[The following blog entry is an update from our CCC-supported missionairies to Uganda.]
We live in the midst of a strong paternalistic society in Bundibugyo, Uganda where polygamy and adultery are far too common. Women and children are often disrespected and mistreated. Many young men grow up watching their fathers abuse alcohol, beat their wives and children, and be generally distanced and withdrawn from the daily lives of their children. Many are true orphans and don’t have a father figure in their lives. There are sadly few examples of godly men who are actively engaged in loving their wives and children and leading their families in a God fearing and honoring way.
A few Sundays ago, I decided to visit a local Anglican Church that some of my soccer players attend. There were probably close to 200 people there for the second service in Lubwisi, the local tribal tongue, that morning. Of those, I counted 12 men above the age of 16 with the rest being women and mostly children. Four of the twelve men were church leaders that sat up front and led the service. Another four “men” were some of my players who were also involved in leading praise/worship and youth activities.
I was deeply saddened to see so few men in the church, while at the same time encouraged to see some of my players present, active, and engaged in worship and displaying evidence of leadership. There were other players from our team (Nyahuka Ambassadors) that had attended the first service, which is in English.
Not all of my players know and follow Jesus. MS is one of my players who recently became an orphan after his father died in Eastern Congo. A month or so ago I went out with some of my players, including MS, to watch a Champions League match between Manchester United and Manchester City, which would be the equivalent to watching an AU vs UA match when they’re both ranked in the top 5. We wound up watching the match at an outdoor pork joint/bar along with several hundred other people. MS came to me a few days later and in conversation told me that he is a Muslim (and would prefer not to go back to the pork joint). I appreciated his courage to tell me and experienced a greater desire to spend time pursuing and loving him so that he might experience the love of Christ through me. Since that time, I have hired MS for extra work around the compound to help him earn money to prepare to go back to school in February. He often comes to visit and just sit in my kitubi (outdoor meeting place) to talk and joke around with me. I love him deeply, and nothing would make me happier than for Jesus to capture his heart!
Would you pray with and for me and my family that God would use my family and our team to love the people of Bundibugyo well, whether it is through health care, sports outreach, in community, or the local church? Specifically, I am spending a lot of time with the guys' football club. We have played two tournaments recently winning the last one and playing in the finals of the current tournament today. The guys are becoming local heroes and celebrities over time as we continue to win and do post-game victory drives through our small village. We want to see them grow in their knowledge and love of Jesus so that they will become the godly examples in community that they and others lack.
We are thankful for your continued encouragement and support!