Wednesday, January 22, 2014

a day in the life

While we were in Uganda, we had some coworkers come and make a video of a day in the life of a STINTer in Uganda. If you wanted a better idea of what our two years in Uganda looked like, check out this video!

This is STINT: Day In the Life from Power to Change - Students on Vimeo.

testimonies from Fanshawe College {Totolie}

Last week Jamie went to Fanshawe College to help start up a Power to Change student ministry with a few other staff members. They saw so many encouraging things and met so many students who were interested in joining together to help change their campus and the world that it was very clear God had gone before them and prepared the soil.
Three students actually came to know Christ personally during the four days they were on campus and the following blog posts will be their stories.

Totolie {written by staff member, Mandy Blackburn}

Totolie is an international student from China studying Human Resources at Fanshawe College. Interested by our booth, she stopped by and filled out a survey. When she read the question that asked about her interest in discovering Jesus, she looked up and said, "I know nothing about Jesus and the Bible". I quickly offered to teach her about both if she was interested, and she jumped at the opportunity. The next day we met on campus and I walked through the gospel with her, teaching her all about Jesus. She had never heard any of it before. When I told her that God loved her, she laughed. She said it was so strange to hear that. When I told her this was history and not a made up story, she was confused. As the conversation went on, she was increasingly curious, and asked some great questions. When I asked if she wanted to start a relationship with God, she said she wasn't ready yet. I asked if we could meet again the next day again, and she agreed.

The launch team and I prayed that God would help Totolie understand and believe that God loves her, and that she would begin to understand the gospel more. The next day Totolie, myself, and Becca, a Christian student at Fanshawe, walked through the Gospel again. This time, she knew she wanted to invite Jesus into her life. When I told her that it was as simple as praying, she responded by saying, "I've never prayed before." After showing her and explaining what prayer was, Totolie prayed for the first time and, in that prayer, gave her life to God!

testimonies from Fanshawe College {Jess}

Jess {written by staff member, Mandy Blackburn}

This week I have the joy of being at Fanshawe College in London with a team of people who are working to start a P2C movement on campus! We have had a ton of fun so far, and have seen the Lord lead us in really great ways! We have met some key Christian students, as well as some very spiritually interested students.

Jess, a Fitness and Health student at Fanshawe, came by the booth yesterday and filled out one of our surveys. On it she shared that she was VERY interested in discovering Jesus and the deeper meaning of her cravings. We connected last night and planned to meet today. After hearing more about her craving for power, and a bit of her spiritual background, I had the opportunity to share with her about Jesus, and starting a relationship with God.

She was so ready. She knew she wanted to begin this relationship, and even had regret in not starting it sooner (even though she didn't know how to!). I shared with her God's joy in her starting it today, and mine too!

After responding to Christ in prayer, her first words were, "I want your job!" Pray that she will grow, and maybe even join staff to help others discover Jesus in the near future! 

testimonies from Fanshawe College {Imre}

Imre {written by staff member, Dan Sherman}

I called Imre on Monday after he filled out survey.  He had expressed lots of interest in meeting someone to talk more about Jesus. We couldn't meet Tuesday, so instead we met on Wednesday. 

I found Imre to be a quite yet confident guy, studying police foundations.  He told me about his Hungarian background, how he was born in a refugee camp after his parents fled Croatia during the Bosnian war.  We walked through the magazine, and the knowing God personally book. Our conversation turned to how God uses things like suffering in our lives to make us better people. Then he shared that his dad, a devout Catholic, died this past June. Before his dad died (cancer) he was encouraging his family to get back to faith. 

As we continued to talk I discovered that Imre believed it would honour his father and help him personally if he invited Jesus into his life.  So he did!  He's really excited to get into a group of Christians and grow in his faith.  He's met some other Christian students and is looking forward to joining a Bible study soon.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

there....and back again

{Lord of the Rings reference anyone...?}

Anyway, we have 3 days until we pack up the Life Ministry bus with our belongings and drive to the airport after two years of living here!

We have mixed emotions about this but as things have been winding down, we're mostly feeling quite excited to see our friends and family - some that we haven't seen in two years!

With all that's going on, could you please remember us in your prayers? Specifically for:

1. Health
Noah woke up this morning with a headache and the minutes later started throwing up. Jamie had some sort of stomach flu on Wednesday as well although that's passed. Could you please pray that Noah feels better {and that it's nothing serious like malaria} and that the rest of us remain healthy for the duration of our time here?

2. Our flights
We fly out of Entebbe, Uganda on Wednesday June 19th and 9:20am. We'll be spending a night in London, England and then flying to Toronto on the 20th. Would you pray that we get good seats for our family on the flights, that all our luggage makes it through and that all travel details go smoothly? Also pray that the boys {specifically Blaise who is currently teething} do well on the flights and that Jamie and I have patience and grace and strength to manage all of them?

3. Transition
We know that people have expectations for us upon arrival or within the first couple weeks and months. Could you pray for wisdom for us as we navigate reverse culture-shock, adjusting to a different time zone all the while spending time with others? Especially for an awareness of how each of our boys is handling the change and wisdom to know how to best help them journey through this transition.

Thank you so much! We're looking forward to spending time with you and sharing about how our time in Uganda was.
If you're in the Toronto area, on our first Sunday back {June 23rd} we'll be attending the 9am Rexdale Alliance Church service if you want to come by and say hi!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

an update on the busy-busy

We're on the homestretch now with less than two months until we leave our home and our life in Uganda.
And our remaining time isn't going to drag by, either.

Currently we have Eric {a friend and coworker with Power to Change in Canada) and Jayme {former staff with Power to Change and now freelance videographer} here doing some filming for a promotional video for our South East Africa partnership. It's been nonstop since they arrived on Monday as Jamie's been doing a lot of interviews and being "followed" for a lot of "day in the life of" type footage. But we enjoy having people in our home and this week has flown by.
Tomorrow Jamie, Eric & Jayme will all journey up country to get some more footage of rural areas and, of course, the wildlife! They will be back on Tuesday afternoon.
Please pray for safety on the roads for them.
Please pray for safety and peace and patience for Vanessa as she remains in Kampala with the boys.

On Sunday the 28th of April we have the staff team for our short-term project arriving. Shortly after, the students will arrive and will stay in country until June 11th. We will be busy with ministry and packing up our lives during this time.
We are looking forward to having the team here and especially Vanessa as there will be another staff family coming - Archie, Cindy and their three boys will join us and live with us on our compound. What a lively, loud and hopefully joy-filled time we're expecting!

Please pray for safety for the staff and students as they travel starting next week. Please especially remember Archie & Cindy and their kids as they travel here on the 28th. Traveling with a family is no small task and we'd ask that you'd pray for grace and patience and kids who sleep well on the plane!
Please pray for the final logistics of housing, schedules and other details as they are worked out on our end of things.
Please pray for God to be stirring in the hearts of the Canadians coming and the Ugandans we will be interacting with.
Please pray for Vanessa as she does the bulk of organizing and preparing our home in Uganda to be packed up or left behind{for the next team of STINTers}.

Finally, if you didn't catch it on our Facebook group, please check out this blog post written by one of the STINTers, Bimisayo, who is one of four Canadians who will taking our place and continuing the work here in Uganda this August.

Thank you for your partnership. It's because of you that we are able to be out on university campuses and on summer projects and here in Uganda, making an impact on people like Bimisayo. Be encouraged! God is doing great things!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

wide load

These boda men were arriving as Jamie and I were leaving a restaurant from a lunch date. I thought I'd snap a picture as we've seen so many crazy things on the backs of boda bodas. We sure will miss having a laugh at the wild things we've seen on the roads here.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

thank you for praying!

Thank you for praying! Jamie picked up the passports around noon and we all whooped and gave high-fives. Just another opportunity to show our boys {and ourselves!} the power of prayer. So thank you for coming along side us in this way.
We are looking forward to the times of refreshment and vision renewal that we experienced last year in Spain. Not to mention sidewalks and probably a trip to McDonald's. :)
And now to finish packing...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

one more day...?

Needless to say, we are not in possession of our passports at the moment.

Jamie went down to immigration today and after talking to multiple people was reassured that he can go by the office tomorrow and pick up our passports.

We are frustrated. I am frustrated. But this is typical of Uganda. So we'd ask that you would continue to pray that Jamie would be able to pick up our passports tomorrow so we can fly to Spain on Friday morning!

Monday, January 21, 2013

please pray for our visa's!

We just heard back from our lawyer (after not hearing from him all weekend) that apparently our passports won't be released until Wednesday. This would be fine coming from a Canadian office, but we know that all too often here in Uganda "Wednesday" actually means next week or who knows when!
Could you please pray that we actually do get our passports with all visa's in them by Wednesday and no later?
Thank you so much for lifting us up in prayer!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Visa Update

Have you heard of this thing called "low power"? They like to do it to us here in Kampala. It's where we have power, but not enough to power our fridge or fans. Sometimes our lights will go on, but only dimly. It's currently "low power" right now. It's how we roll here in Uganda.

We've been a bit quiet here lately. Not intentionally, but with the birth of Blaise and Christmas and ... life, I suppose we got a bit busy.
But nevertheless, here's a wee update for you.

We still do not have our passports in hand. The final word on our visa situation is that it could have been far worse, but we still ended up paying $510 USD in "late fees" because myself and the boys were illegal (ie. without visas - whether tourist or otherwise) while we were waiting for Jamie's work permit to go through. Apparently they wanted to charge us $450 PER PERSON instead of $450 total. So in that light, $510 isn't as bad as it could have been. It's still a lot of money, though and we're disappointed the fees weren't waived.
We paid this a week ago and are still waiting for our passports.

We fly to Spain early next Friday! We are excited, but we sorta need passports to fly, right? So we're just waiting to hear back from our lawyer but we'd appreciate your prayers that there would be no more "fees" requested from us while we wait and that we'd get them by Monday.

Also we just found out our flight home from Barcelona to Cairo has been cancelled so we're in the process of trying to figure out the best situation for new flights. Our travel agent is great and has been working to figure out the details, but we'd appreciate your prayers as we sort out these last minute changes.

We are very much looking forward to our time in Spain and are praying for refreshment and for clarity as we think and pray through different options for when we move back to Canada. There will be an update coming regarding what we'll be doing (we'll still be with Power to Change) and where we'll settle once we know.

Thanks again for your partnership. We are so aware of your prayers for us as we encounter the challenges and blessings of working to fulfill the Great Commission in this generation.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Adapting Ministry Principles in a New Culture

One of the difficult aspects of ministry in Uganda is adapting ministry principles that you have learned in Canada into a Ugandan context. This past Saturday we had the Action Group (which is our student leadership team) over to our house for a day of training. I had the opportunity to train them in discipleship. One of the principles of discipleship is once you have selected someone to disciple, you need to give them a clear idea of the purpose of your discipleship. This would also include expectations from both sides involved. This way, if one of the parties stopped meeting the expectations, they could be called out on it. Then if they weren't able or wanting to continue, then you would know, and not waste time trying to meet with someone who was not interested in it anymore. 
One of our young leaders put up their hand to tell me that in Uganda, this may be too intimidating to come to someone you were just meeting with a list of expectations that they needed to agree to. As I thought about it, I realized that this would probably be true in Canada as well. But likely you are not challenging someone to discipleship if you have just met them. Usually, you would already know the person for a while, so that you could observe them, to see if they are Faithful, Available, and Teachable, which are qualities we look for in potential disciples. If you have spent time observing someone who shows qualities of someone ready for discipleship, then you should challenge them, and if they agree, go for it. But if they do not, then you move onto someone else who would be willing and wanting to be discipled. 
So when this young lady in the training session suggested that it may be to hard to give them expectations at the beginning, I had to think about whether this is a cultural thing, or whether she should really expect more from a potential disciple. In the end, I am still not sure. I told the students that they should take what I am teaching them, and apply it to the Ugandan context as they see fit. Personally, I think that there still needs to be a strong challenge at the beginning. I guess I will have to wait and see how things work out as these young leaders begin to challenge other students to be discipled. 
This is just one of many times I have wondered about the differences in ministry adaptation in a new culture. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Release12 Summary

One of the amazing views from Tagaytay (just outside Manila)

Me with the Ugandan Flag

Location: Manila, Philippines
Dates: July 4-14, 2012
Conference Theme: Engage. Entrust. Release a New Generation
Conference Goals: 
1. Hearing from God Together
2. Connecting and Empowering a New Generation of SLM leaders
3. Advancing our Mission
4. Partnering to Reach our scope

One of the goals of the conference was to hear from God together. The organizers of the conference made it clear that they did not want all the content to be preprogrammed. They wanted to leave space to hear from God as we chart a direction forward. To that end, and hour was given each day to hear from God from the book of Acts. This was taught from the front by a teacher, as well as given time around tables to discuss what God was teaching us. I found this to be very refreshing and an important part of the conference.

Meeting some students from Manila
We also got to spend a day meeting with student leaders from various catalytic campuses around Manila. We got to ask them questions and hear their heart for their campus and the world. It became obvious that the students owned the vision of Campus Crusade. They also owned the responsibility of reaching their campus. They were empowered to lead, and many more campuses have been reached as a result.

Another great aspect of the conference was being able to meet other SLM staff from different countries. At all of our sessions, we sat around tables and got to know one another. There was also time to meet during meals and free time. I got to hear about other successes and difficulties from various countries. We also spent time praying for each other in community groups.
South and East African Conference Delegates!

At the end of the conference, Ken Cochrum shared a new worldwide SLM vision of establishing Student-led Movements on 50% of Student Population Centers. We are currently on about 25%. This vision will best be met through catalytic movements and partnerships with other like minded Christian movements.

What I Learned
I was personally very blessed to be able to attend this conference. I came away with a fresh vision of reaching campuses, especially by catalytic means. I need to entrust more  leadership of the local movements I am part of to students. This catalytic method was modeled by the Apostle Paul, and was the method by which the early church grew.

I was also reminded that I need to focus on prayer, reliance on the Holy Spirit, and preaching the gospel. These are the most important things to focus on. Strategies will come if I keep these things primary.

Also got to face a fear and hold a young crocodile!

Monday, May 21, 2012

happy 9 months to us!

We've been here in Uganda for 9 months as of today!

Also {from Vanessa} thank you so much for your prayers while Jamie was away in Rwanda. I definitely felt God's presence through increased patience and joy and the burden was lifted largely with the staff and students here keeping us company and helping out with the boys.
Thank you for your prayers. He is our ever-faithful God and He is so good.

A post from Jamie re: Rwanda is on the way so stay tuned!