“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42 ESV).
Today began with dark rooms and cold showers as the electricity was knocked out yesterday by a storm that left our hotel without power for nearly a day. It also began with much activity because many of us had to surrender our rooms in the new part of the hotel, pack our things and move to the old section, so that the hotel could accommodate visiting dignitaries. We could have refused, but we are working to build a relationship with the hotel manager that allows us to further share the gospel with him and his staff. The manager was in a bind. He had overbooked the hotel, so we offered to help. We are learning that surrendering to Jesus, or as the Ugandans say, “Yesu,” sometimes means surrendering your new room for an old one.
At breakfast we laughed about the cold showers and using flashlights to find our things. I heard no grumbling, just the flexible adjustment to changing circumstances that we are learning together here. We did discover that two of our team members weren’t feeling well, so we prayed for them and encouraged them to stay at the hotel and rest, while the other members went out for another day of training and teaching. They would rather have been teaching with us, but sometimes surrender means we have to rest when we’d rather be working.
After breakfast, we loaded up the vehicles and traveled to Kashinge Baptist Church and Child Development Center. It was a short, but bumpy ride as the road is barely passable. As we arrived on the Kashinge campus, and the children gathered on the lawn to greet us. They brought out plastic chairs for our team to sit while facing the children who sat on the ground. The children welcomed us with poems and songs. One poem was about the terrible scourge of AIDS, while the songs were songs of welcome.
They sang, “We welcome you visitor. We are so very happy you are here. Thank you for coming. We love you very much.”
After introductions were made, we gathered in the church for hymns and instruction from Pastor George Mbonye for the day. The team scattered to teach the children, while Monte and I taught the adults in the church. Monte preached from Luke 19 on Zacchaeus and the importance of a life transformed by salvation. I preached from Exodus on Moses and how God overcame his five excuses. Monte had 7 people raise their hands indicating that they had prayed with him to surrender their lives to Jesus.
In my sermon on Moses I used five words from their own language that all started with the letter “K.” I had taught the pastors the previous week at the Pastor’s Conference that their sermon points should be accurate, simple and memorable, so I didn’t want them to think I didn’t practice what I had taught them. I had bought a English-Rufumbira Dictionary here, so I wanted to surprise them by using their language in my sermon.
When I began using their language for my sermon points, they laughed at my feeble efforts to pronounce their tribal tongue. But it was good natured laughter. I think they really appreciated my attempt.
Their favorite sermon point was number five, “kurekura,” which means “surrender” in Rufumbira. After my closing prayer, Pastor George further explained the time of decision to them. Pastor George has been my interpreter at every session. When he was finished talking, I was surprised and overwhelmed to see everyone in the room raise both hands in surrender and shout “kurekura!” and “Yesu!” which meant that they were surrendering their whole lives to Jesus.
After this, George had the men go to another room for prayer and the women stayed in the church to pray together. Robin and Pastor George’s wife, Robinah, prayed for the women. I went with our team of men to pray for the Ugandan men. We had each man sit in a chair in the center of the room as our team prayed for each of them individually. This was a powerful time.
Afterwards the church served us a hardy lunch of rice, beans, goat and matoke (made from plantain). During lunch, Pastor Joseph (George’s brother, who pastors this church) was very gracious. He wanted all our emails and promised to keep in contact with us and pray for us.
We returned to the hotel and headed to the local Kisoro coffee shop called “The Coffee Pot.” I ordered a cappuccino and internet. Of course, the internet was down again.
Apparently, surrendering to Jesus sometimes means unpredictable internet service too.
Written from Kisoro, Uganda on June 19, 2014