Category Archives: trips

Gulu

Yesterday we flew to Gulu, Uganda – a town in the northern Uganda. This town was in the middle of the civil war for twenty years. The LRA would abduct children – boys to be soldiers and girls to be “wives” so the children in the villages would travel to Gulu at night and sleep anywhere they could – shop verandas, bus stations, anywhere. The idea was that they could be better protected from the rebels if they were in town rather than in their villages with their families. Peace talks are still underway, but the abductions have stopped. For a little over a year they have had relative peace in this area.

The fighting has stopped, but the healing is just beginning. Because of the war, many people are misplaced and live in camps called IDP camps – Internally Displaced People. These camps are basically slums where children are everywhere. The government is encouraging these people to go “home” to their villages, but many don’t know where that is because they have been in the bush so long. The female children who were abducted as “wives” now have multiple children whose fathers are members of the rebels. Their villages do not want them back with those children. It’s a really rough situation.

The hope is that KPC has begun their church campus here. They started in March and already have 1000 people on Sundays and 17 cells. They need more cells, but need to train up more leaders first. We were greeted by Pastor Joseph and he toured us around Gulu. We enjoyed spending time with him. He has quite a task in front of him, but he is full of faith and knows that through partnership with others God can do anything!

We saw a vocational school where they are teaching these child mothers who have been released from the rebels to sew so they can earn money to support their children. The average age at this school is 15 and some have more than one child. Right now there are so many students they must rotate the classes – and there are more young girls coming out of the bush everyday. What precious people to reach out and help these young girls! Watoto plans to partner with this school to continue helping these young mothers. Some of them may become Watoto mums one day.

The need is great – but God is so much bigger. We had quite a full day, so I’ll have to post more later. Also, check back for pictures later. We are about to start our long travel home.

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Watoto Villages

Today we went to tour of two Watoto villages. The villages are set up with about 99 homes. A home consists of a mother and eight children. Clusters of 9 homes are scattered around the central meeting area and the schools. Within the 9 homes a senior mother helps to care and support the other 8 mothers and their children. It’s a very community supportive set-up. The villages also have a village manager who supports and helps the mothers to raise the children. The father in the couple becomes like a father figure to the children. It is really a God-concept! You can feel the peace as you enter the village. And when you look around at the relaxed and happy faces of the children and mothers, you know this is a special place.

We ate lunch in one of the homes with a mother and 4 boys – Mother Destiny, and boys Akim, Livingston, Russ and Nicholas. Her younger children had gone to a Christmas party, but the older boys were so pleasant to talk to. A few of them had been to the US on the choir tour and showed us their pictures. We also saw their love for soccer and their love for the word of God as posters of both were up on the walls of their rooms. These boys have vision and self-worth because of Jesus and how Watoto has demonstrated Jesus to them. These boys could be on the street or fending for themselves, but instead they are respectful, obedient young men who love their mother and have a bright future in front of them. It is really incredible! I love what they are doing here.

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KPC Ministries

Today we went to KPC Kampala for their Sunday service. It was an incredible service! Worship was awesome with a full choir behind the worship team. As expected, the songs were full of life and dance. We loved it! Then there was precious baby dedication and a special dance by some boys from the Watoto villages. The boys are really talented and the whole church loved the dance. Then Pastor Gary Skinner spoke how Jesus was a giver and we should follow. It was a great message! We loved the whole service.

Afterwards we had the opportunity to have coffee with Pastor Gary and hear his incredible vision for sharing what they are doing at KPC and with Watoto with other churches in Africa. It was an awesome meeting!

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Bulrushes Home – Uganda

Greg, Sonya Yamnitz and I are in Uganda, Africa. We are here to check out a project we want to be a part of this summer with Go Global. Since this is Greg and mine first trip to Uganda, we are getting the full tour. Today we went to see the Baby Watoto, the Bulrushes. It’s a home for orphaned babies under the age of 2. Most of these children’s parents have passed away because of the civil war in Uganda or the AIDs epidemic here in Africa. It’s part of Watoto’s plan to care for children in a family like atmosphere. Watoto is the arm of KPC, an awesome church here in Kampala. The babies were all so cute and healthy and playful. It was fun to hang out with them! We had a great time and love what this church is doing to care for orphans.
PS – If you are reading this on Facebook, check out the blog for pictures.

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Dream Center

Greg and I just returned from a trip to California. We went for a conference – Global Summit on Aids and the Church – more about that later. But while we were there we went to L.A. and toured the Dream Center. This is an incredible place that is making a huge impact on the inner city of Los Angeles. The area where they are located has seen a 90% drop in crime since they have started serving the people of this community. They have every ministry imaginable! From a mobile clinic to children’s ministry to recovery centers to feeding programs – they are meeting needs and seeing people’s lives changed! Wouldn’t this be awesome here in our city?!

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Live the Dream


Sonja (my sis) and I had the opportunity to accompany Leslie (our senior pastor’s wife) on a great trip to Baton Rouge to the Live the Dream women’s conference at Healing Place Church. It was an incredible time! Great speakers – Holly Wagner, Christine Caine, and Tammy Trent – made the conference full of spiritual meat. The church was all dolled up in pink and glitery stuff, but the things the speakers were challenging us with were far from the normal girly fluff. It was all about rising up and fighting in the spiritual. We are called to fight for our lives, our children, our marriages, our churches. We are in this moment in time for a reason. God could have placed us on earth at any time in history and he chose now! So we have to find what it is we are here on earth for – today!

Holly Wagner encouraged us to do what the Bible says and teach the younger women. Anyone younger than you is your responsibility! Chris Caine challenged us to work out our dreams – don’t give up when it gets difficult. Just before a birth is the most challenging and painful time! If you give up then, you’ll never see your dream come to pass. Peaceful times does not always signify God’s will. Sometimes we have to work to see His will come to pass!

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Quick Trip to Washington DC

Greg and I had a great opportunity to go to Washington DC with our pastors, John and Leslie Siebeling. We went to check out this great coffee shop that National Community Church runs. It’s called Ebenezers, which means “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” And it’s located in a prime spot just a block from Union Station and near the some of the biggest office buildings in DC.

It’s cool place, plus they serve great coffee, but even better is that they are bringing Jesus out to the people. Even the girl I sat next to on my flight had heard about the coffee shop. The gm told us about how she’s seen people hear about the church in the coffee shop, attend a service and give their life to Christ. How awesome! It would be great to have a place like that in Memphis. Let’s knock down some religious walls and stereotypes and be relevant to the people. I think that’s why Jesus didn’t stay in the temples teaching – he walked around on the hillsides so he could be near the people who needed to hear his message. It was a great vision inspiring trip! For more pictures of our trip, go to: http://picasaweb.google.com/krievans/WashingtonDC

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