This will be my third trip to Uganda. My first trip included teaching, preaching and door-to-door evangelism at New Life Presbyterian Church in Kajjansi, near Kampala, on March 10th - 17th, 2001, as part of a team led by Dr. Henry Krabbendam. My second trip on March 3rd -22nd, 2003 involved teaching and preaching in four conferences - an Arch-Deacon's conference at Lweza, and Lay-Leader conferences in Mukono, Kinkiizi and Hoima, serving the Church of Uganda. Over 400 Ugandan Church leaders and believers participated in these conferences.
Though I support my family working in a grocery store, I have served as Assistant Pastor of Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church (P.C.A.) in Lake Stevens, Wa. - a teaching, preaching and storytelling ministry I have been involved in for over twenty years. I am also the Chairman of the Pacific Northwest Presbytery's Mission to the World Committee. My daughter, Sarah Balogh, is a missionary in Kaposvár, Hungary with International Messengers.
Building a support base for my Uganda short-term ministry trip is one of the most important parts of the entire process for two reasons. Not only am I seeking funds to enable me to go to Uganda for the purpose of ministry, but I am also gathering warriors to stand alongside me in prayer as I go. In fact, that prayer base is more important than the financial. The financial base can only gets me there and back -- the prayer base empowers the entire trip.
My Trip Costs are $3,500 and will be used in the following way:
Slightly over one-half of this amount is used for transportation, room, and board in Uganda and the remainder used in direct ministry to the people of Uganda. It is the nature of ministry in Uganda, that we must provide for the needs of those we minister to. Most of us are accustomed to having guests come and minister in our home churches. In such cases, the host church provides travel expenses, lodging and meals, and typically gives an honorarium. The Ugandan churches are very poor (average annual family income is less that $400) and as such, could never cover such costs. Therefore, we cover our own expenses and raise additional funds to provide the scholarships, travel funds, food and lodging for Ugandans to participate in the events we conduct. In addition, the logistics of getting us to where we will minister and providing for our basic needs and health is made possible by the time and energies of a number of Ugandans who also need to be supported. 100% of what I receive will go for my trip and any excess funds received will go to help anyone on the team who has fallen short of their goal and when all team members are fully funded, excess funds are used to purchase Bibles and other Christian books, and medical supplies, or used to help orphans in Uganda. And unlike full time missionaries who require regular support - all I am seeking are one time gifts to Uganda. We will take approximately 100 pounds each of Bible study materials, clothes, medicine, and other benevolent help.(See below for more on ACTI's financial policies; and for benevolent gifts suggestions.)
Designated Gifts to the McWilliams Mission Fund can be sent to:
The following list contains suggestions giving some idea of what gift items I can take along.
Over the years, ACTI has found this type ministry to be effective and by God's grace has helped change the character of the church in Uganda. It is an enabling ministry that assists the church in its areas of need, but at the same time leaves the Christians of Uganda in control of their own ministry and outreach. The need is so great and the people are so responsive to the gospel. It is not uncommon for a Ugandan pastor to educated and fluent in English, yet lacking in formal theological training and with few resources. ACTI has helped struggling pastors and churches with conferences and seminars designed to train in ministry skills that we take for granted in our churches here at home. A team member may spend six to eight hours per day teaching pastors, elders and deacons, do personal work at night and then preach in areas churches on the Lord's Day. It is not without its dangers either - besides the ever present health concerns, rebel activities prevent work in some areas, and Pastor Pete Anderson's team was robbed twice last summer. There is much need for prayer for those who go to minister.
ACTI's pledge is to use funds to their maximum for God's glory. The salaries of the Ugandan ACTI coordination team is paid from designated funds and a small portion of ministry teams funds. The more a ministry team uses its staff in Uganda, the more it costs. However, their policy is never to access any team member more than $100 for this purpose. Therefore, the maximum they would charge any team members $3,500 is 2.9%. African Christian Training Institute was founded by a group of Presbyterian Church in America men in 1981, and continues to be overseen by a Board of primarily P.C.A. people. Those who oversee ACTI's efforts in the United States are all otherwise engaged in full-time employment (pastors, doctors, dentists, accountants, etc.,) and their work with ACTI is on a volunteer basis. They even pay their own expenses to ACTI meetings. ACTI is totally committed to both the work of ministry in Uganda and financial integrity for every dollar God entrusts to them.