Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Broken By the Sight
I talked to Jason at the end of a very long day. He worked on the well through the night (see story at the bottom) He said the village where they are drilling the well is a tropical paradise. He witnessed the most beautiful sunrise of his life. There are 20 families left since the destruction of Joseph Kony's LRA attacks killing about all 8000 villagers. The children there are clean and cared for and they have some food due to planting crops since moving back to the area 6 months ago. Once the well is drilled they will build a road through the town to another larger town where they can sell their produce at a market. The well is the beginning of a new life for them. He got 4 hours of sleep before going to that evenings festival in Tegot. The sight of all the children in such need finally broke him. He feel in love with the people and one of the pastors who is building a church there. There are 25 Christian men in a village of 4000 people and 2 more men recieved Christ at the festival that night. In the village you are either a Christian or you are a drunk. The people could feed themselves with the money they get from making charcoal, but the men spend the money on alcohol. So if they can be changed from the inside out then the cycle can reverse itself! He said he just loves the people here, they are so joyful, smiling, and worshipful despite their utter poverty.
Side note: he was 30 seconds away from getting in a vehicle that rolled over trying to avoid hitting a pedestrian!
Tomorrow when he wakes up (Wednesday night starting at 9pm our time) he will board a bus for the largest displacement camp "Opit" (65,000 people) to help with the medical ministry (see below for the stories and conditions others have witnessed there already). It should be a SHOCKING day for him! He hopes to get a ride back in time to also go to the prison and be a part of that before another festival begins.
Here are more details of what God has been doing and the team has been experiencing:
PRISON MINISTRY: For many this was the HIGHLIGHT of the trip. After going through security, removing their possessions, and emptying their pockets they entered a small courtyard and found a medium size shack in the middle. They weren’t prepared for what they would see. Over 200 inmates were gathered in a little room singing and praising God with arms wide out out and they said it was the most passionate worship they had ever been a part of. Men who had nothing were making Jesus their everything. Tears flowed, the holy spirit was moving, and God showed up.
Three of our team were all ex-cons and had powerful testimonies to share with the group. Each one shared with passion and conviction and men in the prison were broken. Even men who weren’t christians were all listening in from the outside and peeping their heads in through the windows. Inmates were given bibles, soccer balls, and the team was able to pray with them, hug them, and lead many of them to Christ. Robert said it was the most powerful experience of his life. Our guys were down on the floor with their guys praying and crying.
MEDICAL TEAM: The medical team set up an open-air clinic in the middle of a mud hut camp in Opit on Tuesday, after spending many hours packaging medications at the hotel–they headed off. Chickens and roosters wandered through as the team worked. There were many small children without parents–AIDS has taken its toll here. In fact one native said that 85 percent of Opit camp was HIV positive. They saw patients with alcoholism, venereal disease, upper respiratory infections, malaria, parasites, and swollen bellies, especially children. Many of the children wore tops and no pants. They had runny noses and hopeless, haunted looks on their faces. One little boy had three wounds on his arm–his father bit him three times!
The people seemed to gain hope when the team gave them something–anything. IN two hours the team saw 88 patients and the prayer team led more than 25 Ugandans to Christ! They took complaints, monitored blood pressure, and temperatures, diagnosed patients, wrote prescriptions, performed eye examinations, and dispenses glasses. They gave medicine and did whatever they could to bring hope to these people who are in dire straights. The team said it was overwhelming and for those who had been a part of other medical clinics on other trips they said this one was the most powerful by far! God really used them!
PASTORS CONFERENCE: The pastors conference kicked off today. Sam Hall and Paul Diaz taught a group of about 40 native pastors at Opit. They were so thankful and grateful for the bible teaching they received. Ben Bryson and Fred Butcher are helping teach at the conference the next few days and we have brought study bibles, books, and tons of practical training notebooks to give them. All the pastors seemed to understand English and speak it very well. So many of these pastors have not received any training and yet they are so hungry and thirsty for the Word of God. The conference will be from Tueday to Friday and the women are trying to put something together for the pastors wives. Pray for this!
RADIO STATION: We are broadcasting for over five million listeners as far as Kenya and the Congo. Since few Africans have access to television, many listn to the radio in the evenings. The them of one of the broadcasts was “The power of God in Northern Uganda.” Tuesday evening Brian MacSwan preached the entire gospel, gave an invitation to receive Christ, and led listeners in the prayer of salvation. Who knows how many responded? On this particular evening, the program that followed was the Lord’s Resistance Army (rebels) sharing their propoganda. Tonight we will be talking about problems facing youth in the USA and Uganda.
THREE MORE FESTIVALS: Thousands were in attendance and hundreds committed their lives to Jesus. It’s very hard in this culture because the children are often times not taken seriously and are overlooked during the alter calls. But we know that Jesus loved the little children and have seen hundreds of them respond to the gospel call. The worship team did an amazing job doing American worship. The crowd loved it and they did a special rendition of “Jesus loves me.” Reid also did a festival and many responded as well. Truly the harvest is plentiful!
WELL DRILLING: They had a huge ten hour set-back today because a wrench fell in the hole and they couldn’t get it out so they had to disassemble the entire machine and rebuild it. However, the team stayed up all night! And Jason Knifong, Brian White, Tony, and a lady took turns working through the night with two posted armed guards and they got down thirty feet (and counting). About 1pm in the morning they thought they were about to run out of water for the drill, but somehow the Lord made it last till morning, and at seven am some ladies showed them a nearby spring and they were able to obtain more water. The guys have been working non-stop and are tired, but they will not stop until they hit water. Pray for them. And pray for water! Our goal is to be done by tomorrow and to begin to build the rest.