It seemed so quick, but we were already into the second half of our trip. On Sunday I made contact with Pastor Goodman Mugisha, who has been building up his church from scratch in Kireka, which if you've travelled to Uganda is very near Mandela National Stadium, to the east of Kampala. We've previously helped i61 Church in North Wales connect with Pastor Goodman, and they visited twice over two years to support the church there. As you'll see from the picture (taken 3yrs ago), the church is made from any type of canvass they could get their hands on. The congregation is now around 80 people, and even at this level, with little wages, they struggle to support the Pastor who only just makes it through each month.
Generally speaking the drive from Kampala on the Iganga road was smooth and fast, the roads are much better these days. The big problem is traffic around work transit times and the towards the weekend. There's a huge increase in articulated vehicles taking good to and from Mombasa. Uganda's economy is growing faster than it's road infrastructure and to address this problem, the government is now taxing fuel at a much higher rate to generate the funds needed to improve the roads. After our mandatory Samosa stop in Jinja, we travelled a few more miles, turned up a very unstable road to get to a lovely finished Church in the north side of the town of Kireka.
As this was a very hastily arranged meeting it was great to have around a dozen pastors from the area attend. They have a Kireka Prayer network called 'Prayer Move', so I shared my own experiences of organising large scale prayer events (last one in Wembley Stadium in London). As they have the National Stadium in their town, what a wonderful opportunity.
My interpreter for the session was Fred Lubwama, a person I gave a suit to 12 years ago. Since then he's been through Bible College and has since planted his own church near Mukono (about 12 miles away). He so thanked me for giving him the suit and said in a very pleased tone, he still had the jacket which he used for special occasions - could I have every kept a suit well for that long - not likely (note to self - look after my clothes better!).
I blessed 'Pastor' Fred with $50 and a Thompson Chain Study Bible - he didn't own a Study Bible, even though he's planted a church, this was a stark reminder that resources are so hard to come by in Uganda. He has eight people in his flegling church and is full of optimisum and faith. He texted me later to say, he had been praying, asking God for help to pay his April rent, the $50 more than covered it, so he saw the gift as a direct answer to Prayer. We finished the time together all praying outside the church for the town, facing, North, South, East and West, the Pastors and some of their key leaders united for one purpose to bless the town in prayer.
Pastor Goodman was the deputy Chair of Kireka Churches Together, a very Kingdom focussed network of Churches in the region. They are aiming to setup a Kireka annual conference, which I said I would help with in the next couple of years. Kireka is one of those places that people drive through, but never stop at, so I wanted to make sure that the Church was supported more than a token gesture. If you would like to come with me to attend the first annual conference for the Kireka Churches Together network, then please get in touch.
After the meeting we headed to Kampala, the Humura Hotel, near Garden City to spend the last two day and a half connecting with An Open Door Uganda.
Point to note : If you ever plan to visit, don't book a hotel through Expedia as I did, their prices are at least double what you would pay on the ground. They are trading on the lack of knowledge and fear have of their credit card being used badly by booking through a hotel Website. My advice would be look at the hotels they offer, read the reviews and then book through the hotels own website yourself. You'll save a lot of money and if you use a credit card you can also despute any payment that has been incorrectly made.
If you would like to support the Kireka conference or any other missions activity Click Here.
To read Gareths Blog for the more humorous side of the journey click here.