our medical mission, and yesterday (Sunday) we attended the second worship service of the new church Grace Presbyterian. The Lord provided around 110 Ugandans (plus the Mission Team of 24),a significant increase over the first meeting of the church last week. Home cells have already been established!
Last night (Sunday) the Team began to disperse--one doctor back to South Carolina. Today two members of the Washington contingent left for a two-day safari, the remaining Washington Team leaves tonight for additional mission activities in Kenya, and the SC contingent will visit Westminster College and Seminary.
Caleb Price of the Washington Team will now give his "impressions" of our time in Uganda.
Email Coordinator for Mission Uganda 2011 _____________________________________
Dear friends, I have never traveled to Africa, though have often though of doing a trip. Nothing can really prepare a person for such an experience, one must simply accept that any expectations held will be blown away once the long flights are finished and the gritty reality of the destination morphs suddenly from imagination into a maelstrom of rich sensory overload. Uganda is a spectacular place, at once verdant and smoggy, fertile and wasted, inspiring and depressing. Poverty is ever-present and impossible to forget here - the thin veil of material comforts that provide us a sense of security at home in the US is ripped away here, life is lived hand-to-mouth, day-to-day. It is a liberating feeling to know that life can be lived without the excess that we enjoy at home, and at least in my case will prompt a second thought next time I am tempted to spend money on frivolous pursuits.
The mission work has accomplished a great deal of good here, and the gratitude expressed by the Ugandans who have been helped at the clinic is a great reward. It is difficult to express in an email the experience our teams have shared here this week, and I am sure you all weak, and I am sure you all will hear about it in person from those who return. Suffice it to say that God has used us all to accomplish much for his Kingdom here this week, and a measure of respite has been provided in the midst of much hardship.
Not every believer is called to the mission field, but I would hope that all of you may come to understand how important it is that we as a church continue our efforts to minister to the global community outside our borders, and use the great resources that the Good Lord has blessed us with to help people like the villagers in Bukwenda in easing the pain of this cruel world and speaking God's truth to those who are so ready to receive that message.
Thanks for your support and prayer. I also want to say I have heard the album of hymns that the Chancel Choir of the Columbia church had produced to support Westminster College and Seminary and I very much enjoyed it. South Carolinians: stay cool this summer!
July 14 - Hello, all. Just a short note to indicate that the SC Team made it home safely. The only wrinkle was a three-hour delay in our Detroit-to-Columbia flight, which extended our travel time to about 30 hours. Please pray for the seven team members from Covenant Presbyterian Church in Issaquah, Washington, who will be traveling home during the next several days.
Washington team -- please let me know when you all have arrived home.
Sorry that we did not get a message off before the Columbia Team left Uganda -- not surprisingly, the power went off several hours before we left, and the intended email transmission was therefore not possible. This weekend we'll send you an update.
Thank you so much for your prayers -- we served over 1,100 patients during the five days of the medical clinic. I can vouch that over 100 teeth were pulled!
What blessings we all received in service to Our Lord.
Bill Bates Email Coordinator for Mission Uganda 2011