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Uganda Project Update

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June 26. The people of Bakatade village are drinking clean water for the first time ever. Thank you all who sacrificed to love this people. Thank you to WordWalk and Ministry Assist in Uganda. What a blessing to have served with all to make this difference! 

 

 

June 15.  Water was reached and the engineers and workers and continuing to deepen the well to ensure a long lasting supply for Bakatade and surrounding villages! 

 

June 8. The drilling company has received our deposit and will begin drilling in the village on Monday. They head out to take up camp in the village Sunday. They expect to be working on the project for about a week, perhaps longer depending on what they find as they drill. The first part of the project will be done manually...an initial pit will be dug that will be brick lined, the rest will involve drilling. The company expects to hit the water table at about 90 feet. 

(Pic at right shows a similar project in process)

 

April. I have been home for some time now and have had opportunity to let the Uganda experience “settle in.” I’ve taken enough ministry abroad to know my own rhythm...a week or two after re-entry it all begins to take a more defined shape in my mind. A couple of conclusions...

If the Lord is in it, I hope to continue working with WordWalk to support what God is doing in Uganda...and perhaps other countries. Pastors in Africa don’t need us to do their work, or even for us to tell them  how to do it...but they could use some support (educationally, financially, etc.). The thought of developing a temporary “Uganda Ministry Institute” appeals to me. I feel the Lord’s hand in it. Now time will tell if my feelings are on queue...

Bakatade needs a well. The people were there being poisoned by bad water long before I came around. But now I have the “burden of knowledge.” As far as I can tell, no one is going to help them. Wave after wave of typhoid ravages their families (Pastor Ishak pictured with water hole in Bakatade). Somehow I hope to raise the funds to put a well in that village. It is a Christian village, but if it were Muslim I would be doing the same thing. I’ve heard before “You can’t change the way things are.” What a dreadful attitude. It’s true I cannot change everything—but maybe with some friends we can change Bakatade. 

I have no idea how all this will develop. But I am thankful for the moments in Uganda and the images I carry with me daily about what God is doing there through His people. And if He should summon me to assist Him there in some small way, well, that’s an easy decision. 

 


I am waiting to board my flight home now (Monday, 11:30pm). I will miss this place and people, but am ready to return to family and my first call. 

Yesterday I preached in a small village (the church is pictured here).

It is probably everything you imagine when you think of a small village. The service was so lively with drums, very loud and harmonic singing, and dancing. Ishak preached from Matthew 21 about the Triumphal Entry of Christ. I was invited to speak some and I shared from 1 Thess. 1 about the work God did in the hearts of the Thessalonians. The time of sharing focused on our common bond in Christ and our unity in him. It was emotive and moving. Ishak is a very gifted communicator and always displays the heart of a pastor. 

At the end of the service the church gathered around me to pray for me and for First Baptist Church of Shawnee. They are now aware of us to about the same degree you are aware of them—but they wanted to offer their prayers of God’s blessing on us. I hope you will do the same for this little village. It is not on the map. Few know about it, but it has a church of people who love the Lord and look to Him for their survival and blessing. 

I will share about my experience in coming weeks. It was a blessing and a challenge at the same time. Looking forward to being with my church family again this Sunday!  —Pastor Gary


 

I have had my first trip to a Ugandan village. This village took about three hours to reach from the capital. Most of that driving was on crowded highway, but after about 2 hours we turned off onto a dirt road, then another, then another. Each turn displayed new visions of African bush life. Yes, much of it looked like what you have seen on television. When we arrived to the village we had quite a reception. Three boys were playing different kinds of drums. The children were lined up and dancing. On the ground in front of me were bricks arranged to spell “Welcome Pastor Gary.” I was ushered to the buildings for the village school, met with the student body at large and then visited each classroom. Well, they are not really “rooms,” just areas in the hut designated for age groups. 

This village has about 150 children, 107 of whom are orphans. The village members all just “kick in” to help care for and house the children. Ishak makes regular trips to the village to check on them and see if there is a serious need he can meet. Pastor Chris in the village stays in touch with Ishak as well. It is a forgotten village. There is no government program to help. There are no churches or contacts other than Ishak to check on them. We took them $100 worth of flour and sugar on the day they were out of food. 

The only water source in the village is a mud hole that waters local animals (pictured here with Ishak). Unfortunately, it is also where animals urinate. After filtering away sludge with their hand, villagers will do the best they can to fill a jar with sediment free water. Naturally this leads to disease. The village has struggled with typhoid and other conditions as long as anyone can remember. They do boil the water, but it does little good.

It is essentially a Christian village. Pastor Chris does what he can. He finally received a Bible himself from Ishak last year. Seven volunteers (most in their 20s) give their lives to educate the children of the village. I am hoping to take the volunteers Bibles when we return on Sunday. None of them have one.

Needless to say this trip was about five steps past overwhelming. Ishak warned me that I would immediately love the children. Check. He told me my heart would be broken by what I saw. Check. He assured me I would want to return. Check. Sunday Ishak and I will return and take part in a worship service together. So check back after Sunday for that update.

I will begin the 24 hour trip back on Monday evening. I miss all and am anxious to share what God has been doing while I am here.  —Pastor Gary


 

It has been more complicated than I expected to post from here in Kampala, so I am not making as many entries as I had hoped.

It has been great being here and getting to know some who are ministering here in Uganda. Their “ministry context” is so different than mine. They cannot separate out the physical challenges from the spiritual like we can. The need here is so great and, at times, overwhelming. What we have been discussing is how this team can help resource the church that is, the one that already exists in Uganda. It has been productive, challenging, refreshing. 

Our friend Ishak has been the driver and organizer of the trip from inside Uganda. I have to say he is an amazing young man and an impressive minister. No theological or formal training, and yet he ministers at a level I seldom see in seminary trained individuals. It’s just what God does. And not just Ishak but the others I am spending time with as well. I think we come to believe that we “raise up” ministers—but that has never been true. God calls them, gives them gifts and passion, and sustains them in ministry. Any truth we impart in them is God’s truth anyway. We do little. What God does is good, and it’s a joy to see it in that light.  

In the next few days I will see some villages and other aspects of ministry here in Uganda other than the capital. It is my hope to be able to post about it, but if not, I will upon my return.   —Pastor Gary


Arrived safely at Entebbe after a 27 hour process. It is now Saturday, my sleep patterns are all confused, but I feel fine.   

The capital of Uganda, Kampala, is a big city. It would be difficult to compare it to Kansas City, but one of the most obvious differences is in how many people are “out” in the city. An average day on a city street here looks like it does in the Power and Light District when a Sprint Center event lets out. It is a lot of people. 

We have met with the team here. They are really wonderful people and committed servants of the Gospel. Yesterday I had the opportunity to hear each one share his (and her) passion for ministry and their country. That was a great introduction into who they are. Today I will be talking about “Theological clarity and ministry.” That will be fun! 

I do not have access to the internet unless I go to a coffee shop. I am able to text with my T-Mobile service, but not sent pics. So few of you have heard from me or seen any pics. I will try to update this blog when I can. 

This is a beatiful country with beautiful people. I am honored to be part of any attempt to come alongside them in their work to show the love of Christ where it is greatly needed.

Stay tuned…more to come.   —Pastor Gary


As you have probably heard I am taking a trip to Uganda. A good friend of mine has asked me to come along on a trip in which his ministry is identifying opportunities in this beautiful country. There is great need there, and I am honored to go! 

For any who want to follow, I will be updating this blog to tell you what is happening on the trip! How things have changed! When my uncle was a missionary in Africa it took us 2 weeks to get in contact with him...now I will update live! 

It is an act of giving that First Baptist Church would “loan” me to be a part of this project t in Uganda. I am honored, and hopefully the Kingdom of Christ will be served as we explore what He may be doing in the “Pearl of Africa,” Uganda. 

Watch here for updates! 

Comments

Phyllis. March 20, 2018 1:59pm

So glad you made it....long trip. Love the pictures! Know God will bless this ministry, both now and the future!

Gary Johnson March 20, 2018 3:41pm

We were happy that you got to go to Uganda and to minister there.
First Baptist is blessed by Our Lord to have wonderful men of God to fill in while you are gone. I know that it is a comfort to you not to be concerned about the ministries in the Church while you are gone.
Carolyn and I pray for you every day and may God bless you and your family while you are away.







Alice Sanders March 20, 2018 6:09pm

So glad you made it there safe. 27 hours is crazy,

Anonymous April 3, 2018 10:46pm

yes it's very hard to do updates from the bush, yes children are always wonderful especially one's who smile even though they get their water from a mud hole, have no parents, live in a way we cannot imagine, yet smile the most amazingly huge smiles, yes it is heartbreaking to see the other side, how just unbelievable life can be for others, where you where not born, all the thoughts of why not me, what is my role in this, why did you allow me to come here ? and yes very worth going again.....once your eye's are opened it's very hard to unsee what the Lord has allowed you to partake of visually, emotionally, spiritually.... look forward to hearing more about your time there and what you learned from being there~

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