This is my eighth trip (I think) to Uganda and I have never been more excited. This is because we (The St. Croix Valley LEAD Team) have developed a series of relationships that would seem (it is always, ultimately if the Lord wills) to put us in place to see the establishment of an abiding network of gospel centered, Bible saturated, African led churches (this is the official vision statement of our work). We have done much work in preparing for this day as we prepare to kick off another cohort of training leaders for the church. This trip is the kick off of a nine-trip, three year process that leaders from the LEAD Team will be making in the hope of empowering local and global missional leaders. The hope is that in January of 2022, we will leave in place a locally led and advancing church planting movement. It seems really possible and the thought of us being part of seeing that happen is really encouraging.
The trip to Entebbe (Ugandan airport) was rather uneventful.This trip I am traveling with Mike Evans, Josh Montague (both of TrainingLeaders International-TLI), along with John Nanda (of SERVE India-FCC fame).Mike and Josh have been with us in the past. Mike is a dear, longtime friend, having pastored FCC New Richmond for 20 years and has since relocated toMinneapolis where he serves in helping bring theological relief to the 80% of the pastors globally, who have not had formal training. Josh is a former church planter in Verona, WI, (SW suburb of Madison), and I have known him loosely for12 years, much more closely in the last three. This is the second time he has traveled with us to Uganda, as he participated in the first cohort we had in northern Uganda. He is a great guy and a Michigan State alum passionate about his alma mater. John is with us to see if it is possible that we could offer similar opportunity for the church leaders in southeastern India down the line a bit.
The four of us were fortunate in our first leg of the journey (Minneapolis to Amsterdam) to have aisle seats with no one next to us.I always have dreams of getting much accomplished on the plane, but sometime sit seems my brain is not interested. I feasted my mind on a Bill Murray documentary, along with a few movies that were more action oriented. Sleep was elusive as I probably got 1.5 hours total on our two eight-hour flights. We landed, tired and hopeful.
We stayed the night in a place near the Entebbe, Uganda, airport, which was fortunate as John’s luggage did not make it to the carousel with the other luggage. Gratefully, John’s bag was discovered and we were able to pick it up in the morning before making the trip cross country (in a comfortable van) to the Gulu region and Abaana’s (children’s) Hope, the compound where our trainings will take place.
Kris Mobbs, our key partner in Uganda, will be there to meet us. He is an incredible partner. He shares our passion for church planting, a high view of God, and a commitment to seeing local leaders develop churches in their context. He is also a lot of fun. Along with his wife, Julie, they have three children they brought from the states and have adopted two Ugandan boys since arriving in Uganda. Kris is the glue, humanly speaking, of holding this all together.
I send this first post grateful for partnerships. FCC has partners with the St. Croix Valley LEAD Team, TLI and Four Corners Ministries(who oversee Abaana’s Hope), and Kris Mobbs. We are all able to band together to see leaders developed and churches planted toward a movement that will not need any of us in the future. I recognize that the faithful giving of you, my brothers and sisters in Hudson is part of the fuel that God is using to see the establishment and expansion of God’s Kingdom.
Pictured above: With traveling buddies Mike Evans, John Nanda, Josh Montague, and yours truly in the back.