Heading to Africa!

Anna and I are heading to Uganda this summer to help teach at Gaba Bible Institute!! We are so excited!! And you can help! Read our recent letter to friends and family, below for more information… and if you want to support the project, click here.

There is a new crisis in Africa everyday.  Poverty… AIDS… orphans… famine… corruption… war…

But in the midst of these challenges there is a great crisis that is going unnoticed… a crisis in LEADERSHIP.  This is a crisis that the Church in Africa is facing right now. From misuse of power to false teaching, even a false gospel at times… Africa, and most especially the church in Africa, is desperate for Christian leaders to rise up. It is estimated that there is 1 formally trained Pastor for every 450,000 people outside of the US.  That’s a crisis of leadership – and a crisis we can meet together!

This May, I have been asked to come and step into the gap of this crisis in the country of Uganda, Africa.  I will not be going alone.  Anna and I, in partnership with Training Leaders International, a group of 3 other pastors, and 5 college students, have been asked to come and teach theology at Gaba Bible Institute. This is an exciting opportunity to teach at a seminary with over 150 students from 45 different tribes in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Sudan, Eritrea and Kenya who are being equipped as leaders to transform their community and their society. Together we will be teaching Biblical Interpretation, the Life of Christ, Pastoral Counseling, and my specific task is to teach the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation.

Bill Hybels said, “The local church is the hope of the world, and its future rests primarily in the hands of its leaders.”  If you can train a leader you can transform a church… if you can transform a church you can transform a community… and if you can transform a community you can transform a country. Truly, Uganda needs Christian leaders to rise up to share the compassion of Christ and the gospel of hope in a society that is desperately longing for transformation.

The transformative power of this ministry is the pairing of a desperate need with specific tools, namely, education.  We are excited because this leadership and pastoral training has been asked for BY the Ugandans! We are not going to Africa because we think we know what they need. We have been specifically requested to come and partner with this Ugandan school and to bring formal education to pastors who are already in the field. One of our great privileges in the West is our incredible educational system. We have the resources to be able to require a master’s degree from almost all of our pastors. Not so in Africa! In Africa, pastors are leading churches before they have the opportunity for formal education. And once they’ve begun growing a church – they seek out desperately needed education so they can keep growing not only their church… but their community.

Nelson Mandela once said: “Africa is beyond bemoaning the past for its problems… We have a new generation of leaders who know that Africa must take responsibility for its own destiny, that Africa will uplift itself only by its own efforts in partnership.”

It is this partnership that we invite you into. An African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. The Ugandans have requested a partnership that provides formal theological education for pastors who will transform their communities. And we are excited for this opportunity to use our gifts to “equip the saints for the work of ministry” However, in our strength we simply can’t go alone! We need your help to go far… and to see God’s impact in training leaders.

With that in mind will you please pray for us?

  • Pray that I will be able to adequately prepare to teach the books of Daniel and Revelation
  • Pray that we would have cultural sensitivity as we teach in a cross-cultural context
  • Pray that we would stay healthy and have safe travels
  • Pray that the Citadel cadets will be transformed by their exposure to Christians in this country.

As I mentioned earlier, we are going together with four Citadel cadets and one College of Charleston student on this trip. I am excited to bring them along so that they can see the vast gap between their world and Africa. This keystone event will allow them to see what God is doing in the world and return with fresh eyes to impact the Citadel ministry for years to come. Two of the students are graduating seniors, one going into the Navy and one going into business.  I believe this trip will lay the foundation for the rest of their lives as they will be forever changed by Africa.

In addition to your prayers, we are also asking for financial support to help fund this important ministry. We can’t go alone – but together we can go far! Anna and I need $3,500 each to cover expenses for these three weeks of ministry.  This includes airfare and all expenses in the country so we are not a burden to the local church people.  If everyone receiving this letter were to donate $100 we would meet this financial need in a short time.  Would you pray about standing with us in this crisis of leadership to bring theological training to Uganda, Africa?

If you would like to support us financially, you can  send a check made out to St. Alban’s Chapel. Please write “Africa trip” on the memo line. You can also donate online here. All gifts are tax deductible and a gift of any size is greatly appreciated.  Thank you in advance for standing with us in support of Christians in Uganda, Africa.

If you have any questions about our trip, prayer details, or financial support issues, that you’d like to discuss, please call us at 843-608-8875 or email us at greg At holycross dot net.  I would love to talk about this with you.

Blessings, as we go together!

The Rev. Greg Smith                          Anna Goodwin Smith

PS – I will do my best to record the lectures and make my notes available for you to enjoy once we get back! I hope to collect a lot of stories and anecdotes from Uganda that will help all of us understand the Hope we have in God setting things right as seen in the book of Revelation!

 

PSS – Please join us for the Benefit for Africa concert on April 15th, 2012.  This will be a time to hear from the students who are going on the trip and enjoy some beautiful music as well.  We’d love to see you there!