East Africa Report
Eats Africa Report by David Freeman, 1st – 26th May 2011
UGANDA: A Miracle?
Plans for a 4 day conference for 60 Heads, Deputies and Directors of studies of Deliverance Church schools seemed to be in jeopardy when, a few days before it was to start in Kampala, there were political riots. The opposition leader who caused the riots was badly injured and hospitalised in Kenya for the complete week of our conference, which went forward as planned. Head teacher, John Wesley, from Kenya was planning to join me in teaching but he didn’t make it so the schedule was a pretty heavy one. However, perhaps because there had been no such conference for about 7 years, the delegates were hungry and responsive. A major breakthrough was the printing of the Teachers’ Manual which contains a synopsis of the material we have taught in past years, compiled and illustrated superbly by Annie Crowe and providing examples for African teachers from her many years’ experience. Everyone was thrilled to get it and we sense it will be a major discipling tool for in-school training of Christian teachers. After the teaching on the Holy Spirit many were impacted and refreshed.
BURUNDI and DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC of CONGO: Keep right on to the end of the road!
The two main purposes of this visit to work with Ray and Mary Anne Bale were to:
1) Help them with the New Hope school which opened in their home for 19 Congolese orphans.
2) Visit the Emmanuel Project, which includes a school of 53 more orphans in the village of Marungu in the mountains of Congo.
The New Hope School operates 5 mornings a week and Mary Anne is leading the work. I observed some teaching and the children have learned much English and much about God: they love to worship. Mary Anne has several teacher-helpers as the age range is wide and the emotional needs are many. An English teacher is planning to join the work soon.
The village of Marungu is 9,000 ft up in the mountains and is at the very end of the road (‘road’ = muddy track of one vehicle width). The 30+ mile journey to Marungu was supposed to take 7 hours – it took 2 days! We got repeatedly stuck in mud craters and spent the night at a base on the way. The second day the vehicle got stuck fast in the mud and a rock face for 4 hours about 20 miles from Marungu; it looked as though were going to sleep the night (all 8 pastors etc.) in the bus. However, God answered prayers and the ‘cavalry’ arrived to rescue us in the form of a ‘Medecin Sans Frontiers’ doctor who heard of our plight. Like the day before, we had only a few ground nuts and water so the chicken and rice at 10pm was welcome!
The proposed 3 day education seminar, reduced now to 2 days, was, by reports, well received by the 73 delegates. Apparently, unlike former seminars on Aids or Reconciliation they felt this was very different and the teaching about Kingdom of God aims and grace in discipline gave them vision and practical keys to work with.
The Emmanuel Project, situated on spacious land donated by the government, is Ray’s vision, serving the children and people of Pastor Ruben in his home village. There are many plans to build a new school and extend the project which aims to be self-sufficient with farming, a flourmill, brick-making and a guest house.
Continual danger from bands of rebels threatens the area and we had armed guards even when we went for a short stroll.
The 53 orphans were joyful in their singing, welcome and being wonderfully restored from the past traumas afflicting their lives. Ray has great favour here and is greatly loved by all, especially youth and children. He and Mary Anne sense God’s call to re-focus on working into the Congo situation.
The trip ended with the decision to walk the 20 miles back to the hill station due to the roads. We did 5 hours over the mountain and 15000 ft down a near vertical mud path. Just before we were met by the vehicle we were suddenly faced with a band of about 10 armed and wild-looking soldiers. It turned out that they were rebels but, fortunately for us, this band had recently made peace with the government army!!
RWANDA: Working with church teams
Through relationships formed over the past few years I was joined by Steve Thomas and Pastor Titus Oundo, leader of our related churches in Uganda, Deliverance Churches, to work with two different leadership teams who are looking to learn about apostolic teams. One week was with Pastor James Buyinza of Revival Place Church, and the second week was with Pastor Ananie Bagaragaza of Church of Faith, Rwanda (part of our Salt and Light ministries, and his national team). We had an excellent time with both teams as we studied the book of Ephesians, answering their questions and praying with them. It was a privilege and we were blessed by their hunger and enthusiasm. The thing that struck them most was that Steve and I and Titus have been in relationship for 30 plus years! That is highly unusual in Rwanda!