Reinforcements and Pizza!
I survived, by the grace of God, my first day preaching at ABU. I say that with a note of humor, but in some sense it is true. Preaching is hard work, and although you might not expect it, it is physically tiring. My normal pace at home is to preach twice each Lord's Day, at 9:30am and 6pm. Occasionally I will also teach Sunday school, but that does not happen too often. But to preach three times in a day after already having preached the day before is difficult. Thankfully reinforcements were arriving!
Tuesday morning once again I enjoyed breakfast with the Hokes, and about 8:30am (or maybe rather 8:45am, since "Americans have watches, but Africans have time") a group of about 10 students came for a prayer meeting. Tim had assigned to some students various countries to make a presentation for the meeting. Today's presentation was about the Maldives. The student gave a good summary of the geography, religious makeup, and economy of the country. He then highlighted the challenges facing Christians in the Maldives, giving us good information for prayer. The students then had an opportunity to make prayer requests. I was struck how at once the requests were so similar to those that we have at Christ Church on a given Sunday evening - sick relatives, seeking jobs, prayer for exams, etc. - and yet at the same time how different. They prayed for Kenya (that the Lord would provide peace after a turmoiled election), for Congo (civil war), and South Sudan (oil recently drilled), and for friends who had witnessed and experienced great hardships and loss. I was stuck that while we are comfortable in the U.S., at the same time we also go through similar trials. I was also encouraged to be more committed in prayer.
After I preached at 10am on 1 Kings 19, "Elijah and Elisha," the second session at 12pm had a new preacher. Henry Morris, a pastor from Dothan, Alabama, had just arrived. Henry is in Uganda to work with a prayer ministry in Africa, and also to assist for the week at Westminster Theological College. Henry preached the first of his three sermons this week on the Call of Isaiah from Isaiah 6. He taught how Isaiah was focused on the holiness of God as He came into His temple. It was wonderful to be reminded to look for God's glory and His holiness, even though we are a sinful people. It was also good for me to be able to sit and hear God's Word and rest in Him.
At lunch time, I went with the Hokes, Henry and other missionaries to a restaurant across the street from ABU. It was a pizza place! We enjoyed good fellowship and very good pizza in the most unlikely of places, Africa! The good folks at ABU have also been showing great hospitality to me. On Monday evening, I went to the home of the Knights (Jerry and Karen) for dinner. During our time together, we noticed that Jerry had pastored in Erie, PA (near my hometown of Buffalo). It often is a small world. But even more amazing was that Karen and I lived in the same town in Western New York, Grand Island. Karen lived about 10 minutes from me! We had good conversation, including lively discussion with the Knight children, Derek and Amy. After dinner, two men from Lira, Uganda (in the north) came – Rev. Johnson Enamu and Elder Peter. Rev. Johnson was the third speaker for the Spiritual Emphasis Week, and is a graduate of ABU. It was a joy to hear him preach on the Resurrection from Matthew 28.