Wednesday, April 29, 2009

CRITters unite!

YWAMers from all over the globe are gathering in Jinja, Uganda, this week for the 6th CRIT consultation.

"Communication, Research and Information Technology"

and was formed six years ago in response to the word of the Lord that YWAM's central nervous system, or Communication backbone, was sick and in need of healing. The YWAMers realized that communication within the mission and out to the rest of the world was not functioning well, and needed to be strengthened.

Previous CRIT consultations have been held in England, America, Argentina and India. This is the first CRIT to be held in Africa.

The participants have come from bases in Argentina, Venezuela, India, Singapore, Taiwan, Czech Republic, Switzerland, England, Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa and USA to discuss how we can build and strengthen communications between our bases, within YWAM international, and to the whole body of Christ.

Aaron Musch and Vikki Wright are representing the Arua base, and are helping look at issues affecting communication in East Africa.

Members of Africa's communications team, AfriCom, are facilitating the event and pursuing the idea of launching new communications teams in East and West Africa. Other communication teams have been launched in recent years in South America (LatinCom), India (SpiceCom), Europe (EuroCom), and Asia/Pacific (AspaCom).

Here in Uganda we are excited about the potential that improved communications will bring to our mission, not just in networking but in uniting us as a region, as a continent, and as an international mission.

Please stand with us in prayer as we continue to seek God's strategies in this vital area.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lausanne YWAMers get their hands DIRTY!

One of the words God spoke to our Prison Ministry team this year was 1 John 3: 16-18 which says:

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."

And that is exactly what the Discipleship Training School outreach team from Lausanne, Switzerland has been doing while they've been on outreach with us here in Arua.

First, they headed down to a big soccer field (football pitch), donned their trendy yellow gloves, and got to work picking up trash. This field is at a main intersection right in Arua town, and soon enough, the presence of this team there picking up rubbish drew some interested on-lookers.

This woman came from a nearby sub-county called Maracha, and just happened to be visiting Arua that day. As she passed the soccer field and saw the Swiss team picking up rubbish, she also felt compelled to join them. So they gave her a pair of gloves, and she became part of their rubbish picking team.

The team was officially welcomed and appreciated by the town mayor, Mr. Charles Asiki, who thanked the team members for their heart to serve the community, and provided members of the Municipal Council representing the Department of Health and Hygiene to assist the team. The Municipal Council provided the gloves and bags for collecting the rubbish, and one member joined the team in the work. They also took responsibility to transport the rubbish to the dump.

Journalists from Voice of Life, a local Christian radio station, came to the field to interview the team members and try to find out what they were doing and why. It was a great opportunity to share the love of Christ in action and encourage others to look after God's creation.

Still eager to serve, the team continued loving in action by solving a drainage problem out at Giligil Prison. We have been working in this prison for several years now, running Alpha Courses and teaching the Word of God, but as we said earlier, we knew God wanted us to do something practical, as well. So when we heard that the prison had a problem draining the water run-off from the bathing areas, we went to have a look.

We found that the water from the guys' baths was collecting in a pool just outside the prison walls, and stagnating into a smelly bog. Mosquitos were happily breeding in the stagnant water and causing a high rate of malaria among the prisoners.

So the Swiss team and some of our Arua YWAMers got to work with some pipes, bricks and cement to redirect the flow of water and channel it away from the prison.

Some of the prisoners joined the work, and were grateful that something was being done that would reduce their chances of getting sick.

They worked all day, enduring the smell, the grime and a rain shower, but they got it done!

Dirty, wet and tired....yet they STILL have smiles on their faces! Now THAT'S an outreach team, for ya!

Well done, friends! You guys rock!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Delivery by Grace

Some of you may know that YWAM Arua is a sister base to YWAM Yei in Southern Sudan. YWAM Arua handles much of the logistical support for YWAM Yei's visitors and administrative needs. Most of the visitors going to Yei pass through Arua, and we get together for joint staff retreats and other programmes.

So it is great to bring you news of an exciting event that took place at the Yei YWAM base a few weeks ago. Our YWAM base there runs a small primary health care clinic called "Only Grace" which is much appreciated by the local community who are several miles from the nearest hospital. The clinic workers regularly assist in pre-natal care and the delivery of babies.

This delivery, however, was unique in that the pregnant woman was paralyzed from the waist down. From the time she was 9 years old, this mother has been crippled with polio and unable to walk.

Thankfully, with the help of Lia Bierly and Miriam Owot, the mother was able to deliver her baby successfully.

Praise the Lord, for it's only His Grace which could do it!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter roller coaster

Easter weekend was a bit of a roller coaster this year. Thankfully, we have 4 teams visiting us from various corners of the world who all pitched in to make the Easter programme a success.

Everything started well on Saturday when all the YWAM kids, various friends and visitors went to the Wrights' house to decorate eggs...

Jimmy, Junior and Deborah get started

Noah designs with crayon before coloring

Aidan and Joanna dye their eggs AND their fingers

We colored about 150 eggs, then had fun playing the Wii and running around the house.

Sunday morning dawned a bit windy and cool, but we didn't think too much about it. Tim Heathcoate, (from Capetown, South Africa with the School of Journalism team), preached at PAG church while the clouds gathered and the wind picked up. Jjust after lunch a serious tropical storm hit. The rain came fast and furious, and we thought, "Good, let it rain now and then dry up in time for our Easter program at the base." Sometimes these African showers are hard and heavy for 20-30 minutes, then they stop suddenly, the sun comes out, and everything starts up again from where it left off.

Not this one. The heavy storm passed eventually, but the rain continued slightly less ferociously, and by 2:30 we knew we'd have to cancel our egg hunt. We were seriously bummed, but there was no way we could scramble around on that muddy, sodden ground. Reluctantly we sent out the word that the programme was cancelled.

Just after the rain, though, a large crowd turned up at the YWAM base ready for the programme! Some of our staff told them to come back at 10 the next morning. So the programme was back on!

We believe God was at work with the rain storm because several of our Hindu friends would not have been able to attend if it had been Sunday afternoon as planned. Since it was rescheduled for Monday morning, however, Laksmi and Meena, and Meena's kids were able to come, which was a big blessing for us.

We started the program with a couple visiting from England on the Coventry team, Nick and Claire Bradshaw, who sang a lovely song about Jesus being alive.

Then we had the opportunity to explain the story of Easter with our friends and acquaintances from town, many of whom have never heard the story of why Jesus died and the hope we have since He rose again. We used the Resurrection eggs to tell the Gospel story to a crowd of about 50 visitors.

And then we had the big hunt!

We divided the group into 'littles'...

and 'bigs'

and off they went to find the eggs hidden around our base.

Afterwards we shared snacks of popcorn, peanuts, chocolate eggs, and of course...the hard-boiled Easter eggs.

What we thought was going to be a failed programme, God rescheduled to make it more successful than ever.
Things aren't always as gloomy as they seem, and we have hope because no matter what disappointment, what tragedy, what failure...Jesus already won the victory when He rose from the grave, and we can trust that His plans are better than ours!

Praise the Lord...He is alive!