Africa Mission Trip Update

We currently have a team serving on a mission trip in Africa from June 5-21: Sally and Laird Edman, Michelle and Maddie Christy, Julie Andersen, Jon and Larry Opgenorth.

Here are some of the social media updates Jon Opgenorth has posted:

June 7, 2016:  Our Uganda team has made it safe and sound to Mukono. Thanks for your prayers.

June 8, 2016: Morning update in Uganda: We head out with Words of Hope follow-up team called Bethesda. We will walk with them as they do do door-to-door outreach. As our friends in America lie down to sleep, pray for us as we head out the door. Such a special time already. On a fun note - my phone is not working in Uganda. The team has agreed that this is God's gift to me (and to them). I only have limited access to my digital world. I cannot check my e-mail because I have 2-step verification which requires my phone to receive a text. Alas, with no working phone, I cannot receive a text, so I am on a forced e-mail sabbatical for now....

June 9, 2016:  UGANDA recap from Wednesday: Open air evangelism, door-to-door witnessing, and evening crusade. We learned much more than we gave, as we walked with the Bethesda follow-up team of Words of Hope Uganda. They showed us how they share with people the love of Jesus. Dad and I walked with Emanuel as he shared Christ and we offered to pray with shop keepers at the market on Kayunga road. Then, in the evening, we witnessed Titus preaching in the open air from a truck with the Bethesda Choir. He is most at home when he is winning people to Christ. Several people came forward for salvation, many came forward for prayer. It was very special. Michelle Christy, Maddie, and Julie Andersen found children to love one. Laird Edman gave a word of encouragement to the crowd from Romans 8 and shared his testimony. Of note, Sally and Laird Edman had the joy of being present when one man in a neighborhood prayed to receive Christ. What a special, special experience. THURSDAY PLANS: Hospital ministry, finding some Bibles for the girls Michelle and Maddie met, and enjoying God's people.

June 10, 2016: THURSDAY UPDATE: Started the day ministering in the hospital. Michelle Christy shared her testimony of cancer and God's provision at the chapel service. We then prayed for every patient in the hospital, going bed to bed. This was especially meaningful. We shared with each one some beautiful pictures that Elaine Elgersma sent. Once again, the Ugandans love her postcards. We also distributed to each patient and every staff member some oral hygiene kits from Jeff Joiner. These, too, were especially sought after. We purchased 28 bibles for a class of grade school girls we had met. Again, we were stretched with door-to-door evangelism in a market area. We are not good at this! But it is a joy to see how passionate the Bethesda counselors are for Jesus. Thank you for your prayers. Friday, Sally and Laird Edman will meet with the psychology and counseling departments of Uganda Christian University. We are looking forward to seeing what they will learn. In the evening, dad and I taught Rook to the team. Julie Andersen played the part of Gloria Opgenorth by always wanting to see what was in the blind :). Maddie Christy proved a strong learner and stronger competitor, leading the team of Julie-Maddie-Jon to victory.

June 11, 2016: Friday update from Uganda: as we sometimes say here, "what a day! "We began the day not knowing exactly what we would do, but wanting to revisit three places that it seemed the Holy Spirit was leading us to bring ministry to. We went back again to the hospital and brought a blanket to a new mom. We found some schoolgirls that requested a Bible from Michelle Christy. And we return to a little village where Julie Andersen felt compelled to warn a girl about the decision she was about to make. In each place we met the exact people we needed to at the exact right time. There are no words to describe the joy of a new mom with the baby, the joy of people who long to receive God's word and finally have their own copy of the Bible, and the freedom in Christ of seeing a young woman know for the first time that she is no longer rejected but completely accepted in Christ. Sally and Laird Edman also made all the contacts they were hoping to at Uganda Christian University with the psychology department and counseling services. We ended the day at Rev. Capt. Titus Baraka and Mary Baraka 's house. What a day.

June 13, 2016: Update for Saturday - Monday in Uganda: We left Mukono (and wi-fi) on Saturday to make a relaxing drive to Kayunga via Jinja and the Source of the Nile. Very lovely time seeing where Lake Victoria empties into the White Nile and the beginning of a four-month journey to the Mediterranean. Sunday was a day of days. Much rejoicing and jump dancing and celebrating in Namusaala, a rural village our church loves. All "newbies" were carried around the church on the shoulders of the people. Don't worry, mom, dad was fine! They also carried Laird Edman and Maddi Christy. What fun! I preached on John 3. Monday was the dedication of Hope Christian School, which now has an official license from the government. Over 5 hours of formal and informal celebrating, many speeches, one sermon by me, communion officiated by the current bishop and served also by the retired bishop. A member of parliament also gave greetings. It felt like the completion of one chapter that started in 2008 with a vision that Todd TG had for finishing the school. Even more, Bosco has returned to teach. Such a full day! We'll be away again from Wi-fi for a few days, so we'll post when we can. Thanks for all your prayers!

June 19, 2016: Brief update from Uganda: after several days without Internet, I am online for just a few moments. We have had an incredibly good time and feel blessed every day by something new. The team is safe and well, and we are torn between missing our loved ones and not wanting to leave our new friends. In other less important news, the team continues to keep score of various games. Unfortunately for me, I have not proved worthy of my competitive spirit. Michelle Christy has taken the last two nights of Rook. And she had beginners luck in hearts. Julie Andersen is frustrated because she never wins the bid, However, she has personally hugged every child and Uganda. Wherever we go, people always want to hear from Papa Larry. On Sunday, we will worship at a slum church of Bari speaking people in Kampala. So grateful for our new friends at Bethesda, words of hope Uganda, and the people of Namusaala. Laird Edman and Sally were rock stars at the retreat. Everybody especially liked Laird's sex talk.

June 20, 2016: Sunday update: we had an incredible day of worship with a Bari congregation in Kampala. After 4 1/2 hours they graciously allowed us a time to depart :-). It was very memorable. Much joy and jump dancing by all. Julie Andersen gave a truly gracious words of encouragement. Laird Edman decided he could not leave without asking to purchase one of the drums used in worship, so we will expect to see that at Trinity soon. I was privileged to preach from Jeremiah 29. Today, Monday, we have our last day to see some things in Kampala, and then it's off to the airport for the overnight flight home.