Here are a number of paragraphs about 100 words each for Church Bulletins - feel free to chose from them and put them to use. - Barry
Africa is full of ironies. Though averaging $200/year (347,000 Ugandan Shillings), they don't think themselves poor. In Kampala, a city of 1.5 million people - many fetch water in plastic jugs. Cooking, washing and ironing may be done on the front step, yet Ugandans are nicely dressed with good shoes (they walk a lot) and most have cell phones! Ugandan pastors may have large flocks, but most have little Bible training and lack even a Bible Dictionary. Still Ugandans are articulate - conversations constant - they allow people to talk without interjections - making door to door evangelism easy as people go about daily tasks.
Children are everywhere in Uganda. HIV/AIDS wiped out a generation, leaving 10 million of orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa. Many find homes with relatives. There are many street children. With malaria and other diseases, many die young. They have a kind of "radar" - large numbers gather whenever food or something of interest is happening. In their culture, they eat last. They work hard - starting young with household chores. They are disciplined, the older in charge of younger, able to sit without fidgeting. Many schools are connected to churches, the school day in the afternoon. Children are a key to Uganda's future.
Uganda is a garden of Eden, situated above Lake Victoria, with two rainy seasons and two growing seasons a year. It has seven beautiful national parks to attract tourists. People grow bananas, pineapples, potatoes and sugar cane to eat or trade in the local markets. Cotton, Tea and coffee are grown. Its agriculture unfortunately is largely subsistence - though Uganda could help feed its neighbors during droughts. Several American churches are helping individual Ugandans - offering small loans to start business or help to make their crops exportable. Uganda may be the key to reaching neighboring Congo, Tanzania and Rwanda with the gospel.
John Pickett made his first trip to Uganda in the mid 80's while pastoring at Lake Stevens Presbyterian Church. He and several others founded ACTI to facilitate getting people there for enabling ministries that assist the church in areas of need, but at the same time leaves the Christians of Uganda in control of their own ministry and outreach. John is even part owner of a "taxi" company with two taxis (14 passenger vans) in Kampala - assuring dependable transportation for teams in Uganda. He has made 15 trips to Uganda - one of 6 months. I hope to learn a lot accompanying John on this trip.
ACTI was founded by PCA men and continues to be overseen by a Board of primarily PCA people. It continues to have a significant impact in Uganda among Ugandan Episcopalians and Pentecostals as well as the Presbyterian Church there by facilitating short term, but intensive ministry trips. 162 went to Uganda in 10 teams in 2001: 11 teams and 110 in 2002. Six new churches were planted in 2001, 5 more in 2002. Efforts were made to revitalize seven local churches through local evangelism, and outreach extended to five jails. Conferences for pastors, women, men and youths were held. Two medical teams also operated.
It is not uncommon for a Ugandan pastor to educated and fluent in English, yet lack theological training. I will be ferrying along a Study Bible, and Bible Dictionary for a pastor who lacks even those basic tools. ACTI has helped struggling pastors and churches with conferences designed to train in ministry skills we take for granted. I can expect to spend six to eight hours per day teaching pastors, elders and deacons, be doing personal work at night and then preach in areas churches on the Lord's Day. It is not without its dangers either - besides health concerns, rebel activities - one team was robbed twice last summer.
Talk about a captive audience. Three quarters of those in Ugandan prisons have yet to be convicted of a crime. Access to them by ACTI teams is quite readily obtained.
See also Eldrbarry's Impressions of Life in Uganda
This is Bob Hayes personal "General" letter for 2002
[On Letter Head]
June 5, 2000
As I am sure you are aware, God has given me an ongoing ministry in the East African nation of Uganda. I have made short-term missionary trips there every other year since 1992. It has been a wonderful time of ministry, especially since it is among believers within many denominational settings. These people have suffered greatly, first under the brutal hand of dictator Idi Amin throughout the 1970s and then in the legacy of poverty and destruction he left behind. The believers in Uganda are Christians above all else and it is very common to see a level of cooperation among them that we can only long for here in the United States. They know how to focus on those things that unite them while so many Christians in the United States focus on what divides us.
As you might also remember, I went to Uganda last summer so my next "regular" trip would be in the summer of 2001. However, I have been asked to make a special trip this summer and the Elders of the church I pastor have agreed to let me go. Lord willing, I will leave June 28 and return in the middle of July.
I would greatly appreciate any consideration you might give to help in funding this trip. Normally, the raising of funds for a summer trip begins in February. However, it wasn't until the end of April that it became clear this trip would actually come to pass so my efforts at raising support is way behind schedule, but I know God is faithful and I trust in His care.
Thank you for taking the time to consider this and I will greatly appreciate any support you might be able to give.
I plan to mail a trip itinerary and prayer guide just before I leave so you can remember me in your prayers.
Yours in Christ,
Robert S. Hayes
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