Supporting Gospel Ministry around Kabale

 

For the past three years Colin and Sue Townsend, two long serving trustees of Friends of African International Ministry (FAICM), have accompanied teams from St Ebbe’s Church, Oxford, on a two-week mission trip in July to support and encourage AICM`s ministry. AICM is based in Kabale, and works among rural communities, including the Batwa, in areas of education, vocational training, health care and community development. At the centre of its ministry is the good news of the gospel that can transform hearts and lives. The mission visits have been great times of joining in with what God is doing throughout the south west region of Uganda, and have also given Christian students an important taste of cross cultural mission.

Here is a brief summary of the experience from last year`s team leader:-

“We were excited to join in with the good Gospel work that AICM is engaged in.  We were given many opportunities to preach and teach in various circumstances – primary schools, secondary schools, rural Christian women’s groups, on the radio, in the church, etc.  For the most part, the Ugandan people we came across were warm to the Gospel and eager to hear something more of it explained. This is probably due, in no small part, to the good work that AICM has done in attending to the material and spiritual needs of many of the groups we visited.  And again, due to the support of AICM staff who acted as translators for us, I believe we were able to make the most of those gospel opportunities.  Even in our informal conversations, we were often able to open up the Bible with inquisitive students at the AICM-run Vocational Technical College and explain something more of Christ.

We were pleased to see the effects of UK friends’ support for AICM.  We were able to meet and work with the Evangelism coordinator for AICM whose salary is provided by FAICM. We also worked with extension workers (who minister in outlying communities) for whom the means of transport is crucial. Money that has been given is having a tangible effect on the ground – whether through increased mobility or through the added focus that a staff member allows. It was good to see God blessing people through the efforts of supporting UK friends.

I believe I have personally seen something more of God’s goodness as a result.  I was able to see more clearly than I ever have before just how faithful God is in equipping us to do that which he has called us to do. Having almost no experience of cross-cultural mission and certainly no experience of leading such a team, I had some difficulty in preparing for many of the talks that I knew I would be giving, as I could hardly imagine what life would be like for the Ugandans we would meet.  Yet God did help me prepare and I was reminded that the Gospel still powerfully speaks to people of every culture and background. On Sunday, preaching at All Saints Church, Kabale, I asked the rector between services what he thought his people’s deepest spiritual need was, and he said that he thought it was precisely the humility and sacrificial service that I spoke about from Phil. 2:1-11 – God knew what they needed to hear!  And another time, when speaking to a rural Christian women’s group on 2 Cor. 4:5-10, one woman stood up and said how she had recently had 5 chickens killed by someone and she thought that she wouldn’t be able to recover, but now she knew that even in difficulty God’s Spirit would keep her from being crushed – praise God!

As far as I can tell, God blessed the people of the Kabale District through our team, and I know that He blessed each of our team members through our involvement. Having first-person experience with the work of AICM, I have seen that they are hard at work helping many vulnerable Ugandans, both practically and spiritually.  I would invite you to join me in praying that Jesus’ name might continue to be proclaimed and glorified by the work of everyone involved with AICM.  As long as Christ remains at the centre of all their work, their labour (and the labour of their supporters) will not be in vain.”

 Colin and Sue Townsend