Greetings from Busia, Uganda, where our leader (Pastor John Wandera) is from! We extend our love to all our beloved family and friends back in the U.S.A.! We hope you all are doing well.
Thank you for your prayers for the team; we are all enjoying our time in Africa! It has been wonderful seeing everyone operate in their giftings and anointings. Some preach and teach, others love and extend compassion, and some use their anointing from Jesus to pray and heal the sick.
I have not been able to blog for several days as we have been out ministering in the remote areas where we do not have wi-fi. Our days are long (6 a.m.-midnight) and it has been a marathon from the time we landed. But I have been so energized by the Lord. I have personally experienced that inner strength on this trip and the truth to the joy of the Lord being our strength! J
In Mbale, Uganda, Russ and Jack presented certificates of graduation to 87 humble and joyful graduates! About 80% of the students were men and 20% were women. It was fun to share in their excitement and to congratulate them for completing a year of studying God’s word using Joshua Nations’ curriculum.
Many of the students gave testimonies that this knowledge has really encouraged them and “raised them to a higher level.” They have discovered new directions for their lives and have more confidence now in sharing the Gospel, and are interested in learning to free up their people through deliverance. Others were excited about learning their God given authority in Christ and eager to step into this new dimension.
After the ceremony we were humbly and lovingly served a delicious meal of chicken with broth, rice and cabbage. (I could write a whole paragraph on this special custom but will need to do it later due to time.) One graduation is complete and Jack has six more to go (two in Kenya, two in Uganda and three in Burundi, with one of these being in a prison)!
Every evening after the graduations we are having outdoor crusades to preach to the lost and we are praying for those who are sick and suffering in their bodies. We have experienced great joy in seeing the Lord bless people with his wonderful healing anointing! I will blog more specifically on this later.
After the crusades we are invited into someone’s home and served tea. It takes several hours for this because along with tea is a homemade meal of chicken or beef, rice, beans, cabbage (cooked outdoors over a campfire), along with pineapple and watermelon!
While we were in Mbale, we drove an hour or so out to a remote village where precious little orphans are lovingly taken care of. In a small round grass hut will live a caregiver (some being widows) and several children. There is enough room for several foam mats to sleep on with mosquito nets and storage of few supplies. Some huts even have a small area partitioned off for a cow! This is needed to prevent hostile tribes from coming over and stealing their cows. I could write a book on this orphanage and hope to have the time to blog more details about our visit! The children were adorable and my eyes were extending lots of love to them and I managed to throw many kisses their way and play briefly with a few as we walked around the village orphanage. The bright smiles of children, teens and adults truly lighten our loads and fill our hearts with more love and joy!
We have several more graduations with teaching sessions, crusades and teas to go (Kampala and Hoima), before us ladies fly back to the U.S.A. on Saturday. Jack and Russ will have three additional events like this in Burundi before they head back.
Again, thank you for your continued prayer support. Please pray for rest, strength, good health, anointing, safety, and for flights to be on time… God bless you all!
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Jack and I send warm and tropical greetings with much love to all our beloved family and friends! We are all doing well but still working our way into the +9 hour time change. This is the rainy season here and we are still in Mbale, Uganda, which has lovely hills and small mountains around, full of lush green trees and bushes. Alongside the bumpy dirt roads with lots of potholes are many banana trees and crops growing in the fields. Then you see all the animals: cows, goats, and chickens meandering around and eating the grass and weeds. People are everywhere, mostly walking while others are riding motorcycles. As we drive by I find myself waving at all the children and smiling. They are so adorable!
We are really enjoying these precious, kind and loving people of Uganda! As we minister to our friendly brothers and sisters in Christ, who are great worshippers and dancers, we are so sweetly blessed back. We love their kind hearts, which are full of gratitude, their beautiful smiles and their gracious humility. Needless to say, they are so easy to love.
We rejoiced this morning when Pastor John Wandera told us there were 30 salvations at the outdoor crusade Tuesday night. We are taking a short break now and freshening up before we head out to tonight’s crusade. It’s been non-stop ministry but we are receiving adequate strength from the Lord! Most of us are still on Colorado time, but I was encouraged today to hear that it usually takes about four days to adjust.
I so enjoyed dancing with the children at last night’s crusade! After taking some pictures of them with my cell phone they were quite excited to see themselves. I have a feeling that tonight will be even better because as I got into our van a little girl around 6 years of age asked me if I was going to the crusade. J Oh my, you couldn’t keep me from coming. Thank you Lord for showing up and saving souls!
Holly, Kim and I got to share with the women today. Oh what a glorious time we had encouraging them and reminding them how precious, beautiful and special they are, and of Jesus’ extravagant love for them! We anointed and prayed for each woman. Then Mrs. Wandera reiterated what we shared. Then several other Ugandan women preached from their hearts and wow were we all greatly encouraged! The women here are so beautiful and their children have simply captured our hearts!
Thank you for praying for our team. We love you and we are so enjoying the privilege of being the giving hands and loving heart of Jesus! Now may God bless you all in your mission fields. Until tomorrow, as they say in Uganda with a lovely British accent, “Have a fair and pleasant day!”
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Monday, Aug. 25, 2014 from Debbie:
Halleluiah we have arrived to “the pearl of Africa” which is Uganda! After going through five airports (Denver, Minneapolis, Amsterdam, Nairobi, Kenya and Entebbe, Uganda) with two 8 hour flights and two 2 hour flights along with 12 hours in layovers, we were more than delighted to finally get to our hotel rooms at 2 a.m.!
Upon awaking, we were pleasantly surprised to look outside and see Lake Victoria in our back yard with beautiful palm trees, green bushes and flowers surrounding the property. We enjoyed a nice breakfast as we listened to the sounds of birds singing along with the occasional mooing of a few cows next door.
Jack was our hero as we entered the airport in Entebbe. There was an unexpected change in immigration procedures and the people nearly mobbed the "Health Desk" to have paperwork filled out indicating whether they had any signs of ebola or not. There were about 150 people crowding and surrounding an office with only three clerks checking the paperwork. You had to have them verified before going thru customs. Jack took all of our forms for us and aggressively made his way through, standing tall and was thankfully able to get the attention of staff. We were thrilled not to have to be in the crowds as it was hot, stuffy, quite uncomfortable and we were just exhausted and he saved us at least 2 hours at the airport. (This area actually posed a possible place to catch the disease.)
We started our day going back to the airport to pick up Kim’s missing bag. This took close to two hours as traffic and checkpoints slowed us down. We were so happy for Kim to have her luggage and belongings! Then we drove six hours through Kampala, Jinja and many other little villages before arriving in Mbale, Uganda. Wow, I rode in the front seat and watched our driver skillfully avoid colliding alongside cars, buses, trucks, motorcyclists, pedestrians, cows, goats, chickens along with the many potholes and bumps! We are glad to be at our hotel and look forward to catching up some rest before the meetings and crusades begin (which is in the morning)!
In the meantime, we are enjoying the friendly people of Uganda and this beautiful tropical part of God’s glorious creation! We thank you for your prayers!
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August 20, 2014 from Debbie:
Greetings to my dear brothers and sisters in the Lord! Well, it's just a couple of days and we will be off and running (flying) to Uganda and Kenya!
It was an effort back in February to agree to Jack's request for me to join him on a trip to Africa. However, after a month or so of thinking about the Lord's return and wanting to fulfill His call on my life, the Lord has encouraged my heart to step out and go.
I'm not looking forward to the 28 hours of transit just to get to Uganda. (This will be Jack's sixth trip to Africa, so it's no big deal to him.) I guess I just need to rethink it as an adventurous time of transit with three mighty men of God and my dear girlfriends at my side.
I am truly excited and curious to see what the Lord has in store for our team to experience. It will be wonderful to be a blessing to these precious people!
All who are going have invested some big bucks, have gotten at least 9 shots, getting Visas and have spent numerous hours preparing and planning. Another words, it's a sacrifice to go, but I believe God's blessings will greatly outdo the other!
We sincerely thank you for your prayers and partnership, as you share this adventure with us.
God bless you dear friends! (In Swahili: Mungu akubariki rafiki mpendwa!)
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"For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard." Acts 4:20
Our ministry trip to the River of Life Church and Fresh Start Ministries in Winnsboro, LA Jan 26 – 30 was truly set up by God. I met Pastor David Philips last year in Sri Lanka as he was also on the ministry team for that trip. We connected with kindred spirits and after sharing some of my chaplaincy experiences with him he invited me to come and minister at his church and aftercare/addiction recovery centers. I preached two Sunday services and their Wednesday evening service, and taught and mentored 25 of his staff and key leaders on deliverance ministry during the week. They have 65 men and 25 women in their aftercare/addiction centers and many of them have been changed by personal encounters with the Lord. Some highlights include (and not their real names to protect their privacy):
- Two salvations (that I'm aware of). At the Sunday morning service Ronnie from the men's center came forward and just sobbed as the Lord ministered the love of God to him. He testified Wednesday evening that he had been changed forever and interestingly, he didn't even look like the same person!
- Angel from the women's center was healed and delivered from deep abandonment and rejection issues and is now free to love the Lord with all her heart without feelings of guilt, shame or unworthiness.
- Belinda was delivered from a homosexual lifestyle and her back/spine straightened right up as she was delivered from this afflicting spirit.
- Jack's personal life and business had been on a downward spiral since a work injury left him addicted to pain killers four years ago. He is now not only free from the addiction but also healed. Praise the Lord!
- Bill was in bondage to deep rooted resentment and bitterness toward various churches who had mistreated his family and also held severe judgements against God for "allowing" that to happen. The staff said they could feel the hatred in him when they were around him, but praise the Lord, he is now free and smiling for the first time since being in the center for five months. In fact, they said this is the first time they have ever seen his teeth!
- Page was instantly healed of chronic pain in her body that she had suffered with for thirty years!
- Joey was unable to work and on oxygen due to struggling from emphysema and smoking two packs of cigarettes for years. He had not been baptized since accepting Christ and said he felt something was "pulled out" of him when we baptized him in the men's shower! He gave testimony at the Wednesday evening service that he no longer needs his portable oxygen tank and is now able to go to work.
- Vanessa was delivered from severe demonization from years of a performance driven and sexually immoral lifestyle.
Many other healings and testimonies during the services include several healed from ringing in their ears, backs, shoulders and chronic pain. All of these people are now FREE TO BE FRUITFUL in the kingdom of God! All praise and glory to our Lord Jesus Christ! And the best thing about this trip is that the staff and key leaders of Fresh Start Ministry are now trained and equipped to continue to release the oppressed and set captives free (Luke 4:18)!
Fresh Start Ministry is a seven month program for jail/prison aftercare and addiction and destructive lifestyles. The cost to get in their program is a $500 upfront fee and payment of the first two months in advance of $500/month for a total of $1500. Many times this is all that is needed for the entire program as they also find jobs for the residents which usually ends up paying for the rest of the program. I would highly recommend their program to anyone needing this kind of ministry. You can check them out at freshstartministry.com and on Facebook at Fresh Start Ministry, Winnsboro, LA.
Another blessing about this trip was that Debbie was able to come and minister with me!
Other ministry being planned for the year:
Mar Tajikistan - Joshua Nations bible school training
Apr Healing conference, the Vineyard
Jun Annual golf fund raiser at Arrowhead Golf Club
July Uganda, S. Sudan & Kenya – Joshua Nations bible school training (possibly Aug instead)
Aug Cuba – follow up and youth ministry
Nov India – Joshua Nations bible school training