On Saturday morning at 6 AM, I will depart Pittsburgh, with stops in Washington DC, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on route to my final destination of Entebbe Airport outside of Kampala, Uganda. After months of planning and preparation, the “Rooted in God’s Word Conference” will soon become a reality. This conference, sponsored by the Pastors Discipleship Network (PDN) will be held in Kampala, Uganda and will reach 500 East African church leaders from Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya. Each participant is already providing leadership in the local church and the overwhelming majority of these leaders (80%) are doing so without the benefit of any formal biblical or theological training. The mission of PDN is to equip and empower local church pastors with basic study tools for accurately interpreting God’s Word. This opportunity connects deeply to my passion to encourage, equip and empower local church leaders, near and far and everywhere in-between. During the conference, I will be giving three keynote lectures on the topics of hermeneutics, discipleship and leadership, along with providing small group leadership and one on one coaching to conference participants.
Thank you so much for your encouragement, support, partnership and prayers. Will you please continue to pray – especially in the hours leading up to my departure and during my time in Uganda? This week I have been experiencing some anxiety about the trip, along with not feeling on top of my game physically. This will be a demanding journey, physically, emotionally and spiritually and I believe that your prayers and the strength of Christ will enable me to do everything that God has in mind for me.
Please pray for the team that God has gathered from across the country: Andreea Plamada, Anna Fish, Bob Smart, Dave Lee, Dustin Webb, Emily Hartman, John Cho, John Fuder, Julius Wong Loi Sing, Justin Hoeppner, Luke Pogue, Mike Wahls, Nathan Sullivan, Nick Mukuna, Peter Monagle, Russ Davis, Scot Longyear, Sherry Walker, Terry Timm, and Terry Marshall. Please pray for safe travels, good health, clear minds, and servant hearts for all. Please pray that God would connect our hearts in our common mission to serve these faithful men and women of God.
After the conference I will be spending three days with Pastor Luke Jaymin Muwayi and his congregation in Nakawa, a district of Kampala. Pastor Luke and I have been in a mentoring relationship (through PDN) for the past year and this relationship has been a rich, rewarding leadership challenge. I look forward to spending time with Pastor Luke, his wife Rose and their children Priscilla, Noella, and Israel, and the people of Nakawa Church. Luke and I are filled with a great sense of anticipation for the face-to-face opportunity to explore the shape of a partnership between our communities of faith.
A troubling situation transpired in Nakawa and another nearby community over this past weekend. On July 4th the Kampala City Council Authority ordered the eviction of 1,750 families from Nakawa-Naguru estates and then proceeded with the demolition of the condemned housing units. Although people have been living in these homes up until Monday, the dwellings in these communities were declared unfit for human habitation in 1994 and again in 2001 by the Uganda Health Ministry. The homes were inexpensive government housing communities built by the British colonial administration in the 1950’s. You can read more in this story from New Vision and view some of the heart-breaking images from Echwalu Photography.
While Pastor’s Luke home and church were spared in the demolition, many in his congregation were not as fortunate. Please pray for the people of Nakawa and Naguru. Pray that they will find alternate housing. Pray for the generous and hospitable people who are taking in evacuees and adding them to their families. Pray for the Churches of this community (some of which lost their facilities) – that they might radiate and incarnate hope to a disheartened people.
Thank you for your partnership in the Gospel. The words of the Apostle Paul capture both my gratitude and hope for each of us and all of us:
I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:3-6)
- Pray for our travel arrangements and entry into Uganda.
- Pray for the pastors and church leaders who will attend the conference.
- Pray for my preparations for the keynote lectures I will give – that I might be a good steward of my limited time, providing solid content and encouragement to participants.
- Pray for strong connections with the other US leaders who will serve as the teaching team for this event.
- Pray that I might be physically, spiritually, emotionally and relationally strong.
- Pray for the PDN staff coordinating this experience and all the logistics surround it: Richmond, Emily, Terry and Ronald.
- Saturday-Sunday July 9-10: Travel Days
- Monday July 11: Team Orientation
- Tuesday July 12: Conference speaker preparations and small group leader meetings/training
- Wednesday July 13: Day of Prayer and Fasting
- Thursday-Saturday July 14-16: Rooted in the Word Conference
- Sunday July 17: Preaching at two morning gatherings at Nakawa Church and evening session with youth and young adults
- Monday July 18: Morning with Pastor Luke and afternoon/evening sessions with church leadership
- Tuesday July 19: Morning meetings with network of local church pastors
- Tuesday-Wednesday July 19-20: Travel Days Back to US