It’s now been one year that our feet have been on Ugandan soil, and I’m still learning about the extent of the impact New Hope Uganda has, and continues to have on this beautiful country. I am so thankful to God for bringing us here to be a part of what only He can do. I’m amazed at the diversity of the people He has chosen to use from all over the world. Praise God!
This week we had the opportunity to welcome visitors from New Hope Uganda Ministries (NHUM), the American branch of this ministry. Along with our fellow staff members on the other side of the ocean, we welcomed visitors from across the country who have been instrumental in this ministry. It was truly a blessing to see their appreciation and recognition of the growth that they themselves have contributed to. Being very new to all of this, these contributors helped me to see the development from their perspective, and it really helped me to further understand some of the rich history of this place.
It was a real joy for me to accompany some of this team to the site of our Pastoral Training Institute (PTI) for my first time. Just a few kilometers from the main site at Kasana Childrens Center, PTI is a beautiful plot of ground in this rural area of Uganda. I was able to receive a tour from the pioneers of this ministry; two passionate men with a heart for bringing the fatherhood of God to the fatherless.
On a long bus ride to the western part of the country (for a burial of all things), these two men brainstormed a plan to provide training for pastors. As they saw things, New Hope Uganda was really good at bringing people in to hear the messages of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (BMW), and other teachings of transformation. What they sought to answer, was how they good take that message out to multiply the results. Their answer was to train pastors.
The men set a course of training that would take 3 years to accomplish, training pastors for one week per month during that time. This way the men would not be taken away from their families or congregations for a long period of time, and they could continue in their jobs. The location was intentionally kept away from the main campus of New Hope Uganda, to create a more rural atmosphere and to allow the men to focus during their time. The teaching was to be provided entirely in their language to help with any translational issues, and to make it something they can more easily put to use immediately. Pastors were encouraged to have their wives attend training with them, and the attendance of wives eventually became mandatory during the BMW portion of their training. Afterall, the best way to teach Biblical principles on manhood and womanhood is to have it exemplified in the ones who teach it.
All the training in the world would be of no benefit if the pastors cannot remain in the pulpits of their churches. There exists a serious threat to their longevity; their ability to sustain themselves. It is expected that full-time pastors would be just that, and that they would survive on the church alone. However, most of these pastors are paid about $1 per week by their church tithes. With that in mind, these brilliant men of New Hope came up with a plan to teach ideas to generate sustainable income within their families. The Pastoral Training Institute is a model farm with plantings of trees like coffee, citrus, eucalyptus, pine, and bananas. There is a well run piggery, and laying hens in the thousands to show how to efficiently run these operations. Future plans are being developed to teach irrigation techniques to provide better drought resistance.
PTI isn’t only run out of this location near Kasana. There is also a growing program for pastoral training at Kobwin, where pastors meet for a week of intensive training three times per year. As many as 150 pastors come from a 30km radius for this training. Due to the explosive growth, there has come a demand for a monthly training like that of our other location.
What an amazing ministry. Pastors from all over Uganda are being trained in the principles of our faith. They are learning how to be better husbands, fathers, and pastors. They are exemplifying the Bible in their own lives. They are discipling members of their own congregations, and are even performing their own pastoral trainings to multiply those results. Through these efforts, Ugandans are training Ugandans across this great nation. This is the way a culture can change, and people can come to the truth of God’s plan for redemption.