35 hours. That was the total time on an airplane to and from Africa. That’s a lot of time in a confined space (especially for a partial claustrophobe). You sleep, watch movies, eat, drink water, read, stare at nothing in particular and try not to look at your watch! That time is only made tolerable by the experience of being with brothers and sisters in Christ of a different culture, different nationality, different setting, who share in the same vision of reaching this world with the Good News of the gospel. That time is made all better the moment I see Isma (our family’s sponsor child) and realize how happy he is, how healthy he looks and how well he is cared for by his Christian community there in Buloba. That time becomes insignificant when I’m in a circle praying with the leaders of a rapidly growing movement of God in a land where witchcraft and Islam still permeates the culture. I firmly believe God is using the time, energy, talents and resources of our church to further His kingdom in this special place.
It was great to share this latest trip to Uganda with our Director of Operations, Jack Fisher and his daughter Katy. I think they would share in my thoughts on the travel versus investment issue. We had a great trip and came away with several updates and next steps for our work there.
- Child Development Program (CDP) – The leadership of the CDP shared some changes that have been made with regard to the program. They have a new director named Richard. He is a very sharp young man with a good vision of how to best care for our sponsored children. One part of this vision was to move the children from Buloba Community Church up the road to the facilities at Africa Renewal University (ARU). This will allow the sponsored children to have a close connection to the university students, many of whom were sponsored children as well. The younger children look up to the older students and, the hope is, they will be positively influenced by them to continue their education beyond high school.
- The Medical Clinic – The construction of phase 1 of the medical clinic in Buloba is on track to finish at or before the end of this year. We were excited to hear those who will work closely with the clinic talk about the impact it will make on the University and the surrounding community. They are working on a plan to gradually open the clinic. They want to start caring for the University students and staff first to make sure their systems of care are working properly. When they have worked out any kinks, then they will open it up to surrounding community. We are planning for a medical trip from our church in 2016. To see photos of the building progress of the medical clinic, visit Cornerstone’s facebook page.
- The new church at ARU – The new church at the university is underway and doing well. We are excited about a ministry that will reach university students and the surrounding Buloba community. Our partnership in this work fits well with the fact that we also are in a university town and understand the importance of ministering to the students and faculty. We are currently supporting the salary of their Pastor (Pastor Renson). He seems to be a wonderful person, great preacher and solid leader.
We are in the process right now of planning trips for next year. We will communicate the dates and purposes of these trips soon.