[Written about 2:30 pm Sunday, Uganda time] – I have just returned from the village of Kivubuka in Uganda where I preached to a congregation of about fifty men,2013-02-03 13.33.03 women and children. It was way off the main road, back in the bush where all the roads are unpaved. This was Samuel Wasula’s home church and the town where he grew up and met the Lord. (Samuel is the church planter I am working with here).

The church meets in a mud-wattle type building. The walls inside are brick, surfaced with smoothed cement, and on the outside the walls are mud-wattle that they are slowly

replacing with bricks. Mud-wattle surfacing is accomplished by lacing many branches together in a tight frame, then smoothing the very sticky local red mud over the laced branches until you have a solid wall surface. The inside of the building is supported by poles cut from the forest for the beams, trusses and the supports. On top of this, the roof is corrugated metal. The floor is packed earth. They build all this themselves and prove to be a very resourceful people.

The young pastor, George, made a plea for the families to bring poles from their homes if they had any to donate because they are planning to expand the meeting 2013-02-03 13.48.39place and they need poles to hold up the roof. So this church is growing. During the offering time, I saw one of the ladies bring her tithe (they call it their tenth), and instead of placing money in the basket, she picked the basket up and placed a large bundle of something on the bench, then put the offering basket back on top of the bundle. So her first-fruits were in the form of hard goods – it looked like it might be grain, or corn or something similar from her garden.

I preached for about 50 minutes (with an interpreter) on 1 John 1:9 and Luke 7:36-50 where the sinful woman weeps at Jesus’ feet and washes his feet with her hair. This passage is a good one to show the two kinds of sinners – those who come to Jesus broken and seeking forgiveness, and those whose hearts are hardened to God. I talked about brokenness and hardness of heart, and asked them which of the two they are. Of the crowd of fifty a number came forward for ministry.

My approach today, my second Sunday in Uganda, is to do everything I can to strengthen and encourage the Ugandan Church to do ministry. I tell the people that I am just a visiting musungu (their word for white man, or westerner) but that they are the church and must step up and do the work of the ministry. So today, instead of praying for thepeople who came forward myself through an interpreter, I spent my time during the ministry time praying and encouraging other Ugandans to minister to their own people. There is a real tendency here to let the musungu who visits and preaches do the entire ministry, but I am here to build up the church and teach her how to minister. So I asked at least four of the other leaders besides the pastor, who were just standing there watching, to step in and minister in prayer to the people who were lining up. I think they were expecting me to do it, so they acted surprised at first, but then, and I’m proud of them for it, they stepped right up and did it.

During all this, the Holy Spirit kind of played a joke on me – He knows I always appreciate His sense of humor.  We arrived after the service had begun, and so didn’t receive introductions to the leaders. There were several people seated at the front behind the podium, and that’s where they sat us also when we came in. There was the pastor and his wife and a woman who I later found out was an elder, sitting on one side. We sat across from them next to a man in a suit who I assumed was a co-pastor. So when I was looking for leaders to minister to the people during the invitation, this “co-pastor” was an obvious first choice. When I asked him, he hesitated a moment, then jumped in, and did a great job. Afterward, when the pastor was doing announcements and greetings, I learned that this gentleman was a visitor from their denominational headquarters who was moving among the churches, meeting with the pastors and congregations. So he was as much a guest as I was, and a mucky-muck to boot. Oops! Oh well, he was a native and spoke the language, so he did a better job than I could have. Afterwards, he seemed to appreciate my approach to things, so it all worked out. But, as Gomer  Pyle used to say, “Go-o-O- O-llllllyyyyy!!??!! (Ha-ha, God! I can sense You snickering! You got me good!!)