the whole group hearing from Paul
(two daughters of the late Dr. Jonah)
Jack and Mutegheki Joshua
(Ndyezika, a laboratory medicine student - and Christ school grad)
A few months ago when the Bible launching date was set, we began to contact the various young people who have been a large part of our life and try to organize a retreat for them. Our idea was to spend face-to-face time, offer some spiritual encouragement and vision, and help them to build a sense of community and connection with each other. This group included the Kule Leadership Scholarship recipients (and one Laura Case Trust funded) who were the sprouts that arose from the buried seed of Dr. Jonah’s life: 4 doctors, 1 MPH, and 1 clinical officer completed with 3 more doctors-in-training in their final years of medical school and 1 beginning a degree in nursing. Those who have graduated now serve: one as the medical superintendent of Bundibugyo hospital, one who has been fighting ebola in West Africa, one who is beginning internship, one who was selected for an anesthesia residency/master’s program, and one who has published a paper on immunisations. The group also included our foster-children for want of a better word, those kids who grew up around us, were friends of our own kids, spent their afternoons and weekends at our house, went on trips with us, and for whom we took parental responsibility to pay their school fees. A lab technician, an electrical engineer, a library and information science university graduate, a diploma-holder in agribusiness, a nearly-completed CPA accountant, a certificate-holder in human resources, plus those still studying in a university business program and teacher’s college. Plus the late Dr. Jonah’s family, with one daughter having completed a degree in development and another entering university for a degree in law. Plus a quorum of the former Bundibugyo missionaries who have shared the privilege and challenge of all this parental care with us. All in all we were about 40 people.
There was swimming in the chilly pool. There were happy hugs of remembrance. There were snaps galore, by the flowers, at meals. There was solid teaching by Paul, Dan, Scott and me. There were small group prayer times, laying hands on these young people and bringing their needs to God. There was feasting—the guesthouse prepared outdoor tables with a BBQ of various meats including a whole goat donated by Andrew the merchant in Fort Portal with whom we did so much business over the years—and I was very happy to hear a comment “oh, this is so much like Easter used to be at your house.”
But mostly there was praise to God. One young man reminded all of us that God took us “from the dust”, we were not people who should be here, but only by His grace have we come this far. We marveled at the way this unlikely family came together. And we purposed to be instruments of God’s blessing going forward to others.
Please pray for these young people. They are the future of Bundibugyo and beyond. Most are orphans, and now with their bit of education they are under pressure from their uncles and brothers and sisters and cousins to solve unsolvable problems of debt, or sickness, or addictions in those they love. Several are married, so pray for their marriages, and for God’s leading to a like-minded spouse for those that aren’t. About six have kids, so pray that their parenting would then be the foundation of yet another generation of Kingdom committed people. Many asked for wisdom, all too aware that even with their degrees they face more than they can handle in their work. Three still need jobs. And these young people will live by the way of the cross, in ways familiar to some of us and ways beyond our comprehension. One couple very dear to us suffered 7 miscarriages before the birth of their sweet 2-month-old baby girl. Another’s first-born son died after a complicated birth, a year before they had their also sweet baby girl. Another’s wife couldn’t come because she is caring for their 1.4 kg premature baby. They face jealously, corruption, accidents, loss, theft, failure, and discouragement. But for today they were triumphantly joyful in this community.
(all these went to CSB)
And let me close with a shout-out to schools, to our finance office, and to TCK’s. A large proportion of this group went to Christ School Bundibugyo. They are the fruit of the Bartkovich’s labor, the Pierces and the Isingomas and countless other team members pulling along. It was sweet to see these boys’ faces light up when they spotted their former headmaster, Isingoma, at the table. In their own words, they were not always the kids one hoped they would be, they caused us some heartaches along the way, but it is encouraging to see them mature and look back on those years at CSB as spiritually formative. We are grateful. And I hope that Dwight and Jerry see this post, and the faces behind all those requests and transfers and problems over the years. And I heard a theme over and over about our kids, being their friends. In fact it is the natural kid-to-kid friendship that my children offered a good proportion of this group that probably had the biggest impact. When we look back on our Bundibugyo years, we may find that the “non-ministry” hours spent with kids around and in our home, all those meals and football games and catechism and stories, were the real deal of bringing Jesus.
(Masika, Jonah, Mbusa, Mellen, Biira)
(The Kule Leadership Scholars)