Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Two Book Recommendations

By Anthony:

The first book I'd like to suggest that you read is called: "Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will" by Kevin DeYoung. I love the book's alternate title as well - "How to make a decision without dreams, visions, fleeces, impressions, open doors, random Bible verses, casting lots, liver shivers, writing in the sky, etc." It is a really short and easy read. In thinking through decisions in my own life, I found it really helpful.

Here are some quotes that will give you an idea of the book's main points:

"So here’s the real heart of the matter: Does God have a secret will of direction that He expects us to figure out before we do anything? And the answer is no. Yes, God has a specific plan for our lives. And yes, we can be assured that He works things for our good in Christ Jesus. And yes, looking back we will often be able to trace God’s hand in bringing us to where we are. But while we are free to ask God for wisdom, He does not burden us with the task of divining His will of direction for our lives ahead of time."

"God is not a Magic 8-Ball we shake up and peer into whenever we have a decision to make. He is a good God who gives us brains, shows us the way of obedience, and invites us to take risks for Him. We know God has a plan for our lives. That’s wonderful. The problem is we think He’s going to tell us the wonderful plan before it unfolds. We feel like we can know—and need to know—what God wants every step of the way. But such preoccupation with finding God’s will, as well-intentioned as the desire may be, is more folly than freedom. The better way is the biblical way: Seek first the kingdom of God, and then trust that He will take care of our needs, even before we know what they are and where we’re going."

"Obsessing over the future is not how God wants us to live, because showing us the future is not God’s way. His way is to speak to us in the Scriptures and transform us by the renewing of our minds. His way is not a crystal ball. His way is wisdom. We should stop looking for God to reveal the future to us and remove all risk from our lives. We should start looking to God—His character and His promises—and thereby have confidence to take risks for His name’s sake."

I'd also like to recommend to you a little book that can help you to understand your pastor better and care for him well. It's called The Book Your Pastor Wishes You Would Read: (but is too embarrassed to ask).

One of my passions is caring for pastors and helping them to live balanced lives where they get enough exercise, enough rest, enough accountability, enough financial support and enough prayer. I love guiding pastors and encouraging them. This book can help you to care for your pastor of your own church.

The book is short; you can probably read the whole thing in 1 or 2 hours. The book wasn't exactly what I expected.  Some things in the book are obvious, like that pastors need adequate incomes to take care of their families. But there are many things in the book that you've probably never considered. For example, he explained why most pastors want you to have high expectations of them, and in which ways. If you have interest in making the lives of your pastor/pastors a little bit better so that it is a joy for them to serve you, think about giving this book a quick read.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Pictures from Everyday Life

By Anthony:

This post is a bit random. Enjoy pictures from our everyday life and ministry. This first one is of me preaching at a village church in Katakwi district. The pastor in the red shirt is my good friend Moses who was doing the translation for me.

Our dog, who looks more like a mongoose in this picture.

Can you find all the toads?

Sara prepping dinner:

A hedgehog Sara found in the garden:

A cool frog we found in our yard. It's not a poisonous one, but an expert said it would irritate your skin to touch it. It's probably a Phrynomantis bifasciatus.

An unwelcome guest for the dogs in their bowl, but we thought it was pretty cool to see. A harmless tree snake.

A brown parrot in our yard:

A cool weaver bird in Sara's garden:

Baby rabbits (from 6 months ago):

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Soroti Agriculture and Bible Studies

By Sara:

The Pentecostal Assemblies of God Soroti Development organization invited me to train some of their pastors and other church leaders in Bible study and agriculture, specifically conservation agriculture.  They brought a pastor and another leader from many different areas in Soroti and Serere districts together and I led them through a few Bible studies and taught about caring for our land and crops.  I always appreciate studying the Bible as a group before I teach about agriculture because there are connections between the principles we learn from the Bible and then the practices we do in our farming.

Since I hadn't known who was invited, I was pleasantly surprised to meet people I knew at the training.  It was fun to reunite with them after several years.

Innovations in Toroma

By Sara:

I continue to be amazed by the innovative ways the farmers I meet with in Toroma apply what they learn about agriculture and from Bible study.  All the members of this group wanted to show off what they are doing, so we planned a day to have a Bible study together, but then to go around the area and visit some members to see what is going on at their homes.

Since we studied God's creation of all kinds of plants and the Garden in Eden, the group agreed it was important to plant trees.  The started planting trees even though it was the dry season and the trees are doing well!  They made an effort to dig huge holes, fill them with manure, compost, and lots of water when they planted and then covered the trees with thorny branches to protect them from animals:

Some people protected their tree seedlings with a brick structure instead:

We went to visit one gentleman who is using discarded plastic bags (from cooking oil, yogurt, etc.) in place of the black plastic bags people usually buy for starting tree seedlings.  The group was excited to see this creative use of rubbish to save money.

Many people have also been inspired to grow vegetable gardens so they have fresh greens to eat during the dry season: