Simon has returned from nearly 3 weeks of training in Uganda, a country with nearly 38 million people and where nearly 80% of its pastors have not had any training. Here is his report.
I conducted three conferences. The first took place just north of Kampala at a Pentecostal Assemblies of God (PAG) Training Centre at Migadde (I have already sent a brief report about this), the second was in Kampala and the third was in the south of the country in the town of Mbarara.
I led the first and the third conferences with Emmanuel Magambo, the Ugandan Trainer and we followed year 2 of the PTI curriculum. I led the middle conference with Bosco Bukeera, a Ugandan who has recently returned with his family having spent three years in the UK and with Ben Dean who is also from the UK. Here we followed Year 1 of the PTI curriculum which focuses on how to read and interpret the Bible, a simple Bible overview covering the key turning points of Creation, the Fall, Redemption and Completion together with ‘What is a Christian?’.
Gerald Tanner, whose place I had taken for this training, has turned Keith’s notes for each of the years into workbooks which the hosts had had printed ready for the training.
As I mentioned in my previous report the first week’s training went well, although the attendance was only 8. However, what was encouraging was to see four of these men return for the next week of training in Kampala.
Over 40 men and women attended the second conference, which was very encouraging. Many of them had come because they have already become convinced that their preaching needs to be more faithful to the Bible and they wanted to learn the skills that are necessary to correctly read and interpret Scripture. Their desire to do this reflects how organizations such as ‘The Gospel Coalition’ are beginning to have an influence in this part of the world. All testified as to how helpful they had found the training and were keen to put it into practice.
For the third week I crossed the Equator and travelled south west to the town of Mbarara, which is close to where Emmanuel lives. Once again, we were hosted by the PAG church at one of their churches in the town. 18 attended this conference which Emmanuel and I led. The focus of this second year of training was on how to preach from the New Testament letters and in particular Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Emmanuel taught the Bible overview, focusing on how the nation of Israel, the Covenants, the Temple and the Kings fit into God’s Big Story. The trainees also studied and discussed ‘The Pastor’s Life’. All who attended this training were very engaged and participated well in each of the workshops. One said “I am so happy to learn. Thank God. This week has been like no other.” On the final day the workshops focussed on how to go from text to sermon. Each group had to prepare a sermon outline and then share it with the rest of the group. Once again it was very heartening to listen to these outlines and to see how well they related to the passage they were preaching from.
A Day Off
After the second conferences I had a day off and took the opportunity to visit the source of the Nile river, which rises by Lake Victoria and then travels some 4000 miles being joined by the Blue Nile from Ethiopia before emerging into the Mediterranean sea, a journey that takes the water 3 months to flow.
Thank you for praying for my trip to Uganda. I stayed well and safe throughout my time there and greatly enjoyed meeting my brothers and sisters in Christ. Although many in that country have very little of this world’s goods, the vast majority living very simple lives, which involve them collecting their water each day from a standpipe, a significant number of them have found the greatest treasure of all, the Lord Jesus Christ, and in Him they greatly rejoice! It is a challenge indeed for each of us to be as happy and delighted in Christ as they are.
Please pray for the following:
- Emmanuel and Bosco as they follow up those who attended the training and encourage them to put into practice the things they have learnt.
- For those who attended the Year 2 conferences to take up the challenge of preaching through Paul’s letter to the Philippians.
- For the Word of God to bring about the reformation of individual and church lives.
- For Emmanuel and Irene who run the Haven Retreat where I stayed in Kampala and who show their guests the love of Christ. May they continue to be a great encouragement for all who stay with them.
- That all who attended this year will return next year for the next stage in the training and will encourage others to join them.
- Praise God for keeping me safe and well.