19 November, 2015
Paddy gave devotions on our last morning. He felt God gave him a message several days ago, but at 5:00 AM, He gave him a different message. It was taken from Luke 24:7, “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.”
Paddy said, “If Christ hadn't risen, we would have no hope.” We must go home, knowing we are raised with Christ, so we can serve our resurrected Savior. Paddy shared the story of Louie Zamperini, who overcame many adversities in his youth, which helped him during WW2, when he was shot down. Louie endured 47 days at sea before being captured by the Japanese and sent to a prisoner of war camp. The saying was, "If you can take it, you can make it.” After the end of the war, Louie struggled with the effects of being singled out and tortured in prison camp. He suffered greatly upon returning from the war and eventually was talked into attending a Billy Graham Crusade, where he received Jesus as his Savior. He knew God had spared his life during the war, but it wasn't until he actively forgave those who tortured him, even going to Japan to meet with them and forgive them in person, that he received peace from God. Louie was 'dead' in his sins, but he rose again because of the finished work of Jesus.
Paddy said we must remember that a moment of pain is worth a lifetime of glory—God's glory. The battle continues! Peace comes only when we truly know Christ and we truly forgive. He then read from 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “Give thanks in all circumstances because this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”
After prayer, Michael closed our final devotion by reading Ephesians 1:3-2:11, which encapsulates our entire journey. We have one final afternoon with the children and will then make our long journey home.
Sharon and Jennifer are giving more love to these children on their last night of worship. This is Michael Bolton with a few of his BFF's. Paddy and Wendy joyfully join in the glorious worship. <>6 - 6
Each evening the children, who are the worship leaders, along with the housemothers have a time of worship. As soon as the drums start, the children run from wherever they are and worship Jesus together. The team is privileged to join them. Tonight following worship, they had our whole team move to the center of the circle. Then the children and all the housemothers gathered around us and prayed blessings over us. We were utterly unprepared for this goodbye as they showered us with love, affection, many hugs and an invitation to please come back. It was very emotional for all of us and we could not have been more humbly blessed. We returned to our last team meal together and will depart for the airport in a few hours. It has been an amazing and very fruitful trip, not like anything anyone expected, but isn't our Savior just like that? He has blessed us more than we could ever imagine! Each of your prayers have accomplished so very much!
Thank you Jennifer White for your detailed blogs. We are blessed hearing all the Lord has done and is doing through His FFC Uganda teams.
18 November, 2015
The team woke up to a beautiful morning after a bit of rain last night. Aaron gave devotions and encouraged us to give all we have. We are all tired, but he said now is the time to dig deep and finish well. He revisited Paddy's devotion on Hebrews 12, but then focused on verses 18-28: "You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they couldn't bear what was commanded: "If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned." The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, ‘I am trembling with fear.'”
“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel
"See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, 'Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens. The words 'once more' indicate the removing of what can be shaken - that is, created things - so that what cannot be shaken may remain.”
"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our 'God is a consuming fire'."
Aaron had the team take some time and reflect on how we began. As we all started thinking of the beginning of this mission, he said to go back further to when we got saved—how we couldn't rescue ourselves but Jesus rescued us. We were all heading in one direction—hell—until Jesus saved us and completely turned us around. His grace is so precious and the sacrifice He made for our lives, to turn us around, to give us eternal life is unspeakable. We were completely incapable of freeing ourselves from our sinful ways, but Jesus paid the price, came into our lives and saved us. And this is the reason we are all here in Uganda—to love those who Jesus loves and to make His glory and gift of salvation known. The heart of this team is to finish well— not only here in Uganda, but at home.
Today was the last working day here in Uganda. Jerry opened with how well the team worked together and how incredibly blessed he and Jennifer are to serve on this team with our Northern Ireland brothers and sisters.
Sharon went on a social welfare visit with Olivia and Brian, the social workers for Ty Cariad. Sharon is a social worker in Northern Ireland. The mother they visited is extremely poor and illiterate and was unable to care for her child. The child is now living at Ty Cariad. When she arrived she was very malnourished and is now gaining her strength and getting healthy. The mother earns roughly 8 GBP/month (12 USD) after paying rent. She doesn't have the skills to get better work to care for her daughter and so out of love has allowed her daughter to be taken in at Ty Cariad. Sharon also was able to talk to Olivia about some of the training she's had that she can send to Olivia to help her in her social work.
Jerry said when he looked down a street and saw the masses of people, he was struck with the far-reaching love of Jesus, who knows each person. Michael was struck by how loved the children are at Ty Cariad, how safe and healthy they are and how they are thriving with hope. Everyone was very grateful to see that these children are growing now only physically and socially, but spiritually as well. Their lives are surrounded by Godly people, particularly the house mamas, who are raising them to love Jesus.
Paddy expressed concern that the team does not return home and talk about the poverty in Uganda (according to our standards), and for us not to compare cultures. The Ugandans way of life is very different than our Western culture. They are hard workers and work long hours to provide for their families. Paddy asked the question, who is rich? The telling factor is when we attended church here. It was powerful, full of celebrating Jesus and living fully for Him.
Paddy recapped the week in their training and stressed how they all depended on Jerry for the proper training at the beginning of our mission. The rest of the team learned very well how to train with the straps and CPR, and particularly the high standard that must be always met. He is well pleased with how Michael and Aaron learned, and particularly how hard MIchael worked despite his back pain. He was blessed that the guys all grasped the importance of discipline and keeping a high standard.
From the beginning, the Ugandan firefighters were told up front and clearly that we are Firefighters FOR Christ. This was taught clearly throughout the day, and the team left absolutely nothing behind. The sowed everything they had into this training. One firefighter named Tony, who is a sergeant and a believer, was conflicted of being a Christian and a firefighter. He was deeply changed and will now live his life for Christ, and encourage others to live their lives for Christ as well.
The only other believer was Rogers, the Assistant Superintendent of Police/Fire. At the end of the training, Rogers asked Tony to close in prayer and this greatly encouraged our team of the difference they have made.
Jerry felt the teaching model today was excellent in that they permeated the teaching with their relationship in Christ. Paddy had it in his mind to use the straps right away to teach them about Christ. Michael suggested they develop relationships first, train on the straps, and then use the straps to tell the firefighters the gospel of Jesus Christ. The team left with no doubt that they clearly showed these firefighters the love of Jesus Christ. The team also loved having Paul on the team, who absolutely loves firefighters and loves telling them about Jesus.
Tony, the firefighter who is a believer, encouraged the team they may not see the fruit from this mission, but to be very encouraged that they have made a tremendous difference, and God is working and what was sown today will bear much fruit. He actually encouraged the team to live their lives for Jesus!
Michael felt the Lord telling the team not to underestimate the Lord and what He is doing. Aaron talked about not falling into the trap of looking solely at numbers, because it's not about numbers but about life changing relationships. The team may not have seen loads of people who made a first time commitment to Christ or ones who made a mild commitment and next week go back to their old ways, but have seen firefighters in each station who are committed to Christ, have counted the cost and who will follow strong after Jesus.
Paddy exhorted the team to throw off all that encumbers them and live fully for Jesus. Lives have been changed this week for eternity, and the whole team has not only been able to bless and encourage others, but have been deeply blessed and changed themselves. Paddy read the mission statement of FFC and stated that this was lived out and that every day got better and better. The team was very grateful to Steven, Patson and Godfrey, who are police officers and shared responsibilities of protecting the team this week and escorting them to the various fire stations. They acted as their bodyguards and protectors and kept the team safe the whole week.
Paddy reminded the team that we started well, but we must also sprint to the finish. We depart for home tomorrow and he encouraged us to continue living our lives fully for Jesus.
Jerry is giving orientation of Jinja firefighters. Aaron is leading the strap training. This is Jinja fire truck. Jerry is explaining the use of straps to pull the driver pedals of the car in order to free driver's feet/legs. Michael Bolton is with a young man so wise for his age and who is growing into a deep man of God! Every day the children are learning about God and His love! We are overwhelmed with love for these children! How many kids can Aaron get on the teeter totter? Sharon was pleased to see these boys interest in reading. Wendy Quinn has so much of the Lord's love to give these precious children. Jennifer has cried every day she has been at Ty Cariad. She dearly loves these beauties! Family! These young men are worship leaders at Ty Cariad. The kids absolutely howled out loud when Jerry walked out with his pants like this! Aaron and Sharon are having lots of fun with these children. <>16 - 16
17 November, 2015
The team woke up again to another day of torrential rains but fortunately the weather cleared later in the morning. As we spend time with the older children, we are praying for more experiences like Wendy had listening to the girls share their hearts. These moments come and are gone quickly as the older children are so responsible in looking after the younger ones.
Jennifer gave morning devotions on “Doing Things God's Way” based on Proverbs 16:9: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” She quoted Acts 16:6-10: “Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bythnyia but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. They could have pressed on with what they had in mind to do and to go Asia, but this was not God's plan.”
God directs our steps daily as we listen to Him and obey His commands. This was particularly apparent this trip with the meeting of Fred. The last time Paddy came with a team, they had planned to go one place but were redirected to another, where they met Fred. If they had insisted on staying with their original plan, they would not have connected once again with Fred. The encouragement in Christ they were able to give and receive would not have been given had they insisted on doing things their own way. It is a great legacy of the work of Christ being passed from one to another.
Following devotions, several members of the team went into town to get Christmas gifts for the children. When the team entered the parking lot at the mall, they were stopped by security, which is standard procedure at any public establishment. The guard made them open the sliding door in the van to see who was in the back. When he saw the FFC logo on Paddy's shirt he said, 'Hello, my name is Titus. Do you know what it means? Look it up in your Bible." Michael looked it up and learned his name means 'saved'. After shopping, Paddy walked over to Titus and said, "Your name means ‘saved.’” Titus said, “Read Titus 3:5, which says, ‘He has saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.’" We were greatly encouraged by this brother, who is so outspoken in his faith!
During our evening debriefing, Paddy stressed the mission of FFC, which is to encourage firefighters to live their lives for Jesus Christ. He said this is not only in our fire stations but also when we go home. We need to allow the Lord to change us more and more so we can reflect the love of Christ. Jerry reiterated the fact we are all in full time ministry wherever we serve - on a foreign mission field, or on the mission field of our fire stations and in our homes.
Michael read Psalm 147, which encouraged us to reflect on the awesome faithful work of our Heavenly Father, who not only cares for us, but also provides for us with love and faithfulness, which knows no limits.
Paddy then exhorted the team to 'pass the baton'. In other words, we must continue sharing our faith and mentor younger people and encourage them to do the same. It was noted that our team consists of people in their 20's (Aaron and Sharon), 30's (Michael), 50's (Paddy and Wendy) and 60's (Jerry and Jennifer). It is up to all of us to bring up the younger ones and teach them to pour their lives into others, training them so that they can train the next generation.
Tomorrow the guys will go out to Jinja (2 hours away) to do their last training.
16 November, 2015
We awakened to a very big storm. There was much thunder and lightening and torrential rain, but it didn't dampen our spirits. We went forward with the ministry Jesus had planned for us. Jerry gave devotions about being men and women of integrity. He believes it is the most important characteristic we leave as our legacy. He spoke on Philippians 3:12, and how Paul strived to be like Jesus, to be a man of integrity, and this should be our goal too. Following devotions, the men gathered to strategize on the most effective way to teach and share Christ. They went over several different scenarios they could use based on the facility and the number of firefighters they would be teaching.
The men spent time this morning going over the plan for the day and how they can be flexible depending on the site. They never know what the facilities will be like for training or how many firefighters will be there until they actually arrive at the site. They traveled in heavy rain to train today in Mukono. The fire station was a tin hut, but then the team got redirected to the District Council Headquarters. They met the Deputy and the Head of Security. The team was very welcomed and Paul was able to pray with Major David Martin and met with Dr. Fred Mukulu, the District Production and Marketing Officer for the Mukuno District Council. They also met the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Jonathan Mukose.
After formal introductions, training began. They were very glad to see their training facility, as it was the best they've had. They trained 15 firefighters. Most of them were very young firefighters, who have served as firefighters for less than five years. Only one had been there longer. The firefighters were really excited for the training they received and were very thankful they were given the straps following training. Because the team discussed their strategy prior to arriving, they worked together like clockwork. The common comment was how bright these young men and women are, and how eager they are to learn. The firefighters were broken into three groups to learn the straps, with one FFC team member working with each group. The FFC team shared their teaching responsibilities and then each took a group to practice the straps. They timed each firefighter using the straps during the course of the day. At the beginning, it took roughly one minute forty seconds to work the straps, but by the end of the training, they were all under 40 seconds! They planned to have them work in the same groups in order to develop teamwork. They were serious in thinking through the process to learn and not just going through the motions. After the strap training, the team had a lunch break before returning to teach CPR. They were treated to lunch at Hotel Colline, where they dined on goat, chicken bones, pumpkin soup and African coffee for dessert. The firefighters were just as eager to learn CPR following lunch, as they were the straps training and learned very well.
Jerry shared Cheyane Caldwell's testimony, then Paul used the strap to share not only how it is used to save physical lives, but he used it as a way to illustrate how to have eternal live in Christ.
During our evening debriefing meeting, Paddy shared about Jerry's standard of teaching in not taking any shortcuts. It was powerful and was well received not only by FFC members but also with the firefighters they trained. He articulated this very effectively and his passion really showed through and raised the standard of professionalism for everyone. They also talked about bringing the younger men and women along in their faith, and training them to be mentors, because someday the older ones won't be there and we need to keep the vision of training for the next generation.
The women spent the entire morning with the children. Since the rain had not let up, they cared for roughly 40 children ranging from babies to young teens. The plan was for the older children to stay in Faith House and watch a movie, but since the electricity was out, they came and stayed with us. Mama Jan and Pastor Freda had a meeting with the all house mamas and staff of the Ty Cariad. Their meeting lasted about three hours. The blessing for Freda and Jan was that because our team watched the children, the entire staff had a chance to meet together and it was very productive. During this time Wendy, Sharon and Jennifer kept all the children in a small room playing various games and keeping them well occupied so things didn't get too out of hand. But they were certainly glad when the house mamas finally returned! And they were especially blessed on how the older children looked after the young ones.
After lunch, Wendy went back to the boutique and took a few of the older girls to help her sort. It was such a God-appointed time because the girls shared their dreams, confiding in her and were blessed just having time to girl talk. This is no small thing as these girls rarely, if ever, get personal time with a wise and seasoned adult, who they know loves them and can be trusted.
All of these firefighters said they already believed in Jesus and would be committed to following Him. This room was utterly chaotic and filled with at least 40 kids during a torrential rainstorm... And this young one fell fast asleep on Wendy's lap! What love!<>8 - 8
15 November, 2015
Paddy gave devotions this morning based on Hebrews 12:1-3, 15a. Our worship began by singing “Amazing Grace.” Paddy spoke about running the race to win, throwing off every sin that entangles us. We are to fix our eyes on Jesus and consider what He endured so that we do not grow weary and lose heart. And we are to “Look after each other so that none of us fails to receive the grace of God.”
Paddy spoke about a sports competition, where one team went into half time celebrating their higher score. The losing team instead used their break to rest, regroup and strategize and they finished as winners. Paddy said our first week was good, but now we need to regroup, strategize and finish our second week just as well. This principle applies in Uganda as well as when we return home. We closed in corporate prayer and sang “10,000 Reasons.”
Following devotions, we worshiped again at Victory Christian Centre. Paddy was asked to share about the work of Firefighters For Christ. He gave witness of our legacy— how we all will leave one. He spoke of FFC’s training firefighters here two years ago, and how these men are now teaching the new firefighters how to use the straps. They forgot nothing! But most importantly, there is now a Christian church on the property of Fire Headquarters and those who accepted the Lord are growing in their faith. He also talked about meeting Fred two years ago at an outlaying station, where FFC had not planned to do training. Much to their surprise, the Lord brought them together again in Mbarara last week, which is a 4.5 hour drive south of the equator. Fred, who is Mbarara’s Station’s Commander, greeted the team with great love and joyfully called his firefighters “his children,” who he is mentoring in Christ.
Paul gave a message entitled, "Can God Use Me?” which encouraged church members to let God use them to reach their neighbors, family and friends with the gospel as well bringing them to church. We also had a baby dedication with the family of Pastor Steven, who will be leaving to start a new church plant.
As typical on their Sunday worship days, the first service closes with the offering and the second service begins. It is a very blended transition through worship. During worship at the second service, they have a time where members can give testimony of what God has done in their lives. The testimonies were all in Ugandan. Unfortunately we couldn’t understand their language, but were able to give God glory for the work He is doing. Their joy is infectious!
The last testimony was when Dr. Robert, his wife Agnes and family came to the stage. Pastors Joseph and Freda rescued Robert from the streets of Kampala, when he was 7 years old. He was alone with no place to live, trying to survive by selling newspapers. Joseph and Freda rescued him from the streets and adopted him. They raised him, educated him and sent him to medical school in Mbarara.
He is an infectious disease physician, who worked in Sierra Leone with the Ebola outbreak. He prayed and prayed and had trouble with one British physician, but others knew his faithfulness and God rewarded him. He is now a United Nations staff physician and can travel to any nation in Africa with his UN passport. There was much celebration at the faithfulness of God.
After worshipping at the main church, we were privileged to go to a village and attend a Victory church plant with Pastors Vincent and Julie. It was a small building that was once a bakery, which was located right next to a chicken farm. Since Pastor Paul returned a year ago, the church has been made into a beautiful place of worship and the chicken farm is no longer there! We were introduced to the congregation and enjoyed worshipping our Lord together.
In the evening, we were blessed to be able to attend a cultural performance of Ndera Dance Troupe, where amazing performers from various tribes in Africa played music, danced and sang. These college students pay for their education by performing this high-energy 3.5 hour show three nights every week. We took several of the older children with us and they were thrilled to be there.
14 November, 2015
Today the team stayed at Ty Cariad to play with the children. As soon as the kids hear someone at the gate coming up from the White House (where we are staying), they run as fast as they can with enormous smiles and jump in our arms or hug our legs. Their affection is overwhelming! We divided into three teams for the morning. The older kids (11-14) went to Faith House where they played Jenga, dominoes, painted and drew with Paddy and Michael, and Wendy read them stories.
Aaron and Jan worked with 7-10 year olds. They read them stories and then had the children draw pictures of the characters they learned about in the books. Sharon, Jerry and Jennifer had the toddlers. They played quietly with play dough, colored, put together puzzles and played with Legos.
Following craft time, the kids all went outside for snacks and a drink. As they sat down, they simultaneously started singing praise songs to Jesus! The older boys started playing the drums and all the kids ran from everywhere to form a circle and worship Jesus together. We served them popcorn and juice and they sat quietly in a circle. After snacks, the kids played Duck Duck Goose, and What's The Time Mr. Wolf? It is amazing to see how the older children take care of the younger ones and give each of them a turn to play. Their laughter is absolutely contagious! There is a family of seven siblings living here at the children's home. They were living in a charcoal dump. The oldest of the seven, chose not to attend school so she could look after her younger siblings because her mother was very ill. Pastor Freda found out about them and brought them to Ty Cariad so they could remain together as a family. Their mother has not been located and they don't know if she is still alive. Ty Cariad is a faith ministry. The Lord faithfully provides for their needs. There is never abundance but God always provides enough. They feel if they were given too much they may waste it, so for each provision they are truly grateful.
At church one day when Paul was preaching, a teenage girl brought her blind grandmother to the stage requesting prayer for her healing. Paul looked at the grandmother and realized she had no eyes—just eye sockets. In faith, Paul stuck his thumbs into her eyes and asked God for a miracle healing. Nothing happened right away so the young girl led her grandmother back to her seat. A short time later there was a ruckus in the middle of the congregation, where the grandmother was seated. She had begun yelling, “I can see. I can see!” Yes, the Lord’s miracle healing happened. He gave her eyes and sight. Needless to say, the entire congregation worshiped the Lord.
Michael is working with the older children. The children were so happy to have Wendy read to them.Sharon loves these young ones. She is a social worker in Northern Ireland and was able to assist the social workers at Ty Cariad. The younger children are waiting for the big kids to have snacks and play. This beautiful girl holding the child is the daughter of one of the house mamas, so she has a big extended family! <>7 - 7
13 November, 2015
After dinner tonight, we had the opportunity to get to know Pastor Joseph. He was raised Catholic, went to college, was teaching and decided to attend seminary. One night while praying and asking God for guidance, the Lord lit his room and appeared to him and he was saved. That was in 1975. In 1977 Idi Amin came into power and in 1979 he shut down all Christian churches. Pastor Joseph was arrested and thrown in jail. After spending three weeks in jail, Amnesty International put severe pressure on Amin to free the “crazy religious fanatics who wouldn't hurt anyone.” He used it as a photo op, went to the prison and had his picture taken with Joseph and the rest of the Christians. Joseph's pastor warned them to flee because he knew Amin wouldn’t forget them. He said they would be hunted and killed one by one. The pastors who remained in the area were all eventually killed by the Amin regimen. Joseph fled to Kenya, then went to Bible school in Nairobi, and finally returned to Uganda in 1981.
One day Joseph was on stage at a pubic forum debating a Muslim concerning true religion. Joseph solidly won the debate. Shortly thereafter, an angry Muslim threw a grenade on stage, which landed right between Joseph’s feet. The blast killed 6 people and injured 42. Joseph was thrown backwards, but was completely uninjured. Afterwards, he walked to town and took a taxi home. Joseph is a very gifted humble man. He has earned 3 Ph.D. degrees and fluently speaks 5 languages. On occasion he preaches in English, while his wife Freda translates in Ugandan. They both preach at their church, on radio and also television.
Pastor Paul told us of a young girl who lives in a village not far from Kampala. One day after leaving church, her family was run over by a truck. They were all killed in the accident. The young girl, who was six at the time, was dragged under the truck. All of her bones were crushed and all of her skin was torn from her body. The pastors of her church went to the morgue to claim her body. She was in a body bag and had been dead for days. The pastors prayed she would be healed in the name of Jesus. All of a sudden there was movement in the bag, so they opened it, and were struck with radiating light. She sat up completely whole, all her bones healed, and her body completely covered by skin. It was difficult for them to stand in the brilliant presence of Christ on her. From the morgue, they took her to church and as she came down the center aisle, every person she walked by fell down at the presence of the Holy Spirit in her. She is now 11 years old and is cared for by the people in her village.
On a different day as Pastor Joseph was teaching at Victory Christian Centre, a baby was crying and disrupting the service. He asked the mother to please quiet the baby, but the woman said it wasn't her child. They picked the baby up off the floor and a note was attached to her asking the church to please care for this child, who was starving to death. The child is very small for her age, but she came to Ty Cariad and is now a thriving toddler.
12-13 November, 2015
Thursday and Friday were the team’s rest and errand days. On Thursday we went to Jinja and to the source of the Nile River. Seventy percent of the water comes from Lake Victoria and thirty percent comes from a natural spring at the base of Lake Victoria and the start of the Nile. Jerry shared Jesus with our river guide and gave him a tract. Another man at the Nile also attends Victory Christian Centre. While in Jinja, we visited a church. The church also houses the office of Katie Davis of Amazima Ministries. Katie is a young missionary from Tennessee, who has served in Uganda since graduating from high school. Her book entitled, “Kisses from Katie” is about her mission work in Uganda.
Paddy, Wendy and Jan were able to visit several of the girls, who graduated from St. Kizito, the school attended by the children from Ty Cariad. The girls are now in high school in Jinja. It was a great surprise reunion. These five girls grew up at Ty Cariad and still consider Ty Cariad their home and family.
One of the girls they visited had been raped by her uncle when she was 15. She became pregnant and had to escape her village. In Uganda, if a young girl gets raped, they say it is her fault, so if she returns to her village, she is killed. Ty Cariad was asked to take her in, but their ministry had only been to young children and not to their mothers. But as they prayed, they felt the Lord tell them, “You say no to Me, and I'll say no to you.” They immediately took the young girl to Ty Cariad. She was so traumatized she continued to act out, but the housemothers loved her and were so patient as God healed her wounded heart. She is now a worship leader at her son is thriving at Ty Cariad.
11 November, 2015
The guys went to Mbarara to train more firefighters while the girls organized the boutique at Ty Cariad. As they traveled, Aaron gave devotions. The guys said his message was what they needed to hear.
The theme of his devotion was "God is in control." It was taken from Psalm 139:1-5, 23-24. This psalm means quite a bit to Aaron. He pictured David being on his own and pondering what God was doing in his life. The team experienced a rough beginning to their day. Aaron said God knew their bus would be late but everything happened according to God's plan just as God had prepared David's way and was in control before anything ever passed into his life.
In verses 23-24 David said, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” The team was reminded that God had already been to each of these fire stations and that He had already prepared the firefighters to hear the message of Christ. Their charge was not to get stressed if things weren't going according to their plan, but to trust God to lead them perfectly on His path.
Every team member has remarked about the Lord bringing us together. We know He has all our days sorted out. All the Ugandans have been affected, but also, this team has been completely overwhelmed by the love of God and His perfect plan for each of our days!!
Sharon gave the ladies’ devotion from 1 Peter 4:8-11. We are to be self-controlled, clear minded and above all, to love others deeply. Sharon said, “Our mission here is to love these children just as the guys are showing God’s love to the firefighters by serving them.” She spoke of how God’s love has made such a difference in the children, which can be seen in their eyes and through the affection they give. Her encouraging words were, “Our strength comes from God to do His work here and love with His love.”
The guys had a long journey getting to their training station. It took 4½ to get there and 8 hours to get back, including stops, which included 3 hours dealing with an accident and a stop for dinner. The vehicle was too small for all the guys and their gear but they all managed to get in. James 1:3-4, “For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
They were all thrilled how well the training went. The best part was when they were doing the strap training, the firefighters asked what to do if they make a rescue and the victim wasn’t breathing. They didn't know that the second part of the training was CPR! A common problem they have is with their water pits, which are dug to collect water during the rainy season so that they have water during the dry season. The water pits are extremely deep, and if one falls in, there is no way to climb out. This is particularly hazardous for children and there are many fatalities. When the team arrived at the fire station, firefighters had just recovered two children from the water pit. The team immediately went to prayer for the men, who were very shaken after rescuing the bodies.The strap teaching was well received, as was the CPR training.
This picture was taken in Mbarara at the conclusion of their training.
The big blessing of the day was seeing Fred, who is captain of the Mbarara station. Paddy led Fred to the Lord during their last visit, which was 18 months ago. He was excited to see Paddy again and to meet the team. He wanted them to meet his family, who are the firefighters he is encouraging to live their lives for Jesus. They are all Christians! What an amazing day everyone had!
One the way home, one of the boda-bodas (motor scooter) hit the van. Nobody in the van was hurt, but the passengers on the boda-boda (a mom, child and infant) were slightly injured and were taken to the hospital. The driver of the motorcycle fled the scene, but the police knew who he was. The team stayed to explain to the police what happened and then continued their journey home. The day overall was very fluid and the training went really well. The ministry with the firefighters was immense, not only with the Ugandans, but also the legacy that was left.
Jerry again stated how the Lord put a perfect team together. The Holy Spirit is supernaturally directing their teamwork. They not only work well together but God has given them a trust for one another. He also said the spiritual impact on the firefighters was immense as well as their skill training.
Paddy said people sometimes get caught up in numbers, but the mission of FFC is to encourage one firefighter at a time to live their lives for Jesus Christ. He said the team had a deep impact on these firefighters as they were being trained. Paddy talked about Fred getting saved during their last visit and not only has he been discipled but now he is teaching others. Michael talked about being a link in the chain of sharing Christ. He said we may never know the fruit until we get to heaven.
Paddy talked about the legacy that is being left. Even from last year, Godfrey and Fred gave testimonies of how the strap training allowed them to make rescues they would not have been able to make without the training. They went to a very deep pit well and were able to make a successful rescue because of their strap training.
10 November, 2015
Jerry led devotions again this morning and spoke on Ephesians 6:10. “Be strong in the Lord and His mighty power.” He also shared Hebrews 12:1. “Let us run the race that God has set before us.” He concluded with Hebrews 12:2. “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the Champion who initiates and protects our faith.”
Today the guys did their first official training in the Kampala Fire-Police Headquarters. Some of the firefighters gave their hearts to the Lord when Northern Ireland FFC’s team was here two years ago. It was so encouraging to see them again today and to know they were still reading their FFC Bibles. Those who had previously received strap training were able to help teach the new students.
Paddy said, “You don’t know what seeds you’ve planted, who has sown them and when they are harvested.” Michael talked how it was the Lord who brought this team together and made them one heart so they could share Christ to these firefighters. He said, “This shows how God opens many doors and gives favor when we serve and obey Him.” He noted how the men in authority in Uganda are honored and respected and how they have honored FFC’s team. He said, it is more important, though, for us as Firefighters For Christ to give Jesus our utmost respect and to show Him honor and bring Him glory all the time. He concluded by saying, “God opens doors with the most powerful people in the country and He has given FFC such amazing open doors.”
Jerry said today was the perfect example of the Lord putting His team together. When he taught, the team all worked together and everyone contributed at the right time, which brought fullness to his training. God gave them a good day of teaching despite the hot, dark and noisy environment.
Prayer: Continued Team Unity — Jesus said, “I am in them and You (Father) are in Me. May they experience such unity that the world will know that You sent Me and that You love them as much as You love Me.” John 17:23
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07 November, 2015
After several days of travel, our team finally arrived at dawn at Ty Cariad (Welsh for Home of Love). Ty Cariad is a children's home in Namugongo, which is roughly 1.5 hours from Entebbe via Kampala. This home cares for orphaned, abandoned children as well as several whose parents are unable to care for them. Their ages range from newborn to 18 years old. Pastors Joseph and Freda, as well as Rev. Paul and Jan Thomas manage the home. Pastor Joseph is head of the Born Again churches in Uganda (roughly 20,000 churches). He is also one of several spiritual advisors to the president of Uganda. Paul was a firefighter with the Fire Brigade in the UK for 40+ years, after having accepted a position at 16 years old. He is now serving as a chaplain for the UK Fire Brigade.
The team slept for a few hours, had breakfast and then toured Ty Cariad. We spent the afternoon playing with the children and were blessed watching them dance as they sang praise and worship songs to the Lord.
Tomorrow (Sunday) we will worship together at Pastor Joseph's church, Victory Christian Center in Kampala. On Monday, the guys will start their training in the fire stations.
Please pray two missing bags from Northern Ireland will arrived safely and our Heavenly Father draws many individuals into a close relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ.
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08 November, 2015
Our team had a wonderful time at church today fellowshipping with these wonderful brothers and sisters from Victory Christian Centre. Our team has been so humbled at the favor we have been given. Following the service, Pastor Paul brought us all up on stage and introduced the team to the congregation. They then prayed for us and prayed for our time ministering to firefighters this coming week. The Inspector General for Uganda has given Pastor Paul full access to every fire station in Uganda for training and more important, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ! Following their training session tomorrow morning in Kampala FD headquarters, the Inspector General has set time aside to meet our team.
After spending the morning worshiping, we spent the afternoon at a grammar school graduation. The children from Ty Cariad attend this school. It was a great celebration of the children with song and dance and reciting of poetry, the giving of presents and awards.
One class at the school were awarded a life goat!We had the front row as honored guests at the graduation this afternoon.... and played with the little ones! These kids absolutely love to dance!!! At the end, some of our team got up an danced with the kids! Some of the schoolchildren are performing their special dance. <>2 - 4
09 November, 2015
Today is the first day of ministry in the fire stations. We rose early and Jerry gave devotions. He opened describing the sounds of the early morning - birds, animals waking up and the sound of the voices of people... then cars going by. But where are the people heading? Like our lives, are they heading to their Heavenly Father or to destruction? Jerry said firefighters are called to take over in emergencies, to fix, and to protect. But they sometimes get the sense that they can fix anything... but who fixes firefighters when they're broken?
He talked about the first FFC ERT trip to Haiti and how they had to depend on God for everything. Once they were at the airport in across the island, one member of the team spoke up and said that they had prayed for protection, but they had not prayed for direction. So they stopped right there in the airport and prayed. Their prayers throughout their mission carried them. The verses Jerry used were Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will tell you which path to take." He also used Hebrews 12:2: "We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the Champion who initiates and perfects our faith." (NLT)
Following devotions and breakfast, the guys met outside for a time of prayer, then they headed to headquarters to meet the chiefs and discuss their training.
Our team meeting today in headquarters to discuss the training schedule went very well. Lt. to rt: Battalion Chief Jonathan Mugisha, Battalion Chief Godfrey, Deputy Commissioner Hassan Kihamha, Training Chief Steven Engwedu, Battalion Chief Robert Piriyo, Battalion Chief Christopher Dramani. These training officers all participated in the training NI FFC gave two years ago when all of these men prayed to receive Christ. Today Jerry shared Cheyane's tract with them and Paul led the team in prayer.
FFC's team L-R: Aaron McAuley, Jerry White, Paddy Quinn, Michael Bolton, and Paul Thomas are heading out for their first day training.3The guys prayed before they headed out this morning. <>5 - 5
L-R Bottom Row: Michael Bolton, Jerry White, Aaron McAuley, Paddy Quinn; L-R Top: Paul Thomas, Jennifer White, Sharon McAuley, Wendy Quinn have arrived safely at Ty Cariad, which translated from Welsh is "House Of Love!"