The journey to Uganda is a long one. It took well over 30 hours of continuous travel to get there, and we arrived exhausted and with little sleep. Thankfully, after a long drive from the airport, we arrived around 2:30 in the morning and went straight to sleep.
The next morning, Shannon gave our group a tour of the whole compound. Not surprisingly, with over 160 acres, it took the better part of the morning. The compound is buzzing with activity, and it seems that there has been multiple things under construction from the time the ministry began 9 years ago. Shannon explained his vision for S.O.S. to us during this time, and it was inspiring to see someone so passionate and with seemingly no limits to what he wanted to do for God. What excited me most was the Shepherd’s Training Center, which will put students through a 4 year training program to equip them to be effective pastors in their local churches. Shannon plans to bring in men from all over Uganda, and in this way to strengthen the church there in the truth.
The 4 year program will be divided into 3 parts, first focusing on discipleship, then theology, and the leadership. Housing was being built for the students, which will be able to accommodate 80 residents. Those in the last 2 years of their training will be able to have their families live with them as well.
This amazing, very needed ministry is scheduled to begin in the next few years. I had the pleasure of meeting one of the future professors there, who is going over to America for seminary now. His amazing depth of biblical knowledge and love for the Word of God was inspiring and is something this theology starved, confused nation desperately needs.
Sadly, Uganda is plagued by many false teachers who prey on the people there. The people’s desire to be out of their poverty makes them susceptible to false teachers who preach a gospel of health and wealth. These preachers fly over to Uganda to conduct “healing ceremonies” and tell the people that if they sell all that they have and give to their ministry, God will bless them, because God wants them to be rich and healthy. Sadly, these preachers only leave them poorer than before, and they neglect to address the most important issue of any people group, their sin problem, which can only be solved through the gospel. Praise God that Shannon is making it his mission to preach the right gospel to the people of Uganda, and to train Ugandan pastors to do the same!
After touring the whole compound, we spent some time at the Legacy Christian Academy, and ate lunch with the kids. There I met a boy named Junior, who told me it was his dream to go to America some day. It was amazing to talk to a boy who was growing up in such challenging conditions yet had such a passion to learn and succeed in life.
After lunch, I partnered with a couple other people from my group, and we helped some employees of S.O.S. dig holes to build a fence around some of their unused land. This fence was needed to prevent squatters who had been raising livestock on Shannon’s land. After this, we took a walk through the village. It was startling to see how the locals live. Most live in small, one room mud or brick huts, and do their cooking outdoors. People survive by farming and eating whatever they produce, selling the excess at markets and netting under 5 dollars a month in income. It is a very sparse way of life, but the blessings S.O.S. is bringing to the area are apparent.
I’ll discuss how, and the ways I was able to see that first-hand in my next post, which should come Thursday or Friday.