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Pikeville Report on the Way Home

As our time in Pikeville comes to a close, we are so excited to share with you what the Lord has been doing in and through our teams this week. Each of our three teams served at different churches doing various different things.

Working with Aflex Baptist Church

Team 1 worked with Aflex Baptist serving alongside the Aflex community repainting the church’s interior and classrooms, fixing leaks in the roof, and building shelves to increase storage. The team helped lead Bible classes and spent time building relationships with the church’s youth.

Vacation Bible School and Invitations to Church

Team 2 spent most of their time canvassing the Island Creek community, passing out fliers for Vacation Bible School and inviting members of the community to a barbecue.

While going door to door the team encountered a woman named Angela who had been disconnected from a church community for a long time. She felt judged and unwanted by the church but had recently started feeling the need to seek out a church and get involved in a Christian community again.

Earlier the same morning, Angela had prayed about her feelings and then our team showed up on her doorstep and invited her to church.

So often, we focus more on how the Lord answers our prayers that we don’t see how God uses us to answer the prayers of others. Angela came to church this Sunday and loved it.

Please keep Angela in your prayers, asking that she would feel welcome and wanted by her new church family and that she would have an easy transition into her new congregation.

Meals for Elkhorn City

Our last team prepared meals and delivered them to the Elkhorn City community. They spent time cleaning out different rooms in the church. They also led a Backyard Bible Camp.  Despite severe weather conditions, the team was able to give a gospel presentation that resulted in at least 3 children accepting Jesus into their lives for the first time.

Pikeville Mission Trip – Shoes, Roof, & Prayer

Greetings from Pikeville, Kentucky! The Lord is doing amazing things so far!

Shoes of Hope

On Thursday, we worked with other missions groups in the area on a project called Shoes of Hope. We had the opportunity to present the gospel to children in the community while washing their feet. After their feet were washed, they were presented with a new pair of shoes. The children were so happy and it was a blessing to hear some of their stories.

Roofing

We’ve also had a team working on a roofing project. The team worked diligently all day from morning until evening and were able to complete the project as well as share the gospel with the family of the home. Poverty is not the only problem we have been confronted with on our trip. Many families suffer from server health problems and depression as well.

Prayer

Some teams went door to door handing out fliers and conducting spiritual surveys, having the opportunity to hear people’s stories and pray with them if they were willing.

Other Service Projects

Other teams worked on service projects all day alongside members of the church community painting, cleaning and building, ending the night with a worship service followed by a movie.

Looking Forward to More

All in all it was a great day, God was faithful and evident, and we are excited to share what God has been doing and we are looking forward to what tomorrow has in store.

Uganda—Self-Sufficiency, part 3 of 3

by Dave Kroeze, Outreach Pastor

This Week’s Blog Series

In this, the final segment of our blog series about our ongoing work in Uganda, I want to express MBC Loudoun’s practical plan for transitioning our partners to self-sufficiency. (For background on our work in Uganda, read the first and second in this series of blog posts.)

Two chicken coops that will be renovatedFrom Short-Term to Long-Term

Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert in their book Helping without Hurting in Short-Term Missions said exactly what’s been on my heart:

“Improving short-term trips actually involves taking fewer of them, dedicating more of our resources to long-term missions and poverty alleviation work within a community” (page 9).

Yes! That’s exactly it!

Friends, if we believe that we should be good stewards of the resources that Christ has blessed us with, then we need to look at transitioning our short-term trips into long-term partnerships for the sake of the Gospel and the welfare of these communities.

Practical Skills

chicken_coop5-72dpiSeeking the welfare of this specific community has been difficult to put my finger on until recently. There are many ways we could do this, some helpful but many unhelpful.

And then I was recently informed that in the past few years, 200 students have graduated from Destiny Village Boarding School without any marketable skills or job training. This reality needs to change.

Agriculture is a need in Katwe and providing on-the-job agricultural training is a first step towards providing job skills that will serve these students for the rest of their lives.

Getting Practical with Chickens!one of the chicken coops that will be renovated

After much prayer and discussion with Pastor Fred, Mamma Evah, and Pastor Julius, we have decided to pursue a project that facilitates long-term sustainability for Destiny Village Boarding School. We are going to:

  • renovate 2 out-of-date chicken coops
  • build an additional chicken coop
  • purchase approximately 3000 chickens and a year’s worth of food for the chickens
  • hire two farm hands that can provide care for the chickens as well as facilitate educational opportunities for the students

My favorite part about this project is that once the money is fronted, they are in a position to provide for themselves with the additional resources that come in from the chickens and eggs.

Let me first say, that I have learned more about chickens in the past month than I ever anticipated knowing about!

inside of a chicken coop that will be renovatedThere are two general types of chickens. Layers (these chickens lay eggs) and broilers (these chickens are used for meat). 50% of the eggs that are laid will feed the kids, and the other 50% will be sold to sustain the chicken project.

The broilers will operate under the same principle. 50% will feed the students and the other 50% will be sold so that they can replenish their broiler supply.

The total cost of this project is $45,000. Due to a generous donation prior to the trip and some additional funds that have been provided by MBC, we only need $12,000 to begin construction and finalize this piece for the school.

If the Lord is leading you to be a part of this project, you can donate in a couple of ways.

1) You can donate by credit card online at mcleanbible.org/Loudoun-Uganda.

2) Or, you can write a check to McLean Bible Church and in the memo line write Uganda Partnership Fund.

I would love to see the construction and everything completed by the time the students arrive for school in September. What a blessing that could be for them!

Please prayerfully consider being a part of the self-sustainability and the long-term partnership that we have with Destiny Village Boarding School.

Prayer

Lord, I trust You to provide for this project. Make it clear to me if you want me to play a role in this and how we can continue to support this school in Uganda. We entrust these chickens to You and pray that You would be glorified and worshipped as a result of this opportunity. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: The link above is to Amazon.com. It is not a commission link, so McLean Bible Church will not receive any money when you follow the link.

Uganda—Magnifying Jesus, part 2 of 3

by Dave Kroeze, Outreach Pastor

This Week’s Blog SeriesFaces of Katwe

To continue this week’s blog series about our ongoing work in Uganda, I want to express MBC Loudoun’s goals for partnership. (For background on our work in Uganda, read the first in this series of blog posts.)

MBC Loudoun’s Global Impact Goal

When the Lord has shown you which partners you should pour into, one of the greatest struggles is determining how to genuinely help them accomplish their vision.

I want to talk about 4 different ways to support our partners in Katwe, Uganda without hindering their ability to accomplish the mission that God has given them.

4 Ways to Support Our Partners in Katwe, Uganda

1. Submit to their authority over the situation.

They know their people, they know their culture, and they know the struggles that they encounter—significantly better than I can. It doesn’t matter how much cultural awareness I have. It doesn’t even matter how many times I have visited Katwe. These folks live their reality day after day.Pastor Fred, Momma Evah, Pastor Julius

We need to submit to their authority with regards to how to help them. If they say it will help them to bring clothes, we will gladly discern the most effective way to bring clothes. If they believe pastor’s training is necessary, we will gladly do that.

“What we absolutely do is leave our western ideas at the border.”

What we absolutely do is leave our western ideas at the border, and we allow them to share the needs that they have.

Pastor Fred, Momma Evah, and Pastor Julius each have a responsibility to shepherd the flock that the Lord has given them. They are responsible and willing to serve for the well-being of their people (1 Peter 5:2).

2. Seek the welfare of their city.

IMG_9671-72dpiThese people are suffering in many different ways. They struggle to provide food each day for their families. They suffer from physical ailments that are minor in the USA. They struggle to find employment due to lack of education or skills training.

I believe that we have a responsibility to seek their welfare as a nation (Jeremiah 29:7). This is always through prayer, but other times the Lord opens up doors to be invested in their welfare and to build them up in powerful ways.

3. Allow them the freedom of being self-sufficient.

When I was first hired at MBC, my mentor at the time told me that I was going to struggle in ministry because I needed the paycheck to survive, rendering me unwilling to speak up when necessary. He expected me to find tension between pursuing what the Lord wanted for me and providing for my new wife. I am grateful that this has not been a tension for me, but I fully recognize the psychological truths in that sentiment.

IMG_9775-72dpiAs an example, if we send a team of doctors over there, is it more helpful to train other doctors to perform surgeries or to go there and perform surgeries themselves? Clearly, training a group of doctors is a more efficient way of spending our time and of bringing an attitude of reproducing ourselves in other people.

Likewise, from a tangible resource standpoint, is it more helpful for us to send food or to purchase animals that will provide food?

When crisis hits, there is a place for freely giving tangible resources. The book When Helping Hurts refers to this as relief. Once the crisis is at bay, you must transition from relief to development so that you can actually help the people long-term instead of creating an attitude of dependence.

4. Give Without Expectation.

I do not want our partners to feel as though we are in charge because we hold the resources. The Bible instructs us to give freely and generously and to not expect anything in return (Deuteronomy 15:7-8; Luke 10:25-37).IMG_0069-72dpi

But if you are anything like me, then you not only expect to be paid in full but also expect compliance…”I will gladly help you out, as long as you do it this way.”

I grant you that both passages (Deuteronomy 15:7-8; Luke 10:25-37) are between individual people, but I think the application behind them extends further.

If we say that we will give our partners resources but then say that they need to sing songs a certain way in return, are we really giving generously?

If we say that we will support the school as long as they instruct the students in a particular way, are we helping?

Friends, we must be givers that give generously, humbly, and from the conviction of our hearts out of obedience to the Lord, that give in ways that genuinely help these schools move forward. They have the expertise to accomplish that in ways that we can never have.

Short-Terms Trips to Long-Term Partnerships

IMG_0161-72dpiFriends, this whole process of turning short-term trips into long-term partnerships for the sake of God’s glory and His kingdom rests upon empowering our partners for ministry. They engage in relationships every day, and they truly know the needs that are legitimate. They know what it takes for the community to develop and move forward because they live in the midst of it each and every day.

“Friends, this whole process of turning short-term trips into long-term partnerships for the sake of God’s glory and His kingdom rests upon empowering our partners for ministry.”

Let’s support them in the ways that they see as vital for the sake of the kingdom and the wellness of their community.

PrayerIMG_9681-72dpi

Father, help us to provide resources that actually help. Give us clarity on the opportunities that invest in these individuals and lead them toward self-sufficiency and honoring You with their time and energy each day. You redeem all things to Yourself, through Christ , and I pray you would use us to see redemption happen in Katwe, Uganda. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: The link above is to Amazon.com. It is not a commission link, so McLean Bible Church will not receive any money when you follow the link. If, however, you would like McLean Bible Church to receive donations from Amazon based on your purchases (whether the resource above or anything else you might purchase), then you can choose to participate in the Amazon Smile program. Read more about Amazon Smile to see how it works.

Uganda—The Work is Not Done, part 1 of 3

By Dave Kroeze, Outreach Pastor

This Week’s Blog Series

Just because we are not in Uganda right now does not mean that our work there is done. You know that we send a mission team to Uganda over New Years, but what you don’t see is the ongoing relationships that we have throughout the year.

This week, allow me to share with you how we are at work with our Ugandan partners throughout the year to empower them to do the work that God has called them to do.

Supporting Our Partners

Missionaries used to go to Africa, convert a bunch of people, and then leave.

It was wonderful that there were a bunch of new Christians who had said the sinner’s prayer, but they were unequipped to encounter the immediate struggles of life. They had made a profession of faith, but oftentimes they did not know what that entailed nor the implications of that decision.

As a result, the quantity of people sitting in church services each week increased because being a Christian was the popular thing to do, but the number of people reproducing their faith was minimal.

Today, many churches take a different approach to international work, including McLean Bible Church. Instead of flying overseas to convert people, we fly overseas to support our partners.

“We see so much more fruit when we
support the work that God is already doing.”

Yes, we have salvation conversations and many people are born again. But, we see so much more fruit when we support the work that God is already doing and when we empower these local pastors for the ministry that God has prepared them to do.

In Uganda, we have two partners that we have grown to know and love over the past two years of our short-term mission trips: Saint Gate’s Church and Destiny Village Boarding School.

Great Partnerships

Background: The Village of Katwe

The village of Katwe is a small urban community within the limits of Kampala, capital city of Uganda.

Africa showing Uganda and Uganda showing Kampala

There are approximately 500,000 people who literally live on top of each other. To get from home to home often involves a climb on a rickety bridge across a stream of contaminated water at best. The children have significant health ailments with basically every one of them having worms in their tummy’s and rashes and sores caused by rabies. These families are in need of redemption in a way that only Christ can provide.

Rickety bridge in Katwe across a stream of contaminated water

Our Partner: Saint Gate’s Church

Right in the center of this community is Saints’ Gate Church. This church regularly has 1300-1500 attendees that have nothing but trust and dependence upon the Lord for their needs each day.

Sometimes, the Lord uses us, MBC Loudoun, to provide in a tangible way. This past trip, we had the opportunity to work with Saint Gate’s to provide a 3-day medical clinic.

How beautiful it was to see nearly 1000 individuals come to the church to receive medicine for physical healing while also hearing the Gospel for spiritual healing. This was an amazing opportunity to empower local doctors, pay them a small salary for the day, and get out of the way so that the Lord could work through this church family!

It was truly beautiful.

Our Partner: Destiny Village Boarding School

Closely connected to the Church (in that the staff overlap completely) is an evangelical school called Destiny Village Boarding School. On this campus, there are 1800 students, including 100 children from infancy to 5 years old who have been rescued from the worst of situations.

The vast majority of these students come from the community of Katwe where they have been abandoned or orphaned. They receive sponsorship through World Help. The school and church are run by the leadership of Pastor Fred, Momma Evah, and the Worship Pastor/School Director Pastor Julius.

Our short-term mission trips this year and last were hard work but so rewarding. We worked side-by-side with Pastor Fred, Momma Evah, and Pastor Julius as well as many others, and we have become friends and partners with them in remembering the poor (see Gal 2:10).

Pastor Fred, Momma Evah, Pastor Julius

Prayer

Today, take a few moments to pray for Pastor Fred, Momma Evah, and Pastor Julius as they lead these people and shepherd the flock that the Lord has given them.

Father, we lift up Pastor Fred, Momma Evah, and Pastor Julius as they lead your people in Uganda today. As Paul says in Philippians 1:3-6, we thank You every day with joy for their partnership in the Gospel. We pray with confidence that the good work You have begun in them would be brought to completion in Your perfect timing. Use us, Lord, as humble and generous supporters to provide resources that enhance Your kingdom through their humble efforts. For Your namesake and not our own. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Blog Posts from our Uganda Mission Trips

If you’d like to re-read our blog posts chronicling our trips to Uganda, follow the links below.

2015-16—This Year

Uganda Update 1–In the Slums of Katwe

Uganda Update 2-The Clinic, The Slums, The Conference

Uganda Update 3–Clinic, Slums, & Fellowship

Uganda Update 4–Mulago Hospital, Destiny School, & New Year’s Eve Bash

Uganda Update 5–Children in Luwero

Uganda Update 6–Juvenile Detention Center

2014-15—Last Year

Uganda Travel Day!

Uganda Day 2 – Saints Gate Church and Destiny Boarding School

Uganda Day 3 – Destiny Boarding School

Uganda Day 4 – Destiny Boarding School Sports Camp

Uganda Day 5 – Katanga Slums and New Years Eve

Uganda Day 6 – Good Samaritan School and Kampiriginsa Rehabilitation Center

4 Ideas for Developing Your Prayer Life

by Brian Walters, Discipleship Pastor

Doug just became a new believer in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Doug believed in his heart and professed with his mouth that Jesus is Lord.

Immediately, Doug began reading his Bible. He got into a small group. He attended weekly worship services and began serving.

However, even though Doug did all of these things, he felt extremely awkward and uncomfortable when it came to praying.

Praying just seemed weird to Doug–to talk out loud or by himself to God. He didn’t know what to say. He thought his prayers to God must be eloquent and passionate. He thought his prayers had to sound good when others listened.

Doug didn’t like praying.

Are you Doug? Does prayer feel uncomfortable or awkward? Do you struggle with what to say?

I don’t know about you, but I used to strauggle with these exact things. In fact, I was Doug and to this day I still get nervous sometimes when I pray in front of people, but here are a few things that helped me to overcome my struggles with praying:

  1. It’s just a conversation.
    Someone once asked me how good my relationship would be with my spouse if I never talked with her. I naturally responded, “not very good.” Then that someone told me the same thing is true about prayer. He said prayer is just a conversation with God. It is not a monologue, but a dialogue with God. It’s you talking to Him and listening to Him just like you would talk to your spouse or a friend. Without talking to God your relationship will only be surface level and never have any depth. So just begin talking with God. Prayer develops intimacy with God. Here are some examples of Jesus talking with His Father (Matt. 26:29-44; John 17:1-26).
  2. What do I say?
    The Lord's PrayerIf you don’t know what to say, don’t worry. Per usual, God doesn’t leave us to guess. Jesus gave us the blueprint on how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13. Read and study this passage and you will notice we are to worship and revere God (v. 9), we are to surrender and confess our sins to Him (v. 10), we submit our requests to Him (vv. 11-12), we ready ourselves to be used by Him (v. 13), and we close out prayer with more reverence of Him (v. 13). Did you notice that prayer starts and ends with thanksgiving, reverence, and praise to God? That is because the more you focus on God, the more you will be aware of your neediness and then your heart will be aligned to His. You can never go wrong with praying the way God taught us to pray.
  3. Pray Scripture.
    If you still don’t know what to say, then pray God’s Word back to Him. God loves it when we do this. God doesn’t need us to tell Him anything so the best way to talk with Him is to leverage His Word. For example, read Psalm 62:8, “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Then you can pray something like this:

    I praise you, God, that you are completely trustworthy and your promises never fail. Thank you, God, that you are our refuge and source of strength in good times and in bad. Thank you, Lord, that you care and want to hear the yearnings of our hearts. For you alone are worthy of all praise, honor, and glory. Lord, forgive me when I have forgotten to trust you to get me through hard times. Forgive me, Father, when I have forgotten your faithfulness and promises. Lord, help us to never forget that you alone are trustworthy, faithful, and our place of refuge. Lord, thank you for loving us when we don’t even deserve it. May my heart and the hearts of believers everywhere always sing your praises.

  4. Pray for each other! impactloudoun.com/prayerKeep praying.
    The things above helped me greatly to overcome my struggles with praying, but the ultimate key to helping me become comfortable with praying was to just do it continually. I discovered that praying is like anything else in life: the more you do it, the more you feel comfortable with it and the more it becomes second nature.

Lastly, I would encourage you to visit our Prayer Wall every day to post a prayer and/or to pray for others. Visiting the Wall will give you something to pray and will help you get more comfortable with praying. Start off by just praying for a few requests and build upon this as you get more comfortable.

Guilty, Your Honor

Rachel Thomas, Director of Discipleship for Women & Ministry Teams

It was a typical Thursday evening. I was driving to my destination when out of nowhere I see flashing blue lights in my rearview mirror....through the law comes knowledge of sin. Romans 3:20

Was I speeding? No. Was I on my phone. Absolutely not…this time, anyway. Did I have a light out? Most likely not.

I pull over, watch the officer walk out of his car, and he asks, “Ma’am, do you know why I pulled you over?”

“Absolutely not, officer” I defensively replied. Apparently there is a little sticker that is required on one’s vehicle when registered in Loudoun County. Who knew?

Well, my ignorance landed me a court date in the Loudoun County Courthouse. Not accustomed to the ways of the court, I arrived remarkably early,  leaving plenty of time for waiting, thinking, and observing.

There were a lot of people in this small court room that had ugly red carpeting and hard wooden benches that brought me back to my pew days in the Baptist church as a kid—an experience that no doubt instilled a sense of reverence mixed with some fear.

As the Judge entered the room, all stood to show respect. He sat in his long black robe and proceeded to begin with his memorized script of the responsibilities that he possessed.

Then he called the first name. It was a DUI offense. All the details and dirty laundry were aired for all of us to hear. It felt awkward to listen to the wrongdoings of someone that I did not know. Then followed the lawyer’s response, along with an explanation of the remorse and regret of that night. The judge declared a sentence with a fine and they walked away.

Person after person was called up with the same process. Some cases made me angry because of the lack of remorse. Some cases brought tears to my eyes because of the consequences that could have resulted with a lifetime effect on these peoples’ children or the endangerment of other drivers.

Each punishment was different. It was based on first, second, or third time offenses. It was based on their admittance of wrongdoing and law-breaking. It was based on their lawyer’s defense and pleas for reconsideration. But every person was judged differently by that one man who held the power from the state of Virginia.

It got me thinking: this is how we will one day be judged. Matthew 22:1-14 tells us that there is a God who sits on the judgment seat and will ask us one day why we should be allowed into His Kingdom. He is the One who will declare us “guilty” or “not guilty” of eternal condemnation. And He knows all our faults, offensives, and wrongdoings.

It’s not our good deeds or law keeping that will get us into heaven. Romans 3:20 says that the law shows us our sin and that we are not justified by the law.

In the following verses, Paul writes that it is by the gift of grace through faith in Jesus Christ that we are made right before God. So, as believers, we can stand before the Judge with boldness and confidence that all of our shame and sin is forgotten because of our right standing in Christ.

Time passed on that afternoon in the courthouse, and when we got to the more minor traffic violations—like not having a sticker displayed on our dashboard—my name was called. I nervously pleaded “guilty.” I had to pay a fine for my ignorance and prove that I made my wrong right. Will I ever forget to get that little sticker again? Absolutely not.

Will I be forever grateful that I will stand confidently before The Judge some day? Absolutely!

Knowing that my sins put Jesus on the cross, knowing that He suffered a brutal death, and realizing there was a payment that had to be made—a payment I don’t have to make—brings me to a place of humbleness and gratitude.

It drives me to a place of striving for holiness and sanctification.

We are declared free because of Christ! No more guilt or shame to bear. We have Christ as our defense. We can walk out of that court room as free men and women, grateful and glorifying the One who paid our debt.

Live today as a free person, no debt, no guilt, no condemnation!

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Greetz : Kuroi’SH, RxR, K3L0T3X

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