Saturday, September 24, 2011

Return from East Africa

Moses Isabirye teaching in Mukono Martin Odi teaching in Kamuli

Elkanah Munduni: Luganda translator

I have just returned home, after a few days in Florida with Nancy following my East Africa trip. Here is the recap of the Uganda half of that trip:

After the 10 hour bus ride from Kigali, RW to Kampala, UG, I met my friend and EPI's Uganda national coordinator, Martin Odi, at the bus station. We travelled to the outskirts of Kampala where we did the first Expository Preaching workshop with a group of 11 other Ugandan pastors. This group is the core group of Ugandan teachers that Martin is putting together. As was true in Rwanda, the preaching concepts I was trying to impart were all new. The preaching was OK, and the passage analyses and sermon critiques we did as a group were eye-opening. One of the pastors emailed me shortly afterwards: "Expository sermon workshop was inspiring. It's like a new wine served when drinkers have been drinking old wine. Who can dare to continue drinking old wine when new one is served?"

Martin and I then went to the town of Kamuli (about a 3 hour drive from Kampala). It was our first time in that venue. We did our introductory course of 1 Timothy with about 30 pastors. I am finding that smaller numbers of participants tends to promote learning, interaction, and Q&A. This group appeared to be very responsive. One of the participants pastors a church in the city of Jinja, but earns his income by operating a small business in Kamuli. After the conference ended, he told Martin that he had closed his business for the 3 days of the conference so that he could attend. He concluded: "It was worth it." In Kamuli we also talked a fair amount about money (1 Timothy 6 largely deals with the gospel and money). I asked the pastors how many of them had personal or family budgets. No one raised a hand. I then asked how many churches had formal written budgets. Again, none of them did. They very much urged us to return and teach Biblical Stewardship, which, among other things, deals with personal and church budgeting. Martin will head an all-African EPI team back to Kamuli, probably in January, to do just that. Kamuli also demonstrated the importance of the translation project. Even though English is an official language of Uganda, about half the participants took (and paid for) the English version of the 1 Timothy notes, while the other half received the Luganda version.
Following Kamuli I was to have done a marriage and parenting conference in the Central Buganda Diocese of the COU (Church of Uganda). However, at the last minute I received an email from my partner and organizer, Rev. Moses Isabirye that it had been cancelled. The diocesan secratary had emailed to Moses, "I'm writing to inform you that the Diocese of Central Buganda in consent with you had scheduled a clergy and wives workshop on 11th - 12th September 2011 on the work plan however we found it difficult to make it come to pass. It was found inconvenient for the couple to leave home during the school days." Moses was shocked that this could occur at the last minute, but, as we say, "this is Africa." Hopefully it can be rescheduled.
That gave me a few free days in Kampala, to read, work on the sermon I will be preaching at Community Church of Appleton on Oct. 9, and get ready for the final conference, another 1 Timothy conference, this time with the COU in Mukono (near Kampala). That conference, for about 65 priests of the Mukono Diocese, went very well. It was our first time in Mukono. I taught with Moses, who is an excellent teacher. Moses had been with the provincial (head) office of the COU, but has recently become the vicar of St. Andrews parish in Kampala, the second largest Anglican church in Kampala. The participants at the conference were very receptive, and the bishop expressed his desire for us return.
Through Moses I also met the Principal of the Kampala Evangelical School of Theology, Dr. Solomon B. Nkesiga. We had a very good meeting, and I am hopeful that KEST and EPI may be able to work together in the future.
I am now at home, but will be leaving in less than a month (October 17) for Kenya and Tanzania. Thank you for your continued prayers and financial support, which are invaluable. God bless you, Jonathan

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