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Uganda Trip Updates - Post #5: Reason for Optimism

This is the final update from Pastor Larry Szyman related to the due diligence trip that he and one of FCC's Elders made to ensure that FCC's goal of seeing an African-led, disciple making, church planting movement takes root in northern Uganda. 

Reason for Optimism

On this my final update as we move on from the due diligence phase on our partnership in Uganda, I’d like to share one reason I am so excited about the church’s future in the northern part of the county. There is a really solid group of leaders that have agreed to be mentored by us over the next three years. They form the backbone of what they hope to see come to pass: an abiding network of gospel-centered, Bible saturated, African-led churches.

Before the other trainees came to our three-day taster event designed to show them what they could expect and what we would be expecting, we spent two full days with these six leaders. We heard their stories, shared ours, and began casting vision of the role that they could be playing over the next three years, and more importantly, beyond.

Here is an outline of what we hope to accomplish in our part of the training process with the curriculum that we will be using from Training Leaders International.

Over the course of the nine training modules (one for each trip to Uganda), we will move them from observing us teach the material (modules one and two), to them taking on some of the teaching load beginning on the third trip. We will give them the materials for module three at the end of session two, along with assignments of what we want them to teach during module three. They will be expected to prepare in between modules two and three. We will spend two days with them before the third session, giving them a chance to practice teaching on us and receiving feedback before the other trainees come. They will then teach live for 20% of the third module, sharing the load with us. At the conclusion of the module, they will be asked to self-evaluate, before we give our feedback and begin increasing their share of the load and prep for the fourth module. Our hope is that they will experience success in teaching over the three-year period and be prepared for a transfer of the materials to them, entrusting to them the ongoing training of northern Ugandans.

THE SIX LEAD TRAINERS: Front row - Julius, Joseph and Mark. Back row - Benson, Sunday and Bosco.

Let me introduce you to our six Lead Trainers, as we are calling them (pictured above). The three on the top row are Benson, Sunday and Bosco. Benson is an elder of Living Stones Church, the fellowship, which Kris Mobbs of Four CornersMinistries attends. He has an agricultural background and is emotionally very intelligent. Sunday is the pastor of Living Stones, a second generation Christian and a natural leader. Bosco is an older leader pastoring a church in Gulu with nine children at home, the oldest of which is also a trainee. They are all part of the Acholi people group that we have become familiar with in our previous round of trainings. He was my chief interpreter during that time.

The front row are all part of the Ma’di tribe and reside in the Adjumani refugee settlement. They are, left to right, Julius, Joseph and Mark. Julius is a native of South Sudan but fled from conflict after having been abducted two times. Food was so scarce that he sought nourishment from leaves off of trees. His hope is to return to his homeland to pant churches and is looking to us to prepare him. Joseph fled South Sudan, as well, as war broke out among his people and hopes to join a planting team alongside Julius. He is married to the granddaughter of Idi Amin. Mark is already a leader of substance. He has been discipling both Julius and Joseph and is looking for more leaders to impact. All that has been accomplished through Mark has been the normal flow of discipleship and not being “on staff” with a church or para-church ministry.

These men represent much of what we find in Uganda: people who have said yes to Jesus and want to lead well, but have not been equipped. We hope to change that. I hope you can see why I am optimistic.

We see in these leaders the spirit of Timothy, that Paul discipled toward the end that they would find other faithful men, who would then in turn teach others (2 Timothy2:2).

Because of your generosity and with the supply of the Spirit, God willing, we will be used to develop these Timothys over the next three years.

When we finish this process in January of 2022, we believe these six men, along with over 30 freshly-trained church leaders, will lead the way for an Africa-led network of churches across tribal and denominational lines. You will hear more about these six men in the future. Join me in praying for them. I believe we will have prayer cards made for our six churches in the St. Croix Valley so that you may partner with them and us in this strategic way.

God willing, in May we will hit the ground running as the due diligence process is now over. Thank you for allowing me to serve in this taxing and wonderful way. I gladly pay the little cost I do for the opportunity that lies ahead.

Larry Szyman

Pastor for Missional Life


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