Namayingo Day 1: Overview in Video Clips

Okay, here is a ton of videos all at once. This will act as a sort of overview of our first day of ministry out in the villages. Day 1 and 2 we were in Namayingo Zone. Here is Day one.

This was our veiw as we pulled into the first village on our first full day of ministry. You try to prepare your team for this, but there really is just no way to describe it until you can experience it for yourself. It can be very overwhelming but also very humbling and very fun!


Rob Wetzel teaching in one of our seminars for both church leaders and new believers.

Short clip of Stan Cherry sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with a group of children.

Laura Freeman teaching about the persistence of Christ during one of our seminars.

Mark teaching during one of our seminars. The Holy Spirit seemed to move in a powerful as a result of Mark's talk.

It was humbling to see these dear people openly confess their sin and repent as a result of Mark Harvey's talk.

Uganda 09 – First Day: Tour of the Orphange

It has taken me three full days to get this video online, but it's finally up! Back on our first day here in Uganda, after Godfrey showed us around the Secondary School out at Bukaleba, he then toured us around the main area of the orphanage, which is nearly completed. They are behind schedule (they originally expected to be moved in by now) but they expect to have it completed and the orphans moved in by late December 2009. Here is a look around orphanage. 

Please excuse the rough video and audio. The area is still under construction and can be difficult for your camera man to maneuver when trying to film and walk backwards at the same time!)


Uganda 09- New Phase @ Bukaleba: Secondary School

Godfrey Wanamitsa, director of Arise Africa, gave us a tour around a new phase that has begun out at the Bukaleba project. The secondary school will work in conjunction with the orphange giving the children a place to continue their studies beyond primary school. This school will also be open to the children of the community.


Uganda 09 – Day 1: Journey to Jinja

There is just never any way to know how long it is going to take to get to Jinja (where we are staying) from Entebbe (where we land). It can be anywhere from 1 hr 45 minutes, to 4 hours (or even more)! It just depends on traffic. The problem is the city of Kampala, the capital. Even with some new roads they’ve built in the past few years, traffic is still horendous. Well today as we began our journey to Jinja when we were still 15 kilometers from Kampala, we hit “stand-still” traffic, and I knew we were in trouble. After all was said and done, we made it to Jinja in around 3 hours. Could have been worse. Here’s a quick snippet of the experience.

Uganda and Revival

Uganda-map As I sit here writing this blog entry, I am about 30 minutes away from heading to the airport where we will begin the long journey to Uganda, Africa. This will be somewhere around my tenth time to this country. I have been so many times and built so many lasting relationships that the anticipation of trip comes not only from the excitement of being a part of a mission halfway across the world but also from the excitement of getting to old friends.

Nevertheless, it is not the company of old friends and familiar faces that keeps me going back time and time again. The Holy Spirit is moving in Uganda in a powerful way, and getting to be a part of such a major move of God as he draws in his sheep by the hundreds is intoxicating. It's like a drug. I can't get enough of it.

As you look back through church history, it appears that the Holy Spirit has moved in a powerful way in particular geographical areas at particular times. Who knows what causes these events. Many people have speculated, and I'm sure that there a minutia of details which came together at just the right time to act as the catalyst for these events that have so often been referred to as "revival." In any case, what is not a mystery is that for some reason or another, God sovereignly ordained it so that at certain times in certain places there would be an outpouring of his Holy Spirit. Just to name a few…

In the eighteenth century, there was the Moravian Revival in Herrnhut, Germany and the Great Awakening in New England. The revival among the Moravians spawned a prayer "meeting" which lasted 100 years as people continually took turns praying and interceding around the clock. It also spawned the modern missionary movement as they sent out more than 100 missionaries to spread the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. The Great Awakening, which is more well known, began in New England with the puritan theologian Jonathan Edwards and his church. People everywhere began to be woefully aware of their sin before a just and holy God and began to repent as the Holy Spirit was poured out in a powerful way.

In the nineteenth century, there was the Second Great Awakening in America led by the great "revivalists" like Charles Finney. In the early twentieth century there was the Welsh Revival in Wales. Later in the twentieth century there was the Argentina Revival, the Toronto  Revival, the Brownwood Revival, and the Pensacola Revival, just to name a few. Of course many if not all of these "revivals" have been fraught with controversy, and some people have used "revival" as means to gratify their greed and pride. Nevertheless, one cannot deny the work of the Holy Spirit despite the shortcomings of God's people.

I mention all of that only to set the context for what God is currently doing in East Africa and in Uganda specifically. It cannot be explained in human terms. Once while in Uganda, I had two young children, a brother and sister, walk right up to me and tell me (through a translator) that they wanted to give their lives to Christ, and that they were willing to die for it because their parents were Muslim. They couldn't have been more than 12 and 10 years old. They did give their lives to Jesus, and I don't know what happened to them. I've never been to any other place in the world where the Holy Spirit is moving in such a powerful way.

As I am gone, I will try to keep my blog updated with stories of what God is doing and what he is allowing us to be a part of.

That Was Smooth – Season 2: Sock Puppet

Well, we have been taking a break from "That Was Smooth," but now we're back on a once-a-month basis. We kicked off this season with a bang. This month's selection: "Order at Burger King with a sock puppet that is always shouting."


Great Prayers of the Past – John Calvin

The great reformer John Calvin has long been a hero of mine, but not because of anything that has to do with what has become associated with Calvinism today. Rather it was his unbending commitment to doctrinal purity, and fearless objection to anything he thought unbiblical. Certainly, my praise of Calvin doesn't come without equal amounts of critique. He was often ruthless and at times cold-hearted by some accounts. Nonetheless, for better or worse even these actions should be viewed as stemming from the seriousness that he placed on doctrinal purity.

Calvin was not a man without mistakes and major flaws, but his heart wholly and completely belonged to God. In a day when many of his followers were looking to him to be a "savior" of sorts, he always strove to bring all the attention and focus back to God and
the preeminence of Christ, while attempting to make himself smaller. Being exalted by men as he was (and still is today), I can imagine the struggle he must have had with pride. I can imagine that it must have been in that context that he penned the following prayer:

Grant, almighty God, as no other way of access to you is open for us except through unfeigned humility, that we often learn to abase ourselves with feelings of true repentance. May we be so displeased with ourselbes as not to be satisfied with a single confession of our iniquities. May we continue to meditate on our sins until we are more and more penetrated with real grief. Then may we fly to your mercy, prostrate  ourselves before you in silence and acknowledge no other hope than your pity, and the intercession of your only begotten Son. May we be reconciled to you, absolved from our sins, and governed throughout the whole course of our life by your Holy Spirit. Let us at length enjoy the victory in every kind of contest, and arrive at that blessed rest which you have prepared for us by the same, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

From the Mind of Matt & Wes – A Week Without Coffee

The new feature at our monthly Uprising event is a huge hit, and it's back by popular demand. This month the boys tackle very serious issue of coffee addiction. I have no idea who the modeled the main character after. I'm sure it's completely fictional and any similarities to a real life person are purely coincidental.

Ask Smooth – Apathy

In our weekly High School only gathering on Sunday nights (entitled 3:12), we started a new deal called "Ask Smooth." On our Journey Students blog, there is section where they can ask any question they want (no question is off limits) and we will more than likely attempt to answer that question. After the weekend, I will also post the answer here on my blog.

A recent question:

What should you do when you just don't care anymore about anything? Nothing matters or seems to be significant or impacting in any way. How do you get out of feeling like that?

In a word, the problem that this question describes is "apathy." Apathy can be described as the absence (or suppression of) passion, excitement, and/or emotion. It is a lack of concern for things with which one ought to be concerned. It is complete indifference. Apathy is a problem which plagues the church in general, and is rampant among teenagers today.

So how does one fix that? How do you get out of feeling that way? Well, this is probably not what you want to hear, but there is no formula. Regardless of what some people may tell you, there is no 12 step program that will move you from apathy to ardor or from passivity to passion. There are, however, some things that I noticed in my own life that have helped me pull out of a "funk." So the three suggestions that I am going to put forth here, are not meant as a "sure-fire way" to recover the passion you once had. They are simply things that have helped me at one time or another. Maybe one of them will help you.

In Ephesians 1:17-19, Paul's prayer for the church at Ephesus is that the eyes of their heart would be opened so that they would know "the riches of his (Jesus) glorious inheritance in the saints." Do you understand what this verse is saying? The word "in" here should be understood as "which consists of." In other words, what this verse is saying that Jesus' inheritance IS the saints. You are his inheritance. I am his inheritance! And it's not a sorry sad inheritance. The bible says that we are a "glorious" inheritance! In the past when I've thought about the Lord and all he has done for me, I have often wondered what was in it for him. Why would he go through all of that for us? Well, here Paul gives us the answer. He did it because he wants us as his prize. He wants us as his inheritance. And though you may not often feel this way, Jesus views you as a glorious inheritance! So one of the things that has helped me is to KNOW who I am and how Jesus views me. You are Christ's inheritance, his glorious inheritance.

Burnout happens. In fact, it happens a lot. It's easy to burnout because we in western society live such busy lives. Jesus was a busy man. Once he started his public ministry, people almost never left him alone. People were always demanding his time. So what did Jesus do? He got alone, and he rested. Mark 6:31 says, "Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not
even have a chance to eat, he (Jesus) said to them, "Come with me by yourselves
to a quiet place and get some rest."
If you observe the life of Jesus, you see that this was a habit of his. He always found time to "disappear" and be alone with no one but God and himself to rest. If Jesus needed time to be alone, what makes you think that you can make it through life without it? Oftentimes, apathy is the result of burnout or being "burnt" by someone else. This can often be avoided and/or rectified by just getting alone with Jesus. Don't worry about what you are "supposed" to do during your time with Jesus. It's not about reading your Bible for a certain amount of time, or praying a certain amount of minutes. It's not even about doing those things at all. It's about getting alone with Jesus. Take time to rest in his presence.

The writer of Hebrews gave us a solid principle to deal with this issue. He wrote, "Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted." Simply put, focus on Jesus and what he did for you so that you don't burn out. It's hard for me to be apathetic, when I put aside all the other issues of life and simply focus on him and what he has done for me. It still baffles me to this day that God would do what he did to redeem me. When I think through it logically, it doesn't make sense that he would love me so much. That's what I focus on. In this life there are so many sorrows, injustices, and evils. There is so much distraction, commotion, and preoccupation. There are so many questions, so much confusion, and so many issues that genuinely confound us. Through it all, most of us have been taught that we must simply "tow the line." We are taught by both word and example that we should simply suck it up and push on through. In my own life, I've noticed that it's been the times I was in "just get it done" mode that I have been most vulnerable to becoming apathetic. Sucking it up and pushing on through while ignoring the way that you are feeling doesn't fix the issue, it compounds it. Whatever your distraction is, whether doubt, disbelief, injustice, problems, sorrow, confusion, or busyness, it isn't going to go away. For once, take your focus off of you own problems, and begin to focus on one thing and only one thing: Jesus and what he did for you.

To restate what I said at the beginning, these are not "steps to take" to pull yourself out of apathy. These are simply things that have helped me in my own life as I struggle through the Christian life just like everyone else. My prayer is that they will help you as well. If you've found something else that has helped you, you are invited to post it in the comments, and we can all help each other.