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My March 2016 Mission to Uganda and Tanzania

The truth is, I was very content doing ministry at home. Almost a full year had passed since I'd inherited the pastoral position of our home church and this new role was fully satisfying and challenging to me. It also gave me the opportunity to do a different style of teaching than I am afforded "on the road." During these months at home I finished writing my newest book, The Week of Millenniums, Nelly and I saw our daughter get married, and now we were joyfully anticipating the birth of our first grandchild. All was very well indeed. Nevertheless I knew that I had other spiritual responsibilities pressing upon me. My missions to Tanzania and Uganda were past due. My work in Africa had made great strides forward in 2015, but momentum is very precious and easily lost.

It surprised me when Nelly suggested that I visit both Uganda and Tanzania on the same trip. On a practical level this seemed very sensible. One transatlantic round-trip costs less than two, and I would be relieved from some of the ordeals of acclimating to the time change. But I knew the month-long separation would be challenging for Nelly, and so this idea would not have been voiced by me. I am thankful and honored to have a wife who consistantly puts the needs of others before her own.

The schedule worked out for everyone involved and so I made my reservation. I decided to fly in and out of Tanzania with an interior flight to Entebbe in Uganda. I arrived in Africa on 24 February and flew to Uganda the next day.

Part One: UGANDA

26 February marked the 11th anniversary of Henry and Maureen Musana's wedding day. It is such an overused cliché that time flies by quickly but that doesn't make it any less true. (Here is a link to some photos from their wedding.) We commemorated the day with lunch at an Indian restaurant.

On Saturday afternoon Henry dropped me off in the town of Kireka where I would be teaching on Sunday morning. In the morning service I accompanied Edith Kalule on the guitar as she sang the hymn "It is Well With My Soul," and I taught on Psalm 3. In the evening Henry picked me up and we went with John Lukyamuzi to the Redemption Christian Centre led by Pastor Geoffrey Kintu. Several of the church elders were students of mine in previous seminars in Uganda, and we had a good service.

From Monday to Friday, 29 February to 4 March, I taught at the GEM (Gospel Extension Mission) Sanctuary in Nyanama. This occasion was even more special because it was the inaugural event in GEM's newly acquired church building. With Pastor Henry serving as my interpreter, I presented The Principles of the Doctrine of Christ and If Ye Do These Things, Ye Shall Never Fall. Henry also led a discussion and review period at the end of each day of teaching that was very beneficial.

ugandaOn Saturday – after an unscheduled visit to the mechanic to replace the computer in his van – Henry and I drove about four hours eastward to the town of Mbale (click on the image for an enlarged map of Uganda). On Sunday we gave greetings at the early morning service at Pearl Haven Christian Center, and afterwards I went with Yekolams Wamanga to give the Sunday message at the Eagles Wings Worship Center where I'd be teaching the following week. From Monday to Friday I again taught The Principles of the Doctrine of Christ and If Ye Do These Things, Ye Shall Never Fall. On Thursday and Friday evening I taught selections from my seminar The Prosperity of the Lord's Servant at Pearl Haven. It was very wonderful to visit with Pastor Wilberforce Okumu and see all the progress that had been made in the construction of the new sanctuary at Pearl Haven. He told me that my message reminded him of the kind of message preached in Uganda 20 years ago before the churches were overrun by the so-called health and wealth gospel.

The following Saturday Henry and I returned to Nyanama. I taught the Sunday morning service at GEM Sanctuary, and in the afternoon I flew out of Uganda for Tanzania, arriving late that night because of the layover at the airport in Rwanda.

Some days after this mission was over, Edith and a friend recorded an Easter song I edith recordingwrote in 1979 entitled "He is Risen (Mary's Song to the Apostles)." You can listen to a demo version of the song by clicking on the photo. (Thanks to my son Michael for making a few editorial improvements to the sound file!)

My time in Uganda was a great blessing to me, and I believe much fruit will follow. Many thanks to Pastor and Mrs. Solomon Mutamba of Eagles Wings Church and all their congregation for the warm reception they gave me. Thanks also to Pastor and Mrs. Wilberforce Okumu for their friendship all these years. And of course thanks to Pastor Henry Musana, his wife Maureen, their children, and all the members of GEM Sanctuary for their loving hospitality. I am greatly indebted to Henry for his help in carrying out this mission, and I am very sure that he is the right man to help me in my quest to bring my version of sound biblical doctrine to the pastors of Uganda.

Part Two: Tanzania

It had been almost a year since I'd been to Matebete Village and during that time Irene Lobara had overseen a major renovation of the ITO Center (Ilaasak Tenebo Oninye is "Workers Together With Him" in the Maa language). Naturally I was very much looking forward to seeing the completed work.

tanzaniaI arrived in Matebete on Tuesday afternoon following the early morning flight from Dar es Salaam to Mbeya, and the subsequent car ride from Mbeya to Chimala and on to the village (again, click on the image for an enlarged map). As usual there was a large gathering of people waiting under the community tree to greet me, and as usual I had nothing prepared to say. But when it was my turn to speak I felt inspired to talk about the generation of Maasai who were young children when I'd first visited the village in 2004 but now had children of their own. This was a generation that had not sat under the ministry of the late Pastor Yohana Ole Ngekee, the man who introduced Christianity to Matebete. It was up to those who knew him, I said, to ensure that the work he started did not die out with them. This became the theme of the entire week.

On Wednesday morning, I held my first meeting in the refurbished center. It was a joy to see the improvements and it strengthened my desire to see that the building fulfilled its intended purpose – a center for the furtherance of the Gospel among the Maasai of Tanzania. That afternoon we held an official rededication service.

I taught every morning through Saturday, culminating with a three-part series on the book of Joshua. On Sunday I was invited to speak at the Lutheran church in Mpangala where Pastor Ngekee's family gather to worship. This was my first time to speak to his widow and sons since his passing and his deathbed message to me, "Tell Reverend Tim I have done my part. I leave the mission work among the Maasai in his hands." It was encouraging to hear his elder sons Nashon and Elkanah pledge their support and desire to help in the work. My sermon came to me while I was sitting in the church listening to the hymns. I called it "The Other Sacrifice," and spoke of the sacrifice that was made by his family because of Pastor Ngekee's often absences to go preach the gospel. Of course I was thinking of my own wife and family as well.

My mission culminated on Monday with a men's meeting, the first of its kind in all my years in Matebete. My theme was Proverbs 27:23: "Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds." These men knew better than most the diligence required to care for their flocks (in this case, their herds of cattle), and I reminded them that Jesus cared most about the state of their human flocks – their wives and children. How would they feel as they watched their family members stand before the Lord to hear his judgment? The response was overwhelming and the men voiced a commitment to support the work of ITO. I believe that if the Lord Jesus tarries and we are faithful to continue our efforts, this meeting will prove to be a great turning point in the chronicles of ITO.

There is so much more that could be said, but it is time to bring this report to a close. I hope you enjoy the photos. Thank you again for your prayers and financial support that contributed so much to the success of this mission.

In the service of His Majesty, the King of kings,

tim



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