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‘Voice of Kigezi’ Radio

For the second time in a year, I was a guest on “Voice of Kigezi” radio, representing African International Christian Ministry of Kabale. The Sunday morning program is broadcast to five countries in sub-Saharan Africa, reaching a potential audience of more than 10 million listeners.

voice kigezi

Mwebale munonga. Mukama asiimwe. (Thank you very much. Praise God)

Amazina gangye ndi Patrick Hill (My name is Patrick Hill)

Ninduga California USA omuri America. (I come from California USA in America)

Nkija hanu omwaka oguwire. Neshemwerwire munonga. (I was here last year. I feel very happy)

Nakunda Mukama. Nyine omwana w’omowjo. (I love the Lord. I have a grown son)

Ndenda kusima munywani wangye Bishop Enoch Kayeeye ahabw’omugisha ogu kugamba ninwe akasheshe aka. Mukama asiimwe munonga. (I want to thank my good friend Bishop Enoch Kayeeye for this opportunity to speak to you this morning. Praise the Lord)

Ndikutura omuri Kabale kandi ndabasa kumara emyaka eshatu. Ndikukora na AICM. (I am living in Kabale and hope to stay for three years while working with AICM)

Ogu ni interpreter wangye…Patience….Agandi, nyabo…. (Here is my interpreter, Patience. Good day..)

Ndikwegw’orukiga. (I am learning Rukiga)

I would like to deliver this message entirely in Rukiga.

The Lord has blessed me in many ways…but speaking Rukiga is not yet one of them.

Among the appointed readings today is Psalm 51, verses 1-13, a lamentation of David.

David cries for mercy from God for what has happened. He confesses his sins and seeks forgiveness.

David had just been rebuked by his friend Nathan for killing Uriah the Hittite in order to take his wife, Bathseba.

In this famous story, found in 2 Samuel 11, David schemes against Uriah..and sends him into the front lines of a battle where he is killed.

David has relations with Bathsheba, who bears him a son. But his actions displeased the Lord.

The Lord struck the child ill…and after seven days, it died.

In our lives today we can sometimes get involved in activities not been seen by our friends and neighbours, yet God sees all things.

Our attitudes and pride may prevent us from confessing our sins.

So it is left to another. A family member or a friend to confront us.

That is what Nathan did to David.

Nathan told David a story, of two men in a certain town, one rich, and one poor.

The rich man had a large number of sheep and cattle.

The poor man had one little ewe lamb. It ate and slept in his arms like a daughter.

A traveler came to the rich man, Nathan said.

The rich man did not take one of his own sheep or cattle to feed the traveler.

Instead he took the ewe from the poor man and prepared it for the traveler.

At hearing this story, David was outraged. “Surely this man must die because he had no pity,” he said.

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!”

The Lord God of Israel anointed you king over Israel, delivered you from Saul.

Yet you despise the Lord by doing what is evil in his sight.

“I have sinned against the Lord,” David told Nathan.

“You are not going to die, the Lord has taken away your sin,” Nathan replied.

“But the son born to you will die.”

In Psalm 51, David cries mercy and forgiveness:

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love.

according to your great compassion, blot out my transgressions.

Wash away all my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.

Against you you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.

So you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.

Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Cleanse me with hyssop and I will be clean, wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness, let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.

Create in my a pure heart O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.

David’s salvation seems complete in verse 13 when he says “I will teach
transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.”

Throughout, David speaks to God with intimate language. He writes many psalms. Surely he knows the Lord.

The Lord knows David’s heart. He hears his prayers. Despite his sin, he is beloved.

David returns to Bathsheba who bears him a son, Solomon.

David would have many conquests after the incident.

In our lives today, sin is destructive.

It can destroy relationships, marriages, families.

But turning to God with a repentant heart can bring healing, as it did to David.

This is my third visit to Uganda in three years. I am very happy to be here.

When I arrived two years ago I knew no one. But I was not alone.

My relationship with God provided me a fellowship with the Holy Spirit.

And I was fortunate to find Christian communities where I also had instant fellowship.

And for those listening to me now, while we may never meet….

we have a relationship through our love of Jesus Christ. We are in fact brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Mukama asiimwe. Asiimwe munonga. Mukama nimarungi. Ebiro byona.

Amina.

This is Personal

From school fees for primary, secondary and university students; to support for single mothers, the stories and appeals I hear are very personal. As much as I’d like to help them all, I can’t.

Team in Faith, a public charity I established after returning from Uganda in September, 2014, exists to support education, health care and evangelism projects throughout Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. They are those I have personally visited and recommend.

After a 35-hour journey, which included two missed flights, I finally arrived in Kampala. My first stop after leaving the Ugandan capital was Kasese, about a five-hour drive to the southwest. I stopped at a friend’s house where I was once again welcomed by his family.

becky

Cleous and his wife, Becky (above), operate Action for Community Empowerment and Rehabilitation (ACER), a project to support HIV/AIDS orphans and mothers. The board of directors of Team in Faith has approved grants of nearly $2,000 that will help young students get school supplies and support women’s micro-finance projects.

abraham

While in Kasese, Abraham, (above) a bright, soft-spoken medical university student, told me of the tough financial road he has ahead of him to complete his studies. Three semesters of tuition, plus boarding fees, for the next three years are outside the reach of his peasant parents.

Abraham’s total bill of about $8,000 would be a fraction of what a US student could expect to pay for his or her medical degree. He is focusing on gynecology to help women in Uganda deliver births safely, which is far from a sure thing.

From Kasese I traveled past the magnificent Queen Elizabeth National Park, a destination savannah for safari adventurers. My driver and I have tossed bananas for giant elephants in the past. Lions are often lounging in trees before or after meal time, I’ve been told.

queen eliz

After four hours I reached Bwindi, where for the past two years I have volunteered in the Communications Office at the Bwindi Community Hospital. My lodging was a kilometer or two away near the boundary of the Impenetrable Forest.

A friend I met last year is now estranged from her husband and heading for divorce. In the middle is their three-year-old son. She appealed to me for help with nursery school fees, which would cost about $80 per semester.

The culture here does not reward the efforts of single mothers. I vowed to help her. Maybe you will help me do so.

After nearly ten days of travel and crossing 11 time zones, I reached my home in Kabale. I stay with my friend, Bishop Enoch Kayeeye, and his wife, Phoebe, at their family compound. I have my own room and join them for meals.

phoebenoch

For more than 30 years, the bishop has served marginalized communities like the Batwa Pygmies in Uganda and neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. He has bought land, built schools, medical clinics, and housing for them.

His foundation, which includes the African International Christian Ministry (AICM), operates a Vocational Training College. It helps students and budding entrepreneurs gain critical skills in accounting, catering, IT, masonry, woodworking, tailoring and other trades.

I’ve been so impressed by the bishop’s work and vision that I’ve signed up for three years to help with marketing and fundraising. The student body here tops 300. Their enthusiasm at the morning devotions each day is really inspiring.

Every dollar, or Uganda shilling, is carefully accounted for and spent to support facilities, curriculum and supplies, and hire qualified instructors. School fees and donations help pay much of the expenses but more is needed. While I am here we’ll explore grants and tap the 10,000 alumni working in Uganda and elsewhere to help “pay it forward” to support the college.

Building self sufficiency is the best path to success here in Uganda and for more than 30 years AICM has set a standard.

My friends, I know that this message joins others you receive that require your attention and financial support. I am here to do my best among a people in a land that I love. You helped send me here.

In a small way or a big way, I ask you to help those here who have great aspirations, but lack finances, to succeed. Make a donation at teaminfaith.net. Tell a friend, or an army of friends, to do the same. I will personally see to it that the funds are used for education and other projects and that an accounting is made.

Webale munonga. Thank you very much.

Patrick Hill

Morning Devotions

Every place I’ve visited has a morning assembly for prayers and songs. At the Bwindi Community Hospital, staff and guests gather each morning for worship and a short homily.

In Kabale, at the Vocational Training College, students and administrators sing praises before a speaker reflects on scripture verses.

Today, the speaker failed to show. So what next? Dismiss the students to their classes? Heavens, no! The worship shall continue.

Africa, as you can image, has great worship. There is singing and dancing, drums, claps, howls and whistles of joy. As we waited for the speaker, more students stepped forward to join the worship leaders.

The result was a fabulous jam of music and praise. It went on and on..with great enthusiasm that touches the heart. My smiles were punctuated by tears. It was loud. It was wonderful.

Everyone had the songs etched in their heart. No music sheets or overhead screens, but unabashed voices, praising harmonically.

Every tribe and culture has its own worship style. You feel it here. It is ecstatic. It is fun.

Tomorrow I step up as speaker as the dancing stops. I shall be on time. Scripture is Matt 13:54-end. A Prophet Without Honor. Kind of hits close to home for me.

Sometimes I allow myself a sentimental moment to look back. Kind of amazing what I’ve given up to get here.

Before I get too carried away though, my vision returns to the spectacular scene the Lord has set before me. I cannot spare any time looking back. It is all ahead of me. Oh, how blessed I am.

Morning Devotions

Every place I’ve visited has a morning assembly for prayers and songs. At the Bwindi Community Hospital, staff and guests gather each morning for worship and a short homily.

In Kabale, at the Vocational Training College, students and administrators sing praises before a speaker reflects on scripture verses.

Today, the speaker failed to show. So what next? Dismiss the students to their classes? Heavens, no! The worship shall continue.

Africa, as you can image, has great worship. There is singing and dancing, drums, claps, howls and whistles of joy. As we waited for the speaker, more students stepped forward to join the worship leaders.

The result was a fabulous jam of music and praise. It went on and on..with great enthusiasm that touches the heart. My smiles were punctuated by tears. It was loud. It was wonderful.

Everyone had the songs etched in their heart. No music sheets or overhead screens, but unabashed voices, praising harmonically.

Every tribe and culture has its own worship style. You feel it here. It is ecstatic. It is fun.

Tomorrow I step up as speaker as the dancing stops. I shall be on time. Scripture is Matt 13:54-end. A Prophet Without Honor. Kind of hits close to home for me.

Sometimes I allow myself a sentimental moment to look back. Kind of amazing what I’ve given up to get here.

Before I get too carried away though, my vision returns to the spectacular scene the Lord has set before me. I cannot spare any time looking back. It is all ahead of me. Oh, how blessed I am.

Sunday in Kampala

Sundays are the best days in Kampala. The headache-inducing traffic jams the other six days in the capital city are not present this day. It is easy and fast to get around. A relief.

Today was my first Sunday back in Uganda. Worship day. I took a Matatu (taxi) about 10 miles to downtown Kampala to attend Watoto church, an uptempo church of the word that reminds me of Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago and an Assemblies of God meeting. Lots of energy, great worship…and a time clock that keeps the service at about 1:45, because they must clear the house to get the next group of enthused worshippers in their place.

IMG_0055

I visited Watoto last year. A friend took me today. As we were walking through a small village to get to the taxi stand, a mother was outside, washing her crying two-year-old. The child wouldn’t stop and the mother, after glancing at me, told the child (in Luganda), “If you are not quiet, the muzungu will take you!” At that, the child stopped crying immediately!

It has been warm here, in the 80s with humidity. It wants to rain, but hasn’t. The heat hasn’t stopped mosquitoes seeking my sweet, muzungu blood. Fortunately, I packed a couple of bed nets to keep them mostly away. I can hear their whine (and cry) as they probe for weaknesses in the mesh. The deadly anopheles mosquito flies quietly and at night. So far have not met up with them.

It is good to be back. I feel comfortable and supported by many friends. I have been meeting people in town as a “mule” to deliver gifts and items on their behalf. On Tuesday, a Ugandan friend I met three years ago in South Sudan will come pick me and drive me to his home in Kasese. I’ve enjoyed his family’s hospitality the past two years. We will also discuss some projects of his, from supporting scholarships from primary school students to women’s micro-finance projects. Then it will be to Bwindi for a couple of days before settling four hours further south in Kabale.

Had to rely on patience and faith to get me here. My reliable driver was late in collecting me Tuesday morning. As a result I missed the 6 a.m. flight out of Sacramento. An agent put me on a 6:20 a.m. flight to Houston that would connect to Newark where I would pick up my scheduled itinerary.

It was snowing with freezing rain in Newark. That flight was delayed three hours as we joined a lineup of jets for de-icing. When we arrived in Brussels, five of us had 20 minutes to make the next flight to Uganda. Nope. So we were rerouted through Istanbul, Turkey, which looked pretty nice near the Mediterranean and Black seas. Wheels down in Uganda at 3:45 a.m. about five hours behind schedule.

Before I left, I wired $10,000 to my account in Uganda on behalf of Team in Faith to be used for grants and gifts, ranging from church roofs in Congo to materials for primary schools. It will be a powerful experience for me to make these grants on behalf of TIF and the generous gifts of donors.

God is here, the holy spirit is present in all my activities. Am blessed and thankful to be in this position.

Mukama nimarungi. Good is good.
Ebiro byona. All the time.

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