Thursday, June 28, 2012

Life, Death & Ransom: UPDATE

Thank all of you for your fervent prayers about this situation. If you are just now getting into the loop you can get caught up with the first post here.
Since the first post we have made some progress in the land situation. As crazy as it sounds, the land that is in dispute actually belongs to the baptist mission. It was given in 1995 during the tenure of the Schmidt family. So it is 99.9% certain that Longolemoe will get her land back very soon. In fact, we are planning to plow it up for her and replant her garden on Saturday and get her back on her feet. Physically she is doing MUCH BETTER!!!! She is now walking again and she is able to speak. She is now just having difficulty with eating and her appetite. Now that she knows she is going to get her land back she seems to be less desperate and we are not as concerned about her taking her life. When we spoke with her yesterday she seemed to be on her way back to feeling normal. I am convinced that this is due to your prayers. Please continue to pray for her. Also we will be planting very late in the season, so please pray that her crops will grow well and be ready to provide for her needs very soon.
We have begun to see a change even in Moses. Thus far all of his attempts to scare people and intimidate them into helping him steal the woman’s land have come up lacking. This man had pretty significant influence and was able to simply pay people off to get his way and take advantage of people. Since you have begun to pray none of his contacts seem willing to help him with this matter. The local police have chastised him for trying to steal the poor woman's land. They have even threatened to charge him with murder if the woman dies (from starving or witchcraft). Though I think these are probably empty threats, I think Moses is seeing that his money can not buy the solution he desires in this instance. In short, even though he has gone to the witch doctor and placed curses nothing is working and I think he is beginning to see that our God is powerful and He is the protector of the poor and the helpless. 
That being said, I want to make clear that our ultimate desire is for this man to follow after Jesus and I truly believe that the Lord has great plans for his life. But first, he must learn that our God reigns and deserves honor and worship. He has to see that his witchcraft can not stand against our God. That all of his efforts against us can not succeed. But he also needs to see that we truly love him. and that we do not see ourselves any better than we see him. I am convinced that without the grace that I received from Jesus and the renewing of my mind that He began I would be capable of the very same acts of greed and rebellion towards God. So, today we will be going to talk to Moses and share our love for him and Gods love and give him an opportunity to repent of his greed and follow after a God that forgives and restores us. The Gospel is not for the healthy but for the sick, like you, me and Moses. Pray for Moses that he has learned his lesson and we can introduce him to Jesus and God can turn away his wrath from Moses.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bovine Monikers

Living among the Karimajong is truly like living in an african version of the wild wild west. I will go into this in detail in an upcoming blog post but for now I want to give you some insight into how they feel about their cattle. To put it simply their whole lives revolve around these bovines. They spend most of their lives surrounded by cows, most men recieve the name of the first cow/bull they admire. They often even use cow dung as Stucco on their walls. So it would stand to reason that their understanding of Cattle is great and it is. It is however so complex that there are literally hundreds of names for different cows and their colors and horn structure. There is not enough space on this blog to go into great detail but I thought I would let you get a tast of some of the names of our bovine neighbors. Let me know which one you admire and you might just get a new nickname.

Ngolo nyang-brown male

Ngina Muki- female red/black mix

ngina kori-ngina todo anganmwar- female, white with brown spots, one horn

Ngolo pues- ngolo luk anganmwar: blue male, horns turned down

Ngolo ethe- ngolo sogol anganmwar: Male, white with brown and dark lines with standing and curved horns

Ngolo Ngole arengan-ngolo sogol anganmwar: Male, white head, with red body; horns standing and curved

ngina ngole kirioul: female, white head, black body

ngolo ngora kori: male, color going up divided 2 ways, brown with white

ngina ngora ariengan: female, divided two ways, red with white

Ngina meri: female, white and black mix & Ngina kol: female, black with white mix

Ngina kori arengan: female, spotted, red color with white

Ngina linga Pues- Ngina pe ta: female, collared blue color, with horns pointing out.

ngina ngorok: female, black with white spots

Ngina Meri pues- ngina lem: female, white with black and blue, no horns

Ngina ase: female, striped, dark, brown, black and white

Ngolo linga ngorok: male, collared, spotted black and white

Ngina kori komol: female, spotted brown, red white

Ngina gira pues-ngina logul anganmwar: female, zebra stripes, blue, horns pointing up and curved

It gets even more extensive, but you get the picture. I hope you enjoyed. If you are interested in working with these cattle people in any way please contact me and we would be happy to talk.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

URGENT: Life, Death & Ransom

It was a typical day in Kaabong if such a thing exists, and Robert was driving into town to handle a couple of errands. He took with him Andrew and Tanner, summer volunteers from the states. As they were on the road Robert was stopped by a man. The man told him that a woman had hanged herself and someone should call the police. When Robert found the woman she was hanging from a small tree with a makeshift rope around her neck, but she was not yet dead. Robert and the volunteers carefully carried the woman to the truck and then to the hospital. 
Upon arriving at the hospital, Robert went in to find someone to help them, as Andrew and Tanner carried the old woman in. People were scoffing at the scene and even laughing. To their eyes it was wrong to see an “important” white person caring for a poor, helpless woman. Once they received help the people were just as calloused, saying we will give her some fluids but she just needs to die. After she received her treatment she then left with the guys. People were now curious as to what was happening and they asked who these men were that were caring for the woman. The answer that came makes me very proud. “They are Christians!”
The woman, named Longolemoe, was then taken back to our basecamp. There many people from the tribe gathered to discuss the issue as the woman’s needs were being cared for. We found out in this time that the woman was desperate and hopeless because of a land dispute. In 2007 she had borrowed money from a wealthy man in town, she needed this money to care for a sick relative. The relative died and she has never been able to repay the debt. So, the man from town told her he would just use some of her land as payment for the debt. So he began farming the land a little every year. But this year he brought out his tractor and claimed the land as his own. Plowing under the crops the woman had already planted. Essentially this meant that the woman would die because without crops there will be no food for her. She knew she would starve this year so it was better to die quickly than to suffer and starve.
As we gathered together in the assembly of believers, we talked about the story of the Good Samaritan and how Jesus himself taught us to care for people who were in great need and who no one wanted to help. We felt privileged to be a part of him doing just that in our midst. As we continued to talk about the woman and the debt we also talked about How when we were hopeless and out of options Jesus payed our sin debt and gave us a new life. We felt like this was an awesome opportunity for us to display that very thing to the people of Kaabong by paying the woman’s debt and canceling any claim that the man had on her or her land. So we gathered an offering and the church provided more than enough to pay the woman's debt.
The next morning Robert and I took the money to the mans house. When we arrived we explained to the man that we were wanting to pay the woman's debt with interest. This way everyone would get what belonged to them and it would be a fair solution to the problem. The man, whose name was Moses, then told us that he was not interested in receiving money. All he wanted was the land. (The land is likely worth 10X the debt of the woman) I told him that we are looking for a peaceful solution for this problem. I said, you know if you take this woman’s land she is going to starve and die. Moses callously said what does it concern him if she dies? In fact it is better for him because then he doesn’t have to deal with her or her family. He laughed as he said these things and both Robert and I felt the the full depravity of man was on display. As we failed to find a solution, the suggestion was made that we just handle the dispute in the traditional way. I asked what that would entail and they smiled as they explained it would entail calling the witch doctor, making a sacrifice and calling down a curse that would cause the woman, her sons and myself to die. I told the man I do not think he wants  to go that route, because he would surely lose. He could call all of the witch doctors in Uganda and if Gods people were praying they could not hurt a hair on our heads. He confirmed that this is the route that he wanted to go and began to blaspheme and called upon the name of god and the spirits in the same sentences. As he continued perverting the ways of the Lord I was filled with zeal for my Lord and I felt the Spirit fill my mouth with words to speak. I was told to say the following, “Everything you see here in your presence will be gone within six months and you will be destitute having nothing to your name. You will acknowledge that God is the only true god as everything that you touch will fail until you repent and acknowledge your evil ways.” I then prayed that God would fulfill what he had spoken and show to all of these people his mighty power. Moses then spoke a curse upon me, saying that my other leg would whither and then I would die. From that point the die was cast. The legal things will certainly be resolved, and I am fairly certain that the woman will receive her land and be well cared for. But now the spiritual war is in clear view of all. Many of these people just like Moses claim God with their lips but deny Jesus as his son or even believe that the spirits are more powerful that Our God. It is my belief that as the people in the area have been making sacrifices to lesser gods (that are in fact not gods at all) the stench of their idolatry has reached his nostrils. I believe that he has grown tired of his name being profaned and has allowed this showdown to show all of the Karamajong that he is the only true God and the only one worthy of their adoration and praise.
So, in the coming months we are needing your prayers in the following ways:
Pray for Longolemoe (mother), Apus, & Achuka (sons) who have had a curse placed on them by the witch doctor. Pray that the Lord would protect them completely and that instead of dying that they would prosper and look healthy and strong.
Pray that everything that Moses touches would fail and that the riches he has accumulated through his greed would be taken away and that he would know that Our God is more powerful than any witchcraft. Pray also that he would come to know our God through this circumstance.
Pray that the land dispute would be resolved quickly and that Longolemoe would be able to return to her land. 
Pray for the Volunteer girls Allee and Katie who are caring for the woman and her needs.
Finally pray for our team that we would be wise in all of our words and actions and that we would lean heavily on the Lord and not on our own understanding.
Feel free to distribute this prayer request and story far and wide.
to GOD be the glory

Monday, June 25, 2012


I just received a call from J asking for prayer.  I will try to make this understandable without going into too much detail. The main point though is to pray. A few days ago Robert was driving to town and found an elderly woman trying to hang herself on the side of the road.  This was because another man had taken her land away from her and instead of starving to death she was going to just kill herself.  Robert took the woman back to the compound and talked through the situation.  The team decided that they would try to appease the man by paying him a debt that he said he was owed and was why he took the land.  So the team tried to pay what the man wanted so he would leave the woman alone, but the man refused the money.  It is obvious that he is just in this to take the land.  He has not legal way of getting the land and the police are on the side of the woman, but remember this is Africa and sometimes it does not workout the "legal" way.  J and other confronted the man and through that the man brought in a witch doctor and placed a death curse on J, the woman Longolomoi, and her son Apus.  J has nothing to fear.  He knows he is protected by the Almighty, but the woman and her son are not Christians and do not have the comfort of an all powerful God.  Here are the prayer request. J to trust God will protect him. Longolomio and Apus to accept Christ. The man who is stealing the land to be conviced by the Holy Spirit and give his life to Christ. The witch doctors spells not to work on Longolomio and Apus, and for the witch doctor to turn to Christ. Thank you for being a part of this team.  Times like this remind us that we are all in this together.  Pleas take some time and talk to the Father. Aaron

Encounter with a Mohammedan or Give them Jesus

Recently, I was traveling to Kampala to pick up a friend from the airport. This trip can take anywhere from 12 hours to a couple of days. I do not usually do it along but in this special circumstance I was driving to Kampala by myself. I left very early (before 5) and began on my way. When I reached the first town i made a wrong turn. If you know me you know this is nearly impossible! So, I am convinced it was directed by the spirit (I don’t think it should go on my permanent record). I begin to look around. The sun is just beginning to come up. There are literally only three options as to where to turn in this town how did i mess it up. I stopped and asked a couple of muslim men who were on the way to the mosque. They told me which way to go and ask me where I was headed. I told them and they asked for a ride. Well the place they wanted to go was almost 3 hours away but it was on my way. So I said sure go get your stuff and lets go.
Now i have spent most of the last 12 years sharing Jesus with people who are nominal Catholics or people who practice a tribal religion or training others to do so. This is my comfort zone. Up till this point, I had never shared Jesus with a muslim. I don’t know the rules. I don’t know what I should or shouldn’t say. But you better believe if these guys are in my truck for 3 hours they are gonna get a whole lot of Jesus.
So we talked about our beliefs. He told me what he thought of Christians. I told him that I don’t bother much with organized Christianity, I just follow Jesus. That my whole life is wrapped up in a person not a belief system or religious dogma or structure. We talked about the differences between Mohammad and Jesus. I told him that based on what he told me that Jesus seems greater than Mohammad. We had an awesome friendly discussion while his friend who was in the back seat sat back there giving me dirty looks and staring daggers into my skull. The man in the front showed interest not in Christianity but in Jesus. When I dropped him off, he told me he knew a lot of Christians but he had never heard anyone talk about Jesus like I had. I asked him if I could pray with him. I especially didn’t know if this was a no no but I went for it. He said yes, and I prayed in the name of Jesus that he would be sent dreams and visions and that he would know that Jesus is the only true savior and that he would someday soon follow him too.
It was an awesome experience for me and I really feel like the Lord used it to help me tu understand that even though the people we are working with now practice a tribal religion there is coming a time soon when we will be having many opportunities with Muslims, be ready. I think I learned a valuable lesson. I don’t want to be ignorant but arguing religion will be a dead end street. Our best bet is to GIVE THEM JESUS!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Thank you for your gifts!!!!

Our new solar panels
Inverter and Charge controllers

Just last month we have received two large gifts from Southern Baptist Churches to help us do what we do. I wanted to share with you. As most of you know, we live out in the bush, the boonies, the wilderness, AKA Kaabong, Uganda. Since, there is no electricity here you have to look into alternate power sources. Well, we tried hooking Memphis up to a large hamster wheel, but it was costing me too much in groceries. So our supporters among the Southern Baptist Churches approved money to be used for setting us up with a Solar Power Array. This will allow us to stay in contact with our leaders and keep appraised of any emergencies in the rest of the country. But it will also allow us to be able to have a place of Rest here in Kaabong. This will be a refuge for us and other missionaries in the area or passing through. A place where we can recoup and feel normal for a couple of days before we head back out into the bush. 
The other gift was a 2005 Land Cruiser. It is super rugged and made for living, working, driving, and 4-wheeling in the most difficult places on earth. They are practically indestructible. This was given because almost no other vehicle is able to handle the terrain we travel on daily.
The IMB has a commitment to take the gospel to the edges of lostness. These are the more difficult places, places most normal people are not going to and have no plans to go to. Well, there are a couple of reasons there are so few of us out here. 
First, Places like these they stink, the climate can be extreme, you are far from loved ones, there is little communication with your home culture, The languages seem near impossible, it is okay to go there for a few weeks but to think of raising a family in these environments and most normal people begin looking elswehere, saying surely there is some more normal place for us to serve. 
However, some do end up making it out here to the nasty rugged places. And after a few months or years of lonliness and lack of physical/emotional/spiritual support they either transfer or go back home. I want to say that I am proud that our company (IMB) has not only sent us here, but for us they have provided all of the support we need and then some. 
I will be honest with you though, getting the money to do some of these things on the edge is not easy. It took us almost 5 months to get the solar system approved and installed. So, I want to encourage those of you who know us and pray for us and join with us in this ministry, PLEASE give sacrificially to this cause. Help us to get deeper and deeper into the dark and ugly places, enemy territory where people truly NEED to know about the hope we have in Jesus. The Lottie Moon Christmas offering and the Cooperative program are good places to start, but don’t stop there find somewhere you can plug in and be a blessing. 
Thanks again Southern Baptist for the awesome gifts!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Goin' global

Ok I was looking at the stats for this blog and we are having a lot of hits from several different countries. I recognize many of them, like Bolivia, Ecuador & Peru (xtreme team), Kenya & Uganda (local friends), but I am curious about several of the people who are checking us out from other places around the globe. So, if you are viewing our blog from Russia, Morroco, Germany, France, Jordan, Burkina Faso or some other strange place SPEAK UP! Let us know who you are I would love to make this blog a place where we can encourage one another and connect with what God is doing around the world!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Update on JB & Joyce

UPDATEWe have maintained a good relationship with JB and Joyce. We have begun some smaller conversations into spiritual things. The sense I get from JB is that he knows about Jesus and Christianity and that he even understands. He lives a moral life. But the defining factor for me is that he is not YET in love with Jesus. The reason for his moral life is because of right and wrong, not because it is an outpouring of his love for Jesus. So continue to pray for JB that we can show him what it means to love Jesus and follow him and pray that he too will follow him with all of his strength and of course then lead his wife down that path as well.

JB is a young man who was exposed to the gospel to some degree when a prior missionary family was here, the Schmidts. He attended Mrs. Schmidt’s sunday school class. It is clear that this time instilled in JB a sense of morality. However we are not sure exactly where he stands with the Lord. We are working on getting to know him better and get an idea for he is spiritually. JB has been married to Joyce for three years. They have no children. JB helps us with translation and language. Joyce helps Maridith in their home with chores.
Robert came to me to tell me that Joyce was asking for a day off. Since she is not able to have children she was wanting to have a ritual performed to give her the capacity to have children. They have the belief that since a younger sister got married before the older sister (Joyce) there is now a curse that will not allow Joyce to have children. The only way this curse can be lifted is if there is a goat sacrificed by the husband of the younger sister who was married first. This is supposed to appease the spirits or ancestors (not sure which yet). Robert and I spoke about what to do.
We were really in no position to tell her she could not have the day off, or to tell her she could not participate in the ritual sacrifice. However, we determined to pray against the ritual so that it does not work. It is our hope that after this ritual does not result in a child we will be able to share with JB and Joyce about how our God is the giver of life. Many stories come to mind that can be told about God providing children to the barren. I was excited to hear from Robert today that he and Maridith had the opportunity tonight to share the story of Abraham and Sarah. Please pray for this couple. Pray that they would come to understand and follow our God with their whole hearts and give him praise for all the good things he brings into our lives.