If you would have told me a year ago that Apprentice Ministries would have been launched full time I just might have laughed, been stressed out beyond reason and definitely would have feared where the support and funding would have come from. Yet, I sit this early Tuesday morning at a friend’s house in Salem, Oregon contemplating how I got here! Not, how I got to this house in Salem… I drove here. But, how did I get to where our family is today with Apprentice Ministries. How in the world did I go from the comfort and security of a decent paycheck and fruitful church ministry to here? Simple, God needed to teach me to pray, teach me to trust, teach me to teach and teach me to walk by faith and not by site!
As you all know who support this God-appointed direction with Apprentice Ministries, it has not been an easy road. It reminds me of the roads last week in Kampala Uganda. Some of the roads were paved and clear. Yet, many of the roads were washed out, packed with taxis of all sizes, motorcycles overloaded with up to 5 people, potholes and people brave enough to step out in front of you without warning!
The same was true in the city of Nairobi, Kenya the week before that as well. The amount of generations of people on foot as we would “fly” down the road was overwhelming. I was especially scared when Pastor Moses’ wife had me drive their family to church the Sunday morning I preached. For starters, the steering wheel was on the wrong side of the car! Second, I had never driven on the left side of the road before! It was exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time. I think it was more terrifying for Alex Shriver who was sitting in the back seat wondering how it would all turn out! Needless to say, by the time I reached the church more than 40 minutes away without traffic, I was pumped full of adrenaline and ready to preach!
The roads were rough to start as we left for church, some were paved well while others lacked care. Speed bumps were better as launching ramps than safety features. Many speed bumps came up without warning and without paint! The week was filled with a great deal of travel through the city of Nairobi. Alex and I spent time ministering to parents with Dr. Robnett, teaching at Manna Bible Institute near the wildlife national part, seeing wild baboons and warthogs (insert Lion King movie memories). But, none of my time in Nairobi would prepare my heart for what would come in Kampala, Uganda and its surrounding villages.
Upon arrival Alex and I were met with care and friendship with my classmate Arthur Magezi and our driver named Monday! We landed in Entebbe and made our way to the country village of his home outside of Kampala, Kakiri. We were met by Arthur’s wife Esther and a house full of neighbors, children and adopted children. Our meal was all fresh from their garden and prepared with care for our delicately adjusting stomachs to their amazing food! I tried several of the 15 types of bananas growing in their garden, passion fruit, papaya’s and too many others to list.
The following morning we made our way through a 4 hour journey crossing the Nile River on a ferry. It was a “short cut” to save us time. The road was not paved for most of the way. We passed mothers carrying their babies and five gallon water jugs on their heads. Children carried supplies on run down bicycles as motorcycles carried far too much weight or far too many passengers! We would hit some potholes with ease while others looked like mountainous road blocks. God brought to mind the roads as a reflection of my family’s journey for this past year.
The road for Apprentice Ministries has been set before us and some parts are paved and smooth. Most other portions up to this point have been rough, full of potholes and washed out along the way. Yet, God has prepared us for every portion and for every turn. The road signs at times have been lacking, like in Africa, yet the people along the way have been the same; supportive, surprised, difficult, life-changing, loving, broken and in need of friendship and help.
Back to Kampala and the villages we visited. At the end of each of the roads we traveled, to only nine of the churches out of the 103 churches Arthur’s ministry has planted, were people. People who were loving. People who were kind. People who were caring. People who were encouraging. People who were hungry both physically and spiritually. People just like you and me. What I found was that out of nothing they gave me everything without even knowing it. As people would walk along with us, mostly beautiful children, I was overwhelmed with their generosity and their gifts out of their poverty.
At the end of each road, in each village, in each person, I found what I needed… comfort and peace. Comfort knowing that we are all the same, broken and in need of healing and help. Peace in the fact that Jesus is the God of Peace and that was in the hearts of each person I met who had said yes to Jesus.
I have so much more to share, yet this has already become too long. Join me in this journey with my family. Pray for the people of Kenya and Uganda. Follow along with us as this road to Kampala continues to unfold. God is on the move in our hearts and I hope you will follow along with us and see how He would move in your hearts as well.
I will not say much more but end here with this. God is on the move in my heart and the road to Kampala has renewed my strength! You will just have to come back to hear more! And as Paul Harvey would do so well in saying, “Now, for the rest of the story.” That will be my next blog… for the story in Kampala runs deep and has a next chapter that I cannot wait to share! Until next time, may the Lord bless you and keep you today as you seek His face and see His plan for you. God knows your heart and knows what you need so rest in that promise.