I guess I will start with what the Lord has been doing in my life. My time in Africa has truly been a blessing. The pace of life here in Africa is much slower. Everything takes more time. People are not in any hurry. Ugandans always put relationships ahead of task. While sometimes at work it can be very frustrating, it is a great lesson for me to learn, especially in my walk with the Lord and in my relationships with other people. I need to keep my relationship with the Lord primary and everything else secondary.
The Sunday before we left for Africa we went to a church in Colorado Springs and the pastor spoke on Revelation 2. In this chapter John writes to the church at Ephesus and commends them for their deeds and their toil and their perseverance, but John had this against them “you have left your first love”. Lindsey and I were convinced that the Lord was reminding us that as we go to Africa to serve, not to abandon our first love, not to let what we do for God get in the way of our pursuit of God. You see, it is the love of Jesus that we are bringing to the people of Africa. If we try to love the people here in our own strength, they will be sorely disappointed and our trip will only be a nice little adventure that Peter and Lindsey went on to do some good, however, if we love with the love that we ourselves have received from the Lord, it is then that we are doing the work that we have been called here in Africa to do. At that point, when we rely on the Lord for strength and love and perseverance and joy and hope and security and in faith proclaim that it is Jesus who strengthens and for Jesus name that we even come to Africa, it is then that Jesus is seen as beautiful and God is seen as glorious.
Micah 6:8 says: He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to DO JUSTICE and to LOVE MERCY and to WALK HUMBLY with your God? Just before this verse the author is trying to figure out what the God of the universe desires of him. He questions whether he should sacrifice animals or give up his first-born. He seems sure that God must desire to strip him of something. Then in verse 8 the author says that the Lord has shown man what He (God) desires of man, to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. As we are here in Africa, we are trying to rely on the Lord’s strength to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with Him.
It has been such a blessing to work with EMI. These things that I am learning fit in so well with what they are trying to do as an organization here in Africa. It has been a pleasure to partner with Arise Africa International and work alongside Ugandans. One of my highlights at work is to work with my new dear friend Sam. He has an amazing heart for the Lord and an amazing work ethic. Another highlight of my time here has been the children. Every day around lunchtime the Arise Africa staff children come to the office from school and some of them stay around for the afternoon. While it may hurt my productivity, it sure is fun to have kids around the office. Lindsey and I have also had the privilege to frequent Amani Baby Cottage where we get to play with over 40 orphans. One Saturday a group of about 7 adults took about 10 of the older kids on a boat ride on the Nile River.
EMI stuff is going great. Progress is being made. As you can see by the pictures the scaffolding is completed and waiting for me. It was a lot of fun to build the scaffolding by hand. It was quite a process. We first went to the lumberyard where we had to bargain them down to an appropriate price and then hire a truck to transport the Eucalyptis back to the office. We then went to the local market to buy nails and threaded rod, which we proceeded to cut with a hack saw to size. We then had to remove the bark from all the Eucalyptis and cut the members to size. We then assembled the scaffolding and nailed together a eucalyptis ladder. I am fairly confident that it is the most structurally sound scaffolding I have seen here in Africa.
A couple of weeks ago a team of potential emi construction managers came to Uganda for a vision trip to see if the Lord was calling them here long term. I joined them for a couple of days out at Bukaleba where made a lot of progress on the children’s center. Gabe, John and myself went out to Bukaleba a couple of days early to prepare for the team’s arrival. We spent 2 days with the team doing manual labor including digging trenches, mixing concrete and bending rebar. The week was a huge success and we managed to finish digging one of the building’s foundations. We also poured 75% of the foundation for that building. Gabe continues to spend 4 days a week out at Bukaleba and I hope to head out there again sometime next week. Gabe said that they have dug another building’s trenches and are now in the middle of pouring its foundation. The walls of the children’s center are a quarried stone from a plot of land that Arise Africa purchased. I have also been taking trips about every other week to the quarry, it takes me about 7 hours on public transportation to and from the quarry. I have found that taking public transportation around Africa is always exciting. A taxi (large van) is suppose to hold 14 passengers, and on one of my journeys they somehow fit 22 people and 2 chickens into the taxi. It was a cozy trip.
I recently finished the structural portion of the construction documents for the orphanage. If you are keeping track, yes construction has already started and yes the drawings have not been approved by the city. Only in Africa.
I am now working on a set of construction documents for the pastor's training center. They are renovating an 80-year-old movie theatre into a lecture hall/prayer room to be apart of the pastor’s training center that is already in session. The building is in rough shape. One of the end walls is sitting on no foundation with cracks all over the place, so we are going to bring that wall down and rebuild it. We were suppose to do that while I am here in Africa, but due to the lack of adequate funding that is going to be put on hold until a later date. There are also issues with the building’s trusses, so I will be spending some time up in the trusses next week to see what needs to be repaired. I will finally get a chance to use the scaffolding that I built. So you all can be praying for safety as I climb around on the scaffolding and in the trusses.
As you can see, the Lord has been moving here in Uganda and we are very thankful to be apart of that work. Thank you for all your prayers.
Peter & Lindz