...the harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few
After 18 months of planning, a group of 19 from Hebron FPC arrived in Uganda to conduct a Vacation Bible School (VBS) with the children of Emmanuel Christian School, Nsaalu. As a church we have a great interest in the school, with Miss Noreen McAfee one of our own missionaries being the school principal.

Most had never been in Uganda before, so it was with a certain amount of apprehension that we embarked on the 24 hour journey from Ballymoney to the school. However, the welcome we received on arrival soon revived our spirits and there was an immediate bond between the group and the school boarders who were there on the Saturday afternoon to greet us. It was the first time that children had visited the school and there was great excitement for the boarders seeing visitors of their own age.

On the Sunday we were able to experience a normal two hour Sunday morning service, with various groups singing and God’s Word being preached. After a light lunch we took the afternoon Sunday School, after which we walked to the swamp where previously the children had to walk twice a day to carry water. The new borehole, providing safe clean water, has truly been a great blessing for the children and staff there.

Monday morning saw the start of our intensive week-long program. We left our accommodation at 8am each morning and were usually arriving back after 6:45pm, thoroughly exhausted. Each day we conducted five meetings, beginning with morning assembly at 9am for the whole school of 362 pupils, plus staff. We then had three VBS meetings throughout the day with approximately 100 children in each, with the time split between sports, crafts and an hour-long children’s meeting. The day finished with afternoon assembly at 4:30pm. The team worked tirelessly throughout the day and even during the break for lunch went straight back outside to play games and spend time with the children.

Our morning assemblies considered five of the “I Am” statements of Christ, while the VBS meetings dealt with “Sinners Jesus met and Saved.” A booklet was produced which the children could keep, with notes on the messages and a page to colour in for each day, which was judged, and prizes awarded at the end of the week.

On the Monday afternoon we gave out a pencil case to each child, containing a pencil, sharpener, rubber and a few colouring pencils. On the Friday afternoon we had another pack for each child with a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, flannel & cloth handkerchief. Each distribution brought cheers of excitement and joy from the children, and they were very appreciative of these simple gifts. Saturday was the first ever Emmanuel Sports Day - we introduced them to sack races, potato & spoon and three-legged races, finishing off with an obstacle course. It was a lot of fun for all.

God was pleased to bless our labours in a very special way – over the week, 75 children professed faith in Christ as their Saviour. On the Tuesday afternoon, eight children waited behind and were pointed to the Lord. The Wednesday was a truly memorable day, with 44 children from three classes putting their trust in Christ at once, with four more coming back in to talk to us after the afternoon meeting. There were more children saved on Thursday, Friday & Sunday. Even on the following Monday when Rev Park & Rev Brown arrived to have some Mission Board meetings there were three boys waiting to see them and a further two girls later that day, all of whom professed faith in Christ.

Our young people have been truly blessed to witness an extraordinary move of God. Some sat in and listened while children were pointed to Christ. They cried tears of joy as they witnessed God saving precious souls. The encouragement it has been to our own souls has been immeasurable – God has answered our prayers exceeding abundantly above all that we dared to ask.

The final Lord’s Day was a Parent’s Meeting for the VBS, with local people invited to come in. A lot of hard-work was required by the church to prepare a special meal to cater for all who came. It was the largest crowd ever to attend Emmanuel, estimated at 450, with most squeezed into the church while others listened from outside. Children sat in and around the pulpit and those at the desk had very little room to move. It was a memorable meeting to be part of.

When we came to say our goodbyes on Tuesday, the school had a special assembly with the children singing special pieces, finishing off with “God be with you till we meet again.” A genuine love had formed between the team and the children and staff of Emmanuel. Many tears were shed as we hugged and moved slowly towards our bus though the crowd.

It was a week none of us will ever forget. We were privileged to watch a move of God’s Spirit in Emmanuel School, a move of the sort we had previously only read about.

Our love for the children, staff, missionaries and the people of Uganda grew over the week. The journey towards the airport was a mixture of joy over what God had done, and sadness that we were leaving. Now back at home, we have a new appreciation of what the missionary team in Emmanuel do, week in, week out. We understand a little more of the difficulties they face, the work that they do, the sacrifices they make, and the vast mission field that surrounds them. Our prayers are more focussed on those needs, and the names we mention we now count as friends. Click Here to see more photos

We must say a word of appreciation to the missionary team there for all their help in organising the week and looking after us each day, keeping us well hydrated and fed! Their daily routine was completely messed-up during the time we were there, so to Rev Stephen & Ruth, Andy & Hannah, and of course Noreen, we say a huge thank-you, and assure you all we will continue to pray for you and the work at Emmanuel.

Samuel Johnston
From July 15th to 21st we had our national children and teenagers’ camp. This has been a great year, as we had 72 children attend the camp, which is more children than ever before. Their ages go from 7 to 16 years and we arranged them into two groups – children from 7 to 11 years, and teenagers from 12 to 16 years.

This year another woman from the church I and took care of the teenagers. That was a total of 39 teenagers under our care! A week can seem much longer than normal under such conditions! Nevertheless, it was a great time and we enjoyed every moment. It has been a great blessing to work with all these youngsters, sharing the gospel with them. We had many opportunities to talk to many of them one on one, answer their many questions, and proclaim the gospel of our Saviour.

Apart from several other Bible studies and activities, I preached to them every day. The topic for this year was ‘Abraham, God’s friend’. Click here for more photos

Many of them are not saved. Please pray for all of these children and teenagers, that the Lord will touch their hearts and will save them at a young stage of their lives. Some of them do not come from a Christian background and their parents are not saved either. If the Lord saved them, that would be a great opportunity to reach their parents with the gospel.
On the 26th July we had an encouraging visit from The Morrow family. Mr Raymond Morrow is a third year student at the Whitefield College of the Bible, and belongs the our Aughnacloy congregation. With a burden for the Roman Catholic people, he was encouraged to come and spend three weeks in Spain and see the work first hand.

Not knowing the Spanish language limited him in what he could do, but he, with his son Rueben, gave out tracts in four different towns, in Cortijos Nuevos where the church is, Beas de Segura where I live, Orcera and Hornos. All were covered with Gospel literature and also some good conversations were had with folk as they sat out on the street enjoying the cool of the evening. He also accompanied me to the book table at the local market in Beas de Segura and Cortijos Nuevos. Raymond also took one of the mid-week meetings and afterwards we all enjoyed a delicious Bar-b-que laid on by the folk who lives in Siles.

July is not the greatest time to visit our area because the heat can be quite suffocating. Some people think it must be wonderful to live in the sun, but when you can’t get to sleep at night because of the heat, it can get quite exhausting. Raymond is a hands-on type, and helped us fix a leak in the shower, repair the back door of the van, and cleaned the inside of the double glazed window between the kitchen and the church which had been steamed up for years. All this work was very much appreciated, and our congregation here in the mountains of Spain will be remembering him in prayer.

Please pray that the Lord will help our brother Morrow with the last year of his Whitefield training and that he will know the Lord’s guiding Hand upon him, to lead him to where he should labour in the future.

Thank you one and all for remembering us here in south eastern Spain. Please continue to pray for us as we continue trying to spread the gospel message in this corner of the Lord’s vineyard, and that we would see the church grow through the salvation of souls and the Christians being built up in their faith.
The Youth Council team have been in Liberia for the past two weeks to help with the work among the children and to run the annual Vacation Bible School in Monrovia. Jonathan Storey and Elizabeth Edwards arrived a few weeks earlier and the remaining six team members arrived on 22nd July. They assisted with a lot of preparation for VBS and helped with the annual Games Day on July 26th which is Liberia's Independence Day. VBS began on Monday 29th July, with almost 160 children attending. Please pray that these young souls will be touched by the Word of God.
On Wednesday 3rd of July Rev David McMillan, minister of Armagh Free Presbyterian Church, travelled out to Uganda for a week to visit Emmanuel Christian School. Rev McMillan travelled to Uganda in the company of Mr Alastair Hamilton - treasurer of the Mission Board.

The trip was the repeat of a journey that Rev McMillan and Alastair had commenced together last year on 23rd April. On that occasion Rev McMillan took seriously ill at the door of Terminal One of Dublin airport experiencing cardiac arrest. Rev McMillan’s life was saved that day as a result of the swift response of both Alastair, who administered CPR, and the airport Paramedics with their Defibrillator programme.

This year when Rev McMillan and Mr Hamilton commenced their journey to Uganda from Dublin airport they met again some of the same Paramedics. The meeting had been arranged by Alastair and Mr Gerry Keogh, the Chief Fire Officer at Dublin airport who commenced the Defibrillator programme there in 2003. The meeting afforded Rev McMillan the opportunity to thank the Paramedics for saving his life, in person. Rev McMillan and Alastair also gave small gifts of appreciation to the Paramedics and they spent a very interesting and informative time over a cup of coffee talking through the events of that very significant day in April 2018. Rev McMillan also had the opportunity to hold the portable Defibrillator that was used to restart his heart. He is one of twenty eight lives to be saved by the airport’s Defibrillator programme in the last sixteen years. Click here to see more photos

Rev McMillan is deeply thankful to all the staff and Paramedics at Dublin airport whose labours were instrumental in saving his life and also to Consultant Cardiologist Mr Jonathan McGuinness and his team at the Mater Hospital in Dublin who carried out a double heart bypass operation on him, just four hours after taking cardiac arrest.

Rev McMillan is so greatful that the Lord had the right people in the right place at the right time. He said, ‘I couldn’t have got through that whole experience without all the love and care of my wife Roberta and children Ruth and Matthew and their spouses William and Emma. I owe so much to my friends Alastair Hamilton and Revs Ian Harris and John Gray for all they did to look after me when I first took ill: I will never forget that. The love and support of my congregation in Armagh was such a blessing to us as a family and also of the wider Free Presbyterian Denomination’.
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