My Trip to Western Uganda

Hello Friends!

My trip to western Uganda was amazing! Our team taught two workshops in the towns of Kansenene and Kabujogera on discipleship and evangelism. This was a special trip for us all, especially Tim. He’s been a friend and mentor to the pastors in this area for over twenty years. It was a lot of fun to serve Tim and the Sent Network.

I was blown away at the level of hospitality our team was shown. This is something I am still meditating upon…I want to be radically generous with anyone who stays in my home (when I get a home!) There’s something about opening up your home and table to others that truly forges eternal bonds.

In the west, I had my first tastes of matoke (a savory banana), sugar cane, and kalo (a millet bread. There’s a possibility that I’m forgetting something, but we had so much delicious food it was hard to keep up! We drank cups and cups of tea with the freshest milk possible. The west is a farming area, and is known for its dairy cows as well.

My new friend Bryden (he’s about 4 years old) took a picture of me at dinner time

Around the table, the team and I shared in so much rich conversation. We talked about the differences in US and Ugandan culture. The topics spanned from ministry to marriage to family to politics. Once again, breaking bread is where bonds are formed and we had so much fun!

There was so much hunger and excitement in the air as we taught. It was both convicting and encouraging. The gospel is meant to be the most exciting news in the world. Not just something common. The gospel is powerful and transformative. It’s compelling and leads us to new life and new depths in Christ. (I taught on “What is the Gospel?” And this is what I shared with the classes.) So what are we waiting for? We are the heralds of this great news!

One of the participants sharing the Three Circles with the group. Everyone did such a great job in sharing the gospel plan!

So our team taught on the power of the gospel and how to share it with others. We also taught about the importance of biblical discipleship and how studying the Bible together in a simple manner is how disciples are made and churches are formed. These churches do not require buildings, a worship leader, a choir, and a full-time pastor. Churches are formed as disciples make disciples who make disciples. Multiplication is most possible when things are kept simple: a community centered around the gospel, studying scripture, and obeying what it says.

I will be sharing more about these facets of discipleship over time.

Our time in the west was the first time Tim’s taught this discipleship program in that area. Many leaders and church members signed up to go through the program, and Tim is returning to the West in May or June with a new team to continue the training.

Part of what we taught involved us going out in teams for evangelism. This is where the students shared the Three Circles method of sharing the gospel (once again, I will share more about it in the coming weeks). In the two teams that I went out with last week, 8 people made confessions of faith!

One man came to faith who is a known alcoholic, but what I saw in that man was a great leader and influencer of many. In fact, he gathered about twenty people in his yard for us to share the gospel with them! I am praying fiercely for my new brother, and for his growth as the local leaders disciple him.

Our team—Tim, Michayla, Emily, and myself—along with our hosts: Pastor Robert, Mama Bob (his wife), Pastor Israel, Mama Irene (Pastor Israel’s wife), along with their children and grandchildren

Also, our team was asked to baptize new believers in Kabujogera. This was my first time to baptize anyone! And it’s probably the best baptism service I’ve ever been a part of. They were planning fun music and everyone was singing and dancing, cheering on the new believers as they made public professions of faith. When we drove back to town, our caravan was its own parade—we played music and honked our horns, all the while shouting praise to Jesus—and we drove around the center of town rejoicing.

Seriously, all churches need to make baptisms fun. My heart was so full of joy! All of the baptism candidates radiated the love and joy of Jesus. They had the biggest smiles on their faces. Yes, following Jesus requires commitment, but it’s also a joy to follow Him. Any sacrifice we make is so little compared the the great cost of His love for us. These were the thoughts swirling through my mind that evening.

Baptizing new believers with Pastor Robert and Tim

I can’t imagine a better way to kick off my time in Uganda. I’m forever grateful to Tim for bringing us to the west with him. And thank you so much to everyone who’s supporting my trip! Wow. I wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for each and every one of you.

Much Love,
Audra

Getting started and settling in

It’s Day 3! I am headed out this afternoon to a discipleship group with the children on The Mountain, as Tim and Jill call the Love and Care outreach ministry for children. (It might be called something else—I’m still learning all the names!

This is my first time of ministry in Uganda, and I’m excited! My heart’s been for and towards the people and this season of time for so long. I’ve prayed in the spirit in much anticipation! It feels like I’m meeting folks that I already know, if that makes sense. They’re already in my heart.

Now begins the process of getting to know those I’m serving and learning the culture. As you think of me in the coming days, please pray for this time of cultural learning, especially as I leave for my first trip into western Uganda on Tuesday. You probably won’t here from me much next week for that reason. I’ll be gone from Tuesday to Saturday. BUT I’ll write in my journal and catch you all up once we return!

Next week I’ll also be teaching for the first time. I haven’t heard what section of the training I’ll be covering, but it’s going to be awesome! This morning I have some time to read and catch up on the training book Tim sent me. My expectations about reading on the international flight were quickly adjusted because my seat mates slept the entire time…and the reading light was over their heads! Lol.

Anyway, I’m so excited to finally be here. Things are revving up, and my prayer is to be faithful to serve as I’m needed. I’m going to get off for now…talk soon!

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus! I loved my cookie cake from my party. Probably the coolest one I’ve ever seen or had! And behind me is the Ugandan flag.

I made it to Uganda!

Hi Friends!

I made it to Uganda safe and sound. This was my first international flight (15.5 hours) followed by another 5 hour connecting flight into Entebbe.

Things went smoothly as I disembarked, got my visa, and baggage.Now the fun of adjusting to the culture, routine, etc begins!

I spent today allowing my body, mind, and spirit to catch back up to each other. LOL! My flight was wonderful, but fifteen hours is still a long time to be on a plane. And I was so excited and jittery that I slept in spurts.

As I write this post, I’m sitting on the bed covered with a mosquito net (a must!) as the fan circulates a nice, cool breeze onto me. The windows are open and I can hear all the noises of the neighborhood.

It’s about 10pm and I’m getting ready for my first sleep in Uganda. My mind and heart are afire with all of the possibilities. Thank you so much for all the prayers, financial support, and love that find me sitting here today.

Know that we are on this adventure together. Let’s see what kind of fun we can have!

Love,
Audra

Beautiful clouds captured on one of my flights…can’t remember which one!

Uganda Bound

Has it really been 5 years since I’ve published a blog post?!? My silence was much longer than I thought….

But I’ve grown so much in the interim, and now I find myself heading to Uganda (and then to Kenya) for my first stent overseas as a missionary.

I’m sitting in a restaurant, waiting on my next flight, as a waitress wipes tables all around me. My day’s been filled with many firsts and lasts. I almost cried as I packed up my belongings from the room I shared with my sister the last six months.

Has it been six months? Life’s changed so much. I’ve lost my mom and my granddad and travelled to Tennessee, Colorado, Florida, and Arizona. I’ve stood at the Grand Canyon and been humbled by my place in the world.

Thank you to everyone who’s supported me during this past year. As I’ve grieved and as I’ve prepared for where I’m headed. The last few weeks it’s like I’ve been flying around, hovering above my environment at our God and how He uses you and I to do His work in the earth.

Saying yes to what’s been inside my heart was the best thing that I’ve ever done. Everything within me stands at attention as it surveys my past and how it’s led to this point. God is good.

I will be posting updates on my blog as I live and minister in Uganda. More to come in the next few days. I have a lot to share.

Love,
Audra