Wednesday, December 8, 2010

DTS Outreach to Lobone Part 3


We were lucky this year to have 4 deaf students on the DTS, 3 of these students joined the team to Sudan.

On a daily basis these students taught local deaf and their families how to communicate with sign language using pictures, demonstration and fun games. It was lovely to see all the people come, anxious to learn, with a new hope of communicating to their loved ones and friends. It was also so encouraging for the hearing students to see the patience and willingness of our friends as they taught.


We had 2 sessions with local pastors and government officials. Using what we learned during lecture phase on Leadership and Team Dynamics, we were able to instill some useful ideas and tools to develop the community of Lobone. After the sessions we felt that God really used us to teach these men and women, and we got a sense that what they learned will not be forgotten.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

DTS outreach Part 2...more stories from Lobone, Southern Sudan


We were all a little bit worried about the potential of being served bush rat for a meal, but as it turns out, it tastes pretty good and we all digested it quite well.

Bush rat restaurant

We went to eat with the local pastors and government officials that we had been teaching about Leadership and Team Dynamics that morning. It was a nice way of getting to know them better, to hear their hearts and to find out what they had learned from us.


We played volleybal atleast 3 times per week with the local youth.

Our kids played and coloured pictures with their kids.


School ministry team walked 30 minutes, 3 times per week to spend time teaching and having fun with the children. During the morning we taught Bible stories and verses using different methods like drama. After the teaching time, we played games outside with the children. They loved having us there and enjoyed getting their pictures taken.

Stay tuned for more stories and pics in Part 3!

Monday, December 6, 2010

2010 DTS Outreach Stories and Testimonies Part 1


I will begin by saying God is so good.

It never ceases to amaze me how God will use us if we allow Him, if we stand back and let Him work through us, if we give up control and let Him lead the way. I have many stories that I could share about our Discipleship Training School outreach in Lobone, Southern Sudan, I will highlight a few over the next couple of weeks to give you just a taste.


20 Years old, former LRA (Lord's Resistance Army) captive, addicted to alcohol, rejected by family and friends. This boy was found by members of our team sitting alone, looking tired, malnourished and sick. This boy's feet were the home of many worms, called Jiggers. His home was infested, and his feet so badly eaten that he could no longer feel any pain.

I met Bosco one morning and knew right away that we did not have the amount of medicine to help him. The hospital authorities were reluctant to admit him becuase his case was so bad, but we advocated for him, and they finally admitted him to hospital for treatment. Over the next 2 weeks, his feet, although scarred, were free of Jiggers, and his face shone like that of someone who was finally loved...he had hope that life could be different.

We spoke to Bosco about Jesus, and told him that he was loved not only by us but by a great big Father God. He never gave his life to Christ while we were there, but I know that Bosco's
life was changed. I know that God will continue to work in the life of this boy, He will continue to transform him, He will continue with the work that we could not. Bosco knows that now he is not alone.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Theft on our base

This article has just been published on YWAM's international website about the recent theft on our YWAM base:

A YWAM base crippled by theft

My heart's desire is to write a follow-up article reporting that the thief came forward on his own accord to confess, repent and return the THAT would be a story! God is a great big God and quite capable of making that dream come true.

Thank you for your continued prayers!
Vikki Wright
YWAM Arua leadership team

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hospital Ministry

As an RN back home in Canada I was naturally drawn to the hospital ministry that has just begun here at YWAM Arua. This coming Friday will be the third week, and as much as there are some hurdles to cross, I believe that God wants us to be there and that He will do some amazing things through the team for both the patients and the staff.

Last Friday when we arrived, the staff were busy and did not have a lot of time to spend with us. Now, for a type A North American girl, you would likely not be surprised if I told you that this annoyed me a little bit. Surprisingly enough, even to me, I was not annoyed. I sensed God's presence and His words to my heart saying "Trust me Cheryl, you are all meant to be here because I sent you here".

We were able to spend time with some of the staff, we prayed with them and spoke truth to them from the word. This is amazing to me, because at home you would not be allowed to preach the gospel like that, and even if you were, people would not be open to hearing it. They were open and seemed touched by our willingness to share and pray with them.

After our time with the staff we walked through the ward, laying hands on and praying for patients and family members, it was awesome, the Holy Spirit was doing something BIG. We were all feeling it. I am excited to see what God will do in that ward. I should tell you that we will primarily be working on the TB ward as this is where the Arua leadership team felt this ministry needed to begin. This can be a daunting place as patients are very sick and infectious, but it is where God wants us and so with grateful hearts and masks we will enter those rooms knowing that the Holy Spirit is there doing His work through us.

Another aspect of this ministry is handing out food for patients. We have done some research and know what TB patients require the most and will do our best to provide these foods. I believe God in this area also, He knows, He will provide, He is in control.

I will be sure to keep you updated on all of the exciting things that God will do.

Cheryl Cook

Monday, June 21, 2010


Hi there! I would like to introduce myself to you, my name is Cheryl Cook and I have come to Arua from Brockville, Ontario, Canada for the CDTS. The young girl in the picture (yes, we are both young, but one is much younger than the other!!)is my daughter, Mackenzie. Mackenzie has joined me here and will do her studies through homeschooling curriculum which I will be needing much prayer for....just putting that out there for anyone who may feel led. I won't bore you with my life story, but I will tell you that since I was a young child, I have had a heart for Africa. My heart for Africa, and my love of Christ is what led me here to Arua to take the CDTS. I have been asked to update the Arua blog once weekly as part of my community responsibility here, and I have cheerfully accepted the challenge. I hope that these posts will give you a glimpse into our world, and perhaps inspire some of you to take this journey of discovery with God as I have.

I feel that it is an important thing to mention, especially to those who are perhaps deciding whether or not to embark on a journey such as this, that all of the staff are so welcoming and supportive. Not once since I arrived here, have I felt alone or without someone to talk to. As you can imagine, life in Arua is a little bit different from my life in Canada, and I feel that I can be open about the challenges that I have faced and will certainly continue to face as the 6 months go on. For this support and encouragement, I am truly thankful.

Now about the school. In total there are 15 of us here as CDTS students, we are all different, and all have something God given to offer. Of the 15, there are 4 deaf students, it is a real blessing for all of us hearing to learn some sign language and they have all been very gracious.

Last week was our first week going out and serving in our chosen ministry. I have naturally gravitated to the hospital ministry as I am an RN at home but I hope also to be involved with the prison ministry if time allows. I will post more detailed info about each ministry on another post.

For now I will end. Please know that again, I will do my very best to convey important information as well as allowing you all to experience a little bit of what we are experiencing here in Arua.


Cheryl Cook

Monday, May 31, 2010

YWAM’s 50th Anniversary: Eastern Africa 27 – 29 May 2010

Painted faces and oiled skin glowed in the late afternoon sunlight as feet stomped and drums beat to welcome Loren and Darlene Cunningham to Jinja, Uganda, for YWAM's 50th Anniversary celebrations. Africans consider it a great privilege to welcome honoured guests, and our brothers and sisters from all over Eastern Africa danced, sang and clapped with all of their hearts in welcome.

<---- The Busoga from Uganda swirled their hips in dizzying circles;

the Kenyans stomped their feet and clapped their hands; ---->

<---- and the Masai from Tanzania jumped straight up and down.

<------- Several young girls balanced stacks of clay pots on their heads, and led the Cunningham procession into the conference hall.

On stage, our team from YWAM Arua base opened the celebrations by dancing and singing about the unity in diversity that characterizes YWAM. Coming from the nations of Congo, Sudan, Rwanda, Uganda, America, England and Australia, the Arua team built a bridge together to demonstrate their vision to be a bridge of healing to the nations. Then they crossed the bridge with flags of Sudan, Congo and Central African Republic, and called others to join them in reaching these nations for Jesus. A Masai brother crossed the bridge to the whoops and cheers of the audience. ------->

Over the next 2 days, Loren and Darlene shared many encouraging testimonies of God’s faithfulness right from the days of their childhood to the present moment. They encouraged us to be God-loyal: that no matter what happens around us, we should not give in to self-pity but should keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and be loyal to Him, no matter what the cost. They challenged us to say “Yes!” to Jesus with radical obedience…even when we don’t know the extent of that commitment. And never to give up, no matter how hard things get…we should not negotiate in our commitment to hear and obey the King of kings.

<----- Darlene encouraged us to hang out with people who celebrate us, and commit to walk in unity. She also challenged us to be humble servant leaders…there is no other way to lead like Jesus than to submit ourselves to the will of the Father and seek His kingdom, not our own.

Loren updated us on the state of world missions and declared, “Jesus is winning!” We saw the growth of YWAM and the spread of Christianity. We also heard the heart cry of the Father for Africans to “Arise and Shine, for our time has come!” God has a place and a purpose for Africans in the Great Commission, and it is time to take up that calling and GO! ------->

<---- With that exhortation, we lined up to light our candles from the torches held by Loren (on the left) and Methode Kamanzi (Eastern Africa Regional Director, on the right in the white shirt).

With our candles held high, we agreed before the Lord to be part of taking the flame forward into the nations, to reach the unreached and disciple the nations. ----->

Finally, after all the Cunninghams had imparted into us, we were able to bless and honour them. We dressed them in the traditional style of the Rwandese,


and then the elders of YWAM East Africa presented them with traditional African gifts…a strong he-goat and a richly colored rooster. ----->

<----- Then the elders laid hands on this faithful couple, and prayed blessings over them.

We closed the event by committing ourselves to the Christian Magna Carta, and the Jubilee Covenant. Then we shared the Lord’s table together, and asked God to help us hear His voice, and follow Him with radical obedience wherever He leads.

It was a very special time, and we give thanks to the Lord for all He has done for us.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Our dining hall and kitchen need help!

The sad state of affairs:

Our dining hall and kitchen are crumbling once again.

These two temporal buildings have been serving our YWAM base since we moved on to the land 4 years ago. According to our master plan, we will have a nice, permanent kitchen and dining hall on the other side of the property in a few years time.

The dining hall -->

But in the meantime, we need somewhere to cook and eat.

Unfortunately, these temporal buildings made of papyrus mats covered with tarpaulins, and a few bricks here and there just don't hold up very long under the hot African sun.

<-- Pam Wright in dining hall with dog and chickens

So we are appealing to ours friends and supporters and asking if you would be interested in helping us rebuild these buildings with longer lasting materials. We would like to roof them with iron sheets and build up the walls a bit higher with bricks to provide more protection from the elements.

The cost of renovating these buildings is approximately $2,000 USD.

The kitchen -->

If you would like to donate towards this need, we would be very grateful!

Just click on this link: Donate towards rebuilding which will take you to a donate page on YWAM Colorado Springs' website. They are our homefront YWAM base in the USA and they handle our finances. On the donate page, at the button where it says "This donation is designated for:" select "Missionary Support" from the drop down menu. After a few seconds, a new box will pop up that says "Missionary name"...type in "YWAM Arua". We will be notified of the contribution and the money will be transferred to our account.

You will receive an acknowledgment of your donation with a tax deductible receipt.

Thank you all so much for your support. We appreciate you!

Be blessed!

<-- Milka, our cook, in the kitchen

Monday, February 8, 2010

GO Camp 2010

This year's 3rd annual GO Camp (Global Opportunities) got off to a great start with 9 students attending the 3-week camp.

The first week consisted of Discipleship training, team building and missions teaching.

The students had a lot of fun on the assault course where they had to work as a team to get through the various obstacles.

1st obstacle...crawling through culverts

2nd obstacle...crawling through tires


Finally...sliding down a slick, soapy tarp.

The students enjoyed worshipping together and bonding in those first few days before they headed off on their 2-week outreach to Southern Sudan.

YWAM Arua has an on-going ministry in Issore, Southern Sudan, working with the Lugot...the People of the Mountain.

Our GO Campers journeyed to Lobone, a town that is a 5 hour walk from Issore, where they stayed during their outreach.

The students took part in a variety of activities, including cleaning around bore holes, leading open air meetings, preaching in churches and even sorting out expired medicines from an abandoned hospital.

Eric all geared up for the hike to Issore --->

<--- Meeting with the youth

One of the GO Camp students, Innocent, who's father is Muslim and mother is Christian said this:

"I saw many changes in my life, especially in singing praise and worship and living in a spiritual community. In Lobone, it was my first time to stand in a church for worship, and my first time to preach. I thought I would be shaken, but I prayed and stood firm. May God remember my prayers, and let the words I spoke keep flowing in the minds and hearts of those people."

An abandoned hospital --->

<--- Inside the hospital

The GO Campers were asked to sort through
boxes of abandoned medicines in the hospital --->

<--- Sadly, nearly all of the medicines were long since expired.

Back in Arua, the team shared the stories of their time in Sudan, and rejoiced at God's faithfulness to keep them healthy and bring them back safely.

Many of the students told of their fears about sharing the Word or doing teachings, and how God gave them strength to stand firm and bring the message.

One student, Susan, said, "I don't think I'll ever fear again."

GO Camp Graduation

Congratulations, GO Campers! You did a great job, and we are proud of you!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

DTS outreach to the People of the Mountains

The Discipleship Training School (DTS) outreach to Issore, in the mountains of Upper Talanga (southern Sudan), brought new insight, many challenges, and a renewed heart for the Lugot…the people of the mountains.

From September to November 2009, the DTS team ministered in Issore, preaching the Word of God and demonstrating His love practically by working on a road that has been abandoned for more than forty-five years.

Beginning to clear the road -->

Right from the beginning, the local people gathered to assist with the heavy work of clearing the road. The first step was to slash the grass and bushes from Lumarti to the next village up the road called Singli. As they worked, one of the men from Singli village, called Opio, commented, “The light and life has come to Issore.”

After slashing the tall grass up to Singli village, the team went back to begin digging up the roots and clearing away the tree stumps. Now the people of Singli village are using the newly cleared road, instead of passing through the bush trails like they’ve been doing all these years.

The cleared road -->

On their first visit further up the uncleared road to Kamayokong village, the team talked to the villagers about God’s love, and the fact that He sent Jesus to reconcile us back to Himself. Before they even offered an altar call, a man named Okot Richard stood up and said, “I want to get saved now.” So the team led him through the prayer of salvation.

<-- Some children of Issore

On their second visit to Kamayokong, the team began to disciple Okot, and assured him of his salvation. They encouraged him with ways he could remain faithful in his walk with the Lord. Interestingly, Okot was the only man the team came across that had only one wife. All the others had at least 2 or 3. In addition, Okot lost one leg from the knee down when he stepped on a landmine, and now walks with an artificial leg and a cane.

While staying in Lumarti, the team held regular evening devotions attended by the villagers from Lumarti and neighboring Singli. Through these devotions, two women from Singli, called Margret and Christine, gave their lives to Christ. From Lumarti, a woman called Florence and four other youth also accepted Jesus.

Praying for a woman -->

At the moment, there is no church in Issore, and only a Catholic center in Lumarti that is not operating very effectively. In order for Okot, with his artificial leg, and the other new converts to get to church, they have to walk 3 hours to the nearest church, which is the African Inland Church (AIC) in Lobone.

While working on the road and visiting Issore, the DTS team also took time to minister in the neighboring bomas of Palwar and Lobone. Each boma in the payam has a head chief, and the head chief of all of Lobone Payam resides in Lobone village.

<-- Witchcraft is widely practiced in Issore. This is a shrine commonly seen around the area.

This head chief of the whole payam, called Justin Atto Opio, was sick and believed he had been bewitched. So he asked the pastor of the AIC church, Michael, to bring him someone to pray for him. Michael approached the DTS team and asked if they would come and pray for the chief. The team shared and prayed with the chief, and he greatly improved. The following day, the chief went to church for the first time in his life to testify about how he felt after that prayer, and he gave his life to Jesus. Being the head chief of all the Payam, Mr. Opio is a very influential man. He granted favour to the DTS team to work in any of the other bomas in Lobone Payam that they wished, and said he was happy for YWAM to be working in Issore because it was the only boma that no one else had been willing to work in. The chief said, “I promise to be with the church during whatever occasions they hold…I will attend them. I will also seek advice from the church leaders, and will help them when they need me.”

<-- Young boys of Issore

While in Lobone, the DTS team visited the hospital after they were told that children were suffering, and some even died, because there was no medicine. During that visit they met a twelve-year-old boy who was on an IV drip and whose sister had just died. They prayed for him, and many other children. The next day the team went for the burial of the boy’s sister, and to their surprise they found the boy there at the funeral. The boy testified that as soon as the team prayed for him, he was healed and then was released from the hospital. Then he gave his life to the Lord, as did his older brother who had been attending him in the hospital. Nineteen other mourners heard the story and gave their lives to Christ as well.

All of these positive responses to the Gospel message were very encouraging to the DTS team, and assured them that their efforts were not in vain.

Elders of Issore -->

“We survived just by God’s grace,” said Mario, the team leader. “There was no hospital, no clinic. One student got sick with malaria, so we just started treating him with quinine without even testing him, and thanks be to God, he got better. Another time, baby Nicole got seriously sick with a high fever, but we had no treatment for a baby, so we just gave her paracetamol and prayed for her. Thankfully, she also got better. Another student dislocated his ankle playing football, but again, we just prayed and he got better. It was all simply God’s grace.”

Spiritually the team also battled. “People came to attend devotions,” said Mario, “and they would act as if they were gaining something. But then they would go back to the community and resume drinking again.” This discouraged the team, but they would remind themselves that they were breaking new ground, and it would take time for the Word of God to take root and go deep.

<-- A man with his wife and child in their home

There are many questions about the future. The big question asked by both the villagers and the DTS team was, “What next?” The villagers want YWAM to train up some of their people so they can go back and act as spiritual leaders in the villages. Some of the YWAMers have the heart to keep working in Issore, and are committed to a long-term vision there.

YWAM Arua is still praying about the next step, and considering sending the January GO Camp outreach to Lobone for the two weeks of that outreach. There are still plans for continuing the work on the road, but there is a big need to repair a bridge to connect Singli with vehicles. At the moment, the road is only passable on foot.

In spite of all the challenges, the team was very positive about their outreach experience. Mario concluded, “The outreach went to the right place because the people of Issore were left alone and no one was thinking about them, but now the DTS was able to reach them and share the Word of God with them. The Light has come to Issore through the outreach.”