Three Weeks in Uganda

Recently I had the privilege to travel to Uganda as a representative of the OPC’s Committee on Foreign Missions. I went with our committee’s Associate General Secretary. Our purpose was to visit our missionaries there in order to encourage them in their labors and provide counsel.

Since I had never been to Africa before, this was a special trip for me. In my work on the committee, I had briefly met at one time or another the missionaries serving there (usually when they were on furlough and meeting with our committee). Now I had the opportunity to get to know them better, and to learn first-hand their joys and struggles in serving the Lord in far-away Uganda.

I have deep admiration for those who are willing to sacrifice the familiarity and comforts of home to live in foreign nation, for the sake of serving Christ and making him known. Missionary service is not for the faint of heart, especially in a place as challenging as Africa. After getting a glimpse of the challenges they face, I know better how to pray for our faithful brothers and sisters serving in Uganda. They are ordinary Christians like all of us who struggle in all sorts of ways, but my respect for them grew as I witnessed first-hand their devotion and service there.

And it was a great joy to meet Ugandan Christians. What a blessing to experience the truth that our fellowship in Christ transcends all cultural and ethnic boundaries. Life is hard for these saints, but by God’s grace they are living faithfully as followers of Jesus.

May the Lord mightily use their labors and witness, along with those of our missionaries, to gather in his elect among the people of Uganda and build up his church there.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Pastor Johnson

Mbale, Uganda. Mbale is a medium-sized city north of the capital, Kampala. We have two missionary families stationed there, but one is home on medical leave.
The OPC’s Uganda Mission runs a theological school in Mbale to train men for service in the church as pastors and elders. Many of the students are pastors from nearby villages. I had the privilege to teach one class to the students while I was there.

The closest thing to Starbucks in Mbale. Actually, it’s much better than Starbucks. A few years ago the missionaries opened Reformation Book Room, a coffee shop and theological library in downtown Mbale. You’ll find here great coffee, local crafts, and a well-equipped library of Reformed materials. It’s become a place for local pastors to work on sermons and for ex-pats to sip coffee. How many coffee shops in the States feature a picture of Jonathan Edwards above the counter?
The other missionary station is located in Karamoja, a rural area north of Mbale. Here we have several families and individuals living and serving together to minister to the local people, the Karimojong. This is a typical hut in the local village, Nakaale.
One of our missionaries specializes in community health outreach. These are two locals whom she has trained to visit nearby villages and share information on good health practices.
Cattle are important assets for the Karimojong.
Karamoja was beautiful, the kind of scenery you picture when you think of Africa. Once, lions, elephants, and giraffes roamed the plains. My understanding is they’ve been hunted out of existence in this part of Uganda. The snakes are still around in abundance, though!
The person standing on the left is Boston, a young Christian man from Malawi. He recently graduated from a seminary in Kampala and was serving a two-month internship with our missionaries in Karamoja. The man to his left is his Karimojong interpreter.
One of the local foods is “Rolex.” Not the fancy watch, but an abbreviated form of “rolled eggs.” An egg is cooked on a tortilla-like bread and rolled up. Very tasty.
The women can support and balance an amazing amount of weight on their heads.

Here is one of our missionaries preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ at a… public school! He called the school earlier that day to see if he could visit and give a message to the students. The principal agreed and after we arrived, all the students came out to the courtyard to hear the Word of God.