Tuesday, 30 July 2013

So many things happened on our trip to Uganda that it is hard to know what to write about and what to leave out.  It was a great time!

Kampala Earthquake
Wednesday:  Kampala, the capital of Uganda, was our first destination; it took six hours to get there, where we would spend the night in Ephraim and Jova Tumusiime’s home.  We had just gone to bed and were reading when we felt the bed begin to gently shake – for quite a few seconds.  “John, what is that”?  “I don’t know”.  “John, it’s an earthquake”!  “No, it has lasted too long to be an earthquake”.  So, it stopped.  Then, a few seconds later the bed and whole house began to shake violently and the big metal gates to the compound were clanging together loudly.  There was no doubt it was an earthquake.  Marty was looking for a way out of the house, but the quake stopped abruptly.  John still wasn't sure it was an earthquake, but Marty has experienced earthquakes before and was convinced it was one (although she had never been in one so severe).  She was prepared to escape if it happened again (but realized she didn't know how to get out)!  Next morning we were told that there was a 5.5 magnitude earthquake on the Richter Scale at the epicenter, which was many miles away.  (Marty promptly located all the home's exits as well as the location of the keys.)

It has since occurred to us that God often works in the Natural first and then the Spiritual/Supernatural.  We believe that earthquake was a demonstration in the Natural of what God had planned for in the Supernatural in the remote area of His Kingdom in Africa to which He was sending us.

Early-Morning View from our Hotel Window 06:27 7-8-13
(the time on the photo is US time)

Thursday:  We drove another 6 hours on paved roads, which were occasionally rough, in Ephraim’s 2001 well used, but able for the job, van to a small market town in a fairly remote area.  But there was a hotel there into which Ephraim and we were booked. 

Friday - Sun:  We were headed for our destination, Kakaari, a very remote area, down in the Great Rift Valley, near the border  of The Congo. Absolutely beautiful, verdant country with spectacular views of the valley, volcanic crater lakes, tea plantations and bananas!  The trip to and from Kakaari took another 1-½ hours each way (total 3 hours a day for 3 days).  The actual village itself was about 15 miles off the paved road and on very, very rough, narrow dirt roads.  Motion sickness first thing in the morning became a problem for Marty, but it cleared up in about a half hour once there.

Rice, peanut gravy, ugalie, boiled bananas
& potatoes.
That area of Uganda is the banana capital of the universe!  Needless to say, bananas are staples there – green cooking bananas (aka plantains in the West); yellow bananas; red bananas (sweet and tangy); boiled bananas; mashed bananas (matoke); fried bananas; banana beer (saw it [smelled it] being brewed in the village).  Groundnuts (small red-skinned peanuts) are also a staple there.  One treat was a peanut sauce/gravy served with each meal.  During the dictatorship of Idi Amin, the Ugandans were able to stay alive and relatively healthy by eating bananas and groundnuts, which provided sufficient nutrients.
Boiled Bananas - Fried Cabbage

All day Friday and Saturday was dedicated to teaching and ministering, in a mud church with a corrugated tin roof, to about 30 regional pastors and other leaders from various villages in Western Uganda.  How some of them got there remains a mystery (the area was so remote).  Some made real sacrifices to be there.  The theme of the conference was “Building for Growth”.  We also led impromptu workshops on Saturday on Discipleship through Cell/Home groups; the Gift of Prophecy - Prophetic Intercession - Five-fold Prophets.

Impromptu Workshop (Notice the Bananas All Around)
Interior of Church

Sunday was just a great and wondrous (and long) day.  The little church was packed and John delivered a powerful faith-building message!  The faith level was really high.  Marty had, had a dream on Thursday night that had her really puzzled - it just didn't make sense. She prayed and sought the interpretation. Then in the wee hours of Sunday morning she got the interpretation.  It was - that there were folks in the church that were mixing witchcraft with Christianity and were deceived and also very confused as a result; there needed to be repentance - rejection of the witchcraft and total commitment to the Lord.  The two leaders of the group, Ephraim and Mark, agreed that was an accurate interpretation and we had a time of congregational repentance.  Then there was a short teaching on the infilling of the Holy Spirit.  There were many children there.  When teaching about the Gifts of the Spirit and being “Baptized in the Holy Spirit” Marty pointed out that with children the Holy Spirit isn’t a “baby Holy Spirit”; He fills children and they operate in the Gifts of the Spirit in the same way as adults.  When the church was given the opportunity to come forward to receive the Infilling (Baptism) of the Spirit the pastor got all of the children in the congregation and brought them to the front of the adults that had already come.  When we prayed, the presence of God was very powerful and the people responded with much joy and enthusiasm.  But to see how the children responded to His presence was just an amazing and beautiful thing.  We tried to get photos of them, but it wasn’t possible.

We would be remiss if we didn't mention the singing and dancing in that church.  The only instruments were two primitive drums that had skins across both ends; they were played with a stick and the hands. Truly, no other instruments were needed!  There was even a choir. Wow!  What harmony!    

They Were Having a Great Time
Babies Dancing

The Choir


The Offering



Friday, 12 July 2013


Seemed appropriate to our situation!


Thanks to your generosity, Violet was able to have several orphans treated for ringworm – there seems to be an epidemic of it.  Some of the boys had various wounds on their bodies that needed treating and one little girl needed medication for a bad cough.  Truly, most of these children, if not all, would not have received treatment without this fund that you have made possible. Thank you again.


From Entrance to the High Place
When we bought the land for   The Widows’ Farm, about four years ago, Marty got a dream.  In one corner of the property is a small grove of bondo trees (bondo means dove) interspersed with saplings of some sort.  Her dream was to make it into an outdoor prayer chapel. Well, this year we were able to begin to make the vision a reality.  We hired a young man named Peter to help Charles on the farm and his first job has been to make a pathway to the chapel.  The way there from the front gate is (was) knee high in weeds and crooked and full of hills and valleys.  Peter has dug, filled in holes, flattened hills, split rocks to fill in ditches and making a beautiful pathway.  He has covered it with murram (a hardpacking red soil indigenous to East Africa) it will become like a road. It is just amazing. Charles removed this year’s deposit of debris and chopped out stumps with his panga (machete) to make the ground smooth, and Marty raked for 3 days to get the small stuff out. The first day, when she got tired she sat down for a bit, leaning against a bondo tree. It was so quiet and peaceful and just full of the Presence of God! It's going to be wonderful when it's done!   
The Path - Before

The Path - After
John and Marty went in and began to decide how to lay it out.  The place has some natural pathways and also some lovely little nooks that are perfect for people to sit or stand in, and also plenty of walking-around room for those who like to be mobile while praying.  We laid rocks out to separate areas and make pathways. The place has three natural levels, with a “high place” in the middle that is perfect for a couple of benches and a focal area – the benches are made and ready to put in place.  Marty "coincidently" came across the story of Jacob and the ladder (Genesis 28:18-19).  He took the rock he was using as a pillow and set it up on the spot and names it Bethel (the house of God).  John, Peter, Charles and Marty went and found a BIG rock and put it in the middle of the focal point on the high place.  The prayer chapel is now names Dala Nyasaye (House of God in the Luo language).
Altar on High Place

One day when several folks were working on it we came across a flat piece of metal, almost like a tool or sorts.  That prodded the memory of Charles who told us that years ago that grove had been a place of devil worship and sacrifices.  We never knew that.  Woohooo!  How's that for taking back enemy territory?  

We will surprise the intercessors (a small group of women - 99% widows) by bringing them out and having them place the stone as an altar in a small ceremony.  Then they or anyone can come, whenever they wish, to spend quiet, peaceful time in a place dedicated to that purpose.  They will be so surprised and pleased.

Below are benches we had made - it's just about finished!

When we brought in the big stone, just as we set it up in its place a dove landed in the trees above and began to coo.  What a blessing!

It looks like a park inside.  When young Peter was digging holes for the benches he stopped and said "It's so quiet here".  It truly is quiet and peaceful - the presence of God is almost palpable. We believe He is pleased with it.

Hornet's Nest

We love the way our Kenyan friends pray. There was a hornet's nest in the prayer chapel and we asked Charles to get rid of it. He told us that he said to God that those hornets could live somewhere else, and he told Him that it would be no problem for Him to remove them.  He reminded the Lord that the ladies who will be praying there are old and they can't run very fast to get away from the hornets.  A few days later the watchman, Joash, went to get rid of them.  THEY WERE GONE!!!

Blessings & Love,

John & Marty