I’m sure some of you may be wondering why I have not been posting regularly since I’ve been here in Uganda this time. So I’d like to briefly address that. This trip so far has been radically different from my other trips. I seem to know what I’m doing this trip (80% anyway), so I am able to plan much more thoroughly without relying so much on my Ugandan Team to make such decisions for me and tell me where I am going. I know the area, and I have a plan in mind – I am surprised how much a little confidence changes the quality of my experience on the field.

Here are some of the differences:

I know that God has told me to directly involve myself in helping the pastors and their families generate income. Very few are paid anything for what they do other than occasional gifts from members. So most of the pastors live from day to day doing  handyman jobs around their community or temporary work in agriculture, etc. Very few seem to have generated any business that can sustain their ministry and their family, and most commonly, the fees to send their many children and adopted children to school every month.

So it is one of the burdens that the Lord has laid on my heart to help them generate some income for their families and ministries. I have been encouraged into this project by watching one of my close friends back in Fort Worth mentor new business people over the years. It seems in my life now that God is using everything I have ever experienced or learned to fulfill His mission here in Uganda. So I am trying to crack the “business” formula for how to do this in Uganda – teaching them to fish rather than just handing out fish to them, so to speak.

So in the nine days I have been here, I have spent a lot of my time working with my team on one of these economic projects. I have invested a small amount in some dried mushrooms, which is a fairly new crop in Uganda, and have sent my team to the market to see if they can sell them – this is the research stage for us. Are our prices right? Is our packaging right? Will people buy this product? We spent a whole day repackaging the mushrooms into smaller packages because we found out the first day in the market that the larger packages won’t sell, at least in the market setting. This process required buying smaller packages from a dealer in Jinja, camping out in the dining room of the guesthouse I am staying at, weighing our smaller portions, stuffing them into the smaller bags, and sealing them with a candle, all this done by hand by a team of four while I sat nearby studying and preparing for my teaching ministry. This has been for me the true definition of multi-tasking. So now armed with smaller packets of mushrooms, the team will go back to the market to continue the research while I move on to my next teaching assignment.

A second theme of this trip which is quite different is my approach to the costs of the conference ministry I am involved in. There are some unique costs in African ministry, at least in my experience, costs relating to the poor economic conditions. I won’t bother you with the details, but the costs can be quite high. So I embarked this trip on an experiment to cut these costs. What this involved was a lot of wholesale shopping and purchasing, which is a different approach from the past when I have simply paid the costs out of pocket. We spent hours during this last week shopping prices and then purchasing things among the least expensive vendors. This has given me a whole new look into the inner workings of Ugandan economy and culture. It has also been another major multi-tasking adventure.

So bottom line, I have spent almost an entire week planning, researching, investigating, interviewing, meeting, conferencing, training my team, etc. Every night I have returned to my room exhausted (but in a good way). So I have not had the energy to post any articles until last night. Now that this administrative phase is over, and I am embarking on fulfilling the teaching plans that my team has put together over the last week, I have more energy left over to write comments in a blog post. So I taught all day today, and though I have to pack up and move tomorrow morning, I am feeling much less tired than these many all-administrative days have left me. So that’s my “excuse” for not posting.

Now if you don’t hear from me for the next week, it will only be because I am out on the island in Lake Victoria, out of range of any internet connections. If you aren’t hearing from me in this forum, no one in the family is hearing from me either. If such a thing occurs, it will be a long and painful silence, but part of the cost of reaching this isolated population. Just pray with me that one of my internet methodologies will work from the island.