On Sunday, July 8, 2012 there will be a joint commissioning service for the summer mission trips to Northern Ireland for FUSED and to Uganda for work at New Beginnings in Uganda. Please join us at 7:30 at Southland Christian Church (right after the 608 service) in Room E109 (to the right of the service center) to celebrate and commission both teams.
Children at New Beginnings
FUSED Staff and Volunteers
For the eighth year, a team of students from Lexington (made up of high school students, young adults and 608 and CSF types) will work in and around Newcastle, a town of 4,000 or so that sees its population more than double in the summer with vacationers from Belfast and other nearby communities.
We will join forces with nearly 30 workers from local churches (mostly young adults and students from Baptist, Presbyterian, Brethren and Elim churches) to do morning, afternoon and evening programs for all ages—from elementary to middle school to high school—as well as young adults and families. We usually see over 200 students in the program. The combined team will live in community at Ardaluin House for the two weeks and meals will either be “self-catered” or be provided by the local church.
The dual goals of this work is to provide discipleship to young people and additionally do outreach to youth, adults and families throughout the Newcastle area. In a country torn by denominational divisions and other political and economic issues, it is unprecedented to see a number of local congregations come together as one body, as the church, to do a program of this type. It is also unusual to see a program that is community-wide and focused on outreach. The church is largely irrelevant in Northern Ireland (and Europe for that matter) and membership in a local body is for the most part defined by your surname or neighborhood. In short, either you are “born” into a church through family, or you simply don’t belong. And even if you start in a church, it is often the case that by the time you are a teenager church has become dull and unimportant so you leave.
Into this dynamic we insert our team, a group highly energized by the challenge of Northern Ireland. Our team helps act as a catalyst for the larger team and that encouragement is a big part of what we do. Many of our team members see themselves, their own life and faith journey, in the youth of Northern Ireland who are struggling with life and church. We form relationships with youngsters, teens and families that show us that God and His church is so much bigger than Lexington or Southland. And in a way we bring water, the living water, to a dry land that needs the hope that only Jesus can bring.
For the second year, another team of young adults from Kentucky and Tennessee will be joining forces with another team from Northern Ireland to spend two weeks working in northern Uganda to help orphans and the surrounding community with everything from building projects to Bible lessons and just daily reminders of God’s love.
New Beginnings (NBCT) is a non-profit making organization set up by a group of volunteers in Northern Ireland. NBCT works closely with an experienced and carefully selected team in Africa to help bring a better quality of life to some of Uganda’s most vulnerable young children.
NBCT has purchased approximately 8 acres of land beside a small rural village in the Nakasangola District in Uganda adjacent to the local school. We plan to purchase additional land for farming in the area.
This area has suffered greatly both from the effects war and from AIDS.
Uganda has a population of approx. 30,000,000 people there are an estimated 2,300,000 orphans below the age of seventeen. NBCT aims to bring hope to children who feel hopeless, and embrace the rejected. Children are selected from the following backgrounds:
NBCT aims to offer care, protection and love through the establishment of Children’s Villages in which:
NBCT works with local authorities and local communities to ensure that this work done in a way that does not alienate the people of the area, but rather involves them in the project. We want to encourage community ownership and support.
Recently, a dream six or more years in the making came true. A team of four from Kentucky—all products of the Southland High School Ministry and earlier HSM mission trips, headed to Uganda to work alongside a team from Northern Ireland at the New Beginnings village north of Kampala. (Uganda has well over 2.5 million orphans, and no government programs to help. NGOs are there, but it is hit and miss. Add in corruption and other African political and cultural problems, and it is tough to try and rescue children. But New Beginnings has done that. In three short years, and with God’s help and the leadership of an amazing young man, Roger Annett, a builder and mason from Kilkeel, County Down in Northern Ireland. Roger’s dream and vision have given a new beginning to nearly 70 children. Read more about New Beginnings HERE.)
The team was Brenda Sawyer, Hayden Murrell, Josh Pugel and Crawford Ifland. So proud of this team. These folks “get it,” and as Jon Weece spoke last week, they understand compassion as lived out in Jesus. The whole team was amazing, but we’d like to share with you a trip recap Hayden wrote which I think speaks volumes for what we’d like to see in all of our students. It is a win for God, for our HSM programs and mission trips that set down “roots” and a mission mindset in students. And it is a wonderful reminder that God’s work, His Kingdom work, is in good hands as we look at this generation of students.
Hayden, a senior majoring in nursing at Murray, has wanted to do mission work in Africa since she was in high school. Little did we know that years of work in Northern Ireland (and Hayden was a big part of that work) would help us discover the route we took to Africa. Hayden’s heart for God and her desire to follow God’s plan in her life is inspiring and encouraging to all of us. Please read her story and then offer a pray of thanksgiving for the seeds planted in so many by our high school ministry, for great parents trusting us to lead their students as they partner with us in ministry and for the mission work God is doing in and through this generation. Only God.
Greetings Family and Friends,
One week post-return from Uganda and I still don’t think I’ve processed it all. My heart is still overflowing with a curious combination of joy and disbelief. I want to take some time to share with you my amazing journey but far more important the awe-inspiring work that the LORD is accomplishing through faithful servants in Uganda. I pray you are encouraged as you too catch a glimpse of the kingdom work you have supported. I pray for both you and myself that these aren’t just treasured memories or sentimental stories but a tool of growth and a call to continued prayer and support for causes, children, and lives who are dear to God’s heart. I want to send a heartfelt thank you for being a faithful team member and for allowing me to begin to understand why the LORD has given me a passion for these people. Thanks for sending me to love on individuals that have been given a new chance at life, are meeting Jesus, and hold the potential not only for change in Uganda but to cause a holy movement in a dark place. I could write pages on my experience and talk for hours about all the LORD is teaching me but for brevity’s sake I will try and summarize without compromising the magnitude of those 20 days.
Walking through the slums and the government orphanage on the first day I saw brokenness. Not only were the physical frames of these people frail, but their spirits were sluggish and dead, their movement zombie-like. The sight of tiny bodies lined up on the sidewalks sleeping in feed sacks and echoes of young boys slurred speech high on jet fuel made me want to weep. I quickly realized that this picture was not just of a minority and though it was their way of life, these people, like the scrap-metal shacks they live in yearn for something more sturdy and constant. They live day to day without a real hope. I saw tragedy, hunger, and real need for the first time. Overwhelmed at the weight of these issues I spent the night in prayer to the only one with a lasting solution.
The next day the founder of New Beginnings Children’s village, Roger Annett, took me back to the government orphanage and we rescued 4 girls! Their quiet, timid, demeanor on the ride to New Beginnings told stories of abuse, neglect, and loss; and all I could do was hold them tight.
When we pulled into the village is when I first saw it. JOY! Joy and hope rang out loudly. 62 smiles and sweet voices lined the drive singing in unison their welcome song in the best English they could muster. The oldest of the new girls in the truck with me began to cry; she saw it too. As days went on at the village it was apparent that these kids had something different. Taken from the very slums I had walked through the stark contrast in their spirit was as obvious as the only white girl in the market. Through diligent workers these kids truly have a new beginning. The children have met Jesus and they are beginning to understand who they really are. Every night they sing and pray together about their new beginning. Not only of the physical one they’ve been experiencing but the one they have because of Jesus. What a beautiful picture of redemption and rescue it is!
Yes, the problems of this country are great; BUT JESUS! We serve a creator who has made a way and holds the perfect plan to draw all things back to himself. I’m just thankful he’s willing to use his fallen people to help accomplish this great work. There is much to be done and I am passionate about working to meet the needs of the hopeless and forgotten so that they too have a chance to hear. The task is daunting when you witness the large numbers of hurting and lost people who are truly hungry, but a song the village kids sing nightly keeps ringing in my head;
‘My God never fails- Hey, Master!
He never fails, he never fails, forever more.’
That’s the truth I choose to rest in. I’ve been describing it to some as the most beautiful chaos I’ve ever seen. Heartbreaking as it initially appears, I’ve never felt more at home than I did in the hours spent loving on those kids. There’s a certain feeling, knowing that you are exactly where God wants you that goes beyond all comparison. Maybe for you that place is not in the middle of the African bush, but I pray wherever it is, you come to experience the fullness that comes in working for the kingdom.
Click the “Read More” link to finish Hayden’s story.
Some folks have asked me where in Africa is the team that left Lexington last Thursday. It’s at the New Beginnings Village in the Nakasangola District in Uganda. The maps below will help you locate where the team is and where Uganda is. Read more about New Beginnings HERE, and more about Uganda HERE. And the prayer calendar for the team is HERE. God is doing a good thing. Pray for these guys and the work by lots of good folks who are trying to bring God’s love to over 2.5 million orphans in this country. To see bigger maps, go HERE to the United Nations map site and link to Uganda