As I’ve traveled now hither and yon throughout this area of Uganda, it is surprising to me how I hear the Spirit of God saying things to me. I wonder if I’m as sensitive in the U.S. as I seem to be here. I wonder if I hear the same promptings, but for some reason am not as responsive as I seem to be here. Maybe it has to do with the reason I’m here, that I’m prepared to be sensitive, but this is a troubling thought because it suggests that I perhaps am not prepared to hear God as I go about my routines in the U.S.

An example of what I am speaking about was brought to my attention today as I taught church planting principles in a place called Massesse (Ma-sess- say). The group was larger than I normally have from an individual church, about forty in number. I emphasize that I only need to see the church planters in the church, and so I typically have seven to fifteen people at most in this kind of group. But today I had about forty men and women, all interested in going out to the villages to plant churches.

Of the many churches in which I have taught over the last five weeks, most were scheduled by my “team,” Pastor Samuel Wasula and Pastor David Waisana. These men take the calP1090318ls from pastors that result from my pastor conferences where I give a general introduction to my church planting methods. They collect the calls and arrange the schedule to follow up these direct requests for training in the churches by the pastors. Or rather, they have done this in every case but two.

In the first case, I felt strongly prompted last March, when we drove out along the river for many miles, that there were churches out in these isolated villages who never receive outside ministry, and so I followed that prompting of the Spirit by telling my team to make sure and schedule churches out in this specific area. Just yesterday, I taught another pastor conference for about twenty pastors out in that area. It is the third general conference I have led out there, all in an attempt to reach these isolated areas. By this method I have reached at least seventy different pastors with the teaching that they can easily plant a church in the next village beyond their church. Now my team is following up with them to see if they are applying what I have taught and actually going to the villages. I know some of them are following through because I have returned to two of these churches and taught their church planters how to go, and I have personally gone to the villages with them that they are targeting in order to jumpstart them. All this activity because I simply followed the prompting of the Holy Spirit to go to this area with my message.

The decision to go Massesse resulted from the same kind of circumstances. Every day as we drove down the main road on our way to some isolated location, I noticed an area to the south along the edge of the lake far in the distance. I felt my heart leap toward this area repeatedly during these trips back and forth. I asked my team what that area was and they told me it was called Massesse. Every day after that, I heard the Lord say, “Don’t forget to go to Massesse.” So I insisted that Samuel and David include Massesse in our plans. So that is how they happened to call the pastor who attended our conference in Jinja a month ago and schedule the meeting.

So here we are, virtually at the end of the trip, since Gail and I return home next Thursday (one week), accomplishing our last training in a church today (Thursday) and tomorrow at Massesse.  This is the direct result of the Lord’s prompting, and we would not have scheduled this location if He had not prompted it. So when we arrive at a place under those conditions, I am always very interested to find out  what about this place has so attracted the Lord’s attention.

Massesse is a lakeside community – it sits right on the north shore of Lake Victoria on the east side of Jinja. The view from where the church building sits, just a little way up the hill from the road, gives a wonderful panoramic view of the lake. The pieces began to fall into place for me when the pastor told his vision for church planting. There are 52 islands in the lake in this region that are settled by a considerable but very isolated population. He has been praying for years that God would enable him to plant 1000 churches out on these islands to minister to all these people. He told me there are now 300 churches out there among the island people, many of which he has planted, but he has been praying for someone to come and show him how to do it in a more efficient and effective manner. He is convinced that our arrival here is the direct and specific answer to his prayers. All through the teaching today, I noticed him suddenly noting something in his notebook as he listened, and later he told me I had already answered many of the questions he has been asking about church planting.

The funny thing is that before I ever left Texas to come on this trip, I noted the presence of a population on these many islands in Lake Victoria, and I asked the question in my mind about how I could possibly reach this extremely isolated people group with church planting. To make a long story short, Gail and I will visit several of the islands on Monday or Tuesday next week with the pastor –his invitation. I am already beginning plans for an island hopping church planting mission next time I come to Uganda.

So this resulted from listening to the prompting of the Lord as we drove back and forth along the main road several miles north of the lake and this community.

I am left with another thought as well. When I return to the U.S., I’m going to listen more closely for His gentle prompting voice. I am purposing in my heart to be less distracted by the various competing voices of our American culture. I’m curious to see how that works out.