Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Lira, Barlonyo & Gulu, Uganda
Dear Mission Partners:
Greetings from Gil & Randy in Uganda!
My last letter from Uganda was from Gulu where the Gulu Pastor’s Fellowship embraced the vision for Africa Hope Bible Institute along with 24 Acholi Bibles with great joy. We also testified in the IDP Camp where Justin’s family trusted Christ. The next day we traveled to Barlonyo where we delivered the promised gift of Randy Brannon of more bibles, Christian Education materials, and assistance in planting what we are now calling the: “Barlonyo Memorial Bible Church!” We had an absolutely delightful worship service under the trees with Chief Patrick Odongo, Bishop George Purkweri, Pastor Marcelo Aloka, and approximately 90 believers. What is so interesting here in Barlonyo, is that this new church fellowship seems to grow in the precise numbers of the Bibles we bring to them. After the first delivery of 50 Bibles, the church grew to 50 Believers. On our last visit we brought 6 more bibles (all we could find in Uganda), and left money for another 30 … now on this visit there are about 90 believers – Praise the Lord, this Church is growing right next to the Barlonyo Memorial of the LRA Rebel Attack. Now the Lord is bringing life out of death.
We sang and danced, worshipped and preached the Gospel in Barlonyo and ended by praying over Pastor Marcelo and then traveled to Lira for Sunday where Randy Howarth preached at All Nations Church, and I preached at the New Covenant Church. It was a wonderful day of salvation in both places, and Randy had the experience of preaching through an interpretor (Into Lango) for the first time. Sunday afternoon we had a leadership meeting with the Africa Hope Bible Institute School Board to plan for the “Grand Opening of the school the next day. City officials were called and the ministers of education were invited, choirs were scheduled, students were ready … and then on Monday … ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE!
Whenever God gets the glory … Satan makes somebody pay. Out of the ten AHBI Steering Committee members … six paid significantly as the devil tried to stop the opening of the school. Rev. Lawnsome Etume was thrown in jail on false charges, Evangelist Francis was denied “Water Rights” for the school which meant we didn’t have any water, Bishop George was hurt and didn’t show, Randy Howarth fell and gashed his head seriously, Pastor James Omara became violently ill and was rushed to the hospital, Rev. Martin Ogwal was called out of town, and then the thieves stole Pastor James Okori’s battery out of his car (our only means of transport).
All these fiery darts were enough to stop the “Grand Opening” … but not enough to stop “God’s Opening” of the school. We called off the grand opening and decided in favor of a “Soft Opening” and a humble beginning by opening the school in spite of the overwhelming obstacles that rose up against us. Twelve students came, and we taught them the Word of Truth on September 7, 2009. We lifted up our voices and sang praise to King of Glory. We prayed and pressed on to know the Lord. We had no water or lunch for the students, but at end of the day, Africa Hope Bible Institute was officially opened. We had bread from Heaven, and also tasted the “First Fruits” of the school when Stella prayed to receive Christ in the classroom on Monday. Rachel, who was abducted by the LRA at the age of 9 and later escaped, brought her co-worker Stella to the school for prayer. We are believing God that this is a sign of the good things to come and a taste of the “Firstfruits” of the harvest in Uganda and North Africa.
But we are announcing a new birth and a new baby school in Northern Uganda with 12 Disciples! We are pressing on to know the Lord and live in His presence for the sake of the call.
On Tuesday, 17 students came to school, and the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, came to Lira. Amazingly, this big event happened right across the street from where Randy & I were staying on Tuesday, Sept.8th which is International Literacy Day in Uganda. So of all places to celebrate this event, Lira was chosen and the celebration took place the day after we opened a Bible College in Lira. I went to the parade grounds and was seated along with the “Religious Leaders” next to the red carpet and presidential leaders. In the course of the morning, the Lord allowed me to announce the opening of Africa Hope Bible Institute among the national leaders in Lira. What an amazing God we serve! God even sent very needed refreshing rains the next night to this parched land.
Uganda has been the devil’s playground for too long. The prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” But now, thanks be to God who always leads in triumph and spreads wherever we go the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of life in every place – II Cor. 2:14. We now have approximately 60+ student applications for the school along with another 10 teacher applications for the teaching positions which shall be filled by the local and national leaders. Praise the Lord! We are pressing on and so grateful to God for your prayers and gifts of love. Keep praying … as we publish the Word of God in Northern Uganda and train soldiers of the Lord to Declare His Glory among the nations.
Your Missionary Partners In Uganda ~ <‘)))><
Gil Harder & Randy Howarth ~ II Corinthians 2:14