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Uganda Trip Updates - Post #3

I sit at the airport in Amsterdam a couple hours away from my last leg to MSP and Carol! The kick-off week of this cohort went really, really well! I want to give a shout out to John Blum, whose meticulous and servant-hearted efforts set the stage (humanly speaking) for what has taken place. We left on Friday and the group resumed on Saturday afternoon and the group will be studying through Wednesday on the gospel and conversion. This is in keeping with our vision to establish an abiding network of gospel-centered, Scripture-saturated, African-led churches. We want to make sure from the beginning the scope of the gospel, which we are still pursuing as well. The early results are really positive ,and I am encouraged to continue well because of the fruit we hope to see in the three nations and nine people groups that are represented.

The participants work together in study groups.

The curriculum from Training Leaders International has just been revised, and we have benefitted greatly!

The variety of groups, lecture and quality of the material itself, is helpful and user-friendly. This module was titled "Knowing God, Scripture and Ourselves" and is one of two foundational courses before we start studying the Bible in earnest.

Our last night in Gulu we met with four men, who were part of the cohort that ended in 2018. It was great to see them and get an update on how things were going for their ministries.

Three of the four have moved up in leadership since we met and they attribute their good fortune, in part, to the training received. It is good to see the fruit emerging from past efforts and it energizes me for the run that is still ahead of me: even though I am feeling brain dead right now…a common effect on the trip home. I will be home on Sunday afternoon and look forward to being back to a normal routine (jet lag may prevent this) on Tuesday.

John Nanda was a rock star here! The Ugandans really love him! Most of the participants have not traveled more than 500 miles or so and have had limited interaction with Indians, especially Christian ones with strong English skills. There is one man from India who has lived in Gulu for over 20 years. When he heard that John was only in town for only 10 days, he asked him to stay longer and offered that he could see that his Visa would be adjusted accordingly! On Thursday night, John got even more popular by making curry (not to be confused with Stephen who is leading Golden State to a 3-0 lead over Portland-NBA finals in WI?) for about 25 people who serve at Abaana’s Hope.

I would say that we have been fairly well received here. This is evidenced by the group has suggested the new facility, which has three separate places be named Indian (John’s) Hall, St. Croix Valley Conference Hall and Larry’s Hall. I don’t think we will see our names “enshrined” any time soon, but it is an indication of the value that is placed on the efforts that have come from our Vision for the Valley experience last summer and will be felt in Africa for generations to come.

Some of the participants suggested these names for the facility's three areas.
Pastor Larry with his study group

Larry Szyman

Pastor for Missional Life


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