Thank YOU!!!

This blog has been created so that you, our family, friends and senders can keep up with the happenings on our mission trip to Sibanga Village, Uganda, East Africa.

We would like to thank each of you for praying, giving, and loving us well, onward and upward, before, during and after our trip.
Your prayers over us are so important. We ask you to pray for safety and good health (for us and our families), wise choices, and most of all, for the Holy Spirit and the Love of Jesus to be evident in us, with each other, with the people we encounter on the planes and in the airports, and with everyone we meet in Uganda.

We would also like to thank you for your monetary support. The Lord has provided through YOU and continues to do so!
Thank you...
from all of us to all of you...
for giving to the Lord.

Prayer Requests

Village Evangelism – Sibanga Village

Ministry to Orphans – Lulwanda Children’s Home

We ask you to pray:
... that each team member would taste and see that the LORD is good.
... that we (both, as team members and as individuals) are obedient to the Holy Spirit's calling, orchestration, mercy, and love before, during and after the trip.
... for team unity and that we would be obedient to our team, and mini-team, leaders.
... that we would be used as the LORD's instruments to minister to and share the gift of salvation with the people of Sibanga Village and the surrounding schools and prisons that we may visit throughout the week.
... for softened hearts (their hearts AND ours!).
... for the safety, good health and peace for the loved ones we are leaving in the U.S. for the two week trip.
... for travel mercies and good health for all team members (before, during and after the trip!).


June 24-25 – Please pray for travel mercies on KLM Airlines as we depart Houston and arrive in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and then on to Entebbe, Uganda.

June 26 – Pray as we travel 2 hours to Mbale, Uganda (via van) and for recovery of jet lag.

June 27 – Pray for our teaching and encouragement for Pastor Morris Ogenga, his wife Aidah, the Elders and congregation of Mbale Presbyterian Church.

June 28-30 – Please pray as the team will daily share the Gospel (hut-to-hut, in public schools and in prisons) to the people of Sibanga Village. Team members will be sharing testimonies, teaching children, and preaching at afternoon crusades, local high schools and prisons. Pray also for the new pastor of Sibanga PCU, Pastor Emmanuel.

July 2 – Please pray for the team as they conduct a soccer camp for the orphans at Lulwanda Children’s Home and local school children. Pray that the soccer balls and uniforms are well received.

July 3 – Please pray as Pastor Timothy of Apokoro PCU (Tomball Bible Church 2006 church plant) is joined in marriage with Beatrice. Pray for the two of them as they begin their life together as husband and wife. The team is excited for the opportunity to attend Pastor Timothy and Beatrice’s wedding!

July 4 – Pray for our teaching and encouragement at Kidoko PCU. And pray also for travel mercies as the team makes their way from Mbale to Jinja (via 2 hour van ride).

July 4-5 – Pray for rest, refreshment and renewal for the team members at the Jinja Nile Resort.

July 6-7 – Please pray again for travel mercies on KLM Airlines as we depart Entebbe, Uganda and make the way back stateside, by way of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and on to Houston.

Thank you for praying for Uganda Mission 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I am no longer in de Nile

We have our bags packed and are ready to head off to our airport departure time tonight at Entebbe International Airport. We enjoyed our day of relaxation and “winding down” yesterday at Jinja Nile Resort. Most of the team went whitewater rafting on the Nile river rapids and had a lot of fun. That afternoon we relaxed by the pool and in the pool cracking jokes and reliving all of the wondrous things that God has done on the trip. We also discovered that Schweppes makes a great orange soda called Novida. The Internet here at this resort is horrible and the computer is completely infested with viruses and spyware, so if this even gets posted it will be a miracle. Before takeoff, we will head over to buy some gifts, and then we will be headed towards Amsterdam on our trip back home. We are all very excited to see all of our friends and family once again. It has been such a great trip. I will also attach some thoughts I wrote down yesterday on this blog as a post script.


P.S. Uganda has been like a blessing to me: greater than I have could have imagined. God has led me to villages where the poverty was much greater than I could have imagined, yet their dependence on God allows them to have greater joy and less stress even though their situations are more dire than anyone’s in America. The loss of simplicity and innocence in America has created a false urgency in daily life about things that are not very important in the grand scheme of things. I gain greater perspective on what is important with every time I visit here. These two things from earth will last for eternity: the souls of human beings and God’s Word the Bible. All other things such as beauty, comfort, excellence, money, power, and fame are all temporary. Most of them only serve as distractions away from God’s purpose for our lives: to grow in our relationship with Him through Jesus Christ, His Son. With the right perspective, the rest of our life is meant to show God’s glory so that we grow in our faith and trust in God all of the time with all of our hearts.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Timothy and Beatrice

Wedding Bells were ringing

Well, today was a different kind of day for the team. Don and Larry began the day with meetings at Mt. Elgon Hotel with representatives from Living Water and Sanitation to discuss options for adding a bigger drilling rig to the water well drilling ministry here in Uganda. The meeting went very well and we are looking forward to exploring new opportunities through this ministry. By noon the team was dressed in fancy African dresses or nice American dresses and the men all were looking "smart" in their suits and ties. We were heading to an African wedding. Pastor Timothy, the pastor of the 2006 TBC church plant in Apokoro village, was to be wed today to his fiance Beatrice. The congregation gathered together in the Apokoro church and with much fanfare, the man of the day, the groom, arrived in the church through a slow procession down the center aisle attended by his groomsmen and best man. Later, the bride arrived escorted by her family as they made their way down the aisle again to much fanfare and alot of eyiiieyii... from the ladies. Once they were seated, across from each other across the aisle, the Word was delivered with much animation and passion by Pastor Morris Ogenga. I won't even try to explain what happened during this part of the service but suffice it to say that Jamie wants Pastor to oversee his wedding and Mike said he would want Pastor to perform his daughter's weddings...years from now. Once they and the congregation were throughly convinced that "the door was closed" for Timothy and Beatrice concerning other men and women Pastor went on to tell Timothy that Beatrice was not marrying him for his food but because she desired a husband and for him to care for her and attend to her needs. OK, you had to be there. Ask one of the team members about this ceremony when they get back. It was a joy to behold and a true celebration of marriage. Once the rings were exchanged, the wedding proceeded outside where a tent was covering the cakes. Both cut the cake, served each other cake and Fanta Orange and then it happened.... The skys opened up, the rain fell, and the party was washed away. The team got soaked to the bones along with most of the crowd even though we had party tents set up to cover us up. As Forest Gump would say, "it was big ole fat rain" that was blowing and swirling. Once the rain subsided, the team had time to visit with Timothy and Beatrice before heading back to Mt. Elgon Hotel for our team dinner together. Tonight we received our coffee, packed our bags and will load up the vans for our trip to Jinja tomorrow.

Scott will be preaching, Don will teach the men's sunday school, Rose will teach the women's sunday school, and Melissa will teach the children. We will be holding church services at Pastor Charles' new church called Kidoko. This is the church that TBC sponsored and opened last November on our mission trip. It will be good to go back and visit the people whom we shared the gospel with last year and who are now making up the congregation of this baby church.

All will sleep well tonight after a full day of life in Uganda.

Larry Hoelscher

Friday, July 2, 2010

Scott Z shares the gospel with soccer participants

Lulwanda Boy's Showing Off Their New Soccer Uniforms and Shoes

Lulwanda Children’s Home Invitational

Today was a good day! Lulwanda Children’s home hosted a soccer tournament. Nine schools from around the Lulwanda region attended this event. Don and Mike officiated the games, and Scott shared the gospel with approximately 400 students and spectators. Scott threw a stick to illustrate how God has cast our sins away from us as far as the east if from the west. Many children prayed to receive Christ. After the tournament 2 soccer balls were given to every team that attended the tournament. One would have thought these balls were plated in gold by the way the children (and coaches) reacted to this gesture of grace. We awarded the Busiu team with three soccer balls as they were the champions of the tournament. With some help from the Dallas Texans – Houston Division, the Lulwanda team certainly was looking sharp! In an after game interview, star player Emmanuel commented, “They had big players.” The day ended in sweet sorrow as we exchanged goodbyes with our favorite 90 children in the continent of Africa. Leaving Lulwanda is always difficult because we fall deeper in love with these children every time we visit.
Earlier today, Jamie, Scott and Alicia visited 2 schools. Jamie preached at the first school with Scott and Alicia testifying. At the second school, Alicia and Jamie shared their testimonies as Scott preached a powerful message on the need to rely on God instead of ourselves. Many students were moved to trust in Christ at the secondary school that was the alma mater of interpreter Ben (Mike and Jamie’s favorite). They were able to get back to Lulwanda before the first soccer match expired.
Tomorrow the Mzungu (white person) choir will grace the stage of Pastor Timothy’s traditional Ugandan wedding (complete with tribal dancers). Please pray that our songs aren’t too boring for our upbeat African audience (we will not be dancing).
God has been clearly present around us in Uganda this week. Thank you all for your continued prayer support and we pray that God is blessing you as well. Continue to pray for everyone’s health which is currently good. Please also pray for safe travel to and from the wedding.
For now, keep it real and Godspeed.

Mike and Jamie

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Kayla's BDay party in Uganda

Pastor Apollos says "today is a good day, the devil is not happy"

Another night of approximately 5 hours of sleep and our team forges ahead with God's strength, grace and mercy.

God has been so good and He has been glorified through many things this week.

We will start with the school ministry. Scott and Dee visited three schools today. It was evident to the interpreter team that Scott was a "preacher" because he teaches the Word with so much conviction. Dee gave testimonies and Scott was able to compliment her story well. Probably the most profound thing that happened on their trip today was a conversation with a Muslim woman in a restaurant during lunch. She began by telling Scott that she was without sin. However, previously she had told Scott that she knew Jesus, and that she trusted in Him. After probing further, Scott was able to share the gospel as she recognized her need. She ended up praying to accept Christ! Amiina (Amen in Uganda)!

At Lulwanda, Kayla continued her "technical support" of our teachers at the orphanage, providing assistance and teaching typing and formatting in Microsoft Word. One teacher finished typing the first exam today and Kayla said that it looked exquisite!

Rose helped with computers and taught the older girls some new crocheting techniques. She also helped refine old techniques taught in years past. She found that some girls knew how to crochet as fast as her! Pardon the pun, but it was tight! No, seriously, it was sew-eet. (That was from Jamie) She also taught them how to crochet water bottle holders that can loop onto one's belt.

Jamie, Melissa, Alicia, Stephen, Mike and Don went hut-to-hut evangelizing at Sibanga in the morning. There were many amazing stories of people coming to Christ. We will highlight one special story shared by Don when he returned from the crusade. As Don walked into his first hut, a woman greeted him and told him that she had a dream last night that a Mzungu (English-speaking white person) was going to come and talk to her today! God is clearly working and the Holy Spirit is going before us softening hearts and preparing them for the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Don shared with her and she trusted Christ! Amiina!

God was all the more present at the crusade. Melissa and Mike shared their testimonies. God's story through Melissa was able to pierce the hearts of many women, and prepared them to hear the good news from Don's sermon. Don preached of stories of God's grace and mercy evident throughout the Bible. Many were moved by God's message and a brother of one of Don's translators prayed to receive salvation. Meanwhile, Alicia and Stephen conducted the children's service. They reviewed yesterday's lesson on Jesus calming the sea, which the kids accurately remembered. They shared the story of the wise man who built his house upon the rock, which led into Alicia sharing the good news and bad news gospel. Approximately 20 kids received Christ. Your prayer for the children’s service during the crusade has been felt here!

Jamison (Jamie) went to prisons today after lunch in Sibanga. The trip ended up being two hours of traveling to Masafu prison in Tororo. It turned out to be the same prison that he visited in 2008 with Nancy and Betsy. They even showed him the spot in the guestbook because they remembered him. He was not completely sure what to preach on going into it, but as he started preaching, God kept giving him the words. About 10 prisoners came to faith in Jesus!

Tomorrow Crown Financial Ministries is doing a seminar at Mbale PCU for the pastors, elders, and deacons from the approximately 90 churches in the area that Morris has planted. Please pray for financial stewardship of those attending.

Pray for school ministry as Jamison is going back out again in the morning. Tomorrow afternoon, there will be the 1st Annual Ogenga Cup where the Lulwanda Primary School will play Covenant Primary School (Mbale PCU's Primary School). Mike has brought many uniforms, shorts, and cleats that were donated by the Dallas Texans Football Club-Houston. The children were able to pick out their cleats and uniforms or as they call them boots and bibs. Please pray for safe and exciting days of African football.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Good God Tired.

Know the feeling? When God has poured you out physically and emotionally and you don't know exactly what it was that took so much out of you, but you are very aware it is gone. That was the experience for many who went hut to hut and schools today. It is amazing how pouring out your heart and pleading with individuals to receive Christ can leave you so drained. God allowed Mike and Kayla's first hut to hut experience to be an exhilirating time as they walked through corn fields sharing the gospel and seeing God draw so many of his children into his kingdom. Kayla and Larry gave their testimonies at the crusade and Don got to hear his son preach to the Sibanga people and witness Mike's invitation to them to receive Christ as their Lord and savior. During the time of invitation, Larry was able to encourage a man to give his life to the Lord. Larry found out later that this man was a man Dee had witnessed to earlier in the day and he had promised he would come to the crusade. There were many ways like this we saw God's hand working things out perfectly.

What a difference a day makes and changing to the other side of the road makes. It was incredible the difference in the openness to the gospel that was present today. Many team members reported that every hut or almost every hut people were eager to accept Christ. The openness to hearing the gospel and receptiveness to respond was completely humbling. Bringing humility and tears many times to those going hut to hut and seeing 2 and 3 generations in families all pray to receive Christ at the same time. It was a thrill to see the joy tonight on the faces of some who had prayed to receive Christ the day before. Smiles so big their faces could barely hold them, reminded us the difference Christ makes.

God worked things out perfectly for Stephen as he courageously went to share at the prisons by himself today. He saw the same Ugandan team members as well as many of the prisoners he had met the year before. Out of the 60 prisoners only 11 are now left that have not trusted Christ. Stephen shared that he had fallen back in love with prisons. It wasn't clear if he was wanting to go to prison or loved seeing the prisoners become set free by Christ.

Melissa and Rose continued to teach at the Children's home where they were blessed with the opportunity to spend time encouraging and teaching the children and staff.. Teaching the students and teachers how to use the computers to aide in doing more of their work.

Jamie and Alicia went to schools today. They were unable to share at the first school because the school already had a program for the afternoon scheduled and it was going to interrupt too much of the children's schooling. The second school they attended they were greeted with friendliness, yet there was a heaviness in the air. Before leaving the school, one of the teachers told Jamie and Alicia that the school was built on an Islam foundation. All of the teachers at the school are Christians, but the children are being raised at home in the Muslim faith. The teachers are praying for Christianity to come to the children and their homes. Please pray for them.

The last school Jamie and Alicia attended had a drastically different atmosphere. They had a worship service and church before they even began to share their testimony or the gospel. Many children prayed to receive Christ at both schools, but they were strongly reminded that the battle we face here on earth is not against flesh and blood, but of principalities.

The team was also encouraged multiple times today from the people out at the Lulwanda Children's home and one of the pastors translating hut to hut that they receive so much encouragement from the teams that take the time to come out to help them further spread the gospel. That just knowing we are coming helps them persevere through often very difficult circumstances.

We also did some celebrating of our own today as we celebrated Kayla's birthday with a Ugandan cake. Even though some of you might think we were late, it was really that we have become accustomed to running on Ugandan time. If you want to know what a Ugandan cake is like just mix alot of sugar in paper mache' and spread that on your cake. Enjoy!!

We covet your prayers and ask that you would continue to pray for good health and endurance as we have another full day tommorrow.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sabanga, Schools, Prisons and Lulwanda

Today was a busy day. Larry, Dee, Scott, Alicia, Jamison and Don went to Sabanga. Larry left at 1:30 and went to a prison. Mike and Stephen went to the Schools. Rose , Melissa, and Kayla went to Lulwanda.

First the news from the schools. We visited 3 schools. The first school was a small christian based secondary school in Tororo. Stephen shared his testimony and Mike gave the presentation of the gospel. 6 Ugandan students trusted Christ and recieved prayers and words of encouragement from Mike, Stephen and Pastor Godfrey. The gospel was preached and Stephen's testimony was heard by 2,000 primary students at the second school we visited. Many raised their hand to affirm that they had prayed a prayer to accept Christ. The third school was a very special school for Mike and especially for Stephen. Stephen has worked for 3 summers at Camp Blessing with special needs kids and today we had the pleasure of visiting a school for the hearing impaired. Stephen felt led to give the gospel presentation and Mike shared his testimony to approximately 300 students. Students that wished to trust in Christ were asked to come to the front. There were about 40 students that felt God lead them up to the front. They all prayed a prayer of salvation and accepted Christ into their hearts. Mike and Stephen were encouraged and blessed by this experience and humbled at the opportunity to be a vessel of God's good news!

At Sabanga we met with mixed results. Some areas were kind of dark while others received the gospel with much enthusiasm. Thank all of you that are praying as most of the ones that did not accept, seemed to have God stirring in their hearts. We just need to keep praying that God will water the seed and make it grow. Praise God that several from beer huts heard the message and accepted Christ. Alicia and Don gave their testimonies, Dee and Jamison taught the children and Scott gave a stirring message at the crusade. We had seven accept Christ at the crusade and others that appeared ready but did not step up. Again pray that God will make the seed grow. After the crusade a young man (18) approached Scott and asked for prayer. Scott asked him how he could pray for him and he responded that the day before he was contemplating committing suicide. He told Scott that he felt God spoke to him telling him no to. He told Scott that hearing the message that Scott preached reached him where needed. Scott reported seeing visual joy in the man after they prayed together.

At Prison, Larry preached on the need for the husband to be the leader of the family. The need for them to take financial and leadership responsibilities. He was told that those men needed to hear that. Larry used some well timed world cup illustrations to make his point. All 20 men prayed a sinner's prayer and accepted Christ as their Savior.

Kayla, Rose and Melissa visited Lulwanda Children's home and worked with the teachers on computer skills. The teacher's need specific instruction on typing and formatting documents to help their instruction be more effective. The three of them will be returning tomorrow to work with the teachers and of course, love on the kids!

Prayer warriors: Pray for Alicia and Jamie as they go to the schools tomorrow. Pray for Rose and Melissa to be effective in teaching computer skills at Lulwanda - and of course, to love on the kids! Pray for Stephen as he visits the prisons tomorrow. Pray for Don, Scott, Larry, Dee, Kayla and Mike as they will be hut-to-hut evangelizing in the village of Sabanga. Mike will be preaching and presenting the gospel and Larry and Dee will be giving their testimonies. Dee and Kayla will be working with the children - pray for patience and loud voices as there were over 150 kids for Dee and Jamie today :)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday at Mbale PCU

The team had a good day today at Mbale PCU where we experienced true African worship through the songs provided by the Dove choir, the children's choir, and the youth choir as they sang English and African praise songs. Teaching was filled by Alicia teaching women's Sunday school, Mike teaching men's Sunday school, Dee teaching children's Sunday school and Jamison preaching to finish the morning.

Today has been a sweet reunion of various team members with numerous Ugandans who have been a part of our lives over the past many years. Being at Mbale PCU was a time to see our team reaching out with love to the Ugandan people and the Ugandans reaching out to our team with love. A continuation of our day was when we arrived at Lulwanda Children's Home in the afternoon. The team spent fun time playing soccer with the kids, holding hands with numerous children and learning some new card games from the children. It struck the team that the importance of what we did today by investing just a few hours of our time in these kids was that we were giving these children male and female companionship hours that they would not get without our presence. No outstanding words of wisdom were spoken by the team. No problems of the world were solved today. But 90 children are in bed tonight knowing that 11 people from Tomball, Texas love them enough that we will travel around the world to hold their hand, play cards with them or allow them to show off their soccer skills.

Tomorrow, the team will begin our ministry to the people of Sibanga village through hut to hut evangelism, testimonies and preaching. 2 members of the team will be visiting schools in the area presenting the Gospel and giving testimonies. And 3 team members will return to Lulwanda to begin investing in the teachers of Lulwanda Primary School by teaching them computer skills.

It has been a good day.

Larry Hoelscher

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Team in Mbale, Uganda

Well, travel mercies were indeed necessary as this trip has had a few issues. All went well from Houston to Amsterdam. In Amsterdam, we all boarded the KLM plane ready to head to Uganda but instead of pulling away from the ramp, we sat. And we sat. Finally, they said the plane had a fuel pump issue and that we needed to deplane and move to another terminal where another plane was waiting. So off we went, across the entire airport of course, and no plane. 3 hours later we were on our way to Uganda which put us into Entebbe at about 11:30pm, Uganda time. The team was tired and ready for a bed to sleep in. And did we ever sleep. You know after 20+ hours on airplanes or in an airport, a person is very thankful for a horizontal place to lay.

We awoke this morning to a great breakfast and a garden view to hold our devotional time. We arrived in Mbale this afternoon to the Mt. Elgon Hotel and as we pulled into the parking lot, the team from Midland, Tx was pulling in as well after a day at Lulwanda Children's Home. This gave us a great time of fellowship tonight at dinner as we went around the room introducing ourselves to each other and finished the night with prayer over the preachers and teachers from both Midland and Tomball who will be leading tomorrow's services. Tomball will be holding services at Mbale PCU, Pastor Ogenga's church while Midland will be commissioning their new church plant.

All team members are healthy and looking forward to a busy week of ministry. Now it is time to catch up on some sleep. Keep us in your prayers.

Larry Hoelscher

Friday, June 25, 2010

Safe in Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport

Well, the team arrived this morning to sunshine in Amsterdam as we touched down just about on time. We arrived at 8:30am Amsterdam time or 1:30pm last night your time. Our second flight to Entebbe leaves at 11:00am so we have part of the team shopping at this wonderful airport, some are visiting Ronald McDonald just to have a Big Mac European style and others have slid off to the Mercur hotel where you can rent showers by the hour for a quick early morning wake up call.

The flight was smoothly operated with better food on board than we have had in the past. The Ambien worked very well for some of us so we watched the insides of our eyelids for half the flight. Others did not succumb to the sleep fairy and are walking around with somewhat of a glaze look on their face. I am sure that once we settle on the second flight, their eyes will be soon closed.

We will likely not have internet in Uganda until we reach Mbale on Saturday. Everyone is feeling good (other than sleepy). We have had a chance to speak to cross cultural folks from Germany, Kenya, & Jordan on this first leg.

Pray the Lord will open doors and hearts and for our boldness.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Trip Information

Trip dates: June 24 through July 7

Team Members include:

Stephen P.
Scott Z.
Mike M.
Larry H.
Don M.
Dee H.
Kayla K.
Melissa P.
Brenda K.
Rose P.
Jamison H.
Alicia Z.
Stay tuned for more information and trip updates.