Monday, September 8, 2014

Island Ministry

I had the opportunity to minister with a group of pastors and church leaders on Namitale Island on Thursday.  It was a cool experience.  There is no electricity or running water on this small island of maybe 3,000 people.  The only vehicles I saw were a boda (Motorbike) and massive new earth mover.  They told me that the bulldozer was brought over on a ferry in order to make roads on the island.  There was indeed a good dirt road, but no evidence of vehicles to travel on it.  I guess they are preparing for the future!
Mukene laid out to dry by the lakeshore.
The day started by picking up a few men near GSF.  These had been trained in Bible overview and inductive Bible study for several months at GSF in 2013.  Upon completing that study, God opened a door for us to "go and make disciples" (our study theme) in Kiyindi, a fishing village an hour's drive from GSF.  We just finished up our 6-month study with a group from several churches in this village.  Along the way, I've learned that Kiyindi is the gateway to the islands (there are 52 islands in the chain nearest to this area).  It is also the harvest point for mukene (silverfish), which is a favorite food of many Ugandans.  The road to Kiyindi is rough and the atmosphere of this thriving fishing town is dark, but there is Light shining in the darkness.

We launched out to Namitale from Kiyindi at about 10:30 AM, singing as we went.  Several men and women from the Kiyindi discipleship group joined us as our hosts for the day.  We were 15 people in all.
Pastor Stephen Tenywa has been reaching these islands for several years, but he has come alive with passion as he began to learn how to accurately handle the Word of Truth through our studies.  He started another discipleship group at a church on Namitale 5 weeks ago.  This is the dynamic of making disciples!

About 30 people gathered for training on the island.

I was taught 12 years ago by my friend, Tim Miller (Disciple The Nations).  Tim has since written a book (30x60x100) which is the guide for our study groups here.  I've trained two groups of church leaders so far.  Now one of them has started another group elsewhere.  Other men are also planning to go and share the gospel in this way.  This is the instruction of 2 Timothy 2:2, "The things which you have heard from me among many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."

Our training for the day was held in a small, mud structure (pictured left).  We were joined by about 15-20 people from Namitale and neighboring islands.  Some of the other pastors taught brief sessions from our studies and gave testimonies of how it was transforming their ability to teach the Word of God.  I shared a message about making disciples.  Then we had a short break before I led the next session, an overview of Old Testament history from Ruth through the kings and up to Ezra/Nehemiah.

Moses (left) grew up at GSF and translated for me.

I finished with a favorite teaching from Malachi 4:6 (the last words of the OT), connecting to Luke 1:17 (purpose of John, opening the NT).  These passages both talk about God's desire to "turn the hearts of father's to their children."  This is a much needed message here in Uganda!  It also helps to demonstrate the connections within the entire Bible, which is one of the main points of our study.  The Bible is intricately interwoven, not a mere compilation of nice stories.

Launching the boat back into the water for the return journey.
Pastor Stephen and his wife (left) are our hosts in Kiyindi.  Pastor Moses (next to me) has a church near GSF.
The people graciously served us a lunch of fish, rice and posho when we concluded at 4:00 p.m.  Of course we had fish – we're on an island!  They asked me whether I preferred the head or the tail.  Not enjoying it when my food is looking at me, I chose the tail.

A rain storm blew in during lunch and we could see white caps all over the lake, so our return journey was delayed a bit.  Once the storm passed, we launched out again.  The praise and worship singing carried us the entire journey back to Kiyindi.  We said farewell to our brothers there and returned home.  What an amazing day!


Unknown said...

Praise God! We will continue to pray for you and your discipleship ministry.

Youth Missions and Outreach said...

So thrilled to see you alongside Pastor Moses ministering in the island. IBS is such a great tool to rightly divide the word of God.

Cherished that above all. Send my love and greetings to your family.

Andrew Karina Smith said...

Yeah!Great to see you on the islands! Thank you for taking the time to come out our direction to minister on the Buvuma Islands. Andy and Keeky Smith