I would say that for many of you, today is your first opportunity to meet Bishop Alex and Millie Ojera. They have become part of our church family since our first team went to Uganda in 2007. From my recollection, their last visit to Peninsula was in April 2018. We are a very different church since those days.
I first met Alex and Millie (maybe just Alex) in the parking lot of the airport in Entebbe. It was warm and humid, but he was so happy to meet our team. Eight of us had arrived just to scope things out. We were there to find out what was happening through the ministry of that church in Bombo and to oversee the constructions of a water well on church grounds.
The hand-pump well has since been replaced with an electric pump, but the well still meets the needs of the church and broader community. We really didn’t do much else that week. We spent half our time driving back and forth from Kampala to Bombo on a horrible road. We distributed mosquito nets to some folks who lived right around the church. We met lots of people and enjoyed sweet worship with them.
As we were reviewing what we discovered that week at our hotel with Alex and Millie, I asked how could we help them in their ministry? Church to church, could we do something to help them build their influence in the community?
The answer was something I wasn’t expecting, nor was the answer something I was prepared to do. But that is a long story for another day. Out of that moment has come 13 medical missions. But more important that all of those missions, what came from that moment was a deep friendship and partnership in ministry. We learned to love the people of their church. We have watched them sacrifice deeply to care of the needs of those outside their church and to faithfully share the love and Good News of Jesus.
They are an amazing church with a far reach into their community. They live hard lives but do so with a rich faith and deep joy. Because of our partnership, we have looked at life and missions through a fresh lens. It has been good for us and for our impact all around the world.
Our cultures are very different, but our Savior is the same. Our outlook on life is very different, but we are both guided by the same Book. Take some time this morning to meet the Ojeras and encourage them. You will be blessed as I have been over the years. May we be an encouragement to them today to keep running the race.