Walk Uganda February 2017
A group of TFM team members regularly go out to Uganda to support local church leaders in mission. Here Christopher Nobbs writes about his recent visit there:
For me this was the eighth time I had been a member of the team and for Clare, my wife, it was the sixth time. Each year the mission is broadly the same – we spend 3 weeks each February in the country with each week based on a different church either Church of Uganda or Pentecostal denomination.
We go to up to 4 schools in a day taking assemblies: on arrival we would act out a parable that Jesus told (such as the Prodigal Son, the wise and foolish builders) or even David and Goliath. Then would follow an explanation and an invitation to follow Jesus. After this we would sing/teach the children a Christian chorus and finally give the head teacher gifts of teaching materials, stationery items, locally purchased notebooks and bibles. Usually the school choir would sing and dance for us to the beat of drums. Some schools were so poor that the classroom might consist of a blackboard propped against a tree with the children sitting on the ground in the shade.
We visit hospitals, taking plastic bags containing gifts of rice, flour, sugar and soap for the patients which we had previously bagged up from 50 kilogram sacks bought locally. We also take quantities of non-prescription drugs (mostly paracetemol). At Kagadi town hospital I offered the Senior Surgeon a shoebox full of paracetemol. He was quite overcome with gratitude and said “this gift is most timely for the hospital has run out of painkillers.”
One of the most rewarding visits is to the local prisons where some inmates have been waiting for up to 2 years to have their case heard. We take gifts for each prisoner of a bottle of ‘pop’, a doughnut, a banana and a bar of soap. After we have acted out a parable and someone has given their testimony of coming to Christ an invitation to follow Jesus is given. It is normal for more than 90% of prisoners to decide to follow Jesus. The change in attitude of the majority from misery to joy has to be seen to be believed.
One interesting development this year was when the pastor of Ndejje church (David Katende) suggestion that we fund a free Clinic for local villagers. There is of course no national health service in Uganda and many people cannot afford to go to a doctor, dentist or nurse. So at 10.00 am on Friday 24 February women and some men started arriving. They were given a paper with a number to show their place in the queue for seeing the nurse who would either treat or refer them on to see the doctor or the dentist in a building close by. By the end of the day130 adults and 49 children had been seen or treated and free medication provided (including those diagnosed with AIDS). A small number were diagnosed with AIDS who received free testing, counselling and family planning advice. Whilst waiting to be seen we had the opportunity of sharing the gospel; many decided to follow Jesus. Next year David Katende hopes to have a free clinic for 3 days!