Saturday 26 September 2015

New Year, New Semester, New Crew; Same Message

That’s right, same old message…yesterday, today, forever!  I might even dare to say, same old response, but that would not be quite so true.  Yes, the usual hearers were there: Geoffrey, Robert, Steven, Peruth and her friend, but again, always someone new.  It was my first week back to Kajjansi, this semester, and I was joined by the same old Godwill who translated for me, but also, by a few new First Years (whom I hope to show you sometime soon).

Thursday is always market day at Kajjansi, even if Christmas Day fell on a Thursday, you could be sure of there being a good supply of sellers on the street.  And even though this Thursday was Eid (Muslim holiday), and Uganda is a Muslim country (since Idi Amin befriended the Arabs), there were still plenty of traders selling everything from shoe polish to Polish shoes!  There were also a few Muslims around, though not selling their wares, this week, and plenty of passing trade (as you can see from the photos below).

As it was a religious holiday. I thought it apt to ask the question, ‘Are YOU Good Enough to go to Heaven?’  It is an old message, but never out of date.  The message is simple: the Bible says there are none good, not one, except Jesus; all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; and the wages of sin is death! Sinners can’t go to Heaven, or else Heaven would turn out just the same as here! So we need something to be done about our sin.  God sent His Son, Jesus to die for our sin – Jesus became the sacrificial Lamb of God – like the sacrifices of the Old Testament, and if we turn to God and ask Him for forgiveness, our sin will be laid on Jesus and we will pass from a sentence of deserved death to Undeserved eternal life!

Nice guy, Ken and the Great White Hunter – hunting sinners for the Saviour!

Many stopped to look at the pictures, and this gave me and the team (Lazarus, Benson, Opio Godwill (all Ugandan), Confiance (Rwandan) and Herma Vincent (Malawi) the opportunity to talk to individuals and small groups.  Me, I got talking to a Ragamuffin Ugandan called Ken.  Ken, 26, used to go to church, but says he saw through the so-called miracles, prophecies and money grabbing.  Now he seemed distrustful of the church and doubtful of the Saviour.  He has also turned to the bottle – he is the first Ugandan I have seen blatantly carrying a bottle of Whisky, in public!  He seemed sober enough to engage in conversation, and did express an interest in a church where there were no miracles except the salvation of sinners.  He said he would like to come to church with me sometime, and we exchanged phone numbers.  My difficulty is that the church I want to take him to, which is local to Ken, is not the one I attend, where I am teaching a Christianity Explored course in the mornings!  Pray something will happen to enable me to meet both needs.  Ken seemed really friendly and open to the gospel, pray for him and pray he might find and begin to regularly attend a local Bible-teaching church.

Pray also for the continued outreach to Kajjansi.  Pray the Kajjansi team will join up with the Street Ministry team to be a more effective outreach group.  Pray for a new outreach programme in the pipeline, planning to go into local senior schools teaching sport and preaching Jesus, at the same time.  Pray this might bring sinners to Jesus and future students to ABU.

Many blessings,


PS. Watch out for our wedding feature newsletter, coming soon!

Monday 8 June 2015


Yes, it has been a while, but that is not because we have no news, but more because we have been rather busy!  There are presentations for the Summer to prepare, sermons to write, exams to mark, visitors to attend to, Graduation events to attend and prepare for, amongst many other things.  Many of which you will hopefully hear about in the Summer, but in the meantime, I’ll give you a quick round up!

Joan Bryan and Amy McQueen came for a visit way back at the end of March.  Joan and Mark Bryan hope to bring the family over around Christmas time, and Joan came over for a recky, to establish what they all might do whilst here.  They accompanied us on a visit to Busia, helped out with a ladies’ meeting and the Sunday school, and visited a couple of clinics, in the area.  We hope they were enthused enough to want to come back; we know the people here were, and would love to see them again.

Amy, Imma, me, Joan and Natasha at Sipi Falls NP, Uganda

We’ve had a few other guests, from ‘over the pond’ - some coming to teach, some to preach, and some just to see what we do.  Two such guests, Jerry McGuire (not the Tom Cruise version – see left, walking with Deputy Vice-Chancellor Tim Hoke, in blue!) and Lloyd Adams had the privilege and services of Kinsella International Safari Services (KISS for short, and yes, I have just made that up!).  I mention them because Jerry preached for the whole week, in chapel, and both men saved so much on their excellent safari that they offered to pay for a barbed wire installation around the whole campus!  You can never be too careful, as you know!

This week, Jun Shiomitsu arrived with his own personal photographer!  Jun is here to speak at our Graduation ceremony, this coming Saturday.  He also is involved in the new African Business Institute, which he hopes will help and inspire the Christian businessmen and women of Malawi and Uganda.  Please pray for him, as his involvement in this new venture will mean an end to his work with the Japanese banks, and him stepping out in faith and boldness with God.

This selfie is taken by Jun’s photographer, Miwaza Jemimah, posing with Kin Seong, Jun and Naomi at one of the local markets. Not bad, eh!

The Kajjansi outreach was put on hold this semester, as I decided to take my role as Kurt Schimke’s assistant outreach co-ordinator seriously!  This meant that instead of open air preaching with a board, I was open air preaching in Ndejje, where some of our 4th Year students, led by Roger Drati, are seeking to plant a church.  Roger invited me along as a guest, as well as Pastor Paul Ssemwunge who was to preach.  When Paul had finished preaching he invited me to speak, cajoling me to say more and more.  After, we invited the ladies (pictured) to tell us their prayer requests, which we prayed for and the students promised to also remember.
Pastor Paul Ssemwunge ministers to Doreen, Harriet, Grace and Aysha. 
The Ndejje outreach team: Juuko, Daphine, John, Roger, Jeff, Joseph, Andrew, Pastor Paul, Thomas and Sunlight.

Again, I went out with the Wakisa team to the pregnancy crisis centre.  Most of the mothers-to-be are under sixteen.  Many will not disclose the circumstances in which they became pregnant, and most of the fathers will not be held to account.  They will be mothers, but still girls – many still wear their school uniforms at the centre, as they have little else to wear.  It all sounds so depressing, and would be if it there was no gospel hope for them, but many have come to the centre and discovered Jesus, and many have renewed hope of acceptance with God and a future home in heaven, with a Father who will never leave or forsake them.

But, how could I finish the semester without one final visit to Kajjansi?  Second Year student, James Adima informed me that several members of the Kajjansi outreach team wanted to go to the market, last Thursday, and say goodbye to the locals.  I thought it was a good idea, and said I would like to go too.  It ended up being just me and him!  Still, that’s no excuse to not preach the gospel.  We didn’t take the board, instead I took a DVD sleeve!  The sleeve was from the movie, The Good Lie, starring Reece Witherspoon and a few genuine South Sudanese refugees.  The message was about ‘the good lie’ many are made to believe, that if you are good enough you will go to heaven!  That is a ‘good lie’, because the Bible clearly states that, ‘…none are good…no not one.  That we are all sinners and the ‘wages of sin is death, but the gift of God eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’  Only Jesus was ever ‘good enough’ to go to Heaven, and only by putting all our faith and trust in His sacrificial death, for us, can we go to heaven…that is a ‘good truth’ and good news!  The Good Lie, is a good film, but the ‘good lie’, is a wicked lie and not to be believed!  Well, Bonny, Geoffrey, Pereth, Agnes and the rest of the regulars were pleased to see and hear from me, but disappointed to hear I was off to England soon, until September, but wished me well for my journey.  One very encouraging sight was the somewhat recovery of Pereth’s sick friend, who I still don’t know the name of.  We have prayed with her a number of times over the past couple of years and this time, praise God, she was sitting up and smiling, and as we prayed and thanked God for her recovery, she thanked us and God, too!

The Ladies

Natasha has been filling the house with the ladies from church.  They did some cake baking (of which I received none – the one kind soul did save me some cookies) and had a time of sharing.  Natasha comments, “We met mainly to encourage one another in our Christian lives, and so the focus was on fellowship. We started with baking, so that the ladies could get to know each other in a relaxing environment. We then had a time of sharing personal experiences; two ladies gave their testimonies which opened up a good discussion. We then prayed and ate cakes and cookies to finish the meeting.  I thank God that we were able to address some very sensitive issues during the meeting.”

Christianity Explored
One reason I haven’t been preaching out and about on Sundays is because I have been asked to lead a Christianity Explored course for a group of young teens, at our church (New City Community Church, Kampala).  I was not that familiar with the course, and didn’t have any of the materials when asked, but thank God, Andrew Carter did…in abundance!  So for the last four weeks, we (Martha, Nico and myself) have been arriving at church an hour earlier, with cake, bread, jam, boiled eggs and tea, and the course textbook and New Testaments (we haven’t got Bibles yet, in case you are feeling generous!), to feed the ever expanding gang – physically and spiritually!  Please pray for this work, especially for the team-leaders, for guidance as to where to go with the course when we return in September.  

The girls in the picture are, from left, Fiona, Lillian, (Nico,) Joanna, Matilda, (moi) and Seeffa.
Uganda Cranes
The Crested Crane (or Grey Crowned Crane) is Uganda’s national bird (I shan’t say who I think is England’s!), it is also the nickname of the Ugandan national football team.  Now, as I’ve said before, Edgar’s football team also train here (Edgar being the Gary Lineker of Uganda – minus the sticky-out ears!), and a couple of their youngsters have been scouted for training in Canada (Yes, I also wondered what the link was between Canada and football).  Whether they were good enough for the trip was to be decided by Micho (Milutin) Sredojevic, the national coach, who came to ABU to check them out.  And whilst he was here, he checked out our pitch and facilities, and decided he wanted to bring the Cranes here for some special training.  I told him I was too busy to get involved in all that palaver, but he insisted on bringing the Under 23’s for a three day camp.  Yes, I said hello, but absolutely refused to help out, as we are so busy here.  Nevertheless, they stayed, they played and they then headed off to Rwanda for their Olympic qualifier – where they beat Rwanda 2-1!  There’s no doubt, being at ABU had the magic effect, as Micho pointed out, this is a very ‘spiritual’ place (!), and so it’s not surprising to hear, he plans to bring the senior squad here next month.  Regardless, I won’t be here, and I won’t be coaching – I am here for ABU students, and to serve God not Mammon!
Uganda cranes on the pitch... 

And…err…Uganda Cranes on the pitch!

Graduation Day
I’m sure there will come a time when Graduation Day will be a lot like Groundhog Day, but until then, we look forward to our second and ABU’s seventh graduation.  This means that Natasha has to worry about transcripts and student grades, while I worry about what to wear!  The students have already been photographed in their gowns, and the excitement is building towards a crescendo.  There will also be dinners, a Baccalaureate Service and parties to attend, so you can see how serious the ‘what to wear’ issue is!  As for Natasha sorting the transcripts, I have every confidence in her, but I’m sure she’d appreciate your prayers!

The Class of 2015!

So, to conclude, we will be heading back to the UK (our second home!), very soon.  In fact, we land on the Saturday morning of the 6th June.  We are likely to be in London for the first week, staying at Natasha’s parents.  But that doesn’t mean you won’t see us…we will hopefully have our car back, and be out and about visiting and catching up!  And hopefully, we will be catching up with YOU!  We’d love to come visit you and maybe even your church…just let us know if you would like a visit and for us to present our work and the work of ABU.  Please book early, as last year, I inconveniently suffered a heart attack which meant we had to cancel a few engagements!  So until then,

Love and blessings to you all,
In the name of Jesus,

Sean and Natasha

Wednesday 1 April 2015

Out and About, Doing This and That!

Although I have no recent news or reports from Kajjansi, it doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy.  Here are a few snippets of information, hopefully to encourage you to pray.

Nyazi Visit
No, we weren’t visited by the men in brown shirts, it was Bentry, Edward and myself doing the visiting, to a church Edward is involved with.  Edward is ABU’s electrician (a noble trade if there ever was one!), and Bentry is of course, one of our faculty members.  Edward had asked me on more than one occasion to come and preach to the church, and Bentry who had visited before, was glad to come along too.  The church was about 100km from ABU, so the journey took the best part of 2 ½ hours, but the fellowship and company were good, and the time soon flew!
The Three Amigos, outside the church
Bentry is the better preacher and should have led the main service, but he was happy to take the Sunday School and allow me the honours of the day!  Both of us spoke on the subject of church leadership, order and obedience, which seemed a perfect fit for the church, as they were in the midst of choosing elders and deacons.

I think Bentry let me preach, so he didn’t have to wear a suit!

After the service, we were fed Ugandan style: matoke (savoury banana), rice, g-nut sauce (ground nut, very similar to our peanuts), Irish (potatoes) and pork!  All of us ate sufficient for the journey home.
Tucking in Uganda style (though this wasn’t all for us – we shared it between five of us!)
Wakisa Ministry
So why haven’t I been to Kajjansi, recently?  Well, first we had Evangelism Explosion for the First Years, so outreach was put on hold for that week.  Then we had our Spiritual Emphasis Week (which Natasha told you all about), so that meant there was no outreach for a second week.  Then, last week, I joined up with the Wakisa Pregnancy Crisis outreach team, as part of my job assisting Kurt Schimke in overseeing this area of ABU’s ministry. 
Some of the Wakisa team (Francis Ocen, Moses Ken, Kabeije Glorias, Peter Aloro, Kyarisiima Merab, Njagi Esther, Faith Wainaina), standing in front of our recently acquired 8-seater, 1994 Toyota Prado – perfect for such trips!
This outreach involves visiting the Wakisa Ministries Uganda centre and sharing the gospel and friendship with the girls (I say girls, as many of them were very young), singing and sharing a short Bible study.  The week I was there, Faith Wainaina led the study, speaking on Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, and how this should be a great encouragement to us all.
Faith leads the way!
She was very nervous, but spoke clearly, commending Christ the Saviour to us all.  Please pray for Faith and the rest of the team, and for the young ladies who so desperately need saving, in more ways than one.

Coaching Swimming
Yes, I’m coaching swimming…but no, it’s not at ABU!  It’s up the road at ISU (International School of Uganda, founded in 1969!) 
Look at the colour of that water…and that sky!  Did I dive in?  You bet I did!
Some of the missionary children are taking lessons here, and as we’re in the middle of a long hot heat wave, I thought I’d go see what the facilities were like!  And, very nice, was my verdict.  So, how can I help them, and help me?  By offering my services as a Level 1 qualified swimming coach…and that is what I’ve been doing, these last few weeks!  Of course, I do this voluntarily, without pay… but the kind people at ISU did say I could swim whenever the pool is free – which is most afternoons, when I’m free…what a bonus!
Culture Night
Every year, ABU holds a Culture Night, where students and faculty dress up and dance what best portrays their culture.  Of course, this is not a very English thing to do, as no one really wants to learn and demonstrate Morris Dancing!  But, we English do have our culture, and to prove it, Andrew Carter and I decided to treat the nations of ABU to some traditional English culture…
Of course, there was no dancing involved, but there was tea and cake, and some discussion about the cricket…oh, and lots of silence and shuffling of newspapers.  I’m not sure everyone understood what typifies English culture, but it doesn’t hurt to keep them guessing!
So, as you can see, there are cultural differences that we all need to try and understand and live with, especially as we will be spending eternity with each other.  Please pray for all faculty and staff as we get to grips with each other’s differences.
Please pray for our ministry, here at ABU and out and about, in Kampala and beyond.
Please pray for us, and remember that being away from home can be tough, with different hurdles to overcome and trials to traverse…pray God will bless our marriage and ministry together.
Please pray for our trip to Busia, later this month, with Joan and Amy.  And pray for the church there (where the water pump is still working and supplying many families!).
Many blessings and much love,
Sean (and Natasha)

Natasha's News

Dear All,

It has been far too long since I last wrote, so please forgive me. Below is a summary of the last few months, let us pray together giving thanks to God and asking Him to bless our weak attempts to serve Him.

Praise the Lord, O my soul, O Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendour and majesty. Ps 104:1

December 2014 marked the end of semester one, where I taught Library Orientation and Home Economics. Both courses went well, and although I still wouldn't say I am a teacher, it is a wonderful way to get to know the students. We have continued to open our home to the first year students for film nights (linked to their World History course), and we thank God for each one that God has brought here.

Dressed up for the Christmas Banquet, with Esther and Hope, two of our Colorado girls!

Towards the end of December we move into the dry season and so the temperature increases. As I write we are still in the dry season and I'm struggling through 30oC days and 20oC nights. Please pray that my body would adjust, it seems a small thing but constant heat can be very wearying over long periods of time. We had the pleasure of celebrating the New Year with friends from Canada, UK, and Uganda. We played games and watched the Kampala fireworks from our hill on Lubowa, it was beautiful under an African sky.

January 2015 is a time of recuperation, before semester two starts. Owen, Sean's friend was with us, which was a blessing. Our friends and family back home are very precious to us and although contact from Uganda is limited, you are often in our thoughts and prayers. We warmly welcome anyone who would like to spend time with us in Uganda. We give thanks for the Carter family, who arrived safely. They have been a blessing to us, and we look forward to serving God together. We are also thankful for the return of our Malawian neighbours, the Mhangos. Their African hospitality and advice has been a great encouragement to us.

Owen and an elephant 

The Mhangos: Bentry, Bongani & Hlupe

The Carter Family: Isaac, Andrew, Lydia, Edward, Julie & Carys

February 2015 is the beginning of semester two, and everything is in full swing. I am teaching Business Statistics. The course is going well and the students are interacting with the material and raising excellent questions, pray that God will equip me to share my knowledge well, and be able to answer all their questions. I am teaching Maths and Chemistry to Amy, a faculty member's daughter, as well as supporting administration needs. This takes a significant amount of my time and keeps me busy. Please give thanks to God for increasing my work load, it may sound odd, but I am much happier when I am very busy.
As we spend more time here we are meeting more people, and increasing our opportunities to serve God's people outside of ABU. Grace (right) is a young lady we have got to know, and she now comes to church with us. Please pray that she would grow in faith and that we would model  godly living to her. New City Church (where we regularly worship) had a "Youth Retreat" (youth means adult singles), and I was asked to speak to the ladies on singleness. It was a lovely day down by Lake Victoria, and I was blessed by the ministry from our Pastor, Rogers. I understand my talk was well received, and was an encouragement to several ladies struggling with singleness.  Please pray for me, I'm not comfortable speaking in front of large groups, but I always try to serve whenever God gives me an opportunity. Also pray that God would give me wisdom as I try to give Godly advice to others.

Malaki and Solomon unpack the books
It was also during this month that eleven boxes of books arrived from the UK. A member of Norwich Evangelical Church graciously arranged the resources, books, packing and posting. Our students have been very excited by the contents and several, with Children's ministries, have been blessed with fantastic children's literature. Praise God with us, books are an expensive resource here and not many have access to good literature. Please also pray for our students who are trying to set up village libraries and community centres, so that those with so few resources can learn to read and develop learning skills.

I received the sad news that my Father needed to have an operation on his eye. I praise God that the operation went well, but he has still not recovered his vision. Please pray that his vision would be less blurry and he would be able to return to work.

March 2015 provided an opportunity to worship God through ABU's Spiritual Emphasis week. Each day starts with a prayer meeting in our home, where ten students joined us for singing and prayer for Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh and Lebanon. We have three addresses a day, with some afternoon sessions as well. Dr. Bill Barcley from Charlotte NC and retired Archbishop Orombi were used mightily by God to edify us. My heart was truly warmed with new dedication to the Gospel and a love for my Saviour.

Last Sunday  was International Women's Day, and so Grace invited a group of friends to fellowship in our home. I prepared some brownies and a short talk on Proverbs 31, the woman of noble character. The meeting was due to start at 3pm, by 4pm Christine had arrived and by 7pm Sophie joined us. I gave my little talk, and trust God to use my words to encourage the ladies to seek characteristics based on God's Word and not the world.
We look forward to Joan and Amy's arrival at the end of the month, please pray that God would direct our steps as we seek to share ABU and a little of Uganda with them . We are thankful to God for you all, please continue to hold us up in prayer .

The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him; He also hears their cry and saves them. Ps 145:18-19

Sunday 22 February 2015


Ok, so here's the Sports News...featuring moi! Yesterday on Uganda TV!

Edgar's are Uganda's premium football coaching school, who base a lot of their activities at ABU. Most of the players played for the national team, The Cranes...and Edgar is the Gary Lineker of Uganda!  So they had a week course to train coaches, and on the Friday, asked me to be guest of honour (as Sport Director of ABU, and holder of an FA Coaching Level 1!). 

The press came along for the presentation, and afterwards, asked me a few questions. My answers were unscripted, so if I sound like I'm making it up as I go along, that would be because I was!

I'm now waiting for Sky Sports and Match of the Day to call!

Thursday 19 February 2015

February Foughts!

Dear Friends,

I did not go to Kajjansi today, as I had business here at ABU.  But I did go last week…but didn’t write up a report straight away, and then something else came up, and now it’s Thursday again!

Last Thursday felt like one of those days, when you are feeling your way back into things, and so the atmosphere was a little subdued.  Nevertheless, the gospel was preached and the lost reached out to.   Dr. Bob Penny is back to back to teach for the semester, and he was enthusiastic to ‘get out there’ and preach with us, and I’m sure the people of Kajjansi appreciated his Mississippi tones and extra-syllabled words!  The usual friends were there, and again showed appreciation for the message, and one young girl called Hannah stopped with a friend, to talk about ‘The Greatest Days in World History’.  She said she goes to church, but lacked assurance, so we pointed her to some helpful scriptures, and encouraged her to keep walking with Jesus.

Hannah with me, discussing the board, with visiting banker, Hugh Potts overseeing events, and visiting professor, Bob Penny seeking shade after preaching.

Please pray for the work at Kajjansi, and pray for me, as I’ve been recruited to help Kurt Schimke oversee the outreach programme.  This will involve sorting transport and transport payments for the student groups, and accompany them on their visits to places such as the Wakisa Crisis Pregnancy Centre, a couple of local schools, Kampala city centre for street ministry, and some local districts for door to door work.

As well as this new role, I’ve also been asked to preach in a few more places.  One was the Sudanese Church that meets in Zzana Presbyterian Church…a church within walking distance!  One of our Fourth Year students, Mulla Finish (so-called because his mother said her troubles had now finished due to the birth of such a strong son!), is the pastor of this church, and as a speaker had let him down, he asked if I would step in at short notice?  I found a sermon up my sleeve, so agreed, and preached my second Sudanese sermon (of course, someone was translating it into Sudanese, but it was my sermon!).  The young man who translated was very able and afterwards, many showed their appreciation.  

I have also been invited back to Busia and Lira, next month, and to Edward, our electrician’s village, very soon (possibly this Sunday!).  So I would appreciate pray for safe journeys and heavenly help with the preaching.

As for here at ABU, Natasha is very busy with all her admin duties.  With graduation at the end of May, she has much to do and get ready.  She also has her Business Stats class and home-schooling Amy Knight.  Me, well my teaching load is lighter this semester, so I’m offering my services up the road at ISU (International School of Uganda), as a swimming coach!  It also means I get to use their pool, to help keep my heart healthy!  I have also introduced Badminton to the men (who love it), and the beep test!  If you don’t know what that is, look it up – it’s tough!  Home is fine, as we say here, and we are looking forward to the visit of Amy McQueen and Joan Bryan, next month.  Owen Mace was here for the New Year period…so we are receiving guests…at last!  So if you are keen to find out what life is like in Uganda…

Sean gets up close to a giraffe, while Owen gets up close to a lion!

We covet your prayers, miss your fellowship and long to see you all again in the Summer.  Please take time to drop us a line…and if I Cc Natasha in the address, don’t forget to ‘Reply to all’.  

Thank you for your prayers and love,

Sean and Natasha.

Tuesday 23 December 2014

A Christmas Story in Six Parts!

Part I: Kitgum (Friday 28th - Sunday 30th November)

I’ve been putting off writing this report, because I kept thinking, ‘I’ll wait until I’ve done the next thing, before writing’, only for there to be another thing, and another, and so on…until now, when I’ve come to the point of no return, and feel I can’t put it off anymore!  So, here goes…

I’ll start back at the end of November, when I was invited to Kitgum, northern Uganda, to speak at a primary school graduation ceremony.  Yes, some of you might be thinking, “Primary school graduation?  Are they for real?”  Well, yes, they are.  Education is not taken for granted in Uganda, so graduation ceremonies can encourage both parents and students to keep going, and not stop learning for the sake of the farm, or some unskilled job.  Anyway, I happily accepted the offer from Okello James Murphy, one of our First Year Students, who is also the director of Ebenezer Nursery & Day Care School.  From the map, you can see that Kitgum is just a stone’s throw from the South Sudanese border (15 minutes, I was told!), and was a regular haunt for Joseph Kony (who James was unfortunate enough to once meet!).  It is also a ten hour, exceedingly bumpy bus drive from Kampala!

The graduation ceremony, like all ‘ceremonies’ and ‘events’ in Uganda, was not limited by time.  The original schedule was for a 7.00am start, and 4.00pm finish (yes, that is correct!), but in the end, things kicked off around, 10.00am (3 hours is the recommended, and usual delay)!  Then, there was singing, speeches, introductions, sermons (mine), traditional dances, children singing, dancing, singing, etc, and then finally food (which came around 5.00pm!).  From the pictures below, you can see, it was a grand affair, enjoyed by most of Kitgum, it seemed!

Then on the Sunday, I was invited to preach at James’ church…the first of three consecutive Sunday morning preaching engagements.

Part II: The Christmas Banquet (Saturday 5th December)

I’ll let the pictures tell the story!  Please note, though, the beard was shaved off for this event!

Part III: Masaja (Sunday 6th December)

The next week, Natasha accompanied me to the loudest church in Africa, and to the Top Care Primary School’s first ever graduation. 

This time, the day started with extremely loud music (just why, when at the start there was only Natasha, myself, the singer and the keyboard player in the church, is beyond me – but no-one seems to mind…except us!), and a morning service (that was supposed to start at 9am, though no-one really arrived until 10am…except us!), which I was asked to preach at.  [Incidentally, this was the second Sunday I was told that someone would pick me up at 8.30am.  In Kitgum, that meant 10.30, and in Kampala, 8.00!]

After the service, traditional Ugandan food was served, and then, off to the graduation.  This time the ceremony (for one class) wasn’t so long…about three hours!  Again, we were entertained by the children, with dance, modern and traditional (some you can check out on Facebook), and some singing. Then, after the message to parents and children, from me, Natasha was invited up to give out the certificates.  Again, a good local turnout was present.

Part IV: Kampala Reformed Presbyterian Church  (Sunday 13th December)

This was a rather more sedate affair, but a chance for you to see some photos of the Robertson boys, on their best behaviour, and Grace, who graces us with her presence and inimitable wisdom!

Part V: Sanyu Babies Home (Thursday 18th December, 2-4pm)

Sanyu Babies home was opened in 1929 by Milnes Winfred Walker, a midwife at the nearby Mengo Hospital, who answered the call for the care of the hospital’s increasing amount of orphans.  When we visited, there were 48 babies being cared for.  Maureen who showed us around, told us that many of the children were abandoned in places like roadside ditches, public toilets, hospitals, shop doorways and water trenches.  Some were the result of botched abortions!  So you can see, many have not had the best start to life, but that was now no longer evident in their faces.  They were certainly overjoyed to have a group of students just desperate to pick them up and cuddle them!  They were absolutely adorable, and I confess, I wanted one!  

Pray with us, that they will all find homes, where they can experience the love every child should.

Part  VI: Kajjansi (Thursday 18th December, 5-6.30pm)

So, as it was the last Market Day before Christmas, at Kajjansi - and I had a new Christmas talk – Frank Ssendikaddiwa, Hope and I, rushed back to preach the gospel one last time, this year, where we’ve become the regular service for many market traders.

The new talk, is titled, Christmas: Are You Ready?  It’s all about the things we feel we must do (such as clean the house, buy a new outfit, wrap the presents, send out invitations, prepare the guest room, and sort out travel arrangements), and all the things that are actually necessary (a clean heart, garments of salvation, God’s gift of eternal life, our invitation to the wedding supper of the lamb, the coming Saviour, and where our journey will end!). 

The market was the busiest Frank and I had ever seen it, and we really felt helped and up for the task of being heard over the sounds of the crowds and Christmas.  The usual traders were there, listening intently. Geoffrey and Bonny helped set up and pack away the board, Perouth introduced us to her son, Julius, who appreciated the message; Eric, a Roman Catholic suit seller, listened to the whole presentation, and asked for details of a Bible teaching church near to where he lived.  The Muslim husband of Sharida (the Muslim lady who shared with Maggie, back in February), who never speaks to me, even sold me some Christmas decorations (obviously, being a Muslim, in Uganda, doesn’t forbid you selling Christmas goodies!)!

So, all in all, Thursday was a great day.  I also got to share the new talk in our Carol Service, in the chapel on Sunday night, but sorry, no pics from that.  There might be some pictures to come from our carol singing over at Quality Supermarket on Christmas Eve, but you’ll have to wait and see!

And now, if we don’t get another chance, we’d like to wish you the best of Christmases, and the happiest of New Years.  We pray the Lord will draw nearer to you in the coming days, weeks, months and year.  We pray you will know Him in a new and right way, as David prayed!  We hope to see some of you here one day, visiting us, and sharing in the work of African Bible University.  Please continue to hold us up in prayer, and if you find yourself stuck for something to do, or too heavy to get up from the sofa, post-Christmas lunch, why don’t you drop us a line and tell us how your year has been?  We’d love to hear from you all.

Many blessings and much love,

Sean and Natasha