From the ashes comes new hope! As many of you know, when we were back in the USA from March – May 2010, we received word that our Bible school building on Buvuma Island had been burned down and nearly destroyed. It was a time of great disappointment, but also a time to rely on God and His vast resources to rebuild.
On Nov 4th, we had our first classes in the rebuilt Bible School! There is still work to be completed (windows, plaster, paint, and floors), but the roof is on and it is usable. This has been a reminder that at times, God has to do the same thing to us---take us back to our foundation so that he can rebuild or reshape us for His service!
God is so good! In October we moved into our new place. The IMB offered us a house since it was going to be empty, and we will remain in it until our return to the USA in November 2013! An IMB couple (James & Sonya) live below us and the compound is beautiful. This has been a blessing and a real answer to prayer!
God continues to work on Buvuma Island! As a result of the Urbancrest team that was with us this summer, we continue to meet weekly for Bible study with believers in the village of Bulima. Aaron Taylor and Matt Johnson taught two days in the village which resulted in 24 salvations and an interest in learning more from the Bible! Thank you Aaron and Matt!
Urbancrest Primary School in Butende is growing! We have hired another teacher and currently average 160 students per day. In addition to being taught the government curriculum, they are also hearing God’s word each day! We still have challenges there with finishing the construction on the new building and the new toilets (the old one collapsed).
The leadership development of some of the women at Muwanga (our main compound) has resulted in growth in the Women’s Prayer Ministry! We now have groups at five churches and will continue to identify women in each church and train them to lead these groups. Our goal is to have a group in each of our island churches.
We are also expanding the HIV Support Group to a second village to facilitate travel. The group at Muwanga has grown to over 40 and it is time to start another location. We have a monthly meeting which includes Bible study, prayer, nutritional information, a time to share personal challenges, distribution of vitamins and medication, and a meal. Johnson, one of our local pastors, has taken ownership of this project and administers it with our assistance.
On a personal note, we are doing great! Our health has been good and God has kept us safe on the roads, on the water, and most importantly on the motorcycle (ask Darlene). A lot has happened on the home front back in the USA. On August 16th, Damon (our oldest son in Texas) got married! On October 23rd we “officially” became grandparents as Eric and Caren finalized the adoption of Sarah Patience Whitmer! We are so blessed to have such a great family! Damon and Eric will be coming to Uganda for a visit in January! It will be so great to have them here for a bit and show them our African lifestyle and work.
It is so nice to have today’s media to keep up with what God is doing. A Wednesday night meal in the Urbancrest gym would be awesome! Please continue to pray for us and the ministry here in Uganda, George & Geraldine as they are on furlough in the USA until June 2013, and our pastors and their families on the island. We miss and love you all!
~ Ron & Darlene Whitmer