Lord’s Day Schedule‚Ä°

  • Sabbath School—9:45 a.m.
  • Morning Worship—10:45 a.m.
  • Afternoon Worship—2:00 p.m.
  • ‡ Regular schedule temporarily suspended.

Proctor Passages

Yesterday, Sunday January 27th, began a painfully joyous part of my ministry in Uganda. Over the next few months, we are planning to visit each of the OPCU congregations with whom we are working, and tell them “goodbye.”

There were tears on both sides, and will be many tears in the weeks to come. I preached from Acts 20:17-35, Paul’s “farewell” sermon to the Ephesian elders. In this passage, Paul encapsulates his entire ministry’s focus upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ — “repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (v.21). He exhorts the elders particularly to watch over the flock that doctrinal divisions from without and from within are not allowed to spread (vv.29,30). Through the elders, he exhorts the church to a ministry of loving one another through deeds of mercy (vv. 33 — 35).

The congregation of Bukonde is in the mountains behind our house. I chose this congregation as my first visit, because once the rains begin, it will be almost impossible to drive up there. The last time I visited, we reached a place where everyone had to get out of the van, I drove it across a deep, muddy embankment, the van flipped straight up at a 90 degree angle to the road, resting on the front grill guard, before slamming back down onto the roadway where we could re-load and make it back to Mbale. Yesterday, even in the dry season, there were a couple of places where our van almost flipped over sideways, with a pretty steep drop off the side of the “roadway.” Suffice it to say, it’s always an adventure getting to Bukonde!

After the service, the people came, one by one, to say goodbye to us. One man in particular, Makwasi Davis, really touched my heart. In 2004, when I began preaching in the congregation in Mbale, Davis began attending the services. He is a “boda man” — a bicycle taxi operator. They are not treated with much respect, because it’s a job anyone with a bicycle can do, and it’s considered “beneath the dignity” of someone with education. Davis would park his bicycle on the side of the school building where we met, sit down with his Bible and notebook, pay careful attention during the service, fellowship for a few minutes afterward, then return to his work of being a bicycle taxi operator. Visiting with him in his home, I have been privileged to see a growth and maturity in Christ Jesus evident in Davis and in his home life. A couple of years ago, Davis moved back to his homeplace, in Bukonde, and I haven’t seen him in the Mbale congregation. Yesterday, it was good to see Makwasi Davis again and to see that he has been continuing faithfully in his walk with the Lord as a member of the congregation there. He shook each of our hands, beginning with mine and ending with John Knox’s (our youngest). He then stepped back, drew himself to full attention, gave a military salute, and said “I will see you in heaven.” He then spun on his heels and quickly left the building, drawing a handkerchief from his pocket as he walked away. Each of the “farewells” were hard, but saying goodbye to Davis in that manner gives a picture of the emotional difficulty of the morning.

Yesterday afternoon, at 4:00pm, Meredith and I turned on the radio to hear OPCU pastor Dan Kyabene preaching on the local radio station. Dan gave an absolutely brilliant exposition of Galatians 3:1-9, focusing on justification by faith alone. As one illustration, he said “if you give me a car for free, and then I show up 2 weeks later asking how much money I should pay you for it, you will think I am stupid! If we try to add our own works of righteousness to the full redemption accomplished by Christ Jesus on the cross, we are doing the same thing. We are either foolish or bewitched!”

God, through Dan’s clear preaching of the Gospel, brought immense peace to me yesterday afternoon. I couldn’t have preached a better sermon, but it was much more effective than anything I could have accomplished, because it was coming from a Ugandan to other Ugandans. I realized — “it’s OK that I’m leaving.” Paul, in his farewell sermon in Acts 20, concludes by saying “and now I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up.” (v.32) That is a proper minister’s goodbye. God, and the word of His grace is all that we have ever had to offer the people here in Uganda or anywhere else. God, and the word of His grace is the means by which the ministry has been sustained and built over the years. God, and the word of His grace will continue to build up the church here. Is there a need for more labourers to come alongside the OPCU? I think so. There is a greater and more effective work yet to be done. Do they need me? Absolutely not. God is active, and the word of His grace is all-sufficient. He has purchased the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28) and will protect and strengthen her. Goodbyes are still painful, but in Christ they are profoundly joyous.

Rev. Philip T. Proctor
OPC missionary/evangelist to Uganda

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