April 10, 2018
Today we began the first pastors conference. I didn’t really know what to expect. Boy was I surprised. The village we were hosting the event in was about 20 minutes away from Bugiri. The attendance was less than expected due to severe flooding in the region. The pastor of the church, Pastor Paul, where the event is being held had his own home flooded out this morning. I can’t believe he still came to the training.
I later learned that Pastor Paul had been pastoring in this village church for 30 years. He had put together a small tent and sound system. A translator from Entebbe had been hired to travel with us throughout the week. Unfortunately, he had to back out at the last minute. So, we had a local pastor fill in for him. He actually did pretty good. His name is Steve. He is a pastor in another village many miles away. He walked to the training.
We had 6 sessions today. I taught 4 of them. Man are these pastors hungry for the Word! They had worship 3 times. Most of the singing was in their native language. The women would often break into periods of some incredibly high-pitched vocalizations that are part of their native heritage. It was pretty cool to see how their worship, which is so different from ours, is still genuinely directed to the same God.
Pastor Butch is highly respected here. All of the pastors treated him with such reverence. God has greatly used him throughout the country. The more time I spend with him, the more impressed I am with his heart, his wisdom, and his ministry. He is a true person of peace in Uganda.
Towards the end of the day, Pastor Butch asked me to have a Q&A session. Some of the questions surprised me. Doctrinal issues that we take for granted were very confusing to them. We spent most of the afternoon dealing with baptism. Apparently, there are many pastors who believe that baptism is absolutely required for salvation. They also were very confused about the difference between the baptism of water and the baptism of the Spirit. I really enjoyed working through all of this with them. We also addressed money from a Christian perspective. I didn’t expect this to be an issue in such a poor country.
The women prepared lunch for everyone at the conference. I thought it odd but we did not eat with everyone else. Out of respect for us, we were taken to a private room where Pastor Peter personally served us. The menu was diverse and they had prepared a lot of food for us. We had goat meat, chicken, rice, beans, matoke, posho, watermelon, and some other stuff. Honestly, I’m not sure what some of it was. I didn’t realize until later that everyone else just had rice for lunch. I was embarrassed, but it seemed of great importance to them to honor us in this way.
Kristine, Doug, and Debbie worked with the children from the villages today. They taught them many lessons from scripture including the gospel, creation, and original sin. They played games with them using balloons. The kids loved the balloons.
I wore a suit again. I was suffocating. I will not wear one tomorrow.