Sunday, August 26, 2012

Camp - Day 6

Finally, the last installment is being typed up.  I had no idea how exhausted my body was after camp, but three days later, I’m STILL not fully recovered.

The last story was the most difficult to memorize and share, and so with the kids being tired, too, on the last day, it made it feel a bit longer.

When the students signed in for camp, I think I told you that the volunteers from America gave them drawstring backbacks, water bottles, and pens.

On this last day of camp, they gave each student a head lamp with three extra batteries.  The students were SO excited!

In a town where power can be rare, this was quite a blessing.  As a matter of fact, Arua had been without power for three weeks as of the last day of camp.

After the students shared the story and led a mock story group, we all gathered together to take the Lord’s Supper and discuss baptism one more time.

The national leaders helped pass out chapati bread and the black currant juice for the Lord’s Supper, while Lee, a missions pastor from Florida read the Scripture.  

Then, Stan, a fellow team member, discussed baptism again, using Scripture and showing the students why a follower of Jesus is baptized AFTER he believes, rather than before. 

He discussed it again, because two of the students whom Doug has been storying with (Erik and Tom) had decided to be baptized.  They wanted to be baptized in June, but schedules didn’t work out, so camp seemed like a perfect opportunity.

But at camp, there was no swimming pool, of course.

The girls, following, after the boys had already stationed themselves down the hill

The men journeyed down to the river to make a “ladder” for the girls to walk down because it was very steep.  I was so glad they were there, because on more than one occasion I slipped, and would have tumbled all the way down the hill without those hands grabbing my arms.


Jill, thankfully being caught by Stan and Gordon

Once all the students from the camp were on the dam,

Pastor David, Doug, Stan, Erik and Tom walked into the water.

Erik was a little difficult to pull up, so when Tom went, he started on his knees.

The water coming out of the dam was so loud, Pastor David had to shout, and Doug had to shout at the end so his prayer could be heard.

Then we all trekked back up the hill for lunch and saying goodbye.

 Unfortunately, I didn't carry my camera to the "goodbyes," but there was quite a bit of engineering going on in the loading of the cars.  I'll get pics from someone and share another time.

Thankfully, for you, I DID get a picture of the bathroom I used all week.  

Go in...
Move the wood to the side...
And there you are.  
I didn't want to zoom in too much because you can....see things.

I have such empathy for the nationals who have to squat 365 days a year, including when they are 32 weeks pregnant!  It was not easy.

But my girls did this morning, noon, and night, including taking bucket baths with water from the bore hole.  

That means they stand in a basin, and pour cold cups of water over themselves to bathe.

When they got home, they were SO thankful to sit on a toilet, eat with a fork, eat something besides rice and beans, and SO looking forward to sitting in a warm tub.

But if you remember, there had been no power in Arua for 3 weeks.

So, I spent the evening back and forth at the stove, heating water.  We boiled 7 big pots of water so all of us could have an inch or two to bathe in.

And wouldn't you know...God turned the power on for us the very next day!  And it stayed on long enough to fill the hot water heaters before it turned off again.

"Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”            Luke 6:3

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Camp, Days 4 & 5

It’s after midnight again, so this will be briefly written but full of pictures for you.

We completed Days 4 and 5, and tomorrow will be our last day of camp.

We finish camp after lunch, but before we leave, the students will take the Lord’s Supper and witness the baptism of two of our students, Tom and Eric.  Pray for these men as they continue to face persecution as they follow Jesus.

Richard (on the left) was my partner for the week, and Eric is on the right
This is Tom with Pastor Mike from Iowa
I don’t think any of the students have ever seen a baptism by immersion, so this will be an important day for many.  Pastor David (my family's pastor) has been helping at camp, and he will baptize them in a river that is nearby.

Speaking of Pastor David, your prayers have made a difference this week for him, and you didn’t even know it as you covered ALL of camp with prayers.
David, his wife, and the church have set up two homes in Arua to take in kids off the street.  The boys’ home has about 13 boys, and the girls has about 3 girls.  (I haven’t been to either in a while, so I’m not sure of the current count).

This is David (in white) and his wife Medline, dedicating their daughter Melody to the Lord last year
David (in green) helping at camp

Pastor David and the house parent try to rehabilitate them through love and the teachings of Jesus.  Most of the children are grateful for a home, but sometimes the rules and structure do not agree with the children, and they run away again.

This week, while we were at camp, one of the runaways broke into the church and stole two new microphones and a stabilizer that had been recently purchased.  The boy sold them in town.

Pastor David got the call at camp and went to see if he could track them down.

Because of your prayers, he found the dealer that bought them, and by the grace of God, that child had only sold all of that for the equivalent of $13, so Pastor was able to re-buy them with no problem.


Without knowing all the cultural struggles these kids are fighting against, you can’t even understand how much your prayers have helped them to have open minds to listen to God’s word with new understanding.  Unfortunately, some are still choosing to fear man more than they fear God, but the seeds have been planted, and God’s Spirit can continue to grow them.

Isn't it a blessing to see these students having time alone with their Creator? 


 The great thing about these two pictures are the sheep surrounding the students.  

Our second story on "Assurance" was told the day before with lots of bleating at appropriate (and not-so-appropriate) times.

The story from John 10, says if we are His sheep we will listen to Him and follow Him.  If we don't believe Him, we are not His sheep.

 For learning our last and 5th story of the week, someone had a good idea...

Since we've been training these students to go out and lead their own groups, we decided to start immediately.

These 12 students (2 from each group) were chosen to learn the story early, with Doug, so that they could be the ones to lead their group.

I will attest to the fact that Story 5 is the most difficult and took me the longest to learn.  But can I tell you these kids did it in less than 24 hours!!!

I won't type the stories here for you, but let me give you their word counts:
438, 287, 444, 419, and 384.  

We are talking a TON of memorization. 

These students basically memorized 1972 words this week!! 

It was amazing to watch and see.

So, today, after learning Story 5 on "Being the Church," the students cut loose a little bit for some picture-taking.

Lawrence was in my group, and it takes about 2 seconds to realize you are going to love him.  He is so fun to be around!
One of our Fusion girls, Leigh, started a story group at a new school, and because of her faithfulness, we had 5 boys from that school attend camp.  All 5 of them are AMAZING story tellers.  This is John (L) and Emmanuel (R).  They were two of the twelve chosen to learn the story early and teach it to others.

A faithful teenager, Courtney, came from Iowa and helped lead a group.  She was amazing at telling the stories, too.  If you are a teenager, don't doubt your ability to make a difference!

Here is Richard's and my group.  The front row is:  Jesse, Emmanuel, and Molly.  In the back is:  Lawrence, Ivan, me, Comfort, Richard, and Hope

And finally, we finished today by taking a group picture with the hopes that we can get copies made in town tomorrow morning and hand them out as the students leave.

(Stan and Pam Wafler, fellow workers that live in Arua, took this picture, so they are not in this particular picture.  We switched off with them, but you can see the other picture on facebook.)

Our amazing 8 volunteers from America brought not only the stories in their hearts and servant attitudes, but they also brought many blessings for the students.

Each attendee got a backpack, a water bottle, a pen, and a small first-aid kit.

Tomorrow, they will all get a head lamp and extra batteries as they leave.

Thank you for your prayers, and since you are still awake, you can continue to pray for tomorrow.

I will give you an update on the last day tomorrow night, if I can keep my eyes open.  It's now 1am, and I am feeling it!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Camp, Day 3

James observing 3 from my group (Comfort, Lawrence, and Hope) as they share with 2 listeners.

The "sharing" and "sent out" ones did so much better today.  They are learning how to do a group, and it's obvious that they are using their evenings to learn the story even better than before.

Gordon (from Murdock Baptist Church in Florida) observing...with Caleb's help :)

L to R:  Karis, Joanna, Joan, Kylie

My two girls, Caleb,  and the Wafler's daughter have been attending story groups as well.  They are learning them even better than some of the nationals.  I'm VERY proud of them.

Here, Kylie and Joan were paired up to "share" with Karis and Joanna.  I observed them, and all four girls could tell the story beautifully.

Richard observing from afar as Emmanuel and Jessee share with to "listeners"

Jill (from Murdock BC in Florida) observing

I witnessed some really great leadership skills as I mingled among the "sharers".  But I also witnessed some this afternoon really struggling with Truths they are learning from God's word.  They have been taught contrary to the Word of God in some areas, and it is very hard for them to grasp new concepts when they clash against all they've ever known.  Keep praying for them to see the TRUTH!

 This afternoon was a tough story to learn, but I'm pretty impressed at how many got it in the three- hour time span.

I think my group must have said/heard the story over 20 times.  It's a long story, so that is a lot of memorization of scripture they are doing.

Karis didn't attend her group today.  She sat alone and taught herself the story.  After memorizing half of it, she wanted a break, and I asked her to take pictures of all 6 groups, because I can't leave.

Richard's and my group with Molly (in red) trying to learn the story

John and Courtney (both from Winterset, Iowa) teaching their group, which also happens to be Kylie's

Pastor Mike (from Winterset, Iowa), Denae (from Murdock BC in FL), and our national trainer Betty lead this group.  Today was Betty's day to lead, but here, Mike is explaining one of the questions.

Stan Wafler (who lives here in Arua) leads this group with a national named Taban.

Gordon and Lee (from FL) lead this group along with my pastor here in Arua, David.  Unfortunately, a street kid stole something from David's church, and he had to leave camp today to take care of some issues.

Dianna (Iowa), Jill (FL) and a national named James lead this group.  Doug moves from group to group to observe and make sure they are following the model he has established.  Today was his day to observer here.

I also wanted to update you on some prayer requests I had the first day.

There was miscommunication with one of the schools whose students came from an hour away, and they only came with bed sheets.  No mattress, basin, jeri can, plate, or cup (all the things each student was told to bring). 

None of it was a problem for God.  He took care of everything.  We now have FIVE that came without mattresses, but last night not one person slept on the floor.  Other students just squeezed them in bed with them, shared their jeri cans and basins of water, and somehow the five loaves kept multiplying because the cups and bowls we brought out have been plenty to share.  Since they eat with their fingers, spoons and forks weren't a problem either :)

I took a couple of pictures during Free Time before our leaders' meeting, and before Caleb and I left for the house.

I wanted you to see what the girls do during their free time.  They work!

They walk down to the bore hole (which is not close) with their buckets and jeri cans, and they fill them with water for their bathing and washing of clothes.  They care these heavy jugs back up the hill and then wash and bathe.  Most of them just brought two items of clothes, so they wear one and wash one.


These three lovely ladies have been living at camp, learning the stories, eating the local food, and bucket bathing since Saturday.  I am so proud of them!

Kylie turns 10 tomorrow, and even though she doesn't want anyone at camp to know it's her birthday, I think one of the volunteers might have slipped and told some students.

So...these three are going to come into town tomorrow with Joanna's mother, Pam, and make cookies for the whole camp to share in honor of Kylie's day.

I hate that I won't be there to wake her in the morning and lift the mosquito net off of her.

And I can't be with her all day because I'm with my group.  SO, when I arrive at camp, I'll set up a bag for her in the staff room with a gift for her to open every hour.

Keep praying for all the students at camp, including these three young ladies and my son.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Camp, Days 1 & 2

 Day one of camp (above), we signed in the first 45 students and had orientation about the plans for the week.

Soon afterward, we were up and running and the students were learning.

We are teaching them T4T (Training for Trainers).  Since so much of this culture is illiterate, we are teaching the 5 stories to the nationals, and they have to memorize them.

The leaders have been working on these for a while, so we are at an advantage.  These amazing students will be learning a story every 24 hours.

The first day we memorized passages from Luke 9, Matt 28, and Acts 8 about Obedience and Baptism.

Then, the second day...

The students practiced the SPEAK method while having alone time with God.  (S=Sin to Confess; P=Promise that God makes; E=an Example to follow or not follow; A=an Application to change how we live; K=Knowledge about who God is).

Then after discussing their observations as a group, they worshiped.

Fortunate, Thom, and Mawa James
Denae (from Murdock Baptist Church in Florida) observing a group

 The students' morning assignment was to practice sharing what they had learned the day before.  They went out two-by-two (just like Luke 10) and two had to practice leading a group while two were the "receivers."  They do all of this WITHOUT written materials

After an hour, they switched roles.
Betty observing Kings, Jack, Ivan, and Molly

The people (those from America and the national trainers) who had trained them, each observed a different group to watch and observe, so we could give tips on how to make their groups better.

John (from Winterset, Iowa) and Taban (a national leader) observe another group

 I was pretty impressed with some of the students.  They REALLY did a fantastic job after knowing the story for only 24 hours.

Dianna (from Winterset, Iowa) observing

After lunch, we got back in our six groups and learned story two on Assurance, taken from John 10:11-42.  We stayed in groups for three hours!  It's quite a process.  We repeat the stories over and over until they want to try by themselves, and then we work through until most of them have it down by memory.

The last hour is spent going over three questions to make sure they process and understand the story.

Today the story was on Assurance of Salvation, and since most of them didn't know what "assurance" meant, it was important to discuss with them that once they are Jesus' sheep, no one can take them out of His hand.

Today, 6 more students showed up at camp.

Continue to pray for all of these students.

I think some of the students realized that they didn't have a relationship with God today after learning the story about God being the Good Shepherd and we are His sheep.  Some of them also heard for the first time that they cannot lose their salvation once they are Jesus'.

There's been so much going on since our summer interns left.  I hope when camp is finished I can fill you in on other things, but right now, your prayers for camp (until Thursday) are greatly appreciated!!

Thanks to all of you!