Thursday, April 22, 2021

Interesting Pictures and Videos

 By Sara:

Here are some interesting pictures from the past months:

Beorn likes to sleep on...anything:

An interesting tiny praying mantis from the garden:

The bathroom door in our room at a guest house:

We're just going to assume it's paint or varnish...

A latrine for "women" or for "we men"? Or for "weeing men"?

Where can we get gasoling?

We stayed at a guest house which had lots of monkeys running around everywhere.  Anthony was in heaven, until some nocturnal primate was playing on the roof of our room all night.

Sunset on the Nile River:

Sunset over Soroti:

An adventurous farmer in Soroti grew beets and brought me some, including this monstrous one:

Ping pong in a gentle rain:

A tiny frog in a guest house bathroom (staying in hotels in Uganda is always an adventure):

A White-browed Coucal who loves to sit on our clothesline or roof and call like this all day long:

Anthony says this ice cream bar wasn't as good as advertised:

I have 12 ducklings!  They are not nearly this small anymore, but when they were tiny fuzzballs, they were cuter, so this is the picture and video you want to see:

Biblical Preaching TLT in Apac and Testimonies

By Anthony:

At the beginning of April, Sara and I spent a week in Apac, Uganda, leading trainings. I was with my co-facilitator Jude to lead the Timothy Leadership Training manual on Biblical Preaching. Jude is 69 years old but still full of energy! Together we spent 5 days teaching 25 pastors. We had a very exhausting, but very fulfilling and satisfying week. We were so grateful for the opportunity and for how God used us. Here are some photos of Jude below:

Here are some videos of Jude facilitating:

Here are some pictures and videos of me facilitating:

We stayed at a guesthouse in Apac, and it was very funny to me when our waitress was bringing our breakfast and she wasn't sure if we had prayed or not yet, so she offered to pray for the food for us. But she didn't because Jude told her we had already prayed. I can't imagine this happening in the US! When I told Ugandan friends that this was funny to me, they had a hard time understanding. They take it for granted that most people are Christians, even if in name only, and it's very common for the one serving the food to be the one who prays. People also believe that it's important to bless the food through praying before eating. Sometimes (not all the time) it seems to be more of a ritual for safety rather than a meaningful prayer. I'm not sure where that idea originated from.

Every night we had supper with Bishop Willy and his family. We visited Willy back in 2009 or 2010 when we taught at Pentecostal Theological College. He was doing a degree program at the college while we taught there. Here is a picture at his home. In this pastorate they really take good care of their leaders compared to other areas of the country. As bishop, the church has a home for his family to stay in, as well as space for gardening. This is quite unusual in our experience.

This TLT manual is the hardest one, and though the pastors kept struggling to make sense of the English manual and the technical concepts, they were extremely appreciative of the training they received. They are going to think about the possibility of translating the manuals into Lango for when they are ready to train others.

The pastors went away with a solid conviction that they need to read more of the Bible and to be reading it every day if they are going to be able to preach the text and the Gospel faithfully. I surveyed them and found that out of the 25 pastors, only 1 had read the whole Bible in his life, and beyond that only 1 pastor had read the whole New Testament. They had a time of prayer for repentance for how they had neglected God's Word. They own Bibles, but they, like us in the USA too, fail to set aside time to dig into God's Word every day.

I demonstrated the 4-step TLT preaching method to them near the end by preaching one of my short sermons to them. Then Jude led them in picking it apart and evaluating it. It was about lying, and God's grace and forgiveness. Here is a picture of me praying at the end.

After that, we divided them into small groups and assigned each group a sermon to work on by going through all the steps they learned from the TLT manual. Then one person from each group preached their sermon and was evaluated by the whole training group. Doing the work as groups is really good because it helps those who are not quite grasping the material yet to be helped by their fellow pastors, and they can discuss also in their local languages.

Here is a very short clip of William preaching for his small group. Please pray for all these pastors as they go back to their churches applying what they've learned. They are really excited to preach the good news! Opio shared that when he preached his new sermon on Sunday (the one they worked on as a group in the training), three people came to Christ!

The reports they gave from manual 3: From Harm to Harmony: Overcoming Violence in the Family, were so encouraging as usual. I won't share about every person's plan. Most of them taught church members or couples about healthy marriages and showing love to one another. Many people testified that couples that were living together but not yet married in the church are now in the process of planning for church weddings. One pastor said that couples he counseled were now willing to share their possessions together rather than each guarding their own belongings. Several pastors said that couples who were having problems are now "sharing the same bed again." As they visited homes, some people believed in Christ. Richard trained four families in overcoming violence and 3 people got saved. Felix saw two people get saved after visiting them to teach about family life. Walter was able to help one separated couple to reconcile and come back together again. 

Last, please enjoy these really wonderful video testimonies from Apac pastors about TLT! The first is Opio Brian's testimony about a witchdoctor who got saved:

Felix Eca's testimony:

Dennis Otto's testimony:

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Cakes, Beans, and Chaya in Kotido

 By Sara:

While Anthony and George William were training about-to-be-TLT-graduates in facilitation skills, I had the opportunity to meet with a group of women from the main church in Kotido to share about baking cakes, how to grow and cook chaya, use a fireless cooker, do Bible study, and some components of nutrition. 

Since my chaya has grown so huge at home, I was able to bring a lot of leaves and over 60 cuttings with me to Kotido.  We started out by preparing the leaves as part of lunch, cooking them the same way as cowpea leaves mixed with peanut butter - a very common dish - so everyone got to taste it, including the TLT participants.  Then, I went over how to grow it and all of the ladies went home with cuttings to plant.  One of them even shared some of her cuttings with a neighbor that very night, after telling her about all the benefits of chaya for nutrition.

Cutting a giant pile of chaya leaves:

 Boiling the greens:

Making the peanut sauce:

We also used the fireless cooker to prepare beans.  Some of the ladies came late and needed to be taught about what we did, so here are a couple videos of the initial participants explaining to them how it works:

We also made and decorated some cakes: banana cake, maize cake, and a new recipe for banana cake made with cassava flour.  The banana cassava one was everyone's favorite.

It was an enjoyable few days and I look forward to the next time I go back to Kotido, hoping to see chaya growing in peoples' gardens and fireless cookers in their kitchens!

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Kotido TLT Workshop and Graduation

By Anthony:

It was a great pleasure to travel to Kotido in Karamoja at the end of January with co-facilitator George William, to lead a facilitation workshop and celebrate a TLT graduation. Sara came as well in order to teach a group of women about fireless cookers, agriculture, nutrition, and Bible studies. 

By the time this TLT group finished, it was down to only 6 people. The rest had difficulty continuing to travel for the trainings (Karamoja is a huge region with long distances between towns). But these 6 participants were really active and committed and God has used them in big ways through TLT.

In the facilitation workshop, they learned how to teach and facilitate groups. Through a lot of practice they were able to become experts in helping people to make TLT action plans. We also helped the participants to form themselves into a training team so that they can start new TLT groups and teach others. They made plans to start new groups in their region and we encouraged them and prayed over their plans.

Here are some testimonies they shared during the workshop discussions:

  • Defelix shared that TLT has ensured that their church is now adhering to financial ethics in how they handle the church's money. There is transparency and accountability.
  • Jimmy shared that the Biblical Preaching manual helped him so much to be able to preach to his home cell group during the covid-19 lockdowns in 2020.
  • Jacob shared that the Harm to Harmony manual helped him to work for reconciliation in broken families of his church and he saw a lot of transformation in those families.

After the two day workshop, we had their TLT graduation during the Sunday morning church worship service at Kotido PAG church. Here are some video testimonies we recorded on the graduation day that they said we could share with you. I found them extremely encouraging!

Jacob Lochul Testimony:

Narereng Lucy Testimony 1:

Narereng Lucy Testimony 2:

Okello Emmanuel Testimony 1:

Okello Emmanuel Testimony 2:

Amadi Desmy Testimony:

I preached during the graduation and talked about servant leadership: following the example of Jesus who washed his disciples' feet and died for our salvation. I explained that we wanted to wash the graduates' feet so that they will never forget to be servant leaders, and to pass on what they have learned in TLT to others.

This is a video of the foot-washing. You can see me laughing in it. We were surprised and delighted when one of the church members wanted to also serve the graduates by putting their socks back on for them!

This is a video of Jimmy, one of the graduates, and some family members and friends singing a song that he wrote.

More pictures of the graduates:

After the graduation we and the graduates had lunch with a big group of pastors, deacons, and ministry leaders from the church. Part of hospitality in their culture in Karamoja is to make sure that "visitors go home with the culture" by being dressed according to their cultural traditions. My attire would be more traditionally authentic if I didn't have anything on underneath. Sara's attire is also a more modern version of the women's traditional attire. We truly felt very loved and honored. We hope we will have future times to visit them for more fellowship together.

This is my co-facilitator, George William: