APRIL 5, 2018
This John’s Journal Article is taken from reports written by mission team members: John Lane and Callie Pendleton
The 2018 March Mission Team was composed of GMPI Well & Pump Repair Technicians and other short term missioners from Centenary United Methodist Church (CUMC) Lexington. The team was led by Julie Broderson. Julie is CUMC’s Mission Minister and GMPI’s Associate Director in charge of mission teams and mission projects. The members (left to right) were: Isaac Boll, Callie Pendleton, Tony McPeak, Caitlin Worthington, John Lane, Kristen Hurn, Pastor Scot Hoeksma and Julie Broderson. The team was divided into two missions: 1) Well & Pump Repair Team and 2) The CHILDERO Team.
WELL & PUMP REPAIR TEAM
The March 2018 US Well Repair Team (Scot Hoeksema, John Lane, Tony McPeek, Kennedy Odong) travelled to Gulu, Uganda, for initiation of a well repair program within the Gulu District of the United Methodist Church. The major goals of this trip were: 1) Build relationships with villagers and proclaim the gospel as they work on wells and pumps. 2) Provide two tool kits for the Gulu District to use and establish a safe storage location. 3) Provide training to as many district people as necessary to support the ongoing work. 4) Repair a minimum of seven wells from the list of 10 developed by the district. 5) Build a team composed of Gulu leaders and US Well & Pump Repair Team to develop for the Gulu District a path forward to administer an ongoing well repair program to be supported by GMPI.
All these goals were met. The number of wells repaired were ten bringing water to more than 2500 people in these villages. After each well was repaired they had a worship celebration with the village giving God the glory.
On the safety front, the work was completed with no serious injuries. Safety was emphasized at all times during each day’s work. We only had one slight arm injury but he was able to shake it off and continue work after a short break. Otherwise we had the usual small scrapes and hand injuries, nothing major. The Team was most vigilant in keeping people from putting their hands into high risk places such as the line of fire on the well pipes and we emphasized avoiding pinch points. Two lead persons (Pastor Douglas Komagum and Tony Onekalit) were supplied to accompany the team during the entire week and receive training. District Superintendent David Ntogohnya also attended each day. Two Gulu villagers from each church area were supplied for training at that church area only. There was only one time when a call was made back to the US to consult with Mr. Lynn Smith of WaterStep (Louisville, Ky) regarding how to repair a well with mud deposits. His comments reflected the plan the Team had developed so we proceeded in that way.
The WaterStep training was very good but there are some things that can only learned in the field. We learned some of those things as we worked on the ten wells.
In summary the plan called for completing seven wells in six days. Actual results were that all ten wells were completed and the sixth work day was not required. The most gratifying aspect of the work was that the US Team members were increasingly able to back off from the work and allow the District trainees to lead the execution of the work with little input from others. This demonstrated competence and confidence. Encountering the check valve issue on the last day provided an opportunity to investigate and resolve a problem for the entire team and fortunately this occurred while the entire group was together so the benefit of this was gained by all.
Based on results in the communities served and on comments from observers from other districts in Uganda, we believe that there is an appetite for this work in Uganda. One gentleman who passed by a work in progress asked if the team would be interested in work in the Lira District. This program can become an effective tool to serve the people of Gulu and to attract people to God.
Path Forward. Before leaving Gulu, the US Team met with David, Solomon, Douglas, and Tony to discuss the path forward for the well repair program. The following items are proposed.The Gulu District will provide a procedure for accepting, assessing, and executing requests for future work. This will be submitted to GMPI for approval. It will include details for the maintenance and checking out of the tool kits, the criteria for wells to qualify for the program, a method for paying for materials which will include participation by the owning community, and other details. This procedure is due by May 1. The GMPI board should review this procedure and we are sure that there will be some back and forth to get the procedure into a form that is acceptable to both groups. The procedure should include the method for requesting funds for material purchases from GMPI as this will be needed in our opinion. The material cost to install all new parts on a well (cylinder, rods, pipes, tank, plate, head and handle) is about $500. This is the maximum that the team will be handling. We need to say how many wells need to be identified in a group to justify approval of the work. We don’t think we want to go with one well at a time as this will become cumbersome. We discussed “for hire” work and decided that the Gulu District will not pursue this at this time.
At the conclusion of each well repair due credit was given to God for the success of the repair work at each borehole site. Typically the production of water was followed by praise music, prayer, and recognition that the team had come from the Gulu UMC. Comments from the local village, church, and water committee members were also welcomed. It was done this way to make it clear that the team was driven by Christian love for the community with the end goal being the changing of hearts. We don’t know of a good way to monitor that this protocol continues but we are confident that it will since it seemed natural to both the communities and the Gulu team. Comments from the Gulu District suggest that having t-shirts declaring that the team is representing the Gulu UMC would be helpful in “advertising” our sponsor.
Sunday (3/11), the Team enjoyed a lively worship service with Pastor Douglas and the Ariaga UMC. Among other things,Ariaga Children and Callie and Isaac provided special music. John gave his testimony and Pastor Scott preached the sermon.
The CHILDERO TEAM (CT) conducted a leadership conference for Bible Club workers. The CT demonstrated activities that can be done with their children and gave them some tools to help children internalize scripture from the Bible Clubs, but more importantly, we really got to communicate to these leaders and volunteers how thankful for them we are and and what a very holy job they have of raising up the next generation of believers. We ended the conference with giving an opportunity to pray for them individually for anything that was on their hearts and by sharing a meal with them.
There is a Bible Club at each Gulu UMCs. Bible Clubs are primarily for CHILDERO orphans to disciple them and provide mentoring. But other children in the church and community are invited to attend as well. One of the requirements of the CHILDERO Orphans is their regular attendance at the Bible Clubs held at their church. We led a Bible Club at a primary school in Lujolongole and had over 85 children come listen to us tell them about how God remains in control even when situations seem bleak.
The CT spend their week providing leadership for the various Bible Clubs. They sang, played games, and practiced their Achioli language skills to the amusement of the children. Some of the time was unstructured and provided g an opportunity to pay attention to these kids and make them feel loved and cared for. At the Bible club at Solomon’s church in Layibi. Julie taught a lesson on the prodigal son and how God rejoices when His children are found. This Bible Club has 7 Childero-sponsored kids but 30 kids altogether were in attendance.They also conducted home visits and prayed for the sick. They also distributed over 80 childrens dresses made by the ladies of Hindman UMC.
There were many other things the CT did that space does not permit to share at this time.
Without neglecting your home church we invite those who feel led of God to support GMPI. You may give a general gift to go wherever it is presently needed or you may designate your gift to support Gulu pastors, Childero or any of the other vital ministries listed on this GMPI Website. Send your checks to GMPI Attention: Treasurer, 133 Cumberland Rd, Greenup, KY 41144. Unless your gift is for the general support of GMPI, clearly designate where your gift is to go.