UGANDA 2013

Joined by his top officers, Ugandan Fire Chief personally thanked FFC's team for training their firefighters. He requested they return to continue the good work they began.

 

Blog by Paddy Quinn

 

Day 13

 

Paddy led the final devotion and prayer time. He read Philippians 1:3-7 about thanksgiving and prayer. In these verses, we give joyful thanks to God for our response to the Gospel and that we are assured that He who has started a good work in us will see it through. This is similar to Ty Cariad. We give joyful thanks to God for this home, in which God's presence is obvious. We can also be assured that He who gave Paul and Jan the vision to begin the good work (Ty Cariad) will see it through after we leave. In Conclusion: Trust God's Heart because our work is God's work and because He is ultimately responsible for the results. He gives us the freedom to leave it and to trust Him with it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pastor Joseph and Freda Serwadda, whose home we have stayed in over the past fortnight, thanked the team for their contribution to Uganda, the fire service and mainly for our contribution to Ty Cariad. Pastor Joseph complimented the team on how they conducted themselves, saying they were different than any other team that had been to Ty Cariad. He suggested the reason may be that we come from a disciplined organization. He went on to thank the team for all the resources that they had brought with them.

 

Day 12

 

Gavin and Pastor Paul led devotions today. Paul read Psalm 96 reminding us to thank and praise God for how He has help our FFC Uganda team to grow during this mission. He shared about what is in store for us in the future and how the team has impacted Ty Cariad, the Ugandan Fire Service and its personnel both spiritually and through our training.

 

Gavin read from 1 Kings 17, starting at verse 10. He pointed out how the widow at Zarephath, who was from the pagan nation, trusted God and carried out His command. She didn't know God and trusted Him. Gavin said as Christians, who know God, how much more we can trust Him. Gavin compared the work of FFC in Uganda to the widow. Sometimes you have to be seen before you are heard. The widow believed in God not when she had heard of God, but when she saw that He brought her son back to life. As Christian firefighters people may need to witness us walking (our lifestyle) with Christ before they will listen to us sharing the gospel.

 

Today we visited St. Kizito Primary School, where the Ty Cariad children attend. We gave three fire safety talks to approximately three hundred young people, ages eight to sixteen. This was another blessed appointment that we had not planned. We were asked a few days ago to share because there had been a lot of fires in the homes. We had no material with us, so we contacted Robert Blair, who worked into the wee hours of the morning to prepare a Uganda specific fire safety Powerpoint. The response and inter-action from the children was excellent. We took the opportunity to share who we are and what we do as Christian firefighters. We finished with a time of praying for them.

 

 

 

 

Day 11

 

Today Paul and Jan took our team to a very special place. We traveled to the town of Jinji in east Uganda. It is here that you are able to stand at the exact source of the Nile. It's where the Nile flows from Lake Victoria, which is the largest tropical lake in the world and the world's second largest fresh water lake in area.

 

Throughout our mission, Paul is always alert to our safety and today was no different. We left very early in the morning, due to the dangers of the busy and poor quality of the road to Jinji, which would be worse if traveling after dark. We prayed on the bus rather than at our usual time at the breakfast table. Our prayer was especially for a safe journey.

 

As we traveled through the countryside to Jinji, we were able to see why Winston Churchill described Uganda as the 'Pearl of Africa'. The journey certainly broadened our view of Uganda. There are huge tea and sugar cane plantations. These and the many trees and green valley certainly reminded us of Ireland. We also traveled through many small one street busy market towns. Everyone has to work in Uganda; there are no government handouts.

 

 

 

 

We thank our God for a safe and wonderful journey.

 

Day 10

 

At 6:30 AM we joined the Ty Cariad children before their 7 AM school day began. At 07:30 John, Gavin, Craig and Paddy left for the final day of training at the fire stations in Kampala and Bweyogerere. Wendy and Iris got an early start in helping to prepare for the arrival of the latest child to be blessed by being given a home in Ty Cariad, which means 'House Of Love' in the Welsh language. Wendy's experience working with young babies proved to be a great asset as she guided Mama Jan on what was needed for a five day old baby, i.e. like the proper size of teets and the correct powder milk.

 

It was a busy morning at the Kampala Fire Service. First of all, the team presented the Ugandan Fire Chief with rescue straps, carabiners and a FFC New Testament Bible. This was followed by Craig and Gavin doing first aid training. At the conclusion, FFC's firefighters gave all the personnel a personally issued resui-aid.

 

Then NIFRS firefighter John Hunt shared some of his experiences from serving during the troubles in the streets of Belfast, Northern Ireland. John also told how he gave his life to Jesus Christ. Paddy then gave the Ugandan Fire personnel a lecture outlining the workings and principals of NIFRS team approach to road traffic collisions.

 

The team finished off the training at Kampala Headquarters with a few rescue strap confirmation exercises.

 

The final word was left to Pastor Paul. He led us in prayer and shared the Gospel, which resulted in almost sixty firefighters praying to ask Jesus into their hearts. From this, the team got personal opportunities to pray and encourage individual firefighters.

 

We then headed to the satellite fire station in Bweyogerere to fulfill our promise to Sergeant Fred that we would come again prior to leaving Uganda. Fred and his team told us that earlier in the day they had rescued a baby, which was probably less than an hour old. from a pit latrine.

 

Fred had a completely different crew on duty from his crew last Friday. We were about to start training these firefighters how to tie the rescue straps but to our great surprise and encouragement, Fred had already trained these firefighters how to use them.

 

We then presented Fred with a FFC New Testament, a FFC T shirt and a NIFRS patch. Pastor Paul invited Fred and his crew to visit the children at Ty Cariad. Then after sharing the Gospel, he asked if any of them wanted to pray the sinner's prayer. They all responded. This brought the total to approximately seventy firefighters who gave their lives to the LORD during our mission.

 

Everyone at Ty Cariad had been waiting all day for the arrival of the new baby. It wasn't until approximately 7:30 pm that baby Kate arrived. What excitement there was! It is a honour for our FFC team to be here to share in this joy. Kate is the youngest baby to come to Ty Cariad. This is due to Kate's mother asking Pastor Freda (Victory Christian Church) to take care of her daughter. Ty Cariad is a loving, safe home for forty-nine children.

 

 

 

 

Day 9

 

This was a day of rest, which was certainly needed by all the team.

 

We left for Christian Victory Community Church at 7:15 AM. The first service was in English. What an amazing time of worship, prayer and preaching. The choir at Victory is so full of passion that it is practically impossible to stand still and not sing. Their rendition of Matt Reman's 10000 Reasons was incredible! For the second week in a row, Pastor Stephen preached a moving, challenging sermon. He said by giving, doing and loving, you are sowing a seed in someone else's heart. He finished by saying, "Don't leave God in church." We stayed for the prayer and worship of the second service, which was in Lugandan. It is broadcast throughout a large part of Africa. The prayer and worship were even more intense and louder than the first service. We were in church for three hours. It seemed a lot less, due to the wonderful joy in the LORD that was so evident in the people.

 

Later in the day, Pastor Paul and his wife, Jan, treated the team to a traditional Ugandan night of song, music and dance. You can see from the photos that this was an amazing spectacle.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 8

 

Wendy and Mama Jan were up before breakfast and had already done a day's work at Ty Cariad before devotions. Pastor Paul read Nehemiah 6:16, which tells about the builders completing the wall. "When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized that this work had been done with the help of our God." Pastor Paul encouraged us to rely on God to do greater things than we can do on our own. John read from Psalm 34. His message to us was to magnify the LORD in our lives. He quoted from Zephaniah 3:17, "For the LORD your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song." Awesome!

 

After breakfast Iris did arts and crafts with the children and the men continued to paint the windows.

 

Later John taught the children the story of Noah's Ark by the way of an interactive sketch. The rest of the team assisted him. All the children were able to participate.

 

After this all the children performed an impromptu concert. Most of their songs were Christian, which ranged from traditional to contemporary modern. These are definitely a most amazing and incredible family of young people. God is certainly blessing this place.

 

 

 

 

Day 7

 

Pastor Paul Thomas read Romans 12:8: "If your gift is to encourage others, do it! If you have money, share it generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly." He then prayed that God would use the gifts He has given us to minister the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others. His prayer was answered in abundance today.

 

It took us an hour and a half to get to Kampala Fire Service Headquarters. We started with a recap of the rescue strap training from the day before. We then trained them how to move and search in smoke and darkness, even though they don't have many BA sets. We incorporated the rescue straps in this training. After the theory lesson, we had a practical session in the drill yard as you can see in the photo. The firefighters throughly enjoyed this. After a short break, Gavin shared the Gospel with approximately forty-five firefighters. He gave each of them a FFC New Testament as well as a Gospel of John in Lugandan.

 

We know at least one firefighter, named Moses, who was impacted by what he heard. Gavin noticed him reading the Bible. He read almost three chapters. He said that he had been in ministry prior to joining the service, but that he was considering leaving the service because he is finding his faith is being affected and challenged by his working environment. We encouraged and prayed with him.

 

After lunch we traveled to the satellite fire station in Bweyogerere, located near the Mandela national stadium. Even though their facilities were poor, these firefighters were dedicated and led superbly by Sergeant Fred. They gratefully received our gifts of the rescue straps and training. Inspired by the Lord, Pastor Paul used the rescue strap as an example of how Jesus never lets go of you and is always prepared to rescue you. He continued to share the Gospel and six firefighters prayed and asked Jesus into their hearts. We gave them a copy of John's Gospel. Sergeant Fred pleaded with us to return on Monday to meet the rest of his firefighters.

 

John took a break from painting the windows and joined us for our visit to Bweyogerere.

 

Wendy and Iris worked extremely hard all day at Ty Cariad assisting the house Mamas with cleaning, washing and caring for the children. This was made even harder by the torrential rain in the afternoon and the frequent power cuts.

 

We all had a great time of encouragement when reflecting on all that happened today. Our God showed us He has a plan for each one of us. All we have to do is let Him lead!

 

 

 

 

Day 5

 

"From the lips of children and infants you, LORD, have called forth your praise!" (Matthew 21:16) Before their school day begins, the children of Ty Cariad meet at 6:30 AM for praise and prayer. Paddy Quinn said, "They are a tremendous example to FFC's team.

 

Paddy read Matthew 20:24-28, emphasizing that the King of Kings did not come to be served but to serve. Jesus said, "Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many."

 

Today we were invited to a traditional Ugandan wedding. Because we were helping at Ty Cariad, we were the guests of honor. We were directed to sit as close as possible to the front of the church and escorted to do the same at the reception.

 

 

 

 

Day 4

 

Gavin's devotion was from Psalm 46. He emphasized verses 1, 2 and 10. "God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear, even if earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea." Gavin said we are given assurance that our God no matter what challenges we face is always with us. He explained that verse 10 which says, "Be still, and know that I am God," is usually explained as being in a place of calmness with the Lord. Actually, though, he is instructing us very clearly that we are to stop following other things and acknowledge God.

 

Iris took on the task of sewing the children names onto their socks. When you have hundreds of pairs of exactly the same gray school socks, this is very important to do. Wendy sorted and labeled the hundreds of clothes and footwear that have been donated. Mamma Hoowa praised both the ladies for their assistance.

 

Paddy experienced driving for the first time in Uganda, which was most definitely not the same as driving at home. Mamma Jan had to get supplies for their home. All got back safely.

 

When the children came home from school, we shared in their praise and worship time. This is such an awesome experience. Young people totally leading us in worshiping our God!

 

Psalm 46:10 concludes: "I (the LORD) will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.

 

Songs of praises to God came from the voices of these children as they welcomed Northern Ireland's Firefighters For Christ team. They also performed Biblical story sketches of Adam and Eve and the Good Samaritan.

 

 

 

 

Day 3

 

Devotions and prayer were led by Gavin. We had a very busy day. Craig, John and Gavin assisted the builders of the new study block by pushing wheelbarrows full of bricks all day. They even got to lay some of the bricks. Iris and Wendy cared for the babies and assisted Mama Hoowas, Ty Cariad's house mother, with the storage of all the gifts the FFC team brought.

 

 

 

 

Day 2

 

Paul and John (FFC team) led devotions and prayer before leaving for Victory Christian Church at 7:25 AM. For the first time many of the team were able to see first hand what life here in Uganda is really like. Certainly nothing like Northern Ireland. The scale of poverty in some areas was shocking. The praise, worship and the preaching was awesome at Victory Church. The FFC team were given the opportunity to introduce themselves and explain why we were in Uganda.

 

We met for lunch with Joseph, the Chief Fire Officer for all of Uganda. We discussed training of his firefighters. We even gave him a personal demonstration. Please pray this training will be effective, that Craig and Gavin will be able to communicate the training clearly and the Good News of the Gospel will be received by many.

 

In the evening, we experienced a wonderful time of worship and prayer led by the children from Ty Cariad. The team also handed over all the gifts of clothes, shoes, games, pencil cases etc. to the children. There was great excitement among the children, especially with all the sweets.

 

 

 

 

Day 1

 

After a safe and trouble free journey to Ty Cariad, an Uganda Children's Home, which took up to 21 hours for some of us, we were glad to get to bed at 4:30 AM. We were up for breakfast at 9:30 such was our desire to meet the children at Ty Cariad. Paul Thomas from Ty Cariad led devotions and prayer. We then got to meet the children and what a welcome they gave us. It was a joyful and humbling experience for the FFC team. Later that evening we gave Paul and Jan Thomas the substantial donations the FFC team had received on behalf of Ty Cariad. To say they were overwhelmed by the generosity would be an understatement.

 

Please pray for the team as they minister at Ty Cariad in Namugongo, Kampla. Ty Cariad is a children's home for infants to teenagers. The team is working with the children, painting part of the buildings, and training firefighters in the local fire station.