It is exciting to be able to go to remote parts of the globe and bring Biblical training to pastors who don’t have access to it, but we recently have been given the opportunity to see some of the pastors come out of their homes and receive intensive training in the School of Biblical Studies.
Last year while teaching in the Sudanese Refugee camps we were often looking around wishing to help some of the pastors receive the kind of Biblical education we received. There were two pastors in particular that stood out to our team: William & Paul. (If you remember from my newsletters last year, I spoke about two pastors who said they were so touched by our teaching and even wanted to see their own daughters raised up as teachers, that was these two men. They then worked to bring the churches in the area together.) When I was at the Bible School in Uganda last year I found out the cost of sending pastors there and since then have been praying for theopportunity to help at least one of these pastors attend that school. Well, God was working on their behalf! This Fall, thanks to a generous donation given to Titus Project, we will be able to completely sponsor both men to attend the nine month School of Biblical Studies. What makes this even more exciting is that the team I am taking to Uganda this year will be able to teach on the school for the last two weeks of our outreach and once the team goes home, I will be staying on in Uganda teaching at the Bible school for another two months. I am so excited to be able to go back and work with these two awesome men of God!
Also, Rady (the Cambodian leader I spoke about in my last couple newsletters – who after translating for one of our seminars in Cambodiawanted to do this Bible school here in Montana) has arrived to do the School of Biblical Studies in Montana. It is a miracle that he was able to get a visa in time and raise finances, etc.
I can’t express how awesome it is to see some of the long-term fruit of our ministry carrying on after we leave the villages. All three of these men of God will leave their Bible schools in nine months and return to their homelands equipped to train others. It literally brings me to tears just thinking about how awesome this is! God is SO good!
Please be praying for these three men as the next year is going to be a very challenging time for them as they return to school and study the Bible in a second language away from their families & churches.
PICTURES: left: Pastor Paul; right: Pastor William; below: Rady & I teaching in Cambodia
There are so many awesome stories from Uganda, but one of my favorites is also one of the most simple. John was one of the young men who came to our pastor’s seminar. He recently dropped out of school because he is completely blind in one eye and quickly going blind in the other as well. The local clinics can’t help him and one day he came to me asking for finances to travel far away to go to a good hospital.
Our team gathered around and prayed for him for quite a while. I wish I could write and say that he was healed that day, but he was not. I prayed and did not feel that I was supposed to help pay for a hospital. Instead, I told him I would take his picture and get as many people as possible praying for his healing. The following day I grabbed my camera and took the photo you see here, which he was not very happy about as you can tell. He is quite self-conscious of the way he looks and does not make much eye contact with people. That same day as I was sitting in the seminar about ready to get up and teach, I looked over at John who was intently listening to the message, and immediately was reminded of the new sunglasses I had brought with me from home.
I had just bought a nice pair of sunglasses for this trip, but the day before leaving for this refugee camp I had dropped them on the ground and scratched the lens right on top of the eye. I was quite bummed, because they were ruined. Although the scratch was barely visible, it blurred my vision. For some reason I didn’t throw them away and actually brought them with me to the camp. As I sat there I started to think, “which lens was ruined?” I looked at him and saw his left eye was blind and began to get excited with what I believed God had just shown me. I immediately ran to my hut and grabbed the glasses and was so excited to find that it was the left lens that was scratched! I couldn’t believe it, did God have me ruin my sunglasses so I could give them to John? After the teaching I excitedly gave him the sunglasses, which he refused at first, because he had nothing to give me in return, but I gave them anyways. He did not seem to appreciate the gift, and I began to question whether or not I did the right thing. Could I have offended him? I didn’t know. It can be very hard to understand other cultures.
Well, the next morning, while I was still lying in bed, John came into my hut with a big smile on his face and wearing his best clothes. He hurriedly said, “James, come out, I need to take a picture with you!” I went outside and saw he had invited a friend of his who had a camera to come and take our picture. He then pulled out his new sunglasses, put them on, and with a great big smile on his face, we had our picture taken together. He was smiling so big and I had them take the picture you see here with my camera as well. I wish you could have been there to see how happy he was. I am again in tears as I think about John again. For the first time he was able to look at people in the eyes and smile without being self-conscious. In fact, he looked pretty cool!
The previous day he had not wanted his picture taken because of the clothes he was wearing, but now he was wearing his Sunday best and had the biggest smile on his face. I still believe that God is going to heal him and I beg you to pray with me for his healing, but I believe God has begun a healing within his heart already. God is so good!