Well, I’m on my way home now, but wanted to give you all a summary of our conference in Nebbi, Uganda.   This region was far more organized, many more pastors and churches are represented, and they arrived on time.  The level of understanding was much stronger than Adjumani and that’s because they obviously haven’t suffered in the same way those poor folks have.

The attendees in this conference were mainly senior pastors, 160 of them representing 22 denominations.  This made for a time of strong fellowship and hunger. The team members each taught with greater clarity and boldness.  At times, the pastors responded with loud discussion among themselves when points were made.  Once again, I see their Biblical understanding being challenged and stretched, and the verbal and physical body language is commensurate.  The singing became stronger, and there were questions addressed to all of us. It has been obvious that your prayers were making a difference.

Merle said a pastor approached with these words:  “this has changed forever the way I will approach Scripture and preach the Word.”  He had not been trained in ministry.  These three days did more for this pastor than anything in all his life.  One lady said to me, “After the second day, I went to the church and repented with tears before the Lord. “ Indeed the Lord used us to challenge their grasp of God and His work of grace.  The older bishop spoke at the end of the conference and indicated to the entire assembly that they had never heard such challenging teaching. This course is extremely challenging to teach and I know it is even more difficult to understand.  It was amazing to see them sit all day; we started at 9:00AM and didn’t finish until 5:15PM with a few breaks in-between.  They begged us to return next year so we will make that a matter of prayer.

Facebook Twitter Google Digg Reddit LinkedIn Pinterest StumbleUpon Email

Dear Sir,

I would like to express our sincere gratitude and thankfulness for your admirable teachings from ELI in our regional seminars.  It is not an exaggeration here if I say that your teachings have transformed our churches in western Uganda and northern Uganda.

ELI helped leaders in being more confident and made them fearless in public speaking, which has now become an added advantage in carrying out the good news of Jesus Christ.

It is purely you who made our leaders settle comfortably today and I will remember your help forever and support.  Thank you very much brother, in anticipation of your same affection and guidance to us in future also. I would like to express my sincere gratitude through this letter for the erudite exposure of your own self to guide us for ministry challenges and church growth.

Not only on spiritual growth alone but my churches have now realized that they need financial breakthrough and so far I have got about 4 saving groups which are now developing to be a Saving and credit company we are now in a stage of registering, this came as a result of some topics covered by the ELI topics which have talked about the HOLISTIC ministry of Jesus Christ.

By the time before we started pattern ship with ELI we had a 40 churches, which was not coordinated, with untrained leaders, unruly but Iam  proud to say we have 65 registered churches and 8 new churches which we have planted this year and as a result I had a vision of northern Uganda which I had failed but now we have 4 churches planted by mbarara region in the south of Uganda.

I have registered many pastors who want to study a bible college after testing the material of teachings in Eli.

Your teaching is like resurrecting a sleeping dog of Africa; they have what it takes but sleeping with it.

Thanks be to God that ELI through Dr Joel McCall William, has been instrumental ever since we met him, it was God who directed this group of missionaries to our region and country.

The spirit of churches is now minimum unlike the former days when disagreements was arising on daily basis due to lack of training.

I have always admired you; in my previous years of learning also you were the same in helping us to grow in the lord. You have been always very compassionate in solving our doubts about our good God.

Yours faithfully,

Rev George Byabagambi

Director, Mbarara District Full Gospel Churches

Facebook Twitter Google Digg Reddit LinkedIn Pinterest StumbleUpon Email

Back from the meeting.  These guys (Joseph and Noah) are SO excited about this MINTS program!  They were spontaneously telling us about some of the results that have come.

One of the new guys is a Methodist minister (Joseph taught him the two courses that Don and I taught in February to catch him up – that in itself is exciting!) who, after taking these courses said “I have learned so much! I’m going to make sure that this material makes it into the training of the ministers and lay leaders in my area.  There were areas of the Bible that I thought I knew, but I see now that there is so much more!”  Impact!

And Joseph went on to say, “Everyone who has taken these courses is now preaching expository sermons!”

And Noah chimed in:  “Not just a verse, but the whole passage.”  Joseph’s church is going through Ephesians in Sunday School verse by verse in an expository fashion.  He meets with his teachers on Saturday to train them for the next day.  “It has changed us!” he said, “and we are growing in our understanding of the Bible.”

[I’m relating this from memory, so the words may not be exact, but the sentiment is.  And it was seconded by the excitement in their voices and on their faces.  Something is happening here.]

PRAISE GOD!!!  They are getting it and putting it into practice!  This is such an encouragement to my heart.  I dearly love these guys and they are leading the next generation of the church here.  I’m looking forward to teaching them Church History and seeing what affect that has on their actions and thinking.

Dan Steere

Facebook Twitter Google Digg Reddit LinkedIn Pinterest StumbleUpon Email

If there was any doubt about God’s presence and whether we were effective in imparting the message on Disciple making, today was a turning point. Doubt is gone.  It was clear in everyone’s presentations that we were given the ability from the Holy Spirit to be clear while meeting them where they were at.  The questions they asked were powerful.  God is impacting their thinking in key areas.  I was sitting with Martin while Mike was teaching.  I noticed something and told Martin “Look at that.  Everyone has open Bibles, they are all taking notes. Everyone is.” You could see in the body language that they were into the content being presented.  The first day there was little note-taking, but that has all changed. Even attendance is much larger and more intense in the response.  It was truly encouraging.

The woman who asked about the Mormon book brought it and said she didn’t want it.  She was responding to the truth of God right then and there.  She was free from her doubts.

They have worshipped God often with heart-felt intensity.  We are so encouraged by their love for Jesus.  This is not for show.  They dance before God over the joy of God’s truths.  What more can you ask in the classes.  When is the last time you had someone dance with joy over something you have taught? What a privilege to serve the churches here.

Today we began the application of “how” to do discipling with another person.  Mike and Martin modeled it and they watched.  We had made an assignment the first day to do a lesson and the entire group paired-up and they did the assigned lesson with each other.  One was a disciple, the other was being disciple.  Then they reversed roles.

Barasa is the leader of the ministry here, and he is our sounding-board.  He is thrilled with the way they are getting it.  Once again, the finances to get here, and the preparation is worth the effort.  God is already making a difference among these pastors and leaders.

Mike has been meeting with some men concerning the development of ministry to Christian business people here.  They are holding a large meeting on Saturday to explore what is needed and what can be done this summer to develop this new aspect of ministry.  Please be in prayer about this.  I am much encouraged these first two day.  Please keep praying for us.  It is evident that something new is underway. Thank you for standing with us as partners for the Gospel.

Pray for safety, effectiveness, and lasting impact for the cause of Jesus here in Uganda.

Joel McCall

Facebook Twitter Google Digg Reddit LinkedIn Pinterest StumbleUpon Email

I have just completed my first week of teaching on Romans. Each day had its discoveries and questions. At times I had to stop their questions in order to reach goals in the book. They are so incredibly hungry! As we looked at Romans 6, 7, 8, we worked through the text in depth. I taught them how Jesus death, resurrection and intercession have changed our relationship to sin and the judgment of the law. Our focus moved from slavery to the power of the Holy Spirit in chapter 8. I could see them understanding grace in a whole new way.

The pastors declared how they had never seen such depth in the book of Romans, confessing to me the shallow understanding among their churches. I challenged them to go back and to teach for a year through exposition from this book. I challenged them to disciple their people while expecting God to honor His word. I believe this is exactly what they will do.

On Saturday I preached at the graduation of a class from the school. I was moved by the joy and commitment they made to faithfully study as pastors in leading their churches.

You cannot begin to imagine how different this is from the many churches around them. Yes, evangelism and new churches are bearing a great spiritual harvest. Yet, without the foundation of solid disiciplemaking the churches will only fall prey to Satan’s old strategies of weakening the church through error and personalities. God‘s Word is the antidote.

Today I went to a church in a small town 30 minutes away to preach in a church plant in the middle of huge solid rock mountains. The setting was beautiful, yet the poverty was overwhelming. As we entered the worshiping assembly, the music involved congregational singing with only drums for instruments. Men sit on one side, women on another. In the middle are seated all the children and a man carrying a stick occasionally passes by. Believe me, these children were well behaved! I think that stick must have something to do with their behavior (they were gentle with the kids however). Each group stands as the pastor prays for them while encouraging their hearts with his words.

I preached on Mt 18 and the Parable of the Servant who refused to forgive after he had been forgiven. Their response was strong. They rise to their feet and raise their voices to God in group prayer, in song, then they dance with joy over the message of God‘s love and exhortation. I realized that in their impoverished situation, I had just spoken to a group who has nothing but Jesus, family and church. Yet, out of such poverty, they march by and celebrate by giving tithes and offerings.

Thank you to all who are praying for me as I am here. Your prayers and resources are truly making a large difference in a sea of great need and opportunity.

Please continue to lift me up as I will now turn to “Doctrine of God“. Pray also for my co-worker Rick Renninger. God is using him in a powerful way also.

Joel McCall, March 2010

Facebook Twitter Google Digg Reddit LinkedIn Pinterest StumbleUpon Email

I just returned home from a month in Uganda and I must say, this trip was unlike any I have been on thus far. Imagine our surprise (after already traveling for 24 hours) to arrive in Nairobi, Kenya and find that the airline that is to take us to Uganda is on strike! We were stranded and spent that night on the airport floor. The next day proved to be no better as we searched for our luggage and eventually had to purchase another ticket on a different airline. God graciously answered prayer and we finally arrived two days later in Uganda with all luggage in tow.

I had two excellent teams over the four week period. The first two weeks I shared the teaching with Jim Barnes, pastor of Christ Covenant PCA in Knoxville, TN. Then the second two weeks I was joined by Dr. Rod Staton from Chattanooga, TN and another ELI staff member, Ray Warwick. All of our conferences were deep in the interior of Uganda this time, some of the most rugged country I have ever seen! God richly blessed these conferences on Discipleship and it was a joy to share this material with approximately 820 pastors and church leaders. Most were challenged with what they learned and at one conference many stayed for hours after we ended to discuss how they could begin to implement it into the life of their churches.

Most of you are aware that I have been praying for an opportunity to take the work of ELI into the Democratic Republic of Congo, which borders Uganda to the west. All preparations were made for us to do a conference in Goma, DRC on the fourth week of this trip only to have our plans halted by a severe warning from the US State Dept. (Dr. Rod Staton had a Blackberry with email access, a life-saver). After praying and seeking counsel, we had to cancel the Congo trip. The Rwandan army had withdrawn a few days before (they had been maintaining some peace in the DRC) and the rebels were taking advantage of the situation. The very region we were to enter was involved in kidnappings, robberies, murder, rapes, and carjackings. I had not been able to get internet access for most of this trip so the fact that we received this warning on Rod’s Blackberry was a demonstration of God’s protection. Given the turn of events, we sought to provide an alternative plan to have some of the DRC pastors cross into Uganda and hold a conference in a town near the border. That too failed. Again we prayed and through contacts of our Ugandan pastor and driver, George Byabagambi, we were able to throw together a small conference in a very remote mountain area of Uganda that ELI had never been to before. The 5 ½ hour trip there was treacherous on rugged and dangerous mountain “roads”. These pastors were thrilled with the training they received and begged us to return to them again. Although our time with these folks was short, we praise the Lord that He used this unplanned week and change of events for His glory!

Exhausted we left this area and proceeded to a small hotel for the night before starting our long way back to Kampala and then on to Entebbe (where the airport is). We took a dirt road for 70 kilometers through a national park in which we saw a lion, elephant herds, monkeys, baboons, Kob, and other creatures of Africa. The final hardship, however, was yet before us.

It is always our practice to arrive in Entebbe one day in advance of our departing flight because you never know what might happen with the uncertainty of travel in Africa. Our plan was to leave early in the morning, but due to a flat tire we were again delayed a couple of hours. That flat tire was a blessing from God and yet another evidence of His sovereign protection. We received another Blackberry email from the US State Dept. warning us that riots of tribal conflict had become widespread in Kampala and in the region we had to travel through. This time, however, we had no choice but to proceed. We prayed, packed, and began our trip. We listened to the radio and George made calls ahead to check on things. It appeared that the worst of the riots had ended that morning and were being addressed by the army. As we approached the danger zone we saw black smoke and stopped traffic, but proceeded ahead. As we arrived in the town of Masaka, the damage became evident. While eating some lunch in a restaurant, gunfire erupted in the street and our waitress warned us that Mazungus (whites) had been the target of stoning on their car. The police warned us to drive out of the town as quickly as we could because of danger. If ever I knew we needed prayer-cover, it was now! I called Sarah at 6:00 am her time and told her of our situation and to get people praying. As we drove out of that town, I felt a complete peace from God that He was in control and His will was good. Thanks to all of you who prayed for us that morning! God heard and answered those prayers.

As we approached Kampala, it looked like a war zone! Hundreds of fires had been set, large stones in the streets, burned out buses and trucks, and the main police station had been burned down. As it stands on last count, 21 people had been killed from gunfire and beatings. In route, once again we were warned by the State Dept. that the road to Entebbe had been closed and opened six times and this would likely continue throughout the weekend. Even after arriving safely at our hotel in Entebbe, I heard gunfire outside in the night.

Our brothers and sisters in Africa face many deprivations, dangers, and hardships, BUT they are alive with the Word of God and vibrant faith. Our hardships on this trip pale when compared to what they experience. The conferences were successful and received with much excitement. I have no doubts that the message of disciplemaking will be multiplied manifold. Often they stood to their feet and committed themselves publicly to spreading the making of disciples by each one taking one.

There are so many more stories I could tell. I wish there were time and space to share with you about the man I talked with who was formally with the infamous Lord’s Resistance Army, but is now a brother in Christ and is drinking in all the biblical instruction he can get. Or the amazing testimony of Bishop Wilson Sentongo who is over nearly one hundred churches and was himself a survivor from an arrest by one of Amin’s top commanders and spent three days in a dungeon without food or water. God rescued this man in a miraculous way. Perhaps in a future letter.

Thank you so much for partnering with me in this ministry. You have made a difference in the lives of thousands of African believers. Please continue to stand with me and pray. I hope to return to Africa in January.

In His Service,

Joel McCall

Facebook Twitter Google Digg Reddit LinkedIn Pinterest StumbleUpon Email