What an incredible and amazing trip to Uganda we have just ventured on, which saw 3 of us go to Jinja to prepare for a team of eleven to pray, partner and participate in the Misseo Dei (the mission of God). During our time in Uganda, we were able to visit FACT, Future After Child Trauma, sharing with many young people here and see the new school that they are starting. We were excited to meet Pastor Paul and to see the project that we partnered with in the provision of a new toilet block. We also saw a number of other projects where we will be taking a larger team in the summer, visit schools where Vicky took the lead in setting up the empowerment of the teachers and development of the education. Vicky not only excelled in this area but related to teachers and students alike so well.
As we partnered with our friends in Uganda, Vicky led us in worship, which was amazing and inspiring. It was so encouraging to see the way God spoke through Vicky whilst we were there, and we saw much transformation.
We were so privileged to partner with Peter Mugabi, the General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Uganda, and his wife Rose. They have such a passion to share Jesus and together we saw many souls won for Christ. We are so humbled and honoured to work with such Christ-like people. It is so exciting to see lives transformed and partner together with others to see lives transformed.
We returned just in time for Easter and what an amazing time we had celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour! A number of us took part in the ecumenical walk of witness through the town on Good Friday morning, and we held an outdoor worship event at the top of Old Pale Hill, Delamere in the afternoon, where we were able to share the gospel message and the meaning of Easter with many of those out for a walk there. Richard Heywood: singer, songwriter and worship leader joined us for the weekend, helping us to lead worship at our Easter event, and also leading us in 3 song-writing workshops – an amazing time of exploring and celebrating our faith and love for God through the medium of music. There were some amazing pieces and testimonies that came out of this.
Finally on Easter morning itself, 20 of us gathered at 6am in Verdin Park, overlooking the town to see the sun rise, to worship and celebrate the resurrection, an incredibly special and beautiful time.
As we continue to gather together for worship we are growing in unity and discipleship. We are finding the freedom of meeting in different venues exciting. We have enjoyed welcoming new people and sharing together at the Memorial Court too, which is at the heart of the community.
We have had a really excellent time at our Alpha course, with many people expressing how it has deepened and developed their faith. At our final session, we were so thrilled to see and experience a move of God’s Holy Spirit. We witnessed at least three people healed and one young man give his heart to Christ which was so fantastic. This session on healing was a dramatic one, hearing testimony from Peter Ashburner, and praying for many of the participants with many experiencing immediate healing. We have now begun the Bible Society’s ‘The Bible Course’ as we continue to disciple those in the group.
Many thanks to those of you who supported Jo and Sarah in their 24 hour bakeathon and the following coffee morning and also the fashion show, fundraising for the trip to Uganda this summer. Your presence, support and cake-eating is much appreciated! Come and enjoy an amazing meal at Kanya Bistro in Northwich on 11th July, followed by an auction, tickets are £25 each.
Rev. Neal Stanton, Pioneer Pastor, Zac’s House
Over a number of years I, Neal, have built up partnerships in Uganda with a number of people and charities/ organisations, and been able to support and encourage them in their work. Through the April trip that myself and Vicky went on, we were able to work with some of these and establish the purposes and aims of the mission trip in the summer.
Educational development – helping people to learn in effective ways
Empowerment of women – giving a voice to the voiceless
Encouragement of leaders and pastors – helping leaders to flourish and disciple well
Enhancement of agricultural sustainability (a hope we are developing)
During our time in Uganda, we will spend time with a number of projects to meet these aims, including:
The partnership started 15 years ago when we took out brass instruments to support young people needing to build up self-esteem. These young people had been through traumatic and abusive situations and Paul Tenywa set up this organisation, teaching them valuable musical skills, encouraging them through group participation in a brass band, raising their self worth and providing income. Many years later, when Neal was visiting another charity, we bumped into Paul’s brother, Jude, and re-established contact with Paul and FACT. At Christmas, we were able to fund the building of a new sanitation block at the school through the offering on Christmas Day. This block has now been completed and is looking great!
Now Paul has found his ministry to young people expand and he has been approached by as many as 130 young people needing housing and education. Paul has set about raising support for these young people, and is asking for help with sourcing:
· Brass instruments to develop the bands further
· Educational development, both practically and with equipment
· Biblical materials
· Support to enable young people to develop in discipleship and empowerment
This is a charity that provides health and education services to men, women and children, in particular through the impact and needs brought about by HIV.
They aim to reduce poverty and stigma by addressing gender inequalities. Gender equality has been shown to have the biggest impact on development outcomes.
In 2017, they opened a new preschool and education facility – ‘Kathy’s Centre’ named after the late founder of Act4Africa. We have the opportunity to support them in the building of a new toilet block within the pre-school during our visit in August. During this time we will also be able to engage with the pre-schoolers through play and reading, find out more about the HIV testing and support that goes on, and visit the goat farm which provides empowerment and income through valuable resources. We also hope to be able to connect Act4Africa with FACT, so they can utilise the ecobrick knowledge and skills that Act4Africa have been using.
Pastors’ Discipleship Network
I connected with Pastor Peter and his wife, Rose, through a friend, and we have been able to support them in their work encouraging and nurturing pastors and their wives, through conferences and worskhops. They have an extensive network of Pastors and leaders, aiming to influence influencers, providing discipleship and encouragement. Having prayed with Rob, we felt this was an excellent opportunity to partner with Firefest, bringing the first ever Firefest International! We will be leading a 2 day conference, and this is an exciting development for both Firefest and PDN.
Please pray for:
· all members of the team in their preparations both practically and spiritually
· spiritual protection for all involved
· good health and safe travel during the trip
· that all involved would grow in their faith and relationship with God during this time
· team members
Huge thanks to all of you for all the prayer and financial support you have given so far, and for that still to come. It is a vital part of the mission, and without it, it could not happen. Thanks too to those who have worked so hard in their fundraising efforts including the fashion show, music gig/ auction, 3 peaks walk, meal and auction, and the bakeathon. We look forward to sharing with you all when we return!
Rev Neal Stanton