Thursday, August 9, 2012

Something's Happening

But God Knows What It is

Island Boyz Pray
Gaaza's first public prayer
Anyone would have noticed him among the faces crowding around me.  His extremely long mustache was remarkable making him a standout.  I was informed later that he had grown it for years.  I've never seen anything like it in my life.

That was my observation several months ago on my initial stop to meet the young men who have become known as the Island Boyz. One Saturday night, not long ago, I had a different picture.  He was on both knees with his arms extended as if to embrace his new Father. He and a 13 other men had been invited to our house for dinner.  25 showed up!  By his own initiative gone was the Gaaza's external signature mustache as a personal indication of his new internal nature.

Island Boyz
Chicken on a stick & sodas
Gaaza is a name recognized by everyone in his village of Mbiiko.  His reputation is legendary and his despicable exploits know to all.  Of all the men who are part of the Island Boyz he is known as the worst.  By his own admission he has done it all.  If you can imagine it, he has most likely done it.  More than anyone, Gaaza is the prototype of the kind of young men who gather under the umbrella of the Island Boyz.

But, something's happening.  Jesus is changing the prototype.  If anyone is in Christ they are a new creation.  After six long and warfare filled months, Pam and I rejoiced in having 13 transformed Island Boyz escort us to Entebbe Airport for our flight back to the States.  Multiple times throughout the day we heard them question one another, "Who are we?  Paul and Pam have many friends and even family here in Uganda.  Many others could have escorted them.  Who are we?"

Island Boyz
Delighted over money for Driving Permits
A stop for chicken on a stick and a soda in the forest was like pumping sugar into these grown men, many of them with a wife and/or children. They began to sing together as though they were middle schoolers on their way to summer camp.  "I'll praise Him in the morning;  I'll praise Him in the evening;  I'll praise Him when the sun goes down."

Alex, who is not one of the Island Boyz, began to share his story with them.  He had been a soldier, spent 15 months in prison, and met me 5 months earlier.  I shared Christ with him, gave him a bible, enjoyed lunch with him, and even took him to Jinja Main Prison with me once.  Three days before our final trip to the airport Alex came to our house and told us, "I couldn't sleep last night.  I want to give my life to Jesus."  Three days later he is explaining spiritual truths to these Island Boyz from the Word of God.  Something is happening.

Island Boyz
Medical Clinic fills our house with the IB's families
In Kampala we picked up a case of Lugandan bibles with funds left with us by the Medical Team from Fairview, Oklahoma.  Before we left the shop we had already given one away.  Many of the Island Boyz have a wife who cannot read English and so we distributed bibles to their husbands in the parking lot of the airport.

But, first we gave most of them their first look and ride up and down an escalator.  Later we gathered in Cafe Javas for a memorable dinner and fellowship together.  Finally, we put about three days wages in each of their pockets before leaving.

Pam and I both took turns at the door of the van giving them parental advice upon our departure. People are watching you, we told them.  Make the Father proud of you.  Depend on Jesus and the Holy Spirit to change you.  Don't let behavior management become your goal.  Love Jesus and let Him empower you for demonstrating the change He has accomplished in you.  We will return in three or four months and we expect to see you maturing in Christ.

Island Boyz
Love feast in Kampala
Our goal is to make disciples.  Our mission is to connect people to Jesus and see them become radical followers of Him.  Our strategy is love.  Seeing people, loving people, giving them time, and communicating that we believe in them and that they matter.  Most of the Island Boyz drive without Driver's Permits, so we gave them money so that they can pay the $100 fee to get legal.  They have no money for medical needs, so we gave them and their families a Saturday in our home with the Medical Team for physical exams, diagnosis, and treatment.  But, at the end of the day we can only conclude ... something's happening and God knows what it is because it is His work.  We are blessed to carry water for Him and witness His supernatural transformation in the lives of those willing to surrender them to Him.

Island Boyz
Jesus is making them part of the New Creation!

We left enough money with our driver Peter so that he can meet with these men every week until we return to Uganda later this year.  He is learning to disciple as he has been discipled.  A couple of more experienced men will assist him.  But, this is his first real opportunity, outside of his family, to make disciples of those he helped lead to Jesus.  We anticipate seeing development and the maturing process going on the next time we are privileged to meet with these men ... our Island Boyz!

Just over ONE WEEK away!
Next Generation Ministries

August 18, 2012
4 PM
Jimmy Kiwanuka and Abdu Wasswa
of Jinja, Uganda,
long time associates of
Next Generation Ministries
will be attending the BBQ!

Abdu is already in Pocatello, Idaho, and Jimmy is flying into Portland, Oregon on August 16th.  If you would like to help them with their airfare please make out a check to Next Generation Ministries and mail it to 29940 South Dhooghe Road, Colton, OR 97017 and designate it for them.

1 comment:

  1. Paul! This is so cool - it makes my heart dance to read this. I was so blessed to meet you in Jinja unexpectedly and see firsthand the love that you have for those guys and that they, in return, have for you! It is obvious that the Lord is doing such a great work through you and your ministry in Uganda. Love it!

    -Jill Schulenberg


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