Thursday, June 14, 2018

Developing a Biblical Perspective on Agriculture

By Sara Sytsma and Brett Harrison

The first half of this post was published in the June CFGB Conservation Agriculture online newsletter.  For those of you who got here through the link in the newsletter, you can scroll down to Part 2.  Otherwise, you can start reading from the beginning.

Developing a Biblical Perspective on Agriculture

Part 1:
Sara: Brett, how shall we begin this article about a Biblical perspective on agriculture?

Brett: Well, I begin most of my agriculture seminars by asking what the difference is between Christian and non-Christian farmers.

Sara: What kinds of answers do you get?

Brett: I’ve received lots of answers, some more true than others: Christian farmers don’t get drunk. Christian farmers don’t grow tobacco. Christian farmers pray over their seeds instead of having traditional healers bless them.

Sara: How about: Christian farmers don’t take public transportation unless the vehicle has a Bible verse painted on the window?

Brett: That’s a new one to me.
Most often I hear: There’s no difference between Christian farmers and non-Christian farmers. Farming is farming. This clearly reveals a failure to make Christianity applicable to everyday life.

Sara: True. I think many Christians try to serve God faithfully yet still separate the sacred – like church and evangelism – from the secular – our everyday lives and work. However, God cares about everything we do, no matter how small or unimportant it might seem. So, as followers of Christ, we should be motivated to do everything, including farm work, in a way that glorifies God.

Brett: It seems it should be easy, especially in rural areas, for the church to address how faith in Christ should mold and shape agriculture practices because everyone in the congregation is a farmer.
What should we do about this disconnect?

Sara: Actually, we already did something about it. We assembled a curriculum called “The Earth is the Lord’s: Bible Studies on Creation and Agriculture.” The name comes from Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it....” I always appreciate the reminder that everything I have belongs to God.
But I guess you were using “we” in a broader sense than just the two of us. Maybe you can tell our readers about the curriculum?

Brett: Sure thing. “The Earth is the Lord’s" curriculum is a collection of Biblical texts related to agriculture and focuses on obedience to God’s word. It uses a Bible study method in which a facilitator guides the group to discover truths from scripture instead of simply telling them what they should learn. With practice, this Bible study method will also be useful for studying other passages of scripture.
What are some of the main themes we want farmers to understand?

Sara: One of the key themes in “The Earth is the Lord’s” is the value of God’s creation. In wisdom, God created everything out of nothing and delights in all of it. And we already mentioned another important theme: farming to bring glory to God. We also want farmers to understand stewardship; that God has entrusted us with caring for his creation.
Can you give an example of how the curriculum addresses these themes?

Brett: I’ll share one of the passages I especially like. Genesis 2:15 reads, "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." Many farmers believe agriculture is a punishment for sin, but this passage makes it clear God gave mankind the work of farming before sin ever entered the world. Agriculture isn’t a punishment, but a gift from God!

Sara: Just a few verses before that (v. 8) we study how God himself planted the garden. It’s really powerful for farmers to understand God was the first farmer. We shouldn’t look down on the work of agriculture when it is a continuation of the work of God.

Brett: Regarding stewardship, Genesis 2 teaches us to not only farm the land, but also to take care of it. This implies long-term sustainability in farming was God’s plan from the beginning.

Sara: It’s no surprise, then, that we promote conservation agriculture since it limits losses to erosion and maintains soil fertility, while continuing with crop production. This ensures food security for farmers in this and subsequent generations.

Brett: CA is definitely one way to work and take care of the land entrusted to us by God. It continues to amaze me how applicable Biblical principles are to agriculture.
How much are we charging people for this curriculum? And where can they find it?

Sara: We’ve made it available for free download here (English) under "Creation Care and Agriculture". And it’s also free to print, use, and share. We want people to have a Biblical basis for their agriculture practices, and to glorify God in their farm work.

If you have questions or would like help learning to use the Bible study process in the curriculum, please email Sara or Brett.

Part 2:
Brett: I think we’ve assembled a group of passages that are extremely relevant to agriculture and livestock practices. Much of the soil where I live in Sukumaland is over 90 percent sand with far less than 1 percent organic matter, and has been farmed continuously for years with little to no inputs. Many farmers describe their land, which is no longer producing a crop, as tired -- and they feel hopeless. They’ve seen friends move their families and cattle elsewhere, and are afraid this is their only solution.
I have enjoyed seeing the joy and wonder on their faces when they learn there is a way to continue farming their land while also restoring it for use by future generations. AND that this is the very thing God instructed mankind to do when placing them in the garden. Beyond the joy on their faces, though, it’s been really exciting to see them put into practice what they’ve learned from scripture and from science. Farmers are investing in their soil each year, instead of only taking from it: including nitrogen-fixing legumes in crop rotations, using manure amendments wisely, and leaving a mulch cover (instead of burning their residues).

Sara: That really is encouraging -- for you, but especially for their families!

Brett: But I’m equally as excited about the Bible study format itself. Sara, what do you like about the method of study we’ve chosen to use?

Sara: I really like that it’s a group-centered Bible study. Unlike in a traditional classroom, the focus is on group participation and discovery. While there are appropriate contexts for a teacher to lecture to a class, it is also important for people to learn how to study the Bible themselves - and this method helps develop that skill.

Brett: And this is something we’ve already witnessed occur many times. Charles* is using his experience as a participant in one of these studies to facilitate a weekly Bible study with his family and neighboring families. Many participants are reproducing Bible studies in their own homes. And at least a few churches have also started using this process, dividing into smaller groups when necessary.
Some of this success is likely because, as you mentioned before, this method also focuses on the group working together to discover truths from scripture.

Sara: Yeah, I too have noticed the discovery process not only gives groups the skills to study scripture, but also individuals within those groups. Since the steps of this process are simple and easy to remember, people learn how to study the Bible well. Akello said the inductive Bible study method has taught her to read and understand the Bible on her own. And Njeri told me she used to read the Bible, close it, and just hope that God spoke to her. But now she looks for what God is teaching her in a more active way when studying scripture.

Brett: That’s terrific! The process we’ve employed is an inductive Bible study method, which means the group examines specific examples in scripture in order to extract more general principles. I have seen this process motivate groups toward further Bible study. I know for many participants this is because they feel scripture has come alive to them in a way it previously had not been. But it’s also necessary that groups continue studying from other passages to learn if the general principles they’ve extracted are indeed truths. Sometimes, conclusions have to be loosely formed and held until they are further confirmed and developed by other passages of scripture.

Sara: Yes, it is important to learn how to understand the Bible by studying scripture as a whole. A good example of this is the second study in the curriculum: Genesis 1:26-31. God says, “Let us make mankind in our image... .” A group might question why God is speaking in the plural form. So the general principle they arrive at on this day may be as simple as, “There seems to be some kind of relationship within God.” But we can’t understand that concept fully from this verse alone and need to continue reading the Bible to learn more. Hopefully this will catch the interest of the group and motivate them to study more in order to understand God’s word better. (In fact, they will learn more from a later study on Colossians 1:15-20.)

Brett: And it’s not just about motivation. We believe it’s good for students (and teachers) of scripture to sometimes be forced to say, “We can’t learn the answer from this scripture today” or even, “We don’t know.” This helps us learn to be careful how we use scripture -- to address it as honestly as we can, rather than forcing our preconceived ideas and biases into scripture as we read it.

Sara: As much as it shows good character to confess when we don’t know, this can be a hard admission for many people. However, learning to acknowledge our limitations is a way to grow in humility and integrity.

Brett: Another focus of the curriculum is obedience to God’s word. James wrote, “ Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” He later added that blessing extends from doing what we learn from God. The Bible study format we use is not only group-centered and inductive, but also obedience-based. Knowledge is not the end goal of Bible study, and so we expect participants to put scripture into practice. In fact, each module ends with the question:
How will you/we be obedient to God concerning what we learned from scripture today? Make a specific obedience statement for what you/we will do.

Sara: And we’ve seen some great results from this expectation of obedience. I was with a group of women studying Genesis 2, and they noticed that God not only planted food crops in the garden of Eden, but also “trees that were pleasing to the eye.” As a result, they all resolved to include some beautiful plants in their gardens, regardless of whether they produce an edible crop or not. It was great to be a part of a group putting scripture into practice.

Brett: One of the encouraging things about obedience to God, too, is that incremental steps really add up. A posture of obedience is more important than any single obedience statement. Each time we put a lesson from scripture into practice, it becomes easier to obey the next time. We form habits of doing what we learn from God, and as we already pointed out from James, there is great blessing in that.
One of my favorite Bible studies ever was in Genesis 1. The group read that man and woman were both created in the image of God, and that they were to rule over God’s earth together. Several of the men were convicted that they did not value their wives as they should, or share together in work with them. That week, each of those three men did what is traditionally “woman’s work” so their wives would not have to: one fetched all the firewood for the week, another fetched all the water for the week, and the third did all the vegetable shopping and took the sewing scissors to be sharpened. Those might seem like small things, but all three of these men were laughed at and made fun of by their peers for not ruling over their wives properly. But I know all three of their wives felt valued in a rare and unique way. That is the power of scripture put into practice, deepening relationships and healing families.

Sara: Those are some awesome stories of transformation. It’s always exciting to hear about the ways that God is working in people’s lives.
We’ve talked a lot about the strengths of “The Earth is the Lord’s” curriculum. It’s probably only fair we speak to some of the challenges. I think one of the biggest struggles is facilitation. Since most people are used to a classroom context, it can be hard to learn good facilitation skills. For example, many people struggle to learn how to ask open-ended questions that spur discussion. Others might need to gain confidence in order to prevent someone from dominating the group’s discussion. We have included a section in “The Earth is the Lord’s” with helpful facilitation techniques, but facilitators will still need to practice in order to hone those skills.

Brett: Another important facilitation skill we have noticed is learning how to deal with silence. A good facilitator won’t immediately jump in with answers when a group is quiet, but will repeat the question, go back and re-read the passage, or give the group more time to think.

Sara: Another potential challenge is how to respond if a group member offers an idea which is blatantly false or who goes off on a tangent about something which is not in the text. A facilitator should never mock such a person, but can use the group dynamic to reach a solution. First, they can ask what others think about that idea. Or they can ask where it can be found in the text. Usually, a group will be able to self-correct because other members can help point out where their peer has strayed from what the text actually says or if they are saying something which disagrees with scripture in general. Brett, how could a facilitator help the group learn how to become naturally self-correcting?

Brett: That’s a good question. I’ve found simply modeling gentle correction throughout the first several studies is an excellent tool for this. It doesn’t take long for the larger group to recognize which conclusions have come from the scripture being studied and which have come from outside. And soon participants will begin to themselves politely hold one another accountable in this regard.

Sara: Got it. Are there any other challenges we should share about?

Brett: Sure, one last challenge I’d like to mention is that I’ve noticed in the beginning many groups (and individuals) really struggle to create concrete and measurable goals for obedience. Most of us are accustomed to reading the Bible to learn what it says, but putting specific principles into practice is a different story.

Sara: Very true.
I think we’ve done a pretty good job of explaining how “The Earth is the Lord’s” isn’t going to solve all the world’s problems. Maybe we can talk about some of the different ways it can be used. What are some of the ways you have been using these studies, Brett?

Brett: I really like to use these Bible studies together with agriculture lessons. We’ve even included an appendix in the “The Earth is the Lord’s” curriculum which gives suggestions for how to do that.

Sara: There are so many options for how to use the studies. They can be used in adult Sunday school in a church or in a small group Bible study. Another variation is in the amount of time between each study: one week, two weeks, a month. Since we encourage groups to look for ways to be obedient to what they are studying, it helps to have some time in between each study for participants to put that learning into practice and then be able to encourage each other when they come back together for the next one.

Brett: I’ve also thought about ways the curriculum could be used in church planting or in evangelism since the studies are a good introduction to the Christian faith.

Sara: Once people have gained some experience with this method of Bible study, they can also use it for family Bible study at home. It can be a helpful way for parents to model good Bible study and putting their faith into practice.
Is there anything else you think we should share about “The Earth is the Lord’s?

Brett: Well, Sara, you know I could talk about agriculture and Bible study forever, but I suppose we should bring this conversation to a close.

Happy studies everyone! And if you have a good (or bad) experience using “The Earth is the Lord’s” curriculum, please let us know!

*All names changed.

Guest Post - Katherine Westenbroek (Anthony's Sister)

By Katherine:

To quote what my brother said many times to the Ugandans I met during my visit, I am the sister who follows him. Meaning I was born next after him. But I guess it also could mean that I followed him and traveled to Uganda this May-June :)

I was grateful for the opportunity to travel to Uganda for 11 days to visit Anthony and Sara, catch up in person, and witness their life across the globe. I was thankful for my husband who encouraged me to do so, stayed at home with our son, and knew how important this experience would be for me. It sometimes dawns on me that as a little girl who shared a room and bunk bed with this little boy, I would have never known how different our lives would turn out to be, or how far away we would eventually live from each other. So while it is normally 3 years we have to wait to see Anthony and Sara, I was grateful to cut that time in half. It was a wonderful experience to witness their work and see them in their home.

At Murchison Falls National Park together:

By the time you get to Uganda, it feels as though you’ve been traveling for a full week. It takes 2 days of flying, first a stop in Europe, then a layover in Rwanda, and then once you arrive in Uganda, another full day of driving just to their home in Soroti. Add in a 7 hour time change, and you start off the trip already feeling exhausted. This gave me a greater appreciation for how tiring it is for Anthony and Sara to travel back to the states.

I have done some traveling in other countries, but Africa was a new experience for me. It had many similarities to other countries I have been, but also some things that were unique and new for me. The smells and sounds brought me back to living in India. Familiar smells of gasoline, animals, and sweat. Familiar sounds of cars honking, intense traffic, and music blasting in the distance. I was used to the squatty potties, carrying toilet paper in my purse, taking malaria pills, and filtered water bottles. Many times I had déjà vu moments of India, and had to remind myself that I was on a completely different continent. Uganda smelled of burning wood and fruit trees. It had evangelists preaching on the street, and companies promoting their products through loud speakers on the backs of trucks driving through town. The roads are a deep red that contrasts dramatically with the bluest skies I’ve ever seen. Many people walk along the sides of all the roads with that familiar view of women carrying water jugs on their heads. Electricity and water outings are frequent. I often heard Anthony laugh and say “Welcome to Uganda!” when things like this happened. They seem to be very used everything by now.

At the market:

Anthony buying dog food (little fish that they mix with corn flour):

I was amazed at how natural Anthony and Sara seemed in their environment. They truly seemed at home. They can drive in even the craziest traffic (Kampala city roads are just a time to try to stay alive!) and seem to have many friends from all over.

I noticed that both Anthony and Sara speak with an accent now when talking to other Ugandans in English. Their voices completely change, and they speak in a way that is similar to how other Ugandans talk, with words more pronounced. Ugandans don’t slur their words as much as Americans do. They talk in a way that is very melodic and I found soothing to listen to. Anthony and Sara have even started to make some gestures and vocal sounds that they do not make in the states, such as a long “mmmmm” when listening to others, meaning “I understand”. They are then able to switch back in a matter of seconds when speaking to me and have their American accents again.

They are able to converse in Swahili, but I did not get to witness them speak in this language, as it isn’t used as much in Uganda as it was in Kenya. But I did get to hear them practice their Ateso. I’m proud of them for how well they seem to maneuver traffic, dodge pot holes the size of small cars, barter at markets, and make strong relationships with others. Still, there is the constant calling out of “Mzungu!” (which means white person or foreigner) and even “Mzungu, teach my child!” Kids were eager to follow us on our walks around the neighborhood, giggling at our sight. Even so, it was interesting to see how well Anthony and Sara are able to blend in to their new culture.

One of my favorite days of the trip was a Sunday, when I was able to travel with Anthony and Sara to a church in the village. Anthony preached and delivered a message about false teachers proclaiming the prosperity gospel. This message was especially valuable for people to hear who are suffering and financially poor. It was comforting for them to know that their suffering is not from anything they have done wrong, and that they are rich in other ways. The music was beautiful, energetic, and filled with clapping. It felt like a little piece of what heaven must sound like.

I was asked to stand up in front of church and do multiple speeches during the long service and give the closing prayer. This is something that is very different about visiting churches in Uganda than in the states! A guest is extremely welcomed and given multiple chances to speak. I don’t particularly love being the center of attention, so this wasn’t my favorite thing. And I felt like I wasn’t anything special to be honored or given this much attention. But it was a chance to tell the church how people in the states are praying for them, and that there are people who care about them and their lives overseas. It is important that they know they are supported. Many times the pastor of the church said, “You must really love us” or “We really really love you.” They might use that phrase a little differently than Americans do :)

I then was able to follow Sara to another part of the village to help her with a baking training. In this training, she taught men and women (as many children watched) how to bake cakes without using an oven. She used a pot of boiling water, put the cake with a lid on it in this pot, and the steam then bakes the cake. The people loved this training and the end results were pretty tasty cakes! These women are then able to replicate this baking method and hopefully sell future cakes for a profit.

Anthony was also doing a training during this time, and after both were finished, we went with the pastor of the church to his home. This family’s home was a collection of about 5 huts. The floor of the huts were smeared with cow manure to keep the floors from being dusty. A huge family shared these 5 huts, one being a bedroom, one a kitchen, one a family room, etc. This was where I had my first authentic Ugandan meal and ate my first batch of termites. There were more greetings and speeches to be made in this home as well. By now I was getting used to the fact that I probably should think of something to say when I enter or leave someone’s home :) I tried to think of new things to express, but I felt as if I was getting a little repetitive by this point in the day! This family was so hospitable to us and made me feel so welcomed. I gave them some little devotionals and they were very appreciative of this gift. It made me feel a little bad that I didn’t think to bring more, or like I was a fraud because I got them for free in the states. But to this family, this was a great gift, so it was important to just receive their thankfulness and not brush it off. The devotionals also came in handy when Anthony and Sara wanted to appreciate some police officers who helped them when they got lost.

Speaking of police! I usually felt quite safe in Uganda, but as contrasted to the states, encounters with the police there were some of the times I felt the most unsafe. Ugandan police carry huge guns on their bodies and are not always honest. Uganda has multiple check points along the side of the road. These check points are supposed to be for good reasons… to make sure a driver has insurance, has their proper license, etc. But police in Uganda use these check points to collect bribes from drivers and get money for themselves. It is a little unnerving when they stop your car, because you don’t know what they are going to say or what they are going to want from you. They have the ability to make your life not so fun, so it’s necessary to go along with what they say. Once we even had a police officer ask us about Donald Trump at one of these check points, as if we have some kind of personal relationship with him. Not quite sure how to respond to that one! Our scariest encounter with police happened on my first night there, on our drive home from the airport. We accidentally took a wrong turn down a road, and pretty quickly encountered some police guarding a toll-road not yet completely open to the public. In another country, a person may feel safe to assume that these guards would be helpful, but in Uganda you never know how they will react. But the guards were able to help us turn on to a different road. Thankfully, even though we had to drive on the wrong side of the road against traffic to get there (which was an experience in itself!) we were able to turn around and get back on a safer road. An interesting introduction during my first hour at midnight in Uganda.

My favorite days of the trip was a drive to the northwestern part of the country. Uganda is different in landscape depending on where you go, just like most countries. The northwestern part of the country is more untouched and some of the most beautiful land I have ever seen in my life. It was vast, open, and you could see for miles and miles. The air was fresh and clean, and the sky was a vibrant blue. Anthony led us on a safari in a National Park, and we saw more variety of animals in the wild than I have ever seen in my life. We saw baboons, giraffes, more elephants than I can count, warthogs, crocodiles sunbathing on the Nile River, hippos running and swimming, and even a leopard jump out of a tree. I felt pretty lucky to witness that last one.

That night we stayed in a campground, very similar looking to a campground in the states, except slightly more exciting. At this campground I slept in a cabin by myself. There were many lizards in my cabin, scampering around at night, and I fell asleep to the sound of warthogs grunting nearby. Never in my life have I seen so many warthogs! I also read a sign in my room that said “At night we often have hippos in the camp. For this reason, it’s essential you keep a torch with you”. Needless to say, I didn’t try to make any midnight bathroom visits :)

One interesting encounter I had was with a baboon who was following me and making slightly unsettling eye contact. I tried walking away but he only kept coming closer, obviously following only me. Eventually a Ugandan girl told me to put my purse in the car and then he would leave me alone. He just wanted to steal my belongings. She said, “The big baboons… bad!” Thank you sweet Ugandan girl, for helping the out-of-place Mzungu not get her purse stolen by a baboon :) I don’t think my husband would be very happy with me if I was stuck in Uganda because a monkey had stolen my passport.

One thing I noticed during my time was how often Anthony and Sara are contacted by friends to preach or do a teaching. Their phone is constantly ringing with someone asking when they can come, even if they don’t have a specific topic in mind. I also observed during my time how much Anthony and Sara are loved in Uganda by their friends there. I’m not just saying this because I’m their sister and I’m proud of them, but I heard this from multiple people I met in Uganda. I had many people come up to me to tell me how much they appreciate Anthony and Sara. Not only for their work, but for their friendship. Many people told me that they were their best friends and they even viewed them as parents at times. Many of them told me how sad they were when they moved away from Uganda the first time. They also told me how “at home” they felt at their house. I was told how much their friendship meant to them. It makes family feel good to know that Anthony and Sara also have people in Uganda who love them and value them, just as much as their own family does. They are taken care of in this way too, just as much as they take care of others all the time. It was very nice to see how much the community values their work.

With one of their friends, Jane:

I’m very thankful for my time in Uganda, and it was an incredibly special trip that I will always cherish. I loved getting one-on-one time with the siblings I never get to see, and I also loved just witnessing their daily life in a way that cannot be experienced just through reading their blog and emails. It was a joy to see God using them in so many ways, and to see them fully embrace their lives there.

More photos from the National Park:

Can you find the giraffe in this photo?

A church band entertaining the tourists:

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Coaching TLT Trainers

By Anthony:

Now that I'm back in Uganda, I have been so encouraged that TLT has continued to impact those who graduated as well as their families and churches. And other new groups have started since the graduation, and even more groups are starting soon. For me, this means I have been spending less time facilitating TLT, and more time looking at the bigger picture for World Renew's TLT programs in East Africa.

The opportunities for TLT have become many, and I cannot keep up with all the requests. So I'm focusing on building up and coaching other trainers who can facilitate new groups. I spend personal time with them, working through their reports with them, and submitting them to World Renew and Timothy Leadership Training Institute. In May, I taught trainers in Amuria and helped them to set up an Amuria Area TLT Coordination team so that as a team they can bring TLT to many of the churches in the district over time. I've also been collecting more testimonies from the TLT graduates which I will share eventually in another post. Although I will continue to facilitate some new TLT groups, and teach some of the extra optional TLT manuals to the groups I trained in the past (for further learning), most of my time in the coming years will be spent overseeing the various TLT programs in the region and equipping other leaders, giving them the coaching, encouragement, and the TLT resources that they will need. The Amuria coordination team:

This is a big task! Pray that God provides me good leaders to help me in all of this work. Pray that I have wisdom to know when to say "no" to training requests. I have to do that too much which is difficult for me. But I also have a limit in time, and this wonderful training is not intended to be done only by me.

Below are some photos from when I helped to start the coordination team in Amuria. We spent two days doing intense training on how to start TLT groups, and how to be a good facilitator. I also made sure to start them with a library of TLT materials that they can use to photocopy from. They really appreciated the training and I had a great time as well. I am so blessed to have this work that God and his people have given to me!

We spent several hours creating, dissecting, and critiquing action plans. We also took time to have each person practice facilitating and critiquing each other.

The coordinator for this team is Eselu George William. He is a great friend and colleague in ministry. Sara and I taught him at Pentecostal Theological College back in 2009-2010, so it has been such a blessing to see him grow over the years in knowledge and ministry skill. He will lead this team well and he has become an expert in TLT now!

We also took a look at the few manuals that various servants have translated into Ateso over the years. Most of the trainings this team will carry out will be done in a mixture of English and Ateso, or Ateso only. The team gave specific duties to each team member (nine people total). They also decided to try to raise some small funds to help them with transport costs and photocopying costs. They are going to meet regularly, and in their next meeting in June, they are going to go through the preaching manual together to review it and familiarize themselves with the new version that just came out. I will continue to oversee this group (and other groups which will be formed) as they meet and carry out trainings.

Also, much of my work now is from home, meeting with pastors, encouraging them, praying for them, equipping them, and advising them in their work. Here is a photo of me explaining TLT forms and procedures to three pastors.

Assortment of Misc. Photos

By Anthony:

Enjoy these random photos and videos from our home and travels over the last couple months. First here is a photo of me preaching at a village church in Amuria: Wila PAG church.

Here is Beorn sleeping on random things, including Sara's feet:

Chicken feet that were later cooked and fed to cats in Kenya:

A snake found in our yard which our day guard worker killed. I sent the photos to some experts and they said it is a spotted bush snake, totally harmless. Most snakes we find are little green snakes like this that are harmless. There are about twenty species of little harmless green snakes in East Africa if I recall correctly from the reptile book I read through.  But there are also lots of venomous snakes so people kill them just to be safe.

This was in Karamoja as we and other World Renew staff were going to visit some farmers and see their demonstration garden:

This was in Kampala at World Renew's Partner's Forum where a few people from all of our church partners come together once a year for some presentations and networking. It's always a good time of fellowship seeing people we know from all over Uganda. At the forum Sara and I both shared about work we could do with the partners, time permitting, over the coming years.

Various critters around our home, including this super giant spider who was just hoping that my head would get caught in its web!

Excellent Ugandan food we were served at a friend's house:

A beautiful view from a hotel in Seeta (near Kampala):

Goats hiding under a truck from the rain:

Sara serving up a buffet of fruit scraps for the goats, rabbits, chickens, ducks, and dogs in the yard:

Here is a video of driving through a congested part of town in Soroti:

A rare moment captured of me driving without road rage!

Rice fields we passed by while driving:

One of the views in downtown Soroti:

We like to climb a small rocky hill in Soroti sometimes. It gives us a great view:

Feeding our new goats: