We are both excited and very humbled to be writing you this letter about Uganda. Many of you have faithfully supported us on the previous trips and we are so very grateful. This opportunity would not be possible without your generous help. Thank you!
Greg has been invited to return, this May, to Africa Renewal University to teach a course on Ecclesiology (The “Who, what, where and how” of being a church). We are excited because this year they have asked Anna to teach as well! She will teach Research and Writing Skills, a key course for these pastors as they seek to further their education. We will be going as part of a teaching team sent by Training Leaders International. And we need your help! Read on…
There are many reasons why we do this…
1. It is the one of the most strategic uses of kingdom dollars. By teaching pastors and Christian leaders in the growing nation of Uganda, we are addressing the crisis of leadership that the African Church is facing right now. It is estimated that there is 1 trained Pastor for every 450,000 people outside of the US. The greatest need in Africa is for education….which is something we Americans are rich in and can share freely.
2. Africa Renewal University is one of only a few Christian Universities in the entire nation of Uganda. It attracts students from surrounding nations including Tanzania, the Sudan, Congo, Ethiopia and Rwanda. The University is run mainly by Ugandans and is holistic in its approach to education. Along with quality academics, ARU also teaches farming, entrepreneurialism, and community development courses. The farm attached to the University provides 60% of the food needed for the students and serves as a demonstration project for the students to learn about stewardship. The students leave with practical skills to return and transform their communities on physical and spiritual levels. Teaching leadership and practical skills to pastors propels entire communities out of poverty and into the Kingdom of God.
3. We go not just to teach, but also to connect American students with African students. College students who travel with us on these trips are exposed to cultures and people from other parts of the world. As they engage with the Ugandan students, they grow and return to America broadened and changed.
Teaching these university courses in Uganda is amazing and humbling. The students sitting in the classes at ARU are the equivalent of our large church pastors in the US. They pastor churches that minister to hundreds and thousands of people! They began the work and now need training and education to undergird their ministry. They are also leaders in the Christian development work ongoing in Uganda—staffing hospitals, orphanages, and non-profit ministries. The investment we have made in our personal education can now be multiplied many times over by investing in African nationals who are so thirsty to learn and grow. This is truly a “teach man to fish” ministry!
Greg wrote in his journal last year in Uganda:
As I’m getting to know these students, I hear some incredible stories and it helps me know why I’m doing this. In missions work you can do a lot that feels really good but can be less than strategic. As an American the best way to help the Church in the majority world is to do work behind the scenes. One of the pastors that I’m helping is leading 27 churches. He’s not alone… he has a staff team of 5 people who help! (wow!) When I asked him how many people that represented… he said it was probably around 5,000 people. (did I say, “wow” already?) They mostly meet in buildings — but some of those congregations meet under trees or on foundations that don’t yet have walls built.
He has no theological education… just a Bible and a desire to serve Christ. He’s planted most of those congregations and was so thankful that someone could come and help him as he gets the tools he needs to raise up leaders in his congregation.
We know that we cannot go alone, but only with your help. Would you join us on this trip to educate and expand the church across Africa?
Africa Renewal University does not pay us to come and teach. We need to raise the funds for transportation, materials and housing for the trip. Our need this year is $7,500 for both of us to teach for the two-week term. Would you consider a gift to help strengthen the Church in Africa?
Greg and Anna Smith
PS: If you’d like to see more pictures, video, or information about the trip – head over here!