Akigyeno School Grand Opening, 1/31/18

On January 31, we had a grand opening celebration for Akigyeno School.  The school wasn't completely finished yet but we wanted to be able to have the team from America here to participate in the festivities.   (THERE ARE PICTURES FROM THIS DAY AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST)

As with most things in Uganda, they say it's going to start at 10 am...I think we started at 1 pm.  Haha!  The team even assisted with raising the tents.  We are so grateful for the team that God put together.  It was an amazing experience to share this day with them that we've all worked so hard for.

The event consisted of many speeches, one from myself included.  Most government officials were there from the district and region.  They all gave a speech.  But the best part was our Ezekiel 37 sponsored students singing a few songs and even performed a 6 minute traditional Karamoja dance which was so great!  They worked so hard preparing for this day and they were so proud to be there with us to celebrate.  Not only did they sing and dance but they also were integral with cleaning the entire grounds and cooking for everyone who attended.  The Ezekiel 37 children will not attend Akigyeno School (as they are all older) but the pride that they carried that day with regard to the school is truly something special.  I don't think I could be more proud of those children.  

We estimate that there were around 1,000 people in attendance for the grand opening.  Everyone was so happy and excited for the school opening (and the free meal)!  The Kayepas village did a traditional dance as well to show their appreciation for the school.  Amanda even jumped in on the dance! 

It was a surreal day.  A vision coming to reality.  When God says Yes, nobody can say No.  He called us to this project and He has provided the way.  Thank you for all who have responded to what God has called you to do!

This is from part of my speech...I was long winded but when you have an opportunity to talk to 1,000 people at once including government officials and several villages, you have to get it all in.

I’ve been coming to Kayepas village for almost 8 years now.  When we come to the village there are certain children we see each time we come.  We have seen them grow from 2 years old up to now 9 years old.  They are around whether school is in session or not.  That had been on our hearts for many years. The concern that these children are here in the village instead of learning in school.  All of that changed in April 2016 when Loziro stood and said “Do you see all of these children?  They should be in school but they are not because there isn’t one for them”.  The days of the Karamajong being fearful and not valuing education are over!  The day has come where you are putting your children and their future first.  The day has come when you have put more value on education than allowing your children to stay at home idle or in the bush with the animals.

In the Bible, Jeremiah chapter 29 verses 11-14 - The prophet Jeremiah tells us a message from God.  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon Me, and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity…”

When we came 8 years ago, the animals were weak and thin.  Now they are fat and strong and in great numbers.  Why is that?  The reason is many of you have been turning your hearts and lives over to Jesus.  Turning away from the ancestral ways of sacrifices and witchdoctors.  Jesus is the only one who can bring you out of your captivity as we read in the book of Jeremiah.  Turn to the Lord and he will bring you out of the captivity of poverty, hunger, and thirst.

The Lord wants all of us to be at peace and to have a good future.  For too many years the Karamajong have followed the traditional ways of living.  Marrying many women, drinking the local brew, making sacrifices with witchdoctors.  These things are not pleasing to God.  But God loves all of us and He can forgive us for the things we have done that are not pleasing to Him.  He wants you to come to Him and turn from these evil things. 

So many people tell us the history of those rocks.  The blood that was shed there many years ago.  But you are living now.  History defined the lives of those who lived during that time.  What have you learned from those people who killed the white missionary?  What have you done differently than them?  You are still sacrificing animals and other things to a god that is not the one that created you.  A god that is not the one who created this earth that we live on.  A god that did not create the sky and the sun, the moon, the stars, the trees, the grass, and everything that you see.  Have your sacrifices changed your situation?  Is the land still dry?  Is there still lack of food?  Is there still lack of water? 

The God that we know….the one who sent his only son, Jesus, onto this earth to teach us how to live our lives.  The one who was nailed to a cross to die for our sins.  The one who is always forgiving, always loving, always merciful is the one in which we serve.  Our God is the one who says if you turn to Him, He will hear you.  He is the one who says if you leave your evil ways He will heal your land.  Now is the time!  Turn away from those old practices and start worshipping and praising the God who loves you and wants to spend eternity with you.  There is going to be church services held at this school building on Sundays.  Pastor Simon Akol is going to be the pastor of this place.  It is time for you to commit your lives to Jesus.  The only one who can bring you out of the captivity of your situations that you have been struggling with for all of these generations.

I can tell you that it is not easy for us to leave America and come here to Karamoja.  It is so hot, dry, and dusty.  Electricity, food and water are limited.  All of these things you know.  But we come because God has sent us.  We would not be here today if it weren’t for us being obedient enough to say “Yes Lord we will go”.  This team of people are all people who have been here before and love Karamoja so much.

Ezekiel 37 Ministry has been sent here by God to show you His love.  The love that only He can provide.  It was not our idea to come to Karamoja or to Kayepas.  But as His word says He has a plan for each of us.  His plan was to send us here, to this exact place, at this exact time, to say that Jesus Loves You!  He loves you so much that He sent us from over 12,000 kilometers away to tell you that!  It is time for you to turn to Jesus and turn away from the old ancestral ways.