Cornerstone’s first steps into Uganda were through the Child Development Program (CDP) of Africa Renewal University (ARM). We were introduced to the CDP and ARM when the Mwangaza Children’s Choir performed on a Sunday night at Cornerstone eight years ago. That night began a long partnership that has led us to where we are today in Uganda.
Eight years ago God opened the door for Cornerstone Church to begin a journey to partner with Buloba Community Church (BCC) in Uganda. BCC was a new church plant in the Buloba community and part of the Africa Renewal Ministries church planting efforts.
As I write this, the Uganda team is on a layover in Amsterdam on our way home. We have spent the last five days in many meetings with many people in Gaba, Buloba, and on the campus of Africa Renewal University.
It has been a very productive week focused on identifying new vision as we figure out the changes our Ugandan partner, Africa Renewal Ministries, is making.
The progress on constructing the new medical clinic in Buloba has been amazing. When I consider the way in which the Ugandan workers have to do what they do in construction without large equipment, I am impressed. The clinic will be ready to go by the new year. With that in mind, we are planning our first trip to help get the clinic up and running.
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.
The August 2015 Uganda team was able to walk through the construction site of the new medical clinic being built on the campus of Africa Renewal University. Rusty Hutson took a few minutes to record a video and talk about what is planned and how it will impact the community. As construction continues, look for more updates, both video and written, in our weekly e-newsletter.
Rusty, Katy and I have been back in Auburn from Uganda just long enough to realize we are no longer living on Uganda time. Rusty arrived home on Monday night and Katy and I arrived last night after spending some time in Amsterdam on our way home. With the time difference being eight hours it takes a few days to get back to normal.
The trip was a success and as I have mentioned we gained a lot of clarity on some of the positive changes happening with Africa Renewal Ministries, our Uganda partner.
While we were in Uganda we posted about what we did each day. The days were fast paced and filled with a lot of people and places and the posts included references to both as well as several organizations. I want to take some time to give you some clarity on many of the people, places and organizations we engaged with while we were there.
Some of the organizations:
- Gaba Community Church (GCC)– GCC is the home church for the founder and director of Africa Renewal Ministries, Pastor Peter Kasirivu. Everything Cornerstone is officially connected with in Uganda is under the umbrella of GCC and their spiritual leadership.
- Africa Renewal Ministries (ARM)– Arm is the cover for many ministries including Bethany Village, Loving Hearts Babies Home and the Child Development Project to name a few.
- Child Development Project (CDP)– the CDP is a core program of ARM and is the program Cornerstone engages with the most. We sometimes refer to it as the “child sponsorship program”.
- Africa Renewal University (ARU)– ARU is the new university begun by Pastor Peter and ARM in the Buloba Community. ARU houses The University Chapel.
It is late Monday night as I write this in Uganda. We are at the Entebbe International Airport waiting for our return flight back home. It has been a fast paced and very productive four days.
Today we woke up at Africa Renewal University (ARU). After breakfast we met with the management team for ARU for their weekly staff meeting. The team is made up of James (Dean of Students), Fiona (Human Resources and Finance), Vincent (Registrar) and Dennis (Quality Control and Standards). Their last names are rather complicated so I’ll just use their first names which is not uncommon. We learned that ARU receives its accreditation from the National Council for Higher Education.
This is just a quick update because we have limited internet access. We spent the day worshiping with the University Chapel and Pastor Renson. It was a great time of worship, singing and some dancing as well. The message was great.
Today we traveled to the community of Buloba. Buloba is home to the Child Development Program where the Cornerstone family supports 347 kids. It is also the home of Africa Renewal University. Both the Child Sponsorship Program (CDP) and Africa Renewal University (ARU) are under the umbrella of Gaba Community Church.
Rusty, Katy and I arrived last night at 10:30 pm Uganda time after the typical 26 hours of travel from Auburn to Kampala, Uganda. We went straight from the airport to the home of Patrick Serunjogi who is hosting us while we are here. We were tired and knew we needed to get to sleep because we had an early start the next day.
Rusty, my daughter Katy, and I will be flying out of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport tomorrow night (Wednesday) at 8 pm. It is going to be a short, fast paced trip to Uganda to visit and pray with leaders and our friends with Gaba Church and the Buloba community.
One of the great things about Cornerstone is the consistent life application that goes along with the message each week. My wife, Leslie, and I have always tried to incorporate our kids into whatever the message series is, so that we can learn together as a family.
Your support of the Renewal Health Clinic will play a key role in the advancement of the gospel in the community of Buloba. This Christmas, at Cornerstone, we want to raise the initial $25,000 to help launch this medical clinic in the early part of 2015. Let’s pray now towards that goal and how each of us can be a part of bringing quality health care to this community as we know that’s one important piece of seeing the kingdom come to Buloba, Uganda. Your opportunity to give towards this project will begin November 30th and run through December 31st. Watch the above video and read below for more information about the Renewal Health Center.
Site Pastor, Bred Pub Site
Today, I attended my first college class in many years – probably close to 15 years, actually. It’s a Sociology class, which reminds me of the only other sociology class I had years ago in the Haley Center on Auburn’s campus. The classroom I visited today was about 8,000 miles from the Haley Center.
It took traveling all the way to Uganda for me to be a student again, at least as it pertains to a traditional classroom setting. It wasn’t on any official agenda, but getting to sit in on class sessions with the students here has proven to be a great surprise and blessing. And as for “agendas”, I am quickly learning that Africa has a much more relaxed definition of the word.
It’s good to be back in Uganda! I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be back in this place and to bring my good friends along for the journey. You’ll see a number of posts and updates from our team over the next several days, but let me start with just an introduction to who we are and what we’re about.
Uganda day 5: Although our bodies are beginning to give out, our passion for the game is only increasing.
Day 4 was an absolute blast. We started it off with the usual breakfast at Patrick’s (toast, eggs, jam, pb, shortbread, bananas and the oh so delicious pineapple). Then, we left to see the Africa Renewal University in Buloba.
Day three in Kampala was nothing short of incredible. Our team of six has been welcomed with open arms and shown unbelievable hospitality since arriving in Uganda a few days ago.
So for day 2 in Uganda, we were tasked with getting to know the stories of these young men that we play against at Gaba High School.
Day 1. Wow, the past 24 hours has been quite an awesome ride. After 16 hours flying, we landed in Kampala around 12:00 o’clock a.m. (4 o’clock p.m. our body time), so I guess you could say we were a little exhausted.
Today we woke up to a nice breakfast of the usual toast and eggs. After our meal we headed over to the school to begin our day of interacting with the children.
Today we woke up early – partially because of the incredible rain storm that beat down on our tin roof dormitory at 5am and partially because of an early breakfast at 7am before church. After an energizing breakfast we walked down to the Buloba Community Church where we immediately started the service beginning with worship and praise and then a sermon delivered to us by a guest pastor.
This morning we awoke to a beautiful sunny day! We had breakfast and the best fresh squeezed juice I have ever had. It was mango, pineapple, papaya and banana…so incredibly delicious! Amy led our devotion followed by a prayer from Kelly and from there we headed on foot about a mile down a dirt road to the Buloba Primary School for center day.
Phew, we are all finally home, showered and hopefully in bed at 12:30 AM. As I type this final update (although it feels like it is 8:30 AM and we should be eating breakfast), I am excited about the work that God is doing in Uganda and among our team members from the Senior Class of 2014 and it’s leaders.
Today was unexpected yet again, but turned out to be for the best. Our morning began with our normal routine, waking up to Pat’s whistles for toast, eggs, and bananas.