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Thursday, October 23, 2014

More great news from River of Life!

Packed full of the latest news from River of Life, our Autumn Newsletter is sure to lighten up the dark nights drawing in!

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We've had a wonderful time with Visitors over the last few months, including our Summer Short-term Missions Team, the White Eagles have got a brand new playground, there's the chance to quadruple your Christmas Donation (if you were thinking of making one!), and there's an update on the Gideons.

Our feature article looks at the hope and perseverence that we encounter through our Community Outreach work, whilst there is also news of a brand new computer lab at River of Life. There's the opportunity to donate to our building fund as our rented offices are no longer safe to stay in, and there's a brief update on the Prayer Mountain, Synergy's successful start to the Big League and a lot more besides.

So, please enjoy and download the newsletter, and spread the good news by sharing it with all your friends and family!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hope and Perseverance in the Community

Elder Betty leads our Community visits. Our current volunteer, Katie, accompanied her last week - this is her story.

Off the main streets of Nyendo are lots of homes, each home holds a family, and each family has its own story. These are the people of Nyendo that a passer-by might miss, unless he chooses to venture out onto the bumpy tracks.

This week I had the opportunity to join Elder Betty on Community Outreach. She led me through the back allies, past children playing and chickens roaming. We came to a home, where the mother welcomed us with such joy. She told me that she had four children, three in school and one about to begin. She loves them deeply, and spends her time doing all she can to provide for them. She said she is happy, because the Lord is looking after her, and through the church she is being helped to meet her needs. Her face was full of hope, a genuine hope, and a genuine trust in God.

But she admitted her struggles, that it is hard to find enough food, hard to give her children all that she longs to. She wants to share a meal with them of the tasty nutritious food she sees other people eating. When she is not caring for the children she patiently weaves colourful floor mats. She sells them to try and support herself. I asked her how long it takes to make one, and she laughed, and said one month. Oh, how I long to have patience like this! I was blown away.

I felt Jesus in this woman’s home; in her persevering love and sacrifice for her children, in her joyful thanksgiving, and in her determination and resilience. We have so much to learn! From the faithfulness of Elder Betty to pursue the passion God had placed on her heart to the way that when we come together as a church we are able to bless people abundantly more than if we try to work on our own.

Our Community work is supported by the ‘Gideons’ - our new regular prayer and giving programme. If you would like to find out more, please contact us.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Katie's Adventures in Africa continue...

This is update number two, it's been just over three weeks so I've passed half way!

I got back today from a night in the capital city Kampala. It was super worth it - I had no idea such a side of Uganda existed, a naive assumption I guess! But yes it turns out there is a lot of wealth in parts of Uganda and I felt like I had jumped forward in time a bit to a more modern, western influenced culture. I got to see the biggest market in Kampala, which was crazy. I literally had to duck a few times as men carrying giant bags of rice on their heads charged passed. It kind of felt like Super Mario as I dodged crazy stuff while walking really fast.

Other cool things have been happening here in Masaka, last week I got to preach in a secondary school and in prison. Very exciting! The prison was way more chilled than I expected; small and low security. They worshiped like crazy and it was so cool to be able to join them in that - and then to be able to bring God’s word to them too! We’re going back again this week, it’s such an incredible opportunity to be able to taste and see Jesus in these places I know he would be found in if he was walking on earth today.

On a funny note, well, I found it funny. The kids at the children's home got to play on their new swings and seasaw and roundabout for the first time - and they all were so excited, went on everything, came off, vomited, and got back on! They kept being sick but they were so excited they'd do it quickly and sprint back! I guess it is quite sad though, as the sickness is due to the fact that at age 7-12 most of them had never experienced the sensation of any of these simple things and so they body didn't know what to do. But still - we laughed.

On another funny note, we have been doing Aerobics at church, the women found out I was football coaching and they wanted to jump on the fitness train. At our first class we had about 15 women, which I was not expecting! And they all wore long skirts! Which meant that when I got them to lie down and do sit ups with their legs up they all screamed at the young guy who was sorting the music for us and he left very quickly - then they all burst out laughing!! Today - I couldn't do it with them, and yet there they were in the hall going for it on their own. Success!

I’ve got two weeks left, time is flying, but there is a lot to do before then, so stay tuned for another update!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Strength Will Rise!

We all know that we have some spiritual warriors amongst our women at River Of Life church, but last Saturday they proved themselves to be physical warriors too. We had a great turn out at our first Aerobics class – strictly women only!

When the women discovered that our visitor Katie was doing some football training with our young Synergy boys, they wanted to make the most of her stay for themselves. And so a women’s fitness class was arranged for Saturday afternoons. All the men were shewed from the hall and the women flowed in ready to work out.

Everybody took part in some way, and everybody had a great time. I think as much energy was burnt through laughing as was through running around. Katie said, “That was the most fun I’ve had doing exercise in a long time, and I Iove exercise! Everyone should come, I’m sure they will find it uplifting in all manners of the word!”

Rumour has it that a Thursday class has been requested as well as a Saturday class now, and when Katie leaves us in three weeks the ball will be rolling, and the classes will continue… let’s hope!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Synergy kick-off their Big League Campaign

Last Thursday evening saw Synergy step up to their first game in Big League after last seasons promotion from the Regional League. The local fans turned out in force and there was great excitement and anticipation as the lads have really been showing what they are capable of recently. Their opponents were VCC, a solid, well-organised Big League side managed by the son of former Ugandan President Idi Amin.

VCC had the better of the fist half, going into the break 1-0 up. But Syerngy came our roaring in the second half, equalised with a calmly taken penalty, to set up a thrilling final 30 minutes. Somehow VCC survived wave after wave of Synergy attacks, and held on for the draw. The game finished 1-1.

Tim Crow, head of Synergy, was happy. He said “I was very happy with the boys’ performance and their spirit. They were losing but they came back to batter the opposition and really showed themselves to be the stronger team.” Both Tim and Brian, Synergy's Manager, were encouraged by the players’ demonstration of determination and skill and we're sure exciting things are to come as the season continues!

Synergy has become the talk of the town, with Brian regularly invited on to radio shows to share the vision.
We're not about buying in players and just being successful in football. It's much more than that! Yes, the players and 200 odd Academy members are coached to perform the best they can on the field, but they are developed in all aspects of life through mentoring and relationship building. They are encouraged in their faith, and are supported in their goals both on and off the football field.

We need sponsors to keep the First Team on the road, as well as cover the running cost of the Academy. If you fancy being part of the most exciting thing to happen in Ugandan football, please get in touch!

New Computer Lab opened for business!

We’re delighted to announce that we have opened a brand new computer lab to offer training in computer skills, graphic design, website building and more.

It’s taken some time to get everything into place, with security being the toughest nut to crack. Our vision is to offer training in Computer Skills, Graphic Design and Website Building, so that members of the Leadership Academy can acquire some decent income generating skills.

Ernest and Tony (pic.), our 2014 Academy Chairman and Vice-Chairman, are already getting to grips with the new computers. We now have 25 members of the Leadership Academy, including three who will be graduating with their Bachelor Degrees this month from Nkumba University. They’ve done brilliantly well, and we’re very proud of them! This lab should offer them, and the other young people supported by River of Life Church, an opportunity to learn some valuable practical skills.

As Tony says
"Good news to all Leadership academy members! It's been our prayer that we could get more knowledge about different computer programs that aren’t commonly taught in schools but would still be of use in our day to day life. I am very excited to inform all the guys in the academy that we can now rock it! It's taken some time to set up because some software had to be downloaded but we are thankful that they are here at last. The computers are now available and ready to be used, different programs are to be taught to you and after that, you will go and explode in the whole world as we promote River of Life’s Mission “To see the Glory of God cover Uganda and the whole world through church revival and community transformation"!

We're particularly grateful to our good friends in Canada who made this happen!

Software update time at the new lab
Tony and Ernest get stuck in
The 2014 Leadership Academy

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Introducing Katie

Katie is with us for the next 6 weeks as our volunteer. She's going to be doing a ton of stuff, including training our brand new ROL Roving Reporter, helping us tell more of our stories! In the meantime, she'll be sharing her own take on all things River of Life...

"Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast."
Psalm 139:7-12

I arrived in Uganda 6 days ago on a plane from London, to come and be with the River Of Life Church here in Masaka. I have been to Africa once before, but that does not take away from the fact that everything is different here!!! From the roaming cows to the crazy roads. But in all of this difference I know that God is here.

One project I am joining in with at the church is The White Eagle Project, a home for children where they are taken in and cared for, before being resettled with loving families. On Saturday night I was there with them, enjoying lots of laughter and dancing - Who knew Wii Dance was a hit with Ugandan kids too! After dinner came devotion time. The Children's home Aunt asked one of the girls to lead. She is ten. She accepted her responsibility with pride and went on to lead the group in a time of sung worship, reflection and prayer. A ten year old girl!! And when she sung, with no band to back her up, completely vulnerable... she sang! And she worshiped God like I have never seen a 10 year old girl worship before.

These children know the love of God with such confidence, and I believe it is so hugely due to the care and sacrifice they have experienced first hand from their family in Christ here at the church.

I am so excited to spend more time with these kids!

And to see the freedom and life that comes when we let God's love work through us, in all areas of life!!