Children are receptive; adults are skeptics. I guess that’s to be expected...
Andrew is in Wisconsin right now. Yesterday, he shared with the children at a church about the Democratic Republic of Congo and the importance of the Great Commission. He showed them pictures from the field and told them what it’s like being their age in Congo. He spoke about God’s miracle working power that multiplied the bread and juice (see former posts). He first shared with the older children and then shared with the younger children, breaking it down more simply of course!
I (Amethyst) remember when I was in kid’s church and the missionaries would come and visit. They would tell us about miracles too. I remember one story, where the missionary told us that thieves were coming to steal from their vehicle, but ran away because they saw large men in the backseat. Oddly enough, the missionary found out about this later—But there actually wasn’t anyone else in her van, only her. God protected this missionary by revealing angels (which seemed like large beings) in her back seat!
After Andrew finished with the children—He was invited to speak to the men’s bible study, where he shared briefly about the work in Congo. He told them some of our needs, but the time was very short.
When church was finished Andrew had a chance to speak to several individuals about the trip. He told them about what the Holy Spirit was doing.
“I could see in [the adults’] eyes that they were very skeptical about what I was saying,” Andrew said “especially when I talked face to face with them, but I just said it anyway.”
He told me on the phone last night, that he didn’t care what people thought anymore, he'd just tell the truth and let others wrestle with unbelief.
Mark 10:14-15 says, "truly I tell you, whoever does not receive and accept and welcome the kingdom of God like a little child [does] positively shall not enter it at all."
Let's all make sure we keep that childlike faith and make it into the kingdom!
We wrote about how one of our pastor’s church burned down… You also read about the small micro-finance project we started in “Sowing Seeds of Sustainability.” It has been two months since we entrusted a small amount of seed money to start a micro-enterprise. They are having great success with two businesses started and a third being developed.
First is a small kiosk selling common food items such as rice, beans, maize, oil, etc. Another small business started is selling cell phone credit. Yet another business is still in development and that is selling soda. All three businesses give the church an opportunity to employ the neediest inside of the church but also the business revenue will be used to rebuild their church.
Just recently we went over the budget and he is developing a better system for keeping me posted on the finances of the business. Also some of the businesses have not grown as fast as they would’ve liked due to taxes and bribes that must be paid to local officials. But everything is going well!
Despite the slow start, already they have had great success. The church has constructed some walls and a roof for the new church building. Praise God!
I had the opportunity to speak to the pastor before I returned to the United States and he was so excited about the business but most of all having a proper church.
He was so blessed to know that muzungus could care so much to see something inside of him. He knew that this was a great opportunity and would make the most out of it. So as we speak the seeds you’ve sown are already sprouting roots for a sustainable growth for the ministry both financially and also spiritually.
This is true discipleship. It isn’t enough to tell someone how to do something but rather it is necessary to give guided instruction and encouragement. Through God’s provision, we are working together to help them develop a sustainable future.
Today concludes another chapter in our long and winding story into the heart of God. Jesus is very much alive and working on the continent of Africa. The blind can see, the deaf can hear and the lame can walk. Thousands have been impacted with the message of the Gospel. God works in so many ways and He has moved on the hearts of men.
As this chapter closes, Amethyst and I are walking head strong into our next chapter. There is new ink yet to be jotted, new stories to unfold. When I return to the US I start my last year of my Masters in Church Planting and Evangelism. In addition to this we are getting down to business to raise funds for a 4x4 vehicle, the construction of a small compound and other ministry expenses for long-term ministry in the DR Congo. Also, we must learn Swahili to be semi-fluent before returning next summer. But, it is absolutely imperative for us to raise the necessary funds for long-term ministry.
This has been a fruitful and beneficial time in Congo and Uganda. The valuable lessons learned from this summer are of such great value. We are yet another step closer to fulfilling the call of God on our lives.
Pray for me as I return to America. Pray for us as we step into the next chapter of our mission journey.
Last week from Monday morning to Saturday afternoon, I was on crusade to Pallisa/Buseta in eastern Uganda. Dean Niforatos and his assistant Shannon and her husband Joseph came for the first two days and then left with Pastor Steve Mayanja as they needed to fly out back to America. But another team of all African Americans from New Orleans came in for the remainder of the week. Because of the logistics of the two groups it was easier for me to stay and camp with the Ugandans.
This was a great experience for everyone… Some were skeptical thinking, “How will this musungu stay with us?” Others were excited that someone would even consider living exactly like them. I ate with them, joked with them, worked with them, fetched water with them, ministered beside them, they all enjoyed it so much. Even while talking with them mid-week, one of the Ugandans commented, “What kind of musungu are you? You are very well informed. You are a true missionary because your skin is white but your heart is definitely black! You are Ugandan…” Then I commented back, “Nope I am better, I am Congolese, you know they are used to suffering more than the Ugandans… “ This was followed by streams of laughter!
But you know, hearing a comment like that was very humbling and touching. This is the hope and dream of all missionaries to gain the respect of the nationals and be considered an equal partner in the harvest. In fact, I became very close with a group of Ugandans where we always laughed about everything. They enjoyed my witty comments about living in the bush. I told them methodologies for using the long-drop, how to take the best bush bath, how to negotiate with locals and a variety of other daily living things. They laughed so hard but after hearing, they concluded, “You must not even be Ugandan, I am too informed.” (This statement was followed with more laughter but comments on how they’ll utilize some of these methodologies.) Smiles are a universal method to create a friendship.
Living like the locals is exciting and it preaches a strong Gospel message in addition to the actual Word of God. Ministering next to the Ugandans made my heart leap! I arrived with them, helped them set up and then had the opportunity to preach right next to them. I was blessed with the opportunity to preach in the equipping seminars during the day before the nightly crusade. This was where teaching and discipleship occurred. At one occasion there where over 250 people crammed into the tiny bush church and I asked if everyone was saved and everyone nodded and shouted yes! I don’t think I’ve ever been to a service where everyone present was a born again believer!
In the evening was the crusade. Every night from Monday through Friday the speaker preached a strong Gospel message! Each night anywhere between 100-300 people came forward to receive salvation, just as many got filled with the Holy Spirit and just as many were prayed over for healing. Many people came forward to testify about Jesus setting them free from sin, how the Holy Spirit was working in their lives and/or how they were healed of a sickness or disease. Also, many were set free from evil spirits and demonic attacks.
One story stood out to me in particular. There was an older Muslim man who came every night and finally on Friday (which so happened to be the day they broke fast from Ramadan) he decided to turn from Islam and put his full faith in Jesus. He also had back and respiratory pain. We prayed over him and he was so happy! He danced around like a little kid and was so relieved to be a Christian. You could see the look in his eye and his whole demeanor changed. He was dancing and moving around as if he received a full healing. When it was time to testify of what the Lord has done, he went up and was so assertive in explaining his past and what Jesus did to his heart. Let’s continue to pray that there is no relapse both physically and spiritually!
Another aspect of this past weeks’ crusade included a free medical clinic during the day before the nightly crusade meeting. Over 1,200 people received treatment for simple things such as stomach deworming and infected wounds to malaria and typhoid fever. Moreover, on two occasions some of the patients were so sick that we needed to send them with one of our drivers to the nearest hospital for treatment. Some of the New Orleans team members were doctors. Lead by Rozena Erbs, a former operation room nurse turned missionary and director of Hannah’s House Ministry here in Uganda (which takes care of neglected or abused women), the New Orleans team worked very well alongside our handpicked team of Ugandan medical nurses and doctors.
Jesus showed up in a mighty way. Buseta and the surrounding area will never be the same as a result of the ministry God did. It is always a humbling experience to be a part of what God is doing around the world. When we can be the mouth, hands and feet of Jesus there is no greater satisfaction. When someone asks, “What kind of musungu is this?” it brings a great joy because I want everyone to see Jesus when they see me. Lord uses us more, let us decrease and you increase!
This past week WOMF had their 17th annual pastor’s conference which took place just outside of Kampala at their Uganda headquarters. Most pastors come from Uganda where WOMF has their biggest presence but WOMF has pastors in Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan and Tanzania who also attend. Each year several pastors from America come to impart the Word alongside some of the Ugandan leaders.
God was at work moving on the hearts and minds of each pastor and church leader. The Spirit of God came alive and touched every attendee. I enjoyed ministering the Word but I think may have enjoyed listening to the word even more! When I wasn’t he document the events of the conference both on photo and video…These pictures and video will be used for future promotional materials and the annual video.
But this conference was particularly special to me… Pastor Paul and Pastor Euclide had the opportunity to come from the DR Congo to get fed the word of God. In another post, I will talk about the cultural differences and surprises they encountered but for this post, I’ll detail about their time at the conference. Pastor Paul and Pastor Euclide could hardly believe that a muzungu could care for an African the way I/we cared for him while he was here. Really I didn’t do anything different than anyone else… but show just a simple act of love.
Pastor Paul said, “Huh, how can a poor Congolese like me stay at the WOMF Guest House with the rest of muzungus, eating with them, talking with them while yet all the other pastors are staying in other places. Who are we to boast in anything but through your kindness it is as if we are VIP’s.”
I said that it is nothing, I am just providing a way for them to experience God’s sovereignty and to be fed the word of God. They both thought it was some kind of special gospel that I was sharing with them through the actions I showed. In all honesty all I did was provided a way for them to stay at the Guest House, sharing a room with me, THAT’S IT! But somehow, it was as if I gave them a million dollars. But how can you put a price on the Word of God?
Both pastors got to know the speakers very well as we sat late night discussing ministry, theological issues and many great important things of God that would be too much detail in just one post. It was like an incubator where ideas, questions, problems and possible solutions where proposed, hashed out and suggested.
In the words of Pastor Euclide, “Wow, wow, wow, wow, Andrew this is something special that we got to experience, we will take the message of this conference back to Congo and put it into practice.”
Nobody will know the results other than God. One special moment occurred the last day of the conference. The Congo brothers were recognized by one of the speakers and a short prayer came. The Spirit of God fell on the room and out came a prophecy of the laborers and the harvest to take place in the Congo through the pastors from the DRC.
The theme of the conference was, “Where are the laborers?” with the theme coming from Matt 9:35-38 talking about the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.
God moved on the hearts of everyone and God did a great work. From this conference, one will never know how many lives were impacted and how many people will go into the field and reap a great harvest.
Praise God that I (Amethyst) am now home safe. We have relocated to Orlando, Florida and I have been really busy getting settled with school, finances and other things. We must still lift up Andrew as he continues to serve WOMF in Uganda. . . Last Sunday, he spoke a message at Pastor Emmanuel’s church; Pastor Emmanuel is a Ugandan who is being raised up to take the place of the older Ugandan leaders of UCOM (Ugandan Christian Outreach Ministries.) I find this so awesome that we are partnering with other organizations and specifically with the next generation of these organizations. . . These partnerships/relationships remind me of the church in the book of Acts. They are filled with love, encouragement and community.
Over the past few weeks another opportunity has arisen in Africa. WOMF has an annual pastor’s conference where pastors come from seven African nations to meet just outside of Kampala at WOMF/UCOM’s main center. Over 2,000 pastors attend this conference plus several community members. This is a big event that serves as a launch pad for many church plants. . . After talking with Ron and Shirley DeVore we decided to bring two of our Congolese pastors to this conference. In Congo, it costs around $350 for one passport, considering most Congolese live on a $1/day, this makes it nearly impossible for Congolese to ever leave their country.
We found out that we can get a ‘laissez passez’ for our pastors for under $50 which will allow them to at least visit bordering African nations (which includes Uganda.) So, we paid for these pastors to travel to Uganda for the largest pastor’s conference they’ve ever attended in their entire lives…
I cannot tell you how big this is to them. Pastor Paul is almost 40 years old and has never been to Uganda. In fact yesterday, Andrew took both pastors to the very first shopping mall they’d ever seen in their entire lives. They saw the first supermarket in their entire lives. For the first time, they are seeing a nation that has experienced development. . . This is an extremely valuable learning experience, because when a person is brought up in such a hostile environment like the DR Congo, it’s difficult to believe that the world offers anything better then hostility. No matter how much someone knows the character of God, seeing worlds outside of their own is necessary for wisdom and perspective.
Furthermore, Andrew is having these pastors stay in the missionary guesthouse with him. This is where all the western missionaries stay and they’ve had the opportunity to meet these missionaries and interact with westerners in ways that they simply don’t get where they come from.
The pastor’s conference has started today. Speakers from all over the world have flown in to speak into this conference to speak into the lives of these pastors including Dean Niforatos, a worldwide known evangelist; many of you may have heard him too.
Our other strategic partnership is with a man we met in a café in Rwanda. Saw Shewmaker is an older white man who was raised in Africa and has ministered in many different countries. He and his wife have been training pastors for over 25 years. We told him about our work in the DRC and he expressed his passion for helping us in any way he and his wife could. Well, praise God because we can’t take all of our pastors and church leaders to attend this conference in Kampala, Uganda. We only took these two pastors because they are our two key contacts. Now we have provided the opportunity for the others in Congo to go to Gisenyi (this is the border town between Rwanda and Congo) where Sam Shewmaker and his team are doing pastoral trainings for them…
I praise God that he is opening all the right doors to provide good theological training for the pastors we are working with. We know that what we have gotten ourselves into (with taking on a frontier work in the DRC) was something much bigger then what we are capable of. But we simply said, “God you need to bring us the people that are going to help us. God, we will break our bones doing your work, but you need to do more, you need to get old wise people working with us…”
I find these prayers so funny, because God is truly answering our prayers. We were praying for the wisdom of the aged… And God is surrounding us with many, many older missionaries who are standing with us and offering us so much wisdom and most of all… Love.
Andrew is speaking at this pastor’s conference alongside ministers who have been ministering for 20+ years who are so filled with the knowledge of God’s word. He is speaking next to seasoned pastors, world known evangelists and age old missionaries. This is an incredibly humbling experience for him and glory only to Jesus for opening these doors. Now, we need to pray for him, “For the Lord to anoint his tongue and for wisdom beyond his years…”
Let’s all pray! AMEN!
Seguku Praise and Worship Center
Pastor Euclide (l) and Pastor Paul (r)
Preaching during a morning session
'You are an ambassador of Christ sent with the power of the Holy Spirit!'
***NOTE: Andrew has posted new pictures from the crusade in the rural areas. You can find the slide show under the "Photography" link.
Amethyst is going back to America today and Andrew will remain in Uganda for awhile. They will both be serving each other from far away. Please keep Amethyst lifted up as she flies home and keep Andrew in your prayers as he continues the journeys in Africa. A more in depth update is coming soon of what's to come!
We came to Uganda to serve, learn and be humbled under World Outreach Ministry Foundation (WOMF) and as God always does, he was orchestrating a brilliant plan for all of us. We’ve spent a lot of time asking questions to local pastors, seasoned missionaries and especially picking the brain of Pastor (Papa) Ron DeVore, the founder of WOMF. He’s an elderly man who has seen much and knows much. We often sit around the table with him and hear his thoughts, his advice and marvel at the extremely romantic love between him and his wife even in their late 70’s! The two have known each other since age 10 and have been together since they were teenagers. Their actions are a testimony that they still love each other more than anything: almost like they were still in their 20’s.
“You should write a book on marriage for missionaries,” I told Papa Ron.
He went on to tell us some awesome advice on marriage that we have to make up our mind that we will love each other no matter what.
“You don’t have to know how the brain of a man or a woman works… If you love them, your love will cause you to learn them like no other book can tell you.”
Another piece of wisdom was out of Mark 10:29.
“…no one who has left home or brothers and sisters or father and mother or children or fields for Me and the Gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in the present age and in the age to come,”
Notice that this verse mentions fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters . . . But it doesn’t mention anything about leaving your husband or wife. Wherever one goes, the other should go.
“A wife is not meant to be left behind at home. She’ should be on the frontlines, beside her mate,” Mama Shirley added. Mama Shirley is Ron’s wife.
Being young, inexperienced and sometimes overzealous, we were wondering where we could really help WOMF. After all, we are not here for very long so we can’t take tasks as large as their full-time missionaries could...
Until one day Papa Ron brought up the organization’s huge need for a person to do nothing but photography and videography. He brought up the trouble they were facing with the growing need for someone who is skilled in these areas and how he’s not a technology guy at all. . . The year was nearly through and they had a very limited amount of media to present to their American audience.
Immediately, Andrew and I knew exactly what God had brought us here for. Media can sometimes make or break an organization, because it’s the tool used to raise funding in the USA. Today, it’s becoming tougher for wholesome organizations to keep up with the large marketing and public relations campaigns that other humanitarian groups do like World Vision, UNICEF and Compassion Int’l.
Papa Ron went on to say, “I’m not a media person and even if I was, I don’t have time to train someone how to do it! We need someone who can think like me and capture what I am envisioning to tell our partners. We need someone who sees media as a valuable part of missions and ministry, if that is even a possibility…”
At that point, Andrew had not even taken out his professional SLR camera. He had not mentioned anything about his photography and video background. We immediately offered to help WOMF in this area by going to places where they worked in the country to just get media.Ron told us that this was an answered prayer. He had been praying for years about this matter but yet had never made an appeal for it because he didn’t even know it was possible to recruit media missionaries.
As we began traveling around Uganda with him to film the different parts of the ministry, he started saying, “Are you sure you’re not called to help us in Uganda?” We always answer, “Are you sure you’re not supposed to send some of your people to DR Congo to help us??”
What’s awesome is that this relationship is a give-take. Andrew is sowing his time and energy to do media for WOMF (most of the time, he would get paid to do something like this). Ron and Shirley are sowing their wisdom and knowledge into us. We know that we reap what we sow… So if we sow media into this ministry, God will bless us one day with media people for our ministry. . .
Papa Ron praying over those who are sick at a crusade.
Pastor Steve Mayanja at a crusade, delivering a powerful message.
Some curious onlookers at a village celebration.
A prisoner accepting Jesus Christ at a prison outreach.
A pastor praying over someone at a pastors conference in the remote bush.
A Muslim man at a village meeting, who was surprisingly receptive to Christianity.
“Today is our 31st wedding anniversary. At about 1:50 this morning our Joy Elizabeth saw her husband face to face for the first time as she slipped peacefully out of this world and into His arms. The depth of our sorrow is only exceeded by her joy” –Joy Beth Bausum’s Mom and Dad
Today, we want to set aside all other updates and dedicate this post to our dear friend and fellow servant on the mission field: Joy Beth Bausum. She has been a colleague and a close friend since we began our missionary career. Joy and I (Amethyst) worked together in Zambia and we also shared an office when we worked for Overland Missions. We have shared many laughs and even some tears. More than anything else, we shared the burden of carrying the Gospel to the unreached and neglected peoples of the world . . .
After parting from our former organization, Joy began serving children in southeast Asia. She was 26 years old, single and serving Jesus with all that she had. Joy was an awesome example of love and acceptance. Her actions always challenged me never to clam up around people, but to smile and open myself up to them, no matter who they were. Inferiority was never an option.
I’m dedicating this blog to her, because her family needs your prayers. Joy died of an unexpected 4cm blood clot that occurred in her brain when she was in Malaysia. She died on her parents 31st anniversary, her body isn’t in USA and there are loads of decisions and costs they have to make in planning her funeral. Her family is born again, but it doesn’t matter who you are… Seeing a 26 year old daughter go early is heart wrenching.
Let this post serve as a reminder, that life is short and when it’s time to go home… It’s time.
I’ll leave you with a quote by Joy herself, "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive. What the world needs is more people that are alive!"