...the harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few
So send I you, my strength to know in weakness, My joy in grief, my perfect peace in pain
To prove my power, my grace, and my promised presence:  So send I you, eternal fruit to gain.

The words of this hymn continue to be in my thoughts as I reflect on our missionary project to build a septic tank for the proposed new toilet and shower block under the direction of Miss Noreen McAfee and Mr Andy Foster at Emmanuel Christian Church and School in Uganda. In February 2018 a team from Calvary Free Presbyterian Church in Magherafelt, flew from Dublin to Istanbul and then on to Entebbe followed by a three-hour road trip to Nsaalu. The team included Barry and Ruth Stewart, Denver McGuckin, Robert Bell, Kyle Wenlock and Robert Fleming.

Barry and Ruth left a week before the rest of the team, to meet up with missionaries at the mission station and to take the Lord’s Day services while Rev Miller was at home in Northern Ireland. Barry also preached at the prayer meetings, the boarders Bible studies and morning assemblies, and Ruth spoke at Sunday schools and staff Bible studies. When the team arrived, they also helped at the services with Kyle giving the children’s address at some of the morning assemblies and others testifying.

In advance of the building work commencing, Barry built a fenced compound to separate the four cattle from the play area which the Ballymoney team erected. Barry was assisted in this work by a local man – George, and two of the students who had finished their studies at the school - Elijah and January. These men, along with pastor Andrew, also helped with the main building project. In preparation for the arrival of the rest of the team, bunk beds and mosquito nets were arranged in adjacent living quarters and final arrangements made for the delivery of building materials.

When the rest of the team arrived, they were warmly greeted by children swarming around them and treating them like royalty. As work commenced, we very quickly realised that the building of this septic tank in the hot conditions, with very little by way of machinery, was going to take a lot of sweat and effort. At this point I must say that the Lord blessed us with favourable weather for the task, with most days having light cloud cover and at times a pleasant breeze. Even with that, we still consumed litres of water every day.

The pit for this new tank had already been excavated while Rev Creane was on site. This had been achieved by hiring a thirty-year-old digger which had to be brought on the three-hour journey from Kampala. We then got to work and tied all the steelwork in the base by hand and mixed and poured the concrete on Friday - the first day. On Saturday, the team transferred the building blocks down onto the newly laid floor of the tank, ready to build first thing on Monday morning.

The team, along with Noreen, Andy and his fiancée Hannah (who was visiting for a week) travelled in two vehicles to the local town – Masaaka. It was an experience, travelling along the local mud-baked roads before joining the main road that goes all the way to the Congo. It is a real sight to see the roads lined with stalls, and motor bikes all around, carrying everything under the sun - from a family of five to a coffin!!

Sunday was a day of prayer, worshipping and rest. Then, Monday to Friday, from dawn to dusk, the team worked with great unity and purpose, enjoying many laughs. At the end of each day, our very tried bodies were revived a little with a cold shower and as much dinner as you could eat, thanks to the cooking skills of Ruth, Noreen and Hannah, and sometimes assisted by the men! Each evening we would plan for the following day and catch up on email and whatsapp until the solar batteries went low and the electricity went out. Nobody needed rocking to sleep.

Day by day we saw the walls come up and then on Saturday, we finished this part of the build with beams shuttered and the steel encased with concrete to allow the toilets cubicles to be built on top. As the mixer was stopped for the last time, a big cheer went up from the team. We were all tired but full of a sense of fulfilment on seeing the completion of our phase of this big project.

Click here to see a video report from the team
Click here to see more photos of the project

We can all tell of how the Lord dealt with us in a personal way – before we went, while we were there, and now as we bring that experience back home with us. We thank the Lord for His mercy and blessing during our work trip and pray that all that has been done, will be to the glory of our great God and Saviour. Please continue to pray for the work at Nsaalu, that many souls will be brought into the Kingdom.

Barry Stewart
Web Design & Development: Bann Computing