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9/1/19

Gulu Post #1 | Preparation Over

Gulu Post #1 | Preparation Over

Sunday, September 1, 8:45 p.m.

It is now Sunday evening and Mike Evans of Training Leaders International, FCC Elder Dan Fosterling, and I are wrapping up final preparations for tomorrow’s start of our next training module "Knowing the Bible’s Story." Our trip together started out on Wednesday with a 5pm flight to Amsterdam, and a three-hour layover before the last leg that would land us in Entebbe, Uganda, an airport Mike and I have become familiar with over the last five years.

The good news was the we all had empty seats next to us on the flight from Amsterdam to Entebbe. That helps when the flight is eight hours long. Turns out that the last leg wasn’t kind to Mike, as his last act was to leave his recent meals in the already cleaned up restroom on the plane due to motion sickness. He bounced back pretty quickly after that. It was 11:30pm before we found our place to crash for the night.

We had a very safe driver who drove us from Entebbe to Abaana’s Hope, the name of the place where we will be holding our trainings. He was so safe, that the trip took seven hours, compared to the five and a half hours it usually takes. But we have arrived here safely, which is a bit more precious to me today, given what took place here three weeks ago.

Kris Mobbs, who is our key contact here and I would say, humanly speaking, the most important person in our relationship with the church in Uganda, had an accident. He was driving toward Abaana’s Hope, at the first small town north of the Nile River, and a five-year-old girl jumped in front of him. In seeking to avoid her, he flipped his vehicle and landed in a cement ditch. Sadly, he did hit the girl.

In a fog due to the concussion he sustained, two Ugandan men helped him to their vehicle and said they needed to get him out of the area, because they would kill Kris. “They” are the people in proximity to the accident who have an often executed tribal justice approach to such matters. This was likely as it was clear that the little girl had died. Kris was in a fog and was taken to a local mission hospital and kept under military guard until such a time that an arrangement could be reached between Kris’s organization (FourCorners Ministries) and the family of the girl. After the agreement was reached, Kris was allowed to safely return home (another missionary was an hour behind Kris and able to take him back).

The accident took place on a Friday. The following Tuesday there was a hearing in Gulu, the closest town of consequence near Abaana’s Hope. Fighting migraines and grief for the pain he had caused, Kris was relieved when the grandfather of the young girl stated that the girl had indeed jumped in front of Kris, and that he had tried to avoid her. The matter was closed legally, and Kris seems to be normal physically, although there is a sense he will never be the same.

All this to say, it was good to get here safely, Kris is doing well, and we are all on for tomorrow. We spent Saturday and Sunday meeting with our six Lead Trainers (you will be hearing more about them in the future), getting their feedback on what has taken place since our trip in May and making final adjustments to try to make Monday through Friday’s teaching times as fruitful as possible.

Our goal is to faithfully communicate an overview of the entire Bible and how Jesus is the centerpiece in redeeming the brokenness that we have received and accelerated. I love what happens to me as I prepare, as I fall in love once again with this story that began before the foundation of the world, and we are all participating.

Ask God to use Dan, Mike and myself to share not only the data, but the hope that is ours in Christ Jesus. I would love the 48 pastors and church leaders to be gripped by this big picture and its ability to inform every text as a result (even Leviticus!). It is a privilege to be here, such an honor to be sent by our little network of churches in the St.Croix Valley. I will report more as the week progresses.

Larry Szyman

Pastor for Missional Life

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