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!"
For the past few days we have been ministering in the small rural village of Matooma. We partnered with the local Ugandan church and a church from Virginia, USA. The crusade was extremely powerful. . . We saw at least 300 people make a commitment to Jesus, 250+ people got filled with the Holy Spirit (with the evidence of speaking in tongues), and we saw at least a hundred physical healings. Those few days were jam packed with teaching, door to door ministry (in the village, going door to door means climbing up and down many mountains) and crusade meetings at night with dancing, singing, loud music, shouting and passionate preaching.
For once, Andrew and I weren’t the only muzungus (white people) so we weren’t obligated to constantly be sharing messages from the pulpit. Instead we were able to serve with our other talents and passions. One particular day, we did a kids crusade where we preached and Andrew split all the children into teams and refereed an intense soccer game.
After I finished sharing a short message with the children, a young girl named Daisy approached me, “I’m sick, will you pray for me?” When I clasped my hands around her shoulders and began to pray, I was startled to realize that her upper arms were about the same circumference as my wrists. As I continued to pray I clasped down on her arms to realize that this girl was nothing but skin and bones. After praying with her I discovered that she was so sick that she couldn’t walk because she was so weak, she had severe chest pains, a horrible cough. Daisy was 9 years old and had the body of a 5 or 6 year old. She has been sick for 3 years. Her eyes were tired and desperate…
I had Daisy sit beside me until the end of the kids’ crusade, when Bob (our translator) began lining the children up to give toys and candy. Daisy was so sick that she couldn’t even move to get treats, she didn’t even care; she just shivered and coughed…She was hopeless. Almost overwhelmed by emotion, I got up and got her treats for her. It was at that time, I was reminded of the principle Jesus presented to us in the Bible of taking the time for the one sheep.
I let Andrew, Bob and the other kids helpers leave the building for the soccer game and found a girl who knew enough English to get me around. We took turns holding Daisy as we tried to find whoever she came with. It was obvious that she hadn’t walked there alone. After nearly an hour of walking through the village, looking, we figured out that an ‘auntie’ brought Daisy to the crusade and left her there. We also found out that Daisy had a father that worked in Kampala (a city that was at least 7-8 hours away) and her mother was a mentally troubled woman with absolutely no reception to the Gospel.
“I would like to go to her home,” I told the villagers, “bring me to Daisy’s home.” The villagers told me that mom would not be home and she hardly ever was. “I would like to talk to the auntie,” I said. The village girls told me they would arrange this for me and that they would get Daisy’s auntie to come to the night time crusade. Sadly, when the night crusade started a village girl came to tell me that the auntie might come, but didn’t want to talk to me about Daisy. We found a way to get Daisy home, but that was all I could do. I had to let a little girl on the brink of death just go home. The family was too troubled, the auntie didn’t care and the nearby hospital was not accepting patients because they had no drugs. There was nothing I could do but pray . . .
Unfortunately, this situation is all too common in Africa. Any seasoned missionary could probably tell you what Daisy probably had: HIV. Her symptoms showed she was in the last stages, the longevity of the sickness and the hopelessness of her loved ones were major clues to the puzzle. The sad thing is that there was hope. . . Jesus is the healer and maybe if her family would take the time to believe, they would see Daisy be healed along with the many, many people who healed in Matooma that week.
Furthermore, ARV’s can extend the life of a person up to 20+ years. Andrew and I had decided that if we could find someone who was in charge of her, we would take her to the hospital in the city and have WOMF (the organization we were with) get her on the treatment. We also agreed that if God opened this door for Daisy, that we would pay for the treatment. I told the pastor of the local church about Daisy and about our willingness to help, but he said that there was a good chance her guardians didn’t even want us to help. . . They had given up in their hearts, in their spirit and in their minds.
Daisy is an example of the many children who have been given a chance to be treated in Africa, but have been neglected treatment because of a fatalistic mindset. Andrew and I were more than willing to help, but the people with authority over her (her guardians) didn’t want it. What if someone had shared the love of Jesus with them? What if their minds were changed? What if they fought for this little girl? Would she be in the city right now, receiving treatment? Would she be healed by the family’s confession of faith? Probably . . . These are some of the harsh realities of life as a missionary. You can do what you can, but if a heart is hardened, then it’s hardened. This is why the church must pray and fast for the fields that missionaries work in. . . We need not hard ground, but soft fertile soil to plant seeds of the Word in. This is the one way to produce life in a dry and thirsty land…
This is Daisy. We sat together on a bench watching children shout, yell and play. All she could do was watch.
The Kids' Crusade at Matooma village . . . Dedicating their lives to Jesus.
In the Bible, God is very specific about ministering to the overlooked and ignored. Actually, he warns greatly about those who do not visit the hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, and in prison. Prisoners in the United States often suffer in poor conditions. But, as prisoners of the State, the State is responsible for their safekeeping, health and welfare.
Now, remove all preconceived notions about these mandatory liberties. Ugandans are not given such luxury when in prison. A prisoner once captured does not even get a phone call to let them know where they are. Often times someone may be imprisoned wrongly on a false charge but have to sit in prison before they see the judge. In a country where the justice system is logged with more pressing cases, a person may be wrongly held without anyone even knowing it. It’s as if they just disappeared off the earth.
If the prisoner was lucky enough for their family member to find out they are in prison, sometimes the family may not even visit because they don’t want to be associated with them. This presents a major problem because if the prisoner is not given food, water, blankets, soap or other provisions they are at the mercy of “the system.” Prison guards barely have enough for themselves…
World Outreach Ministry Fellowship in conjunction with their Ugandan ministry called Ugandan Christian Outreach Ministries has developed a special ministry outreach designed specifically to reach these prisoners. A western missionary, Mike and his wife lead it with a veteran nurse (a Ugandan lady with over 20 years experience), nurse assistant and any other help they can get.
They visit over 60 prisons on a regular schedule ranging from small prisons with short-term sentences of one day to 12 months all the way to large prisons with maximum security and life sentences. When they arrive all the prisoners are lined up in a large group while the team sets up. Ministry begins with a few songs of praise and worship. After, those most in need of medical care are called forward to receive attention ranging from deworming pills to malaria medication to receiving advanced wound care. While the most needy prisoners are being called forward, the other team members give an encouraging message, share their testimonies and give a gospel message. This is all well received.
As time nears to an end, we distribute encouraging gospel tracts in their local language as well as give everyone food, soap, clothes, blankets and other needs. These might be the only assistance in addition to what “the system” provides until the next time visited by the prison ministry team.
A major goal of the prison ministry team is to visit each prison at least once a month because some of the medications are complex and need to be monitored on a monthly basis. Also, it is good in order to disciple the believers. One can quickly see there are 60 prisons they visit and only 30 days in a month. That means they visit an average of two to three prisons a day! Some prisons are a three hour drive from the city. This makes for some long days…
But, the ministry is effective despite the hard work. Usually that’s the way it is, the harder the work the more rewarding. How great it is to see prisoners physically set free from the spiritual prison of sin and Satan. These prisoners when released become church leaders and thriving ministers of the gospel! If it weren’t for their time in prison they may have never been transformed physically but more importantly spiritually!
It was encouraging to be the hands and feet of Jesus when going to these prisons. We were reminded about what Jesus said in Matthew 25:35-36, “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.”
These men and women are hungry, thirsty, strangers (to us), naked (well half naked at least), sick and in prison. When reading that verse before our several trips out to visit prisons we were struck at the weight of this verse. Because later in Matthew 25 it says, “To the extent you did not do it to the least of these you did not do it to me! These will go away to eternal punishment… “
We were privileged by the honor of serving these prisoners with physical assistance but it does not profit them a thing if we don’t give them the true assistance they need, that is sharing the gospel and giving them the word of God. Like any humanitarian aid or assistance, it does no good to keep someone alive physically if will eventually die spiritually. All that is being done is prolonging death. It sounds negative but really should be a wakeup call! We all will die but as sure as we can’t cheat death and taxes one day we will either go to heaven or hell. God has given us a permanent pardon of a guilty charge from the condemnation of eternal imprisonment in hell, forever.
Praise God for the three days we had the opportunity to minister with the prison team (that goes out everyday including some Sundays!) Over fifty people accepted Christ and more than three hundred prisoners were touched physically, encouraged emotionally and moreover spiritually. We look forward to future times of ministry with Mike and his dedicated team.
We are so anxious to see God everywhere on this continent… We want to be the hands of feet to everyone we can… especially to the most overlooked, despised and neglected.