Monthly Archives: July 2015

Forgiveness

It’s one thing to give grace to friends, but to give grace to those who give us grief? Most of us find it hard to forgive. Leave your enemies in God’s hands. You are not endorsing their misbehavior when you do. You can hate what someone did without letting hatred consume you. Forgiveness is not excusing. Give grace, but if need be, keep your distance. You can forgive the abusive husband without living with him. Be quick to give mercy to the immoral pastor, but be slow to give him a pulpit.
Society can dispense grace and prison terms at the same time. To forgive is to move on, not to think about the offense anymore. You don’t excuse him, endorse her, or embrace them. You just route your thoughts about them through heaven. In Romans 12:19 God says, “I will take care of it!” Let Him!
From Max Lucado.

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Update from Uganda – Saturday, July 25, 2015

Greetings from Uganda!
Saturday, July 25, 2015.

Today was a day of rest that was coupled with visits to some old friends and to Pastor Daniel’s farm and the new church plant. It ended with a fantastic meal that Daniel’s wife prepared for us.

We met this morning with Charles Stahl, who is a pastor from Austin, TX. We ate breakfast with him and then talked for an hour and a half, briefing him on our four-phase leadership development program. He not only wants to work with us to get it started in the group of 60+ churches that he and his home church is working with here in Uganda, but he also wants us to help him bring it to the 30 churches that are in his local association in central Texas! Wow! As Luke said this morning, “Things like this do not just happen by accident. God has brought us together here in Iganga at the same time and place for a reason.” What an opportunity! It sure looks like a “movement” is beginning!

After Charles left, Joshua Mukose (one of the leaders we have been training) picked us up to take us to visit his mother Betty and her kindergarten. It was really great to see Betty again and spend some time with her. Her school continues to grow and now has over 250 children enrolled, including a new daycare program. She is concerned that the recent wave of inflation here in Uganda will cause some of the parents to withdraw their children because they will no longer be able to afford to send their children there. Betty also gave us a tour of a piece of property that she owns that she is turning into a retreat center. Before we left, Betty asked me to say hello to Debbie Piper for her. Debbie was one of my teammates on the first Lead Like Jesus team that came to Uganda in 2011.

We then went back to the hotel and rested for a few hours before Pastor Daniel picked us up for a visit to his farm and to attend a Saturday evening service at a new church plant that is located nearby. This is the church plant that my Sunday School class at Broadway Christian Church helped provide some “seed” money to get it off the ground. Daniel’s farm is really starting to produce for him. He raises bananas, maize (corn), soy beans, ground beans (like peanuts only smaller), melons, and several other crops. After we visited the farm, we drove over to the new church. They were already worshipping when we got there. There were probably around 25-30 adults (some older men but mostly women, the younger men were working) and 60 to 70 children, with most of the children 6 or 7 and younger. The pastor asked each of us to speak a few minutes and they had both the children’s and women’s choir sing for us. It just happened to start raining about half way through the service. I normally wouldn’t mention this, but this is a new church and they do not yet have a metal roof on their building. They do have one large tarp, but it did not cover the entire area. Thankfully, it only rained for about 5 minutes and then it quit. After the service was over, we took a group photo of all those who had attended and went back to Iganga. It was really inspiring to me to meet the pastor and his wife who just last fall moved from the city to this village to start this church, and now to be with them and to see all the smiling faces of the children. Amazing!

After we came back to the hotel, we cleaned up a little and then went over to Pastor Daniel’s home to eat dinner. Daniel’s wife is a really good cook, so we stuffed ourselves and spent a little time with them and their family before going back to the hotel and to pack for our return trip back home tomorrow evening.

Tomorrow morning, we will go to Daniel’s church. Luke will be preaching for the 9 am service. Following that we will head towards Entebbe and the airport. We will be stopping for an hour or so at a church that is located about 30 km from Kampala where Daniel will speak at their church service. The plan is for us to depart there at 1:30 pm or so. That should get me to the airport at around 4 to 4:30 pm, giving me enough time to check-in and make my 6 PM flight back home. If all goes well, I should be back in Kentucky at 1:10 pm on Monday afternoon.

It indeed has been a great trip. I have enjoyed seeing and working with this group of leaders again, and am very pleased to see their continued commitment to raise up leaders for God’s kingdom.

Thanks for all your prayers! The next post that I will do will be from Lexington. I should have a better internet connection that will allow me to share some of my photos with you. Good night from Uganda!

Blessings!

Fred

Update from Uganda – Friday, July 24, 2015

Greetings from Uganda!
Friday, July 24, 2015.

This was our last day of training. We had several who were late today so we were unable to start until 10 am. Even with the late start, we were able to accomplish what we needed to get done before they leave for their homes and we return to the US. I think one of the lessons we’ve learned is that it is better for the leaders to get away from their homes, work, church, etc., so they are not able to be distracted so much. Those who had to travel the farthest and stayed at the training site were always on time. But, most of the ones who lived nearby and went home every evening had problems being on time.

This morning, the first thing that we did was to finish reviewing the Phase 3 material with them and to answer all their questions. We then discussed with them the concept of decentralizing Phase 2 of the training, using several different locations versus bringing them into one location, and the pro’s and con’s of each one. They agreed that it would be better to conduct the training at several different sites. Based on that decision, we then walked them through the process to develop a plan to make that happen. They decided to conduct Phase 2 training for the 30 leaders that they had trained last year at six (6) different sites (5 in Uganda, 1 in South Sudan). They then set the dates and specific locations for each of these sites and determined who would be responsible to prepare for and conduct the training sessions. At least two of them will be at each site. As part of their plan, we had them develop a list of resources (food, water, tables, chairs, handouts, chalkboard or flip chart, markers/chalk, etc.) that they would need to obtain and coordinate. We helped them to complete their plans by having them develop a project task list that consisted of the tasks (along with the suspense dates) needed to request and obtain or coordinate the needed resources, when to notify the students and send out reminders, review/prepare the materials, and to set up the training site, and who would be responsible for each of these tasks. 

We were able to wrap up and complete everything we needed to get done by 1:30 pm. We then ate lunch, presented each leader with a certificate, prayed for them, said our goodbyes and went back to the hotel to rest and relax a little. It was very hard to see them go. Luke and I have built such a bond with these folks and lots of hugs were shared with them, as well as a few tears. Thankfully, through the internet we can still communicate with them occasionally.

Luke went with Daniel at 4:30 pm to speak with some pastors in a nearby city (he did not get back until 9 pm). Jamin and I stayed at the hotel and went down to the restaurant and ate dinner. Jamin had the chicken in a basket and I ordered grilled chicken and baked potatoes. I had never tried this dish before but I was pleasantly surprised. It was really good! The hotel was empty except for just a handful of guests, but it still took them an hour to prepare and serve our meals?

At 8 pm Eric, a young man from Pennsylvania that Luke knows, came to visit us. Eric is on a year-long mission to Uganda and is an agricultural specialist. He lives in the city of Mbale and works with a Christian college there. Luke and Daniel got back at 9 pm and we sat in the restaurant and talked until a little after 10 pm. We then called it a night.

Our final day of training was outstanding and we sent our leaders off knowing that we’ve done our best to equip and prepare them to teach their 30 leaders in Phase 2 and to prepare those 30 to train the 90 or so leaders they will bring to begin Phase 1. I feel very good about them and know they will do well.

Tomorrow (Saturday) we are meeting for breakfast with Pastor Charles Stahl from Austin, TX to brief him on our four-phase leadership development process. Charles has been working with a group of around 60 pastors/churches here for many years and after I had breakfast with him a few days ago and told him what we’ve been doing, he wants to know more. He says what these churches need the most is to develop leaders. So, we may be seeing a leadership development “movement” begin to form right here in Iganga, Uganda! Praise God!

Thanks for your prayers! Good night from Uganda!

Blessings!

Fred

Update from Uganda – Thursday, July 23, 2015

Greetings from Uganda!
Thursday, July 23, 2015.

I can report to you that we were able to finish today the final part of the Phase 3 lesson and we were able to spend a significant amount of time reviewing the facilitator’s guide with them. It was a very good day!

I am deeply impressed with the leaders. It is obvious that over the past two years they have embedded the leadership principles of Jesus into their heart, head, and hands. Luke and I have seen a remarkable transformation in some of their attitudes, how they speak with one another, and in their ability to begin applying this year’s teaching on teams and teamwork to their ministry. They are now chomping at the bit to get back home and put the things that they have learned this week to work. One of them told us that he was glad that we have spent the previous two years building a foundation for them because “we could not have grasped these concepts on teams two years ago.” It is very inspiring to see the seeds that we have been planting, sprout and now are beginning to grow.

We also had an interesting conversation with Stone Kyambadde yesterday. He told us that he has some ties to the Ugandan government officials that are in charge of the national police force and the Ugandan Army. He told us they are looking for someone to help them train their leaders. Stone said that he told them about Luke and I and how we might be willing to bring the message of Lead Like Jesus to their leaders. Of course, we told him that we would. Stone will be speaking to a group of their senior leaders next week and he will talk to them about us, what we have been doing to develop leaders in Uganda already, and let them know that we are willing to work with them as well. Wow! What an opportunity! Your prayers are appreciated.

The weather here has been great! The temperature was in the low 80’s today and the humidity has been very low. In fact, it gets a little cool here at night. The Mum’s hotel is mostly still the old Mum’s hotel that I’ve known for several years now. A few things have changed, but mostly it is mired in the status quo. The best part of the changes is the new addition that they’ve built. The rooms are very large and a lot more comfortable. I even have a seating area with two nice chairs and a small coffee table. The internet has not changed and with all the rooms filled up this week, it has almost been impossible to read any of my emails that have attachments and I have been unable to post any pictures for several days now. Oh well, if that is all I have to complain about I guess that I’m pretty fortunate.

Well, I’ve got to go. I hope that all is well with you. Tomorrow (Friday), we will conclude our training by doing a brief review of the main points of the training, answering any questions they might have, and then doing some planning to help them prepare for the Phase 2 training that they will do by themselves with the 30 leaders that they trained in Phase 1 last year.

More from Uganda tomorrow! I will try later on to post some pictures. Hopefully, the internet will work.

Thanks for your prayers!

Blessings!

Fred

Update from Uganda – Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Greetings from Uganda!
Wednesday, July 22, 2015.

It was a very good day today! One of the things that has been so great is the weather. The high was around 75 degrees, it was partly cloudy, and with very low humidity. We did have a brief shower around 2 pm this afternoon. Its hard for me to believe that it is warmer in central Kentucky than it is here?

We started the training at 10 am this morning. We were running behind due to trying to link up Jamin (Luke’s son) with Stone Kyambadde who is hosting a soccer camp for kids here in Iganga. Stone is a very good friend that he have built a relationship with over the past four years. He was a great world-class soccer player and is the former head coach of the Ugandan soccer team. He now runs a non-profit ministry in Kampala for orphaned and abandoned boys. We were supposed to link up with him at 9 am but he was stuck in what Paster Daniels calls the “Jam” (traffic jam in Kampala) and was running late.

When we arrived at the training site everyone was there and ready to go. In this year’s training, we are focusing on team leadership (phase 3 or our four phase process). We started with a short review of what we covered in Phase 1 and 2, and got into this year’s area of focus by defining what a team is and discussing the differences between a team and a committee. We then talked with them about how teams and teamwork are Biblical concepts and had them get in their small groups where they read and discussed 30 scripture references that deals with the subject of team leadership and/or teamwork. Next, we talked about the Heart of a servant team leader and discussed the difference between someone who is “driven” and someone who Is “called”, and how driven leaders are self-centered and more about personal ambition. We helped them analyze how pride and fear prevents a team leader from developing a cohesive, unified, and effective team. We then discussed the topic of succession planning and how this is one of the primary ways we can use to spot a self-serving leader, noting that Jesus from day one of his ministry focused much of his time and effort equipping his “successors”, the disciples. We then went over some steps they can take to develop a succession plan for their team. We then went into the Head section and began it by talking about the importance of drafting a clearly defined and written “leadership point-of-view”, taking them through the steps to draft their own LPV. Finally, we walked them through the process of developing a team charter.

We had wanted to get through the entire lesson in one day, but with the amount of the discussion and questions that we had, we were unable to do so. We believe that clarity and understanding is more important than keeping a schedule, even though we realize that our time here is limited. We ended the session at 6 pm and went back to the hotel. Tomorrow, we will complete the training by covering the Hands and Habits of a servant team leader, go through a review session, and begin the teach-backs tomorrow afternoon. 

Well, it has been a really great day! Listening to the comments and questions of the leaders, and seeing that they are “getting” it and are understanding how they can apply these principles and concepts, really reinforces that our strategy of developing leaders by taking them through a deliberate process where they go from personal/self-leadership, to one-on-one leadership, to team leadership, and finally on to how to lead an organization, is working and bearing fruit.

I guess that I had better turn in and get some sleep. More from Uganda tomorrow!

Thanks for your prayers!

Blessings!

Fred

Update from Uganda, Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Greetings from Uganda!
Tuesday, July 21, 2015.

I apologize for not posting an update yesterday, but due to issues with the internet here at the hotel I was unable to do so. It is just as well that I didn’t because my report would not have been very positive.

Monday, overall, was less than fruitful day. On the positive side, all the Ugandan leaders made the travel to Iganga successfully and Luke Kuepfer and his son Jamin arrived from South Africa and made it to the Mum’s hotel, checking in around midnight.

On the not so positive side, the training that we had planned for Monday did not happen. We were supposed to start at 10 am on Monday morning but when Daniel and I arrived at the training site, only four leaders (including Daniel) out of the 11 were present. Daniel began calling the other seven leaders and it seemed that what could go wrong, went wrong for them. Problems at home, work issues, transportation/vehicle issues, etc., prevented them from leaving when they had planned. Several of them arrived just before lunch at 1 pm. But, Daniel had to leave to go and pick up Luke at the airport and when he left so did 2 others. I tried to salvage the day as best I could, but was unable to accomplish anything that was planned for the day. I finally returned to the hotel at 5 pm. Thankfully, the last of the 11 leaders arrived at around 7 pm and Luke and Jamin made it to Mum’s as planned. When I went to bed last night, I prayed that Tuesday would be a better day and thanked Him for helping me be patient and to remain flexible.

I met Luke and Jamin in the restaurant at about 8:30 am for breakfast and Joshua, one of our leaders, picked us up at 9:30. We arrived at the training site and started at 10 am as we had planned. What a difference a day can make! Luke and I decided that we would complete the tasks that had been planned for yesterday and try to rearrange our plans for Thursday and Friday, as well as extend our time each day for a couple of hours each day, in order to make up for the time we lost. 

We began by getting a report from each of the leaders on their ministry and what they had been doing since we were with them last year. Their feedback was very, very encouraging. Every single leader spoke about how much they had grown as person, as a leader, and how this has had a positive effect on their ministry as a result of applying the principles of Lead Like Jesus in their homes and in their ministry. Some of the things that they are accomplishing and the vision that each of them have of developing leaders and building God’s kingdom is just amazing. 

After lunch, we did a short review of the Phase 2 training that we did last year with them and answered any questions that they had. We finished the day by discussing Leadership Huddles (a small group of 4-5 leaders), how to conduct a huddle meeting, topics and subjects they should cover with them, and how to get them organized and operating. We finished with a time of prayer and thanksgiving. All in all, it was a wonderful and encouraging day.

Tomorrow (Wednesday), we launch into Phase 3 and will be focusing on Building Teams. Please continue to pray for us and pray for the Ugandan leaders. It is readily apparent to us that the enemy (Satan) is at work trying to distract, frustrate, and divert these men and women. They indeed are doing a great work. Later this week, I will share some of the great things that these leaders are doing and how God is blessing their work.

More from Uganda tomorrow! Thanks again for your prayers.

Blessings!

Fred