The Full Story
It is truly a blessing to be a part of the Rural Pastors Project! When I first met Pastor Martin almost a year ago, he shared his vision to build up and strengthen the village pastors of Uganda by stressing the foundations of the Scriptures and to train these pastors to stand on the Truth of God’s Word in their daily lives.
It was his passion for these pastors that made the decision for me to join him in this endeavor an easy one. Even though I had only expected to support Pastor Martin and the rural pastors in prayer, God had other plans!
As this was my first mission trip, I was unsure of what to expect culturally and spiritually but I was amazed on all accounts! We spent six days in the small village of Kamuli and were welcomed as family that had not been seen in ages. We stayed in the home of the village pastor, Pastor Sosan, as his family graciously sacrificed their space to accommodate us. I was truly humbled by the hospitality that was shown us throughout our time in Uganda.
We were initially expecting 50-70 pastors, elders, and leaders for the training. Our first morning taught us we think smaller than God does as our final tally on the first night was 118 and that number climbed as the week went on! More amazing than the quantity of people was the hunger they had for the Word of God; they didn’t want just to hear the Gospel, they wanted a deeper understanding of the authority of God’s Word and how to apply it in their lives. We were told of some of the differences in traditional African culture and how some of it may not be in alignment with the teaching of the Bible. I remember praying before we left for the village that God would not allow that to be a stumbling block to the pastors as we tried to teach them what the Bible says about Pastoring, Eldership, and being Biblical authentic men as husbands and fathers. It was obvious God was at work from the very onset of our first session; everyone was very engaged and taking notes. The questions they asked were so encouraging. You could see them working together to address specific needs in their churches … issues and needs that were in conflict with what we were sharing with them. But as we supported our responses with Scripture and relayed to them similar experiences in our church at home and how we turned to the Bible for guidance, you could see that they recognized that authority of the Word. They were so eager to set aside tradition in order to be in alignment with God in those areas! It was so encouraging to see people seeking out God’s will!
Another thing that affirmed God’s hand to me was that one of the first comments expressed by many was that these men desired a school where they could pursue this training to strengthen themselves and their churches. These comments were made before there had been any mention of the Rural Pastors Project; these men did not know the vision God had placed on Pastor Martin’s and Pastor Zach’s hearts!
I cherish our time with these brothers and sisters in Christ and learned much about them, about myself, and about God through this trip and am looking forward to many more as this project grows through God’s faithfulness and the obedience of those He calls to be a part of it!