Volume 13 Issue 3

101 N. Zeysing · P O Box 228 · Alma, MO 64001 · 660.674.2222 ·

www.houseoffriends.org Kathy Ruch and Joshua

A mission team of six—John Gross (MO), Alexandra Bennett (NY), Chris Sawyer (IA), Kathy Ruch (WV), Loveworth Wadanya and Jimmy Bodo (Uganda)—went to Adilang, Uganda the end of July to strengthen relationships with the spiritual leaders and community families, and take seeds for gardens and water filters to help lessen disease. John Gross recalls the response from the families as Loveworth took muddy water out of a ditch and he put it in a bucket which had a water filter unit attached to it. The water came out clean and pure into the glass he was holding. Chris and John drank it and the people were astonished. It opened a pathway to share the Gospel. Several water filters were left for the village. These filters will filter one million gallons of water before it needs replacement. Prior to the trip, funds donated to House of Friends for the Adilang Outreach were sent ahead for the building of a storehouse/distribution center for widows and orphans in which food/ grain supplies could be stored for future use and to sell. We also had a couple of acres plowed with oxen and seed is now in the ground. In addition, grain was purchased for the community and placed in the storehouse. John expounded, “What a trip! This was the beginning of a dream that Josh and Alyssa Hulme of Cedar Rapids, Iowa have for the area.” They were not able to be a part of the team this year. Alex Bennett has made it possible for you to experience the trip through her writing.

By Kathy Ruch, Missionary Going to Africa the summer of 2013 was the first time I had ever been out of the country. I had many conversations with John Gross about Africa and what to expect because I wanted to be prepared. I wasn't arrogant enough to think I was prepared for everything, but I thought that I was ready for the things that would cause me anxiety. I was wrong. Though some of the things I thought would be hard, such as squatty potties, were; it was an internal struggle I was not as ready for as I thought. Actually being in a place that reeks with poverty, injustice, and hopelessness is far harder than knowing about it and hearing from others who have gone. There are now faces and hands that go with the extreme needs—smiles of children and adults who by our western standards have nothing to smile about. I was treated with a respect I did not deserve by those who should have been the ones receiving respect. These people praised God in the midst of hard circumstances—in buildings without doors, carpet, air conditioning and so much more that would cause most of us to leave a church. I went with a desire and purpose to make a difference. I left feeling I made no difference save one. His name is Joshua. He is an amazing young man who has endured great hardship. While I was in Africa he was my buddy. We sat many times next to each other not even talking but just being together. I watched him and listened to him and saw the man God created him to be. If I could have, I would have brought him back with me. The reason I thought I was going to Africa doesn't exist, but the reason God sent me to Africa touched my heart in way that I will never be the same.

By Alexandra Bennett A twelve-hour drive from Entebbe, the village of Adilang is situated in the northern part of Uganda. It is a community recovering from the not-so-distant warfare of rebels and the government’s military activity. The team Church in piles out of Adilang the van, knees wobbly from the trip. The tarmac road (continued on page 2)

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lasts only so long, and then it’s all bumps for the remaining drive. Our host, Pastor Peter, leads us to the church. There are already members lining up to greet us. They wrap their arms around our necks and guide us toward the hut. The walls are made from mud, the floor is dirt, and the roof is thatched grass. This is the church of Adilang. It looks like the homes of most villagers except that it’s about four times as long and two times as wide. Ducking beneath the doorway, the inside of the church is barely visible. The only natural light slips in from a few window holes. It takes a couple of minutes for everyone’s eyes to adjust. There are long benches made from wooden planks in two sections and a variety of stringed instruments near the front. When the musicians pluck the strings in succession, the notes sound like moving wind chimes. We take our seats around the church. There is a quiet humming throughout. We are thankful to have reached the destination, and the church members are smiling with clear sincerity. Pastor Peter gives his greetings, and the worship commences. I will never, never go back to the old way anymore. My Master, when You come back, You will remember me. O Lord, my God, how wonderful is Your name. The voices are gentle and contemplative. We join in the singing, listening to the words and seeing for the first time the people whose hometown has been ravaged by decades of conflict. Up until a few years ago, Joseph Kony’s rebel army occupied the surrounding bush, oftentimes abducting villagers, especially school children, for rebel purposes. At the same time, Adilang was a U.N. camp, serving as an inlet for tens of thousands of displaced Ugandan citizens and Sudanese refugees. As the singing concludes, Pastor Peter stands to address the group. His presence is quiet yet assured. The people watch his movements and lean in when he begins to speak. He motions past the right side of the building, talking of the recent storehouse that has been constructed. Designed for the local churches, the storehouse will soon be a repository for surplus crops and supplies. The goal is for the church of Adilang to sell crops for a higher price during strategic market times and to thus create resources of wealth. “We built this storehouse in three weeks,” Pastor Peter recalls. “It has been a great advertisement for the church, showing the village and local officials that Christians can build and participate together. Born again Christians are not just frustrated people who struggle in life.” Members of the congregation nod their heads. Some are holding onto babies, others clutch Bibles that have been taped and re-taped at the seams. It is the month of July, the most difficult time of the year for the agricultural community. There is little rain, and the crops remain stunted beneath the harsh sunlight. Pastor Peter explains that everyone’s pantry is empty and has been for a while. “I know that this storehouse is supernatural,” he continues. “I spent more money and time on my own family’s house, and it’s still not finished. But here we are with a budget, and the building is almost done. The Lord must be breathing on this place.” The nods continue around the room. There is a sense of anticipation as listeners imagine the opening of the storehouse and the possibilities for the church. Pastor Peter

puts his hands to his sides and turns to face his cousin, Jimmy Bodo. The two have recently been reacquainted after a long separation. Peter extends his hand to Jimmy, welcoming him to the front. Jimmy rises, embracing Peter’s shoulder and facing the people. Jimmy was born in Adilang and spoke the Acholi dialect as a child. He was in the village in 1985 to bury his father and a few times afterwards. Due to military and familial conflict, though, he relocated with his mother and siblings to Entebbe and has remained there through his adulthood. Jimmy acknowledges this homecoming and his family members in the church. “East, west, home is best. I have always been longing to return home,” he says. Looking out at his church and extended family members, he poses a question. “The map of the world and of Africa is very big. How does a person locate the village of Adilang out of all places?” The space is quiet except for the wind filtering in through the window slots. “No one can say for sure,” says Jimmy, “but to see this storehouse, it’s clear that the church is growing. This should show us that God is very interested in this place.” The shared conversation continues. Side by side, Jimmy and Peter acknowledge the storehouse’s nearing completion and how the church members sacrificed their own farming time to share in the building responsibilities. Missionary Loveworth Wabudi offers his agreement. “Adilang has suffered through a lot of wars and turmoil. These things are to give hope. We as a community can still survive.” A chorus of amen’s echo throughout the hut. Several church members clap in agreement. It has been a long time since the region experienced peace or had something good to look forward to. “When everyone will be crying for food,” Loveworth notes, “You will have food. When others are falling sick, you will have clean water. Adilang will be a resource center that will provide help to people and send the Gospel out to the nations.” With a nearly complete storehouse, water filters, and drought resistant seeds, the season ahead is bright for the Adilang church. Pastor Peter and the local ministers affirm the people’s devotion to the Lord and to each other. The congregation offers up its worship once more before leaving the church. The members join voices, walking to the fields singing, “O Lord, my God, how wonderful is Your name.”
Pastor Peter and Jimmy Bodo

(Left) Children of Adilang—(Right) Having fun with the children..

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By Elizabeth Zacharias My husband, Dan (HOF Board Member), and I were able to make our first mission trip together to Abba house in Entebbe, Uganda the end of August into the beginning of September. Our primary mission was to teach the children how to meditate on scriptures and how to keep a prayer journal. We did this for three days, dividing the children into

basically two groups according to their ages. This worked out real well as most of the young ones take a siesta after lunch. The older ones enjoyed writing in their journals, while the younger ones drew pictures about the scriptures. The scriptures had strong images which greatly lent to this approach. We used the first few verses of Psalm 23, several verses from John 15 and the verses from John 4 where Jesus talks about the water which He offered to the woman at the well. We brought with us composition notebooks and colored pencils for all of the children so that they could each have their own materials to work with. They loved them! While we were there, Barb Decker organized a birthday party for the August and September birthdays. The kids had a birthday feast of sausages, “Irish” chips (French fries) and fresh fruit, followed by a trip to a local beach for swimming and ice cream floats. This was greatly appreciated as Liz and several girls preparing the children’s diet confor the party. sists mostly of beans and posho (a steamed corn flour mixture). We also distributed bubbles and pinwheels to each child for the birthday celebration. We stayed at the mission compound in an extra room at the boy’s house. So we experienced some of the lifestyle that the children do every day with no running water. We ate most of the same things that the kids did too, although, the cook would often make us rice or spaghetti with the beans. Derek, the newest addiMost of all, I loved the evenings, tion to Abba House, even though it would get dark a little blowing bubbles. early for our summer (between 7 p.m.

and 7:30 p.m.). Evening meant that it was time for the children’s devotions which Barb led. She read to the children about the dream that Gideon heard in the Midianite’s camp when he snuck in before his army of a few hundred won the battle. One of the Midianites told another that he had had a dream. The other Midianite quickly interpreted the dream as meaning the Israelites were going to win. This greatly increased Gideon’s faith and he returned to his camp, confident of what God had called them to do. The kids listened to the story and answered the questions eagerly. Then to my delight, they sang—talk about a heavenly choir! The voices of African children, together in harmony (with no training), is amazing! I was also struck by how much the children loved having us with them. They would want to hold my hand and braid my hair. Life is not as easy for these children as it is for our children. But they are grateful for every little thing they have. I was really humbled when one of the older girls gave me a gift in a letter which she sent home with us. They also loved to hear about our two daughters, Moriah and Rachel. They wanted to see their pictures and told us that they would pray that they would come to Uganda Dan and girls having fun. with us.

During the Kansas City Christian Fellowship mission trip in July, team member, Christina Machado, used her painting talents to paint a mural on a wall in the girl’s house. Christina shares, “Before the mission, I studied African design in order to have some sort of plan for the mural. However, my idea completely changed, because of my experiences in Uganda, and I believe God gave me the inspiration. The painting is infused with both African and Spanish design. The yellow wall was perfect for the bright colors and fun abstract shapes. The last step involved finding a verse to fit with the theme of dancing. I thank Mikiah and Windy for helping me to find Psalm 149:3. On the bottom of the mural are the team's signatures with notes for the children, which are for them to remember our team. Overall, I think the painting will bring Different segments of large mural. Christina (R) joy to Abba House.”

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By John Gross This mission was not just about working on House of Friends outreaches, but also about living out our name. I spent about two months in Uganda with side trips to Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia, as well as sent a friend in my place to South Sudan. I could sum it all up by saying, everything was about friends. We did projects for or with “friends.” We are watching friends step into their destiny and calling, and most importantly introducing people to our best friend, Jesus Christ. This by far was the greatest mission trip I have been a part of. Thank you to all who gave and prayed and even went with us. Ugandan friend, Loveworth Wadanya, and I took a side trip to Eldoret, Kenya to visit our missionary friends, John and Sharon Rose where God gave us opportunity to speak into the lives of leaders in Kenya. On the way we stopped in East Uganda in several towns and villages. We took water filters to several churches and was given an invitation to teach and preach a couple of times. those born again Jesus followers.” They laughed at us but kept bringing people over to see the water filter work. A door has now been opened for the Urlaubs to go and preach the Gospel in 2014. It’s one of our goals—connect friends with friends so the Gospel can go forth. I would love to go back one day. On this trip it was too dangerous for me to make the trip into South Sudan, so a Uganda friend, Eridard Okwiri, went for me and took water filters. He took pictures of a home of 10 orphans (3 girls and 7 (Above) John speaking in Rwanda church. (Below) Children of South Sudan. boys) we had heard needed help. They have no support but a nice garden from which thy sell produce to raise money. Again, the water filters were a great hit there. Just before my final leg on the trip, I became very sick and was hospitalized. A note from my journal—“It has been a long hard road since I got out of the hospital on Saturday. Hard saying good-bye to the Abba House kids after being with them for 50 days. My flight got rerouted to Kilimanjaro in route to Ethiopia but I found E.J. Bell and Aaron Rupp (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) waiting for me. Left the next day for Debre Markos and we got caught waiting on heavy rains and swollen river to drop. It was a long hard night but the Lord was faithful. We spent the next days with our friends and visited with the widows sponsored through House of Friends,
Eating with host family in Rwanda

(Above and left) John with friends in Kenya and in eastern Uganda: Water filters were a big hit.)

Loveworth and I also went to Kigali, Rwanda on a fact-finding mission for our missionary friends, Denver and Stacey Urlaub from Alaska. We made great connections and were able to preach and teach the Gospel. The water filters we demonstrated and gave away made an open door in a Muslim community. We built relationships and said how thankful we were. They were surprised we were not Muslim. I just laughed with them and said, “NO we are some of

Aaron Rupp, John, E.J. Bell

A few widows in Ethiopia Outreach

and one of the orphans we have worked with over the last several years. We drove back to Addis with a two-hour delay at the flood site. E.J. and Aaron got their lost luggage. These two have been a super blessing to me personally and they knew I had been sick and stepped up and ran with the ball. God bless them.”

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