...the harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few
Greetings from Emmanuel Christian School in the Saviour’s precious Name. We have had a very busy start to this new school year, but we thank the Lord for all His mercies and grace.

When I returned to Uganda mid-January, I was delighted to see the progress on our school kitchen renovations which Mr. Andrew Foster had undertaken during the holidays. The work was completed soon afterwards, and the school kitchen staff are well pleased with their improved environment. Thank you to all who supported this project prayerfully, financially and practically.

Some of the practical assistance came from our own secondary students and from Rev. & Mrs. Jonathan Creane who had come over to help us on the Mission Station during the month of January. Rev. Creane was also heavily involved in the regular church meetings as well as in assisting Pastor Andrew in his ongoing studies. His wife Jayne arranged various activities for the children who were on site, as well as helping in the Sunday School. We really enjoyed their ministry and fellowship.

The teaching staff reported late January to finalise preparations for the new term and it was also encouraging to see a steady stream of new parents looking for admission. Now that things have settled, we have 330 students in total and over 100 boarders this year. We thank God for the tremendous privilege of presenting the Gospel to these children and young people, and pray earnestly that they might be saved.

Our Primary Seven students all passed their Primary Leaving Examinations well and we are delighted that four of them have opted to continue on in our own High School. Our two Form Four boys also succeeded in their ‘O’ level exams and have gone on to pursue ‘A’ level studies at a nearby Senior School. Pray for them as they get used to this new environment.

Early February saw the arrival of Mr. & Mrs. Barry Stewart from Magherafelt and a four-man work team one week later. While Mr. Stewart was supplying the pulpit during the visit, he was also helping Mr. Andrew Foster and the team to construct a septic tank for the new school toilet and shower block. Simple though it might sound, the task involved long hours of hard labour and all the workers are to be commended for their efforts. Their presence and participation in the meetings was also a blessing and Mrs. Ruth Stewart did a fine job of keeping us all fed and watered!

In between times, we also took receipt of our 300 new chairs for the church. This means that the school children can sit for our morning and afternoon assemblies and it has made it much easier for those who speak in these devotional times too. We are grateful to those who raised funds for the new chairs and for those who have supported other projects which are ongoing at this time.

Adding to our excitement in February was the week-long visit of Mr. Andrew Foster’s fiancée, Hannah. Hannah is a lovely, young Christian and we really enjoyed getting to know her. Pray for her and Mr. Foster as they make final arrangements for their wedding this summer and then return to set up home at Emmanuel.

We were glad to have Mr. Colin Maxwell visiting through until Easter time. He was covering some study units with Pastor Andrew on Covenant Theology, Personal Evangelism and the Offices of Christ our Mediator. He also took an active role in the school assemblies and other meetings. Do pray especially for the church services as we see many visitors in under the sound of the Gospel. There is much ignorance of the true Gospel around and we need to seize every opportunity to share the Good News.

Thank you again for all your prayers and practical support. May the Lord bless you richly.
We have had exciting news in the last few weeks regarding our radio station in Liberia. Ever since we started broadcasting from the mission compound in Duazon a year ago, we’ve been using a second-hand transmitter that we were able to source here in Liberia. The used transmitter is very, very old, and actually is pretty much duct taped together. It has served us well, and will be good as a backup, but it is very risky to continue to trust it. One of the dangers in a lawless society is that, if you have to go off the air for some reason (like a broken transmitter), someone may jump on your frequency and take it.

Several months ago, we heard that a Canadian company called Nautel wanted to break into the African market and would give a good discount if we bought a transmitter from them. So we have been praying since then that enough funds would come in for the purchase and for shipping, and we are so thankful to the Lord and to His people that the required amount has now been raised!

The new transmitter is a Nautel VS1 that broadcasts at 1400 watts. We believe our used transmitter was operating at 1125 watts, but we cannot be certain because we are not sure if the technician’s watts meter was working correctly. Another technician said it was only operating at 500 watts, but that was based only on the amount of electrical current it was using. We do expect the new transmitter to have a clearer signal, although ours has been pretty clean. We’ve been told that people can hear our station close to 40 miles away, but we have not been able to confirm that. We know they can definitely hear it 20 miles out.

We have also ordered a sound processor to compress/even out the audio signal. Programs are produced at all different audio levels, and without a compressor, listeners have to turn their radio volume up and down, which (if you’ve ever had to do it) gets very irritating! So we paid for the processor card from Orban – an Orban 5500. We have been compressing all programs manually with Adobe Audition, but that is tedious, time-consuming work.

The transmitter has now been ordered and is on the way. We’re not quite sure how long it will take to reach here, but we would really value your prayers that it will not get lost or stolen enroute. We have no way to insure it because North American companies normally will not take responsibility for items that are sent into developing countries. We’ll keep you updated!

Please pray also that when the transmitter reaches the port in Monrovia, there will be no delays or problems in getting it cleared through customs. We don’t foresee any issues, because Mr. DiCanio applied for and was granted ‘duty-free’ status for the transmitter. But we still value your prayers for every step.

We constantly hear of new people listening to the station. In the last couple of weeks alone, I’ve offered the radio station card to three different people whom I’ve met in taxis or hospitals, only to be told ‘Oh, I know about that station. I already listen to it’ or ‘We already know about it; my husband listens every night!’ These folks told me that they found it just by flicking through the channels.

We also continue to get frequent visitors in church due to the new station, and some of them have returned several times. Thank you so much for your prayer and support for this amazingly effective way of spreading the Gospel and edifying saints.
We are very happy to report that the group of young people, mostly from our Mourne congregation, accompanied by the Rev. Andrew Patterson, visited the work in Spain and were a great blessing. They arrived early on Thursday 27th March in Madrid and stopped off at the Alcorcón church to meet the Rev. John Hanna and his wife Noranna, who very kindly gave us some refreshments. They were shown the church and also the building that they hope to purchase in the near future.

We then left the city of Madrid and headed south to the ancient capital of Toledo, for lunch where we joined Rev. Mark Witte, an American missionary who has moved there in recent years. He works along with the Alcorcón church. He showed us some of the lovely sights and gave us a short history of the power of the Roman Catholic Church there. We then travelled another two and a half hours south east to Beas de Segura and the group eventually got to bed.

After that, each day started with a devotional time after breakfast and then the giving out of tracts. The next day, (Good Friday) we left for Ubeda where we gave out tracts at the Easter Procession. Because of the inclement weather, (it does actually get cold and wet in Spain as some of the young folk were surprised to find out) there was only a fraction of activity there for fear that the images would get wet. We did manage to witness a unique event which consisted of 24 men running up a steep hill, carrying a huge image of the Virgin Mary, weighing 1200 kgs on their shoulders. They then paraded the image around the town, stopping now and again while someone would sing praises to the image.

The group of young foreigners walking around giving out tracts was a real novelty to the Spanish folk, and it was amazing how many tried to converse even though they could not speak the language. Contacts were made in some towns for which we give thanks to the Lord. Another five towns were covered by the distribution of tracts, and I would like to thank the young folk for their help.

We also enjoyed times of recreation, and were able to get a boat ride on the huge reservoir of the Tranco dam, soaking up the amazing handiwork of our great Creator as we travelled through the Natural Park. Click Here  to see some photos of the Trip

The young folk hope to make a video of their experience of this week long trip to Spain. We pray that as they have seen something of the darkness of the Roman Catholic religion, it would speak to their hearts of the great need of this land. Spain has become, in the minds of most British people, just a very popular tourist resort, instead of a land whose people have been held in the most dark superstition for centuries.

May the Lord give us all a fresh vision and burden for this country, and pray that He would move by the power of His Spirit to save many out of idolatry and superstition.
After the minister’s week of prayer in January, we set out to hold a series of Gospel Missions for the New Year. On the 15th January we commenced our outreach work for a two week mission in the meeting house in the centre of the town. Although we were still in the cold and darkness of winter, the meetings were well attended and the Lord blessed the meeting each night with a sense of His presence. We were delighted to see a few unsaved from the area, whom we had visited with, attend some of the meetings. We trust that God will yet draw them to Himself.

On 11th February we commenced a two week gospel mission under our Irish Gospel Mission in Ballymagroarty Co Donegal. These meetings were held in the portable hall that was erected for the preaching of the gospel.
During this mission we had opportunity to do door to door evangelism and preach the gospel in the open air in Donegal and Ballyshannon. Although some nights the attendance was small, we thank the Lord for His blessing around His Word each night.

It was good to renew fellowship with Rev’s Wilson, Robinson and Creane throughout this mission. Pray that God will bless their labours in this area in future days.

On Monday 5th March we began outreach work for a two week mission in Gibson’s Hill mission hall outside Lurgan. I really enjoyed the door to door work in this area; it was great to meet so many saints of God who live in the community.

We also had a number of opportunities to speak to some unsaved and share with them the gospel of Christ.

We thank God for all who supported these missions by their attendance and also by their prayers. Thank you for your help and encouragement.

Do please continue to pray that the Lord will yet bless His word to the salvation of souls in these areas and for our forth coming missions and evangelism in the days ahead.

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
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