||Good News From a
||Ken's 2011 Africa
Journals! (Part 1)
||Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.
||Wednesday/Thursday, June 15 & 16, 2011
DFW to Amsterdam. We all reached Amsterdam. One team member lost her passport
en-route and it wasn’t discovered until right before we were to board our flight to
Entebbe, Uganda. It was an impossible situation—she could not board.
Finally, with literally minutes to spare, a KLM agent approached our group and Scott,
our team leader, and firmly said, “We need those of you who are going to board the
aircraft and those staying to let us know immediately because we will have to remove
your bags.” We literally had less than five minutes to work through all the implications.
Scott and his wife decided to stay with her to hopefully get the situation resolved and
join us in a few days. But that is far from certain because flights to this part of the world
do not run daily and are packed this time of year. Scott kept saying we have no idea
what this might involve. One of the last things I heard him say was, “It might mean the
three of us just have to fly back to the states.”
This is extremely unnerving for those of us who are now on board, in the air, headed
for Entebbe, Uganda, minus 3 team members. Scott is the only one on the team who
speaks Swahili, knows how to get around Africa, and who knows the contacts and the
real plan for the next two and a half weeks.
Father, we plead with you in Jesus’ name to assert your control over these events.
Jesus, I rejoice at and lean on your promise to be with us to the very ends of the earth!
Friday, June 17—Saturday, June 18
So much has transpired since my last writing. The team arrived safely at Entebbe. Our
liaison in Uganda, Earnest, (who is responsible for taking us to the guest house in
Kampala the first night and on to Tanzania the following day) was there by a miracle to
pick us up! Signals got all crossed. Scott called Elias (the team leader in Tanzania) and
the wrong Lutheran guesthouse and told them to keep the whole team in Kampala
one more night anticipating the three of them making the flight 24 hours later. We, nor
the Kampala guest house, nor Earnest received this message. So at 7 am, after only
three hours sleep due to a faulty alarm clock, we proceeded to make the all day drive
across the equator and the Ugandan—Tanzania border to Kayanga, where Elias had
received the message and canceled our reservation at the guest house for our first
So, we arrived about 6:30 or 7:00 pm at
Kayanga with no rooms. Our suitcases were
left in the first guest house and we were
hastily moved to other guesthouses all across
town. Two team members got lost walking to
theirs and had some adventures!
Then this morning we all met back here. I was
reunited with luggage and got into my room
close to 1:00 pm. I’m on the end with our
African friends, in my own private room minus
a shower and hot water, but I’m thankful to
have my own western style toilet which I can flush with
buckets of water and much labor. Hot water is delivered to
my room by bucket in the mornings for bathing.
Scott, Leslie, and Sarah arrived here about 4:30 pm.
Earnest and his team drove 32 hours in two days to get
us all here! But for me the day was truly wonderful –
glorious – as I found a quiet nook and met with God for
study and prayer. His sweet, sweet presence
overshadowed me and refreshed my weary heart, soul,
and mind. His Word and the comfort of the scripture
seemed super-charged and overwhelmed all my worries
and fears. What a great day!
Sunday, June 19
Today we worshipped at the church at Omurushaka. Afterwards, I recognized a guy
who went with us on an evangelism outreach last year. I asked him about some of the
people who professed Christ that day. Some of them are worshipping at the church.
But he mentioned that the older lady was no longer there. I remembered because she
had asked to pray for salvation at the end of our visit last year. He explained she had
recently passed away. She was 84. That means she came to faith less than 9 months
before she died. Oh Jesus, thank you for saving this woman and bringing her safely
into your Heavenly kingdom!
Monday, June 20 – Omurushaka – Pastor’s Conference
Awoke before dawn because of the roosters (5:00 am or so)
and our scheduled breakfast and devotion is at 7:15 am.
This morning we had to visit the Government District
Commissioner and we all signed his guest book.
In the afternoon my topic for preaching was loving people
from Matthew 22:34-40. Tonight I am exhausted but I have
had sweet time with Jesus here in my room.
Tuesday, June 21 – Omurushaka
Overslept til 6:35 am (which took a miracle with the roosters
and wild Muslim loudspeakers blaring all over town), but
this is Africa where nothing starts on time so I was not late
for anything. I preached this morning on loving God with all
our heart, soul, mind, and strength. It went well but my
interpreter really struggled, which made it a challenge.
Others helped him and in the end the pastors seemed to
be very encouraged by God’s help.
Tonight the local pastors hosted a special dinner for us.
Pastor MotoMoto invited me to do a “big crusade” in his
town, Bunda, next year. Also, Pastor Elias invited me to do
an open-air crusade in his town of Muleba.
Lord Jesus, I put these things before you.
Wednesday, June 22 – Kotwe Village
Today was a great missionary day! We drove over a
mountain pass to a little village just off a trail through the
banana groves, where there is a new church plant. All they
have is a small tabernacle shelter made of limbs, sheets
for walls, and hay for the roof. It was amazing. They were in
full pitch, tribal dancing as we arrived, and our team was
ushered into their service with dancing and singing.
We conducted a 2 hour service before lunch which included much beautiful music and
dancing, then a one hour service after lunch.
I preached the message “What is God saying to us in His Word?” (2 Cor. 6:16). It went
gloriously well. They visibly “got it!” One young man responded to the invitation. His
name was Foreez. It was the kind of day I dreamed of as a young man—preaching on
the very edge of the kingdom of God—in a crude tabernacle, in the middle of Africa!!!
Oh how I wish Becca had been here waiting on me at this Kayanga guest house. That
would have made it a perfect day! Lord Jesus, I thank you that you are with me!
Thursday, June 23
Today we finished up the leadership conference. I preached the opening session with
both men and women. I spoke on the reality of Heaven. Many people were touched and
told me how eager they were to go to Heaven now! Another person told me they had
never heard a whole message on the subject of Heaven. God’s anointing and
presence seemed abundantly real. I know I said things I’ve never thought of or said
before. His Spirit tailored the message for these wonderful Africans and their lives.
Praise God! I love you Jesus!
Later in the day Pastor MotoMoto testified.
He told a true story of 3 fishermen who
lived in a village near him on Lake
Victoria. One day, miles from shore, their
tiny boat capsized and they could not right
it. They spent 2 days and 2 nights
treading water and holding on to the
overturned boat. On the third morning,
one said he could not hold on any longer.
“I’m too tired, my hands ache, I just can’t
take this anymore. I’m going to let go and
slip down into the water. If you make it
back, tell my wife and children I love them.”
But the others objected, “No, no, brother, please don’t let go. Hold on a little longer.
We have brothers and relatives from our village. They must be looking for us. Rescue
might come today.” A few hours later, he was again weary and wanted to give up.
Again, his fellow fisherman encouraged him and told him to hold on a little longer.
Sure enough, late in the day they saw a boat coming toward them. It got closer and
they recognized friends from their village who pulled them to safety.
As they collapsed on the shore of their village, a great reunion took place with their
families and friends! But the man who had struggled so and wanted to quit told his wife
and children, “I would be dead but for the encouragement of my two friends. You have
them to thank for my safe return; without them I would have given up and died.”
Then the pastor read Proverbs 25:25 – Like cold water to a weary soul is good news
from a distant land. He said our words (the Word of God!), were just like those of the
two other fishermen in the story and had encouraged them. Several have testified they
were on the verge of quitting ministry – because it is just too hard. But the messages
preached at this conference were a lifeline and they will keep going.
I could not help but think of Paul’s words after one of his missionary journeys:
You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure. …But with the help of
our God we dared to tell you His gospel! For what is our hope, our joy, or the
crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when He comes?
Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy
(1 Thessalonians 2:1-2, 19).