Greeting

Its important to the Bamasaaba

greeting in a new culture can present hazards

Greeting is of ultimate social importance. Everyone likes to be acknowledged.  Greeting is especially important to the Bamasaaba. Yet, people must recognize each other within socially and culturally appropriate structures. These rules within a culture are often unspoken.  People from a specific culture operate within their social norms instinctively.

A child watches her mother greet other children, strangers, younger or older women, men who are relatives and many other types of people.  Later, when the  child attempts to greet people on her own, her mother may provide the words for the child to mimic.  The child feels approval when she has greeted appropriately.  Disapproval causes her to reevaluate her words and actions in order to do better next time.  Finally when the child grows up, she is greets in a culturally appropriate way without conscious thought or decision.

Second Nature

One of the things that makes you a foreigner to Masaabaland is you did not grow up with these social and cultural norms.  In fact, you grew up with a totally different set of guidelines as to what is appropriate or in appropriate in any given situation.  As with many cultural difference between Western countries and Masaabaland, you will find opposites apply. The very thing which is most offensive in your home country is the most polite course of action in your new home.  Let’s take eye contact as an example.

In places like the U.S. or U.K., direct eye contact is a sign of respect, truth and friendliness.  If a person looks down while answering your question, you automatically assume the person is lying or at the very least, not forthcoming.  Yet in your new culture, making direct eye contact, especially with a person who is older or of higher personal rank, is very disrespectful.

So as with all cultural norms, greeting is more than just getting the words right.  An entirely new set of ideas, customs, and social behaviors in Bamasaaba society await.  In fact, in order for you to learn to greet appropriately, you must take a conscious and deliberate approach.  It may seem odd to rehearse what others are able to do spontaneously, but that is exactly what is required.

Respect Looks Different

The first difference you will notice is women and girls kneel down when greeting to show respect.  While a female foreigner is not expected will kneel, she should at least sit while greeting a man who is seated.

A hand shake often accompanies both welcome and farewell salutations; even among people who know each other.  Hold the inside of your own right elbow while shaking hands for an additional sign of respect.

It is fine to call out a greeting if a friend is at a distance.  For example, it is permissible to voice a salutation from the path to someone standing in their own yard. Technically the greeter on the path should stop walking while the greeting takes place.  In an open place, such as the path, the first one to notice their friend may initiate the greeting.  However, if you visit a person in their home, you should wait for them to greet you first.  In fact, the host first welcomes a visitor while outside, then again after seating the visitor.

Relatives By Marriage

There are very definite taboos concerning greeting a relative by marriage.  For instance, a son-in-law and his mother-in-law are walking toward each other on the same path.  If he wants to give her money, he will simply leave it there on the ground and walk away.  He does not make eye contact or greet her.  She will pick up the money and continue on her journey without a word of acknowledgement.  Another example is: a father-in-law will never shake hands with his daughter-in-law.  The uncle of a woman’s husband may not sit near her, even in a public taxi.

Stay Positive

Generally speaking, in both English and Lumasaaba, the response to a greeting is standard regardless of the situation.  We are and always will be fine, even if our house has just burned down. In the same way, Bamasaaba cultural etiquette only permits a positive stock response.   After the initial greeting one may expound on their less than ideal situation if the relationship and situation allows.

Audio Bible in Endangered Languages Redeems Cultures

Oral Cultures Hear God's Word

Open Chapel International records the Bible in endangered languages of Uganda. This helps supplement the written Bible translation with an audio recording of the text.  The power of God’s word redeems cultures.

Reclaim Endangered Cultures

God created the universe by his Word. Only the power to the Word of God can bring true transformation to His fallen creation. Our goal is to bring the Word of God to as many tribes as possible, in as many ways as possible.  This means endangered cultures will be redeemed back to God’s original purpose for their tribe.

Many Uses for Audio Bible

We proclaim the message of Salvation through audio recordings of Scripture.  Audio Bibles are useful in the following ways:

  • Download entire Bible as audio mp3 recording free of copyright
  • Cornerstone content for endangered language library
  • Gold standard for language preservation
  • Prepare radio ready broadcasts of Scripture
  • Increase readership of print Bibles
  • Reclaim endangered cultures back to Jesus Christ

We’ve Got Your Back

We speak the local languages and understand the challenges of each culture. Without a doubt, your partnership with Open Chapel International means you get to reach the nations for Christ.  As a matter of fact, we’d love to help you fulfill the call of God on your life.  Above all else, when we work together God gets all the glory.

Uganda Christmas Question

Okay, so this Christmas season is not all I had hoped for.  Why am I surprised?  I’ve lived in Uganda a very long time.  I know there is and never will be the traditional Christmas clues.  No Christmas carolers, no snow, no hot chocolate before a cozy fire.  No gifts under the tree, no Christmas morning.  I’m like Charlie Brown, I always feel just a little disappointed.

I know all this very well.  Just like I knew there would be no turkey and pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, no hotdogs or fireworks on the Fourth of July and no extra traffic on Labor Day weekend.  It’s just the way things are. It’s called living in another country.  So why am I doing this to myself again this year?

Continue Reading . . .

Missionary Partnership Gift

Open Chapel International depends on tax-deductible gifts from interested individuals like you.

Whether you make a special gift or become one of our monthly supporters, your financial partnership is greatly appreciated.  Read more about our mission.

Shem and Catherine Mabongor, the leaders of Open Chapel International, are missionaries sent out from Christian Health Service Corps. CHSC is a registered 501(c) nonprofit organization. You may donate a partnership gift to Shem and Catherine through Christian Health Service Corps’ website using your credit card or mail a check.

 

Have a Question?  Just Ask!

We would love to answer any questions you may have about giving to the work of Open Chapel International.  Please use the form below to reach out.

Contact Us (Full)

Contact Us (Full)

Hate forms, give us a call: +256-774-570-183

Pray with Us

Prayer is the work every Believer has been assigned.  No matter what your economic status, age or location – you can make a difference through prayer!

Your prayers for us and other missionaries are a vital element of our work.  There are many obstacles to carrying out the call to pray, but few of them stand up in the light of the eternal significance of prayer.  Here are our areas of focus in prayer:

  1. YOU – First of all, let us know how we can pray for you.  Prayer is our priority. God’s power is released mightily as we commit ourselves to praying effectively. After all, who couldn’t use more of God’s power? We commit to pray with and for you.
  2. Health –  They say in medicine, “When you hear hoof beats think horses not zebras.”  That means than when a child in the U.S. or Europe gets a fever, the doctor is not thinking of a tropical disease but it is more likely just a common cold.  But here in Uganda, every time one of our children falls ill, malaria always at the forefront of our minds.  There are also skin rashes and intestinal worms that defy our ability to describe here.  But once you’ve seen the maggot of a mango fly crawl out of your skin you will never forget it.  Please pray for the health of our family.
  3. Journey mercies – Pastor Shem Mabongor travels to many areas of Uganda on a regular basis for prayer missions.  Catherine must hazard trips to town for shopping and finances.  We do not have our own car so he must use public vehicles.  The “taxis” are cracker box minivan that look older than we are.  It is always jam-crammed with 22 people or more, when it says very clearly on the side of the van it is only meant to carry 14 passengers.  The roads are very bad and driving habits are combative at best.  Motor cycles weave in and out of traffic, large semis carry flammable liquids at tremendous speeds and minivan taxis ignore traffic laws.  Please pray for everyone in the ministry to be safe on the roads of Uganda.
  4. Safety  –  There is a constant spiritual force that works against us in the physical realm.  Just a few examples of how to pray in this area: pray for the safety of our children as they walk 20 minutes to school, for our animals to be healthy, our possessions to be safe from thieves.  The Lord can lead you how to pray for us in other ways in the area of safety.
  5. Finances – We long to make the most of every opportunity to minister the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  But many times we have to wait to act because we simply do not have the money to move out and push forward.  You may believe that where God calls, He provides.  That is true!  Please pray for our finances, even if you are not able to give – you are able to pray for others to give.
  6. Effectiveness – God looks at productivity differently than the average Christian.  He measures success based on our faithfulness to His calling; how we are in relationship with Him.  Look at the story of Moses. He had always used his staff to carry out the signs and wonders God would have him perform. He used it during the plagues the Lord brought on Egypt. And it was his staff that he used to part the Red Sea. Even in the desert God told him to strike the rock to bring forth water for the people to drink. But later when the children of Israel needed water again, God used a different method. God told Moses to speak to the rock, but Moses disobeyed God and hit the rock.  He relied on his staff that had always worked for him in the past but this time, it kept him out of the Promised land.  We don’t want to lead from experience or our own strength.  Pray for us to be effective in the strength and wisdom of Almighty God for the Glory of His name.

You see – the prayer list is not too long.  But it needs serious effort on your part.  When we ask you to pray, we are not joking!  It is a serious, vital business.

Prayer Request

Missionary Care Package

Every missionary loves to get care packages from home.  It is a great way to reach out to us and build a bridge of love.

It’s almost as fun for you to pick out things and send a parcel as it is for us to receive it!

 

We love to receive packages and the postal system here is very reliable and safe.  You can expect it to reach us in 6-8 weeks.  Let us know when you have posted.  This allows us to check our box and inform you when your package arrives.  Uganda does not use the ZIP code system so don’t worry about that.

Need ideas of what to send?

Your friendship means so much to us.  Sending a package is a great idea to show your love.  Thank you for your interest in items we may need.  We have listed some gift ideas that are welcome anytime of the year. But first…

Establish a Postage Budget

It’s easy to spend too much money on postage. Who doesn’t love a great big package?  But therein lies the rub: While it’s easy to shell out coins on goodies, it’s also the easiest place to over load your budget at the Post Office. The secret is to make a package that is not too heavy where every item counts.  Check in advance how much it costs to send an average sized package Air Mail to Uganda.  This will help you have a budget in mind.  And remember: Make a weight limit and then stick to it!

Mail Early

Not only will the items you send improve your mood, they will also enhance our life here.  But if you are targeting a specific season or birthday you need to mail the package early.  It takes around 6 – 8 weeks for us to receive a package and even longer around Christmas time.  Great stuff for the kids to open with plenty of time to spare – It’s a win-win situation.

Always Safe!

We have never had a package stolen, lost or mishandled by the Post Office here.  Even government duty is rarely a problem unless there are many of the same item that they think we may be trying to sell in a shop/store or expensive electronic items.  Everything you send will arrive safe and sound.

Ideas of What to Include in a Package

Batteries – Size AA & AAA

Theses are always helpful and a real priority item for any package.

     

Meat!

Tyson makes a nice vacuum packed bag of chicken (this lets you save weight on the can) but there is also tinned meat like Spam or Hormel Beef and Gravy.  (Of course you cannot send frozen items.)  We mix it with rice to stretch it into a whole meal for us. Include Bullion cubes for an extra treat.

Peanut Butter

This is a great thing to send as it is high protein and doesn’t require cooking (i.e. firewood).  We like both Jif and Skippy brand but we think organic is yucky.  Some people have sent peanut powder but it spoiled quickly after being mixed with water.

Off! Insect Repellent

Malaria is a real problem here and even though we sleep under mosquito nets we still need repellent in the evenings.  We like Off! brand best.

Halls Cough Drops – Honey or Cherry

Cough and flu still find us even at the equator.  These are so helpful, especially for the children.

Quaker Oatmeal Packets – Maple & Brown Sugar, Apples & Cinnamon

Throw out the big box and just stuff a bunch in a zip-lock bag.  We love them for a quick snack.

Barnes & Noble Nook Gift Card

A spectacular gift for Catherine who was given a Nook for her birthday.  It is an e-reader from Barnes & Noble.  A gift card allows her to buy books online and down load them in Uganda.

Velveeta Macaroni and Cheese

This brand is great because we don’t need to add milk or butter.  Get the family size!

Band-Aids – Assorted Sizes

Get the tough ones in an assortment of sizes, even the huge ones come in handy.  Throw in some Neosporn anti-bacterial cream for good measure.

     

Candy – Juicy Fruit, Peppermint Rounds, Snickers Fun Size

We are not picky but these are our favorites.  Throw them in if you have extra space.

T-Shirts – crew neck, short sleeved

These are so easy to send.  Our sizes are easy too!
Shem – Large (bright colors – reds, yellow, blues)
Catherine – Medium (dark green, navy blue, charcoal, deep brown)
Kakai – kids 10 (bright colors)
Kana & Andy – kids 8 (bright colors)

Simple Ball Point Pens

Nothing fancy here.  We sure go through these.  Black or blue is best.

Shampoo with Conditioner

With most people in Uganda not sharing Catherine’s hair type, good shampoo with conditioner is hard to find.

Well, that should be enough to get you started!

We hope this list gives you some good ideas about what to send.  You can email us for specific birthday ideas.  Let us know when you post the package so we can be looking for it on this end.  Here’s our mailing address again.

 

Something Else?

Perhaps you have something else in mind to send.  You can contact us using the form below to find out if we will be charged duty tax or if it is appropriate for our area.

Contact Us (Full)

Contact Us (Full)

Hate forms, give us a call: +256-774-570-183

Let There Be Light

Light has finally dawned on the Bamasaaba.

The full translation of the complete Bible in Lumasaaba was completed in December 2016.  After surmounting many obstacles, we finally began the audio recording of the Lumasaaba Old Testament.  It is absolutely amazing to feel the powerful anointing of God in the studio as Rev. Milton Eridad Shissa reads.  The tongue twisting words and phrases float lightly off his tongue.  Of course Rev. Shissa has spent the last 13 years of his life working on the translation.  So when it came time to read for audio recording, he was the natural choice.

Lumasaaba is the mother tongue of over three million people in Easter Uganda. The people group is called Bamasaaba, but sometimes they are erroneously referred to as Bagisu (therefore speaking Lugisu). Lumasaaba is a one of the Bantu languages of Uganda.

 

Rev. Shissa has such a passion for the Word, that he agreed to do the readings for free.  With just a bit of pocket money from Open Chapel International which allows him to put fuel in his car, Rev. Shissa comes to the studio three days a week.

While Rev. Shissa reads, Catherine Mabongor sits at the computer.  They are using Audio Audition software and equipment donated by Audio Scripture Ministries.  Catherine is not a native Lumasaaba speaker, but God in his infinite mercy allows her to edit the recordings.  The edited version is then proofed by Rev. Shissa before it goes to the Audio Production team for final verification of accuracy.  They are looking for a reading that is true to the text and brings out the meaning and intonation of the language.  The team also checks for hidden background noise or technical errors in editing.

Catherine and Rev. Shissa often talk during breaks and he shares his experiences in translating the Bible into Lumasaaba with the Bible Society of Uganda.  He has traveled extensively and met many interesting people along the way.  He also has a Masters Degree in Psychology and teaches at the university level.   Because of this, he loves to discuss the Bamasaaba culture.  Rev. Shissa able to explain and clarify many things for Catherine who is married to Pastor Shem Mabongor (the leader of Open Chapel International and a native Bamasaaba).

Below, you can hear Genesis 1:1-5, The First Day of Creation read in the language of Lumasaaba.

Interesting tid-bits:

Longest word so far: baakikhaabisanilakho they argued among themselves.  It is found in Genesis 26:21 where Jacobs men argued with the neighbors over a well.

Main reason for recording errors: Roosters crowing in the background!

Most difficult chapter to read so far: Exodus 28, which goes into extreme detail describing the priestly garments.

If you have a question for either Catherine Mabongor or Rev. Shissa please use the comments section to ask and we’ll do our best to answer.  And also be sure to share this page with a friend.

Every Tongue

Every tongue is made to praise God.  Every smile is meant to reflect His glory.  We are doing our best to bring Christ to the Bamasaaba in their own language of Lumasaaba.  But that’s not all!

Sounds and symbols are used to convey thoughts and ideas.  Suppose, I tell you in Mandarin Chinese where I’ve hidden a million dollars.  All you have to do is follow my instructions and the money is yours.  Assuming you have never been to China and think mandarin is a type of tiny orange, you would go away without the riches I’m offering.

The Apostle Paul says in I Corinthians 12: 9 “Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying?  You will just be speaking into the air.”

If you think instructions on how to find a million dollars is important, what about the message of Jesus Christ.  Isn’t it even more important that the Gospel is given the hearing it deserves?  In order to be heard, it must be spoken in a language the hearer understands.

If faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, as Romans 10:17 so eloquently puts it, then hearing is the key.  But look at the next verse:  “But I ask: Did they not hear?  Of course they did: “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Romans 10:18

While Paul is most definitely talking about the Israelites, the same can apply to those of us living in the Western world.  We have had the Bible in our own languages for at least 400 years.  Martin Luther completed his translation of the entire Bible into German in 1534.  Just two years later, William Tyndale was burned at the stake for his English translation.  Tyndale’s work was the foundation for the King James version of the Bible published only 75 years later.

Tyndale coined such English phrases as:

in the twinkling of an eye

harden his heart

be of good cheer

pearl before swine

my brother’s keeper

These are just a few examples of the vast richness Tyndale’s translation gave to the English language, which was considered crude and even vulgar at the time.  Anything worth reading back in the 1500’s was written in Latin.  Tyndale not only brought the Word of God to the common man, but enriched and standardized the speaking, writing and use of English.

Believe me when I say the topic of how Tyndale’s work affects us still today is fascinating.  But this is not the forum for a complete history of Bible translation.  My point is, Tyndale did not choose to translate the Bible into English because English was widely spoken.  Rather, English is now widely spoken, due in part, to Tyndale’s translation of the Bible into English.

The Bamasaba are found mainly in Manafwa, Bududa, Mbale, Sironko, Namisindwa and Bulambuli districts of Eastern Uganda, on the slopes of Mount Elgon.  They are often (mistakenly) called Gisu, Masaba, etc.  But whatever name you use, we are all made in the image of God.


There are approximately three million people who speak LumasaabaWhen I hear people talk about the relatively small number of Lumasaaba speakers in the world, I don’t look at the statistics.  I think about individual people.  Three million – that’s a lot of people.  Does their relative obscurity among the world’s population minimize the beauty or significance of their language?   Some would say that question is a mute point.  In reference to Bible translation, they ask, Is the cost/benefit ratio worth it?  While they make a valid point, it is not the final word on the matter.  I would expand their question to include to, Who is willing to pay that cost?  and What relationship do they have with the benefactors?

Isn’t that really what it all boils down to?  Not money, but people.

There are many people who have laid the foundation for the Bible to be translated into Lumasaaba, but ultimately it is the Bamasaaba themselves who are doing it.   The print version of the entire Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is slated to be released at Christmas 2016.  This is a monumental step forward for the Bamasaaba.

This Bible is destined to standardize spelling, grammar and syntax of Lumasaaba.  It will give credence to the language.  As things stand right now, if two Bamasaaba happen to meet in the capital city of Kampala, they will both switch to Luganda, the trade language of the country.  Why is that?  Even when I ask the Bamasaaba themselves, they cannot answer.  “It is just like that,” they say.  Of course, it is more than that.

Imagine you are a child who is beaten at school if you speak your mother tongue.  This happens throughout Uganda, not just in Masaabaland.  English must be spoken at school because it is considered the language of educated people.  I understand the need for a common language, but a child gets the wrong message.  They only hear that their language, the one their mother speaks to them at home in, is somehow less valuable than English or Luganda.   Therefore, they as a people group, must not be as important.  People feel minimized.  But this Bible is going to change all of that.

When people read, “I have come that you might have life and have it to the fullest,” and they read Jesus’ words in their own language, then they believe Him.  He is not saying – If you speak English you can have life to the fullest, but you – right there where you are – can have life through Jesus Christ.  They believe the words of Jesus because He is speaking in their language.

“Ne ise neetsa khuubawa inywe buulamu, naluundi ndi mube ni nabwo mu bwitsufu.” Yokana 10:10b

The Jesus Film has been translated into thousands of languages.  When Mary Matuwa, an elderly widow saw the Jesus Film for the first time, she didn’t care that Jesus looked white; he was speaking her language, the language of her heart.

‘I never knew my Savior speaks my language.’ Mary Matuwa a native speaker of Lumasaaba.

Language, not just any language, but someone’s mother tongue, even if they’re fluent in other languages, can penetrate  and touch that person where nothing else can.  Especially if the message being conveyed is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  So the Gospel is communicated through language and the Gospel has power.  Power to redeem people, power to redeem cultures, power to rescue a language that has been slowly getting lost.

 

Getting lost – an interesting term.  My husband’s father at 87 years old, told me there used to be many words in Lumasaaba to describe the different types of grass.  Now there is only one.  And that is just a single instance of words disappearing from memory.  My father-in-law passed away last year.  He was my Lumasaaba dictionary.  People say Lumasaaba has few words, that it can’t be used to convey complex meanings.  That is simply not true.  The words are there, they are just being forgotten.

The people translating the Bible are using the list of words that have been compiled during the translation process, to create a Lumasaaba dictionary.  The Lumasaaba Bible will help us all remember, not only the words of Christ, but also everyday words that would otherwise evaporate.  The Bible is saving the Bamasaaba AND their language.

But, Bibles are printed to be read.  If a person can’t read, the Gospel is still inaccessible to them unless someone reads it to them.  The Bamasaaba come from an oral culture.  That means they are much more comfortable hearing their language than reading it.  In fact, many people can’t read their own language.  Even educated people, fluent in English, are not able to read their mother tongue of Lumasaaba.

So let’s not just print the Bible in Lumasaaba, let’s record it as well.

There is a dramatized recording of the Lumasaaba New Testament produced by Faith Comes By Hearing.  They have done a professional job, very impressive.  We want to also record the Old Testament in Lumasaaba so the Bamasaaba people have the benefit of the entirety of scripture.

And that is what we are doing – recording the Old Testament in Lumasaaba.  Again, it is the Bamasaaba who are reading their own language, but I consider it a privilege to help them record it.  Of course, it is a cooperative effort; all mission work is.  That means you as a ministry partner are here with us doing the work.

When we all stand around the throne of God, every tongue, tribe and language – as prophesied in Revelation 5:9, we will be worshiping.  I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be standing in the Lumasaaba section.  I think you and I will feel right at home there.

Free Quarterly Newsletter

Free Quarterly Newsletter

You’re In A Tin Can

 

Old tin cans may look cool, but you don’t want to sound like one when you are in the recording studio.

The Scripture recording project in Lumasaaba has been fraught with difficulties.  At first we didn’t have any equipment.  We overcame that hurdle when Audio Scripture Ministries generously donated a new laptop computer, microphone with stand, mixer box, hard drive for extra storage and a sturdy case to carry it all in.  They even hand delivered it to Uganda for us.

Anticipating our next hurdle, Audio Scripture Ministries even arranged and paid for us to be trained on how to use the equipment.  Joshua Ssali of Words Of Hope came to Mbale and hosted us at a resort conference center for three days of training.  He fed us lunch and even brought us home in his vehicle every night.  Our team found the training very helpful, but the personal connection with Joshua as a friend and resource was the best thing to come out of that week together.  Now all we needed was a studio.

Pastor Shem is the ultimate I know a guy, guy.  And he contracted with some men, recommended by Joshua, to sound proof a storage room we have upstairs next to the balcony.  The men did the work and when we checked it, they repaired some areas and left us relatively satisfied.  The studio is now covered with red carpet and foam backing on the walls.  Even the floor,ceiling and door are carpeted.  There is a very comforting sound that comes when you stand in the studio and close the door.  Kind of like sucking out the existence of the whole world.  All the birds stop their chattering, the cows lowing is muted and the air becomes still, just waiting to be filled with the spoken Word of God.

We have been friends with Rev. Milton Eridad Sheesa for years.  He is the one who performed our (Shem and Catherine) wedding ceremony in Uganda.  Rev. Sheesa is one of those guys you are glad to be connected with.  He is humble and exceptionally bright, easy to get along with but takes his work very seriously.  And what is his work?  For the last 13 years he has been translating the Bible into Lumasaaba.  The translations work was tough going, like slogging through mud.  So many dialects to organize and standardize into one orthography.  He even had to develops words that didn’t exist in his mother tongue of Lumasaaba.  He was encouraged when I shared with him that William Tyndale had done the same thing and enriched English in the process.  Both Rev. Sheesa and I were excited to realize that this translation of the Holy Bible would actually pull the language of Lumasaaba from the brink of extinction.  We trusted God that the Words of Life contained in the Bible would bring the people (Bamasaaba) from death as well.  There is something about hearing the Bible in your own language that makes it come alive.

So we had the studio, the equipment and the reader.  We even had the MP3 devices we were going to load the recordings onto.  My brothers church in Kenai Alaska pastored by Steven Brown had donated 90 of them at a cost of $35 each.

All of this preparation had taken some time, but we felt the ground work had been laid and we were finally reading to begin.  Itching to begin.  Chomping at the bit.  What every you want to call it.  We felt the urgency of this project pressing us daily to get it done.  But this is Africa and things don’t happen over night.  We had wanted to begin recording in January just after the translated text had been released.  One thing led to another and April rolled around.  The day came when Rev. Sheesa entered the studio and after a few glitches with getting the equipment hooked up, we heard him read the first words.

Mu khurakikha, Wele aabumba likulu ni shibala.  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

I felt like I was also being created as well, afresh and anew with a Lumasaaba ear to hear the Word of God.  It was a beautiful moment.  Then, through the earphones, sitting at the recording console, I heard something that didn’t sound quite right.  I let it go, but it only got worse.  Finally I played back the recording to Shem and Rev. Sheesa but they couldn’t hear it – so we kept going.

Keep in mind, I have a punctured eardrum and am slightly hard of hearing and I’m not a native Lumasaaba speaker.  As I listened, a growing feeling of doom settled over me like a cloud.  Something was wrong with the recording.  After five chapters, finally Shem and Rev. Sheesa heard it too.  It sounded, at times, like Rev. Sheesa was reading while sitting inside a tin-can.  The sound came and went, seemingly at random. It was very noticeable and the problem was getting worse as the equipment warmed up.

We tried everything to fix the problem.  We thought it might be feedback from the solar power, so we unplugged the computer and let it run on battery.  The sound was till there.  Rev. Sheesa accommodated us by getting closer to the microphone, standing further away; sitting down, standing up.  We tried it all.  Nothing helped.

Then I had the unsettling realization that it must be the equipment.  I called Joshua and sure enough, he told me he had had doubts about the mixer box during our training.  He promised to look for another one, but where could we find such a delicate advanced piece of equipment in Uganda – and at what price.

So that is where we stand now.  We have contacted Audio Scripture Ministries and are trying to work through the company that sold them the equipment to see what can be done.  Joshua has a sample recording of the problem and he is working on his end to find a solution.  But the months are slipping away and we feel every moment lost is another moment a Bamasaaba is not hearing the Word.  Please pray with us that we can push forward and break through these barriers to see the recording completed.  God has a great work for us to do and we don’t want to fail Him.

Charles Knocks

I was one of the early pioneers of intercession praying for strategic ministry locations in YWAM Uganda.  This brought me to the Buvuma Islands on Lake Victoria in the early 1990’s.  It was an exciting time for all of us to be on the cutting edge of missions.

In 1994, after the YWAM base had been established on Lingira Island, Shem Mabongor called me back to the islands as a carpenter.  While I was there, Paul Mutasa asked me to help him pastor the church.

By 2009, however, I had become so ill that I was forced to leave the islands and seek medical attention on the mainland.   From that time on, life was very difficult.  I was in my sixth decade of life and very weak from the illness.  It was difficult to make a living and I was suffering from poverty.

Pastor Shem and Catherine had moved from the Islands to Mbale where they started Open Chapel International.  Shem got in touch with me in 2016 and found I was in a bad situation.  He asked me to come and live with them in their home.  They made me feel welcome and I fit right in with their family and all the other people they have living there.  As I saw where I could fit into the ministry, I began helping with door-to-door evangelism.

A team from Open Chapel goes on evangelistic outreaches to the surrounding villages of Biraa, Bunambutye, Namunyo, Busiu Town and the local hospital.  We share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with many people and pray for the sick.  Even those with problems ask for prayer.  For example, people who lacked school fees for their children, but today the pupils have gone back to school.  Some were having disputes with their neighbors which have since been put right.  Even today, God is doing mighty things through our prayers.

In April 2017 we hosted a ministry team from Sironko District.  This year alone, 57 people in our area have given their lives to Christ and have joined surrounding churches.  Five of those are praying from Open Chapel International.

We thank God for his goodness.  It is not easy to knock on a stranger’s door or approach someone in the hospital, but the Lord has shown us favor.  We continue to rely on Him as He gives us strength to comfort others and share His Word.  Please pray the people to be open to the Holy Spirit’s call to salvation.  Thank you.

Written by: Pastor Charles Ikonde

 

Not Just For Women

On July 1-9, 2017, I,  Shem Mabongor went with Bishop Apollo Masa and Miracle Life Ministry along with a team of other pastors to Mbarara in Western Uganda.  Our mission was to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Banyankole (the same tribe as the president of Uganda).  Apollo Massa has a large PA system and a mobile stage that he can load on a truck and take to all parts of the country.  My main duties were as driver and intercessor.  I knew it was spiritual warfare and prayers were needed to break the evil spiritual powers principalities in the area that have been binding the people in religion, traditions and all kinds of perversions so that people can be freed to come and accept Jesus as their personal savior.

Our team left Mbale at 7 p.m and reached Kampala (the capital of Uganda) at midnight.  We stayed with Bishop Apollo’s brother that night then took off again at 9 a.m. the next morning.  We arrived at Mbarara at 4 p.m.  I had been driving for seven hours, but there was no time to rest.  I immediately went to the field where the stage was being set up and began to pray.

We found those of another religion were holding a crusade there as well.  They had a bull horn type equipment declaring their religions mantra.  The other religion declared they wanted to work together with the Christians who had just arrived.  When our team set up our PA system the other religion wanted to break their machines.  They didn’t want to cooperate, they wanted war instead.  The other religion said that true believers preach during day, but told everyone that the  Christians want to set up their disco now.  They were calling our worship a disco.

2 Corinthians 10:4King James Version (KJV) 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

We reminded ourselves that our war is not physical and the weapons of our warfare are not carnal.  Instead of exchanging words with the leaders of the other religion, we pressed into spiritual warfare and prayer.  The other religious leaders boasted about the one convert they had made but we didn’t mind about them.  One of their own tribe stood at in the pulpit and asked the other religious leaders questions and faithfully challenged them with the true Word of God.  The man was not one of our team but soon began helping us.

At 8 p.m. I stepped up to the microphone and began praying.  I cleansed the area and the atmosphere with the blood of Jesus.  I opened the conference by inviting the local pastors to come and partner with us.  We wanted them to own the crusade and work together with them.  They called the choirs from their churches.  Five pastors stepped forward to work with us.  After a time of worship, I called Bishop Apollo Masa to come and preach.  Twenty-one men came forward to receive Christ.  Not old men, but strong energetic males who were in the prime of life.  Usually women are the first ones to come and mostly women are the ones to get saved.  But this crusade was very different.  All throughout our time there, the entire seven days of ministry, it was mostly men who responded to the Gospel.

During the day, the area where we were preaching was used as a main market place for selling produce and goods.  But as it got dark the prostitutes came and began selling themselves.  There were lodges surrounding the field where we were preaching.  Both male and female prostitutes where standing on the edge of the field waiting for customers near the main road.  We could see they were listening to the messages from the preachers.  At first the prostitutes were boldly displaying themselves, but by the third day they were shy and looked ashamed.

One of the churches that hosted us had not even 20 feet from their door to the door of a homosexual lodge where male prostitutes did their work.  The pastors in the area that we worked with thanked us for coming.  They said when they preach no one comes but the Lord Jesus Christ had sent us to the area with power.  We didn’t see large crowds.  Maybe 100 would show up during the worship time, then 70 would be left to hear the preaching and by the time we made the altar call 10 – 20 people would come forward to receive Christ.  But what really struck me was the area of society from which the people came.  There is a pride in the Banyankole tribe because they are the ruling tribe.  They have all the cows, they have all the money.  So it was unusual for men to come to Christ, but those are the people we saw coming forward to give their lives to Jesus.

On the last day, we told the people we would be leaving soon.  We began on Sunday and finished on Friday night.  The local pastors told the crowds, “This is the last day for the crusade and God sent these people for a reason.  If you miss this appointed time, it is up to you.”  That’s when people really got serious.  Over twenty people came forward, including a number of female prostitutes (7 or more).  After the group of prostitutes came to the Lord Jesus Christ, we had a spiritual deliverance service for them until after midnight.  These women were bound by demons and spiritual covenants with all kinds of evil that had to be broken.  It was getting late and one woman still needed prayer.  We had a long journey ahead of us.  So we loaded the woman in the car and took her to the church of the hosting pastor.  This pastor’s wife had just delivered a baby two days previously.  So he really had his work cut out for him; with a new baby in the hospital, hosting us and the main pastor we linked with for the crusade.  He assured us that we could leave the woman in his church.  She was free from the demons but just needed some time to rest.

Luke 8:1-3New International Version (NIV) 8 After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out;

We wanted to return home that night, but felt a check in our spirit.  We all agreed to travel the next morning.  As we were coming home, both tires on one side of the van blew out at the same time after hitting a speed bump.  I was able to navigate to to the side of the road and we found help to replace the tires.  It was just the grace of God that we did not have an accident or were not stranded in the middle of the night on the deserted road.

We continued on our journey and reached home safely rejoicing that the Lord Jesus Christ had done His work.  We entrusted the sixty (60) people who gave their lives to Jesus Christ, to the care and discipleship of local pastors.  We are planning another crusade, this time in Tororo, for the first week in August 2017.

A crowd beginning to form at the open air crusade in Mbarara in Western Uganda

Alfred Gets Wet

Alfred Musungu is a busy guy.  He’s a pastor and a farmer – two full time jobs.  He also has seven children and is the chairman of Pastors Unity Alliance that includes three districts in the Easter part of Uganda.

When you first meet Alfred the first thing you’ll notice is his smile.  His whole face lights up and you find the laughter spreading to your face as well.  Alfred has a gap between his front teeth that is typical of the people in his tribe, the Bamasaaba.  He’ll be the first to tell you that life is not easy, but his joy comes from faith in Jesus Christ.

Pastor Alfred Musungu, Chairman of Pastors Unity Alliance

Every month, Alfred joins other pastors in three days of prayer and fasting.  The Pastors Unity Alliance is a vital part of what God is doing to bring revival.  Pastors and their congregations come together to worship, hear the Word and pray.  No meals are served, no coffee and doughnuts. They take a cup of corn porridge in the evening and then get right back to the business of prayer.  They will pray deep into the night, sleep a few hours in the church then get up early.  By four in the morning they are praying again.  What do they pray for?  Alfred and the other pastors are firm believers in the scripture found in II Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

There is a lot of witchcraft and demon worship ingrained in Alfred’s tribe.  But he knows that is not how God created the Bamasaaba to be.  The Lord created Alfred’s people to worship the one true God as only the Bamasaaba can.  God gave them a unique language, dance and heart.  Alfred wants to see his people come back to God and leave the futile sinful ways of their forefathers.  Alfred believes the prophecies that say the fire and anointing of revival will begin with the Bamasaaba and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the rest of Uganda, then to all of East Africa and then the whole world.

Various pastors in the Alliance take turns hosting the conference.  We go to a new venue every month.  Hosting over 200 people for a three day prayer and fasting conference happens every June at Open Chapel International.  This year we had rented enough plastic chairs, but the tapelines had holes and the generator blew the sound board.  Except for the persistent torrential rain, everything else went well.  It was a good thing people came from great distances without the expectation that they would sleep in beds or eat or be comfortable. Pastor Alfred had trained them well.  They came to pray and that is exactly what they did.

The people of Uganda say, “If you’re not sweating, you’re not praying.”  That means prayer is hard work.  There were not simple bless the food type prayers here.  We were in the battle and that means war against the evil powers and principalities in high places.  Even when it rained so hard we couldn’t hear the preacher and the roof leaked like a sieve, we hunkered down for the fight and won in prayer.  Pastor Alfred, along with all the rest of us, got very, very wet.  But that didn’t stop us from praying.

God was gracious to send so many people to help us by giving us the gift of their fervent effective prayers.  We expect to see a real difference in the spiritual atmosphere in our area, allowing people’s hearts to open up the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a greater way and releasing the power of God in allowing us to be more effective.  Will you help us pray.  If you can’t make it to Uganda for the conference in June 2018, just pray right now – where you are.  Your prayers on our behalf make a difference.

 

Crowd of Intercessors who came from long distances to pray.

 

People only slept for a few hours every night and then only on the floor.

 

Sound technician covers his equipment during another downpour.

 

Find Your Jonathan

We all could use a little more kindness.  But with friendship, it’s as good as you give.

Shem and I (Catherine Mabongor) were invited for a week in June 2017, to a leaders conference in Nakuru Kenya.  I knew I couldn’t go because someone had to stay home with the children.  Shem was making plans to travel alone when he got a call from his cousin (and pastor of Open Chapel in Namatumba).  God had given Sam a dream that Shem was going away and Sam was to come stay at our house to take care of the ministry.  I immediately packed my bags.  I wouldn’t have trusted anyone else to stay with our kids, but this was Sam.  He loved them almost as much as we did.

Catherine and Shem Mabongor, leaders of Open Chapel International, are a part of All Nations Network of Ministers.

Although the weather was much colder than the drought ridden Uganda, the time of being ministered to instead of being the one ministering was very refreshing.  I received individual prayer from Pastor Arley and God healed a portion of my heart that had been hurting for some time.  There were many messages preached, but my favorite was about Finding Your Jonathans.

As ministers of God there will always be those Sauls in our lives that are in competition with us and trying to kill our vision.  But God also sends Jonathans as well.  David had a covenant relationship with his friend and they stood with each other during the tough times.  These types of Godly relationships are also needed in our life to help us protect and strengthen each other.  They were both men of integrity and were loyal to each other.  In life, we may have many people who say they love us, but let God give us faithful bosom friends.  Not many people will fit into this category, but a few quality Jonathans are a true gift from God.

As the minister was preaching, I could see that Shem had at least three of these types of faithful friends in his life.  I asked my Heavenly Father to show me who I could be a Jonathan to and who could be a Jonathan for me.

Catherine and Leah

Shem received his international ordination through All Nations Network of Ministers, with Bishop Jotham Opichio as the Kenya director.  Bishop Opicho has visited our home on several occasions and we have stayed with him and his wife Leah.  In fact, for our 16th wedding anniversary, Shem and I took a holiday in Kenya at Bishop Opicho’s request.  He proved to be a wonderful tour guide and Leah a graceful hostess.  During a break in the conference I went to Leah and committed myself to be a Jonathan for her.

I feel like I came back from Kenya a new woman.  It was so nice to have time alone with Shem and although talking didn’t seem to help us sort out our issues, the prayers we received solved everything in a moment.  We received and gave forgiveness and were back on track.  It was so nice to feel the joy of first love again.

Soon life took on its usual pace with Shem traveling most of the time.  He was scheduled to go to Mbarara for nine days and I was not looking forward to it.  Usually I slide back into survival mode and just barely make it through.  But this time was to prove different.  First of all, cousin Sam came back and this time he brought his wife Sylvia.  They left their six children at home in Namatumba with Sylvia’s sister and came to help me.  It was wonderful.  They encouraged me so much with their love and respect.  Both Sam and Sylvia don’t speak English and I’m not that good at Luganda or Lumasaaba, but somehow when they speak to me I understand them.  It must have something to do with the tremendous love we have for one another.  The children, Kana and Andy, also came in to translate where needed.  I was amazed at what Sylvia told me.

Sylvia and Sam at their wedding. Click the photo to read more . . .

“Catherine, when I feel that I can’t do it any more.  Like I can’t carry on.  I just think of you.  And I tell myself that if Catherine can come from America, leaving all her family and everything that is familiar, then I can get through the difficult situation I’m facing.”

This is a tremendous thing for Sylvia to say to me.  I was amazed!  She has lost four children and she finds encouragement from me!  Only God can do that.

I told Sylvia that I am the one who finds encouragement from her.  We stared at each other for a moment then burst out laughing.  It was a true Hallelujah moment when I realized we were Jonathans for each other.  Wow!  God is so good.

Do you also need a Jonathan in your life?  Is there anyone you can be a Jonathan for?

Happy Walks Home

Most pigs are named beef.  It is a confusing time for cows in Uganda.

Happy the cow likes her name.  It fits her mood and makes her feel safe.  Happy knows, deep inside, she is different from other cows.  Most of her friends don’t even have names.  It can’t be easy for them, staked out in the open field all day, grazing on whatever they can find, waiting for water until evening.  Happy has her food brought right to her stall.  She drinks water from a trough that is constantly kept filled.  Sure she gets kind of lonely at times, but that’s the cost of zero grazing.

Happy the cow and her new calf Ginger.

Something has been happening across the road lately.  Happy has seen builders and motorcycles bringing bags of cement.  There was even a huge tipper truck that unloaded heaps of sand.  Happy likes to watch all the excitement.  She heard a rumor the new house is for her.  Well, not just for her, but all the cows and goats.  The pigs are going to stay in the old corral with the chickens.  The new place is right near the garden.  Happy hopes that means she will get to escape every now and then and bury her nose in the crisp fragrant leaves of the growing corn.  Sometimes she dreams about it at night.

There’s a new farm house being built as well.  It has only two rooms but Happy heard she is going to have a new care taker to milk and feed her.  She knows it can’t be easy to keep her stall clean.  She hopes the new guy will have softer hands that the one who milks her now.  He always seems in such a hurry.

Happy closes her eyes and listens to the flies buzzing.  The day is finally cooling off in the late afternoon and the warm earthy smell of the farm is pleasant.  She sighs contentedly and lays down to chew her cud.  Life in Uganda is sweet.

 

The new farm house is 24 X 11 feet, offering 264 square feet of living space for a future farm manager.

Happy’s son Philip grazing in front of the their new corral.

Ginger Calf

Our cow which we have named Happy has delivered her second calf on March 3, 2017.  The new calf, Ginger (pictured below) weighed 50 kg (110 lbs) at birth.  She is healthy and huge and oh-so cute!  Mum is also doing well and producing buckets of milk.

Send a Check

Many people feel more comfortable sending a check than using a credit card online.

Here is how you can give by check:

Shem and Catherine Mabongor, the leaders of Open Chapel International, are missionaries sent out from Christian Health Service Corps. CHSC is a registered 501(c) nonprofit organization. You may donate a partnership gift to Shem and Catherine through Christian Health Service Corps.

Make check payable to: Christian Health Service Corps

Mail check to:

Christian Health Service Corps
PO Box 132
Fruitvale TX 75127

Please write our account #0105 in the memo section of the check.  A tax deductible receipt will be mailed back to you.   CHSC receives a 7% admin fee from all partnership gifts.

Thank you for your gift!

Give Us a Call

Give us a Call

We are in Uganda and while our phones may not be smart, we can still receive overseas calls and text messages for free.

Our phone numbers are:

Shem Mabongor +256-782-770-680

Catherine Mabongor +256-774-570-183

Remember the time change is GMT+3 hours.

We’d love to hear your voice!

 

Income Generating Projects for Pastors

It is true that the hardest working members of the congregation are often the most overlooked.  We could all do with a reminder to care for our pastor.

Congregations is Africa have been a bit spoiled by white self-sufficient missionaries who appear not to need anything.  Often when an indigenous pastor tries to live only from the meager income of tithes and offerings given by the local church, he and his family soon become the poorest members of society.   The Bible says that a man who doesn’t care for his own family is worse than an unbeliever, yet many pastors and their families live well below the poverty level.  This is shames the Name of Christ.

How can we help pastors who are fully equipped to minister the Word of God, speak the languages and understand the culture?  Giving them a hand out from a foreign source is hardly the answer.  Perhaps there is a better way.  We want to train pastors to earn a living through income generating projects that are unique to their situation while still leaving them time and energy to care for their flock.

We have a plan to train pastors in how to build and operate fish ponds, poultry projects and other agricultural operations.

Farming God’s Way

Farming Gods Way is an amazing Godly solution to the food security and poverty crisis for the rural poor. It was designed before man was on the face of the earth, when God put His laws in place to govern His creation and their inter-relations with one another. God is the master farmer and He has been farming this way since the beginning. God graciously revealed His truths on how He looks after creation to a wonderful team of Godly men to bring the full package to realization and still we are learning from Him.

Farming God‟s Way has a proven track record of success since 1984, where Brian Oldreive first pioneered these practices on Hinton estate in Zimbabwe on a large scale commercial farm, eventually cropping 3,500 hectares. Since these small beginnings Farming God’s Way has spread into many countries, being used by churches, missionaries and NGO‟s in order to create the critical mass of effectiveness needed to roll out Farming God‟s Way across the continent.

Farming God’s Way is not just a technology but a well balanced biblical, management and technological solution for the agricultural domain, to equip the poor to come out of poverty, with what God has put in their hands and to reveal the fullness of His promised abundant life.

The Word of God says “My people perish because of a lack of knowledge.”  We must acknowledge the importance of teaching the poor faithfulness in the agricultural domain before the rest of the continent‟s potential can be revealed.

We have begun a model garden using a mulching and no-plow method called Farming God’s way.  Shem completed his training in Zimbabwe in September 2015.  We planted our first crop in February 2016.  We have just put in our second crop in February 2017.

Audio Recording of Lumasaaba Bible

Equipment donated by Audio Scripture Ministries

The Bible Society of Uganda completed translation of the entire Bible into Lumasaaba and launched sales on December 23, 2016.  We are very excited to be working with them to bring an audio recording of scripture in this beautiful language, which is spoken by over three million people in Uganda, Kenya and the Bamasaaba diaspora. The recordings are loaded on a hand-held solar device sold by Mega Voice.   We have plans to record the Bible in other Ugandan languages very soon.

Thank you to  Audio Scripture Ministries who so graciously donated the recording equipment and Audio Auditions software with laptop.

Lumasaaba Language Study

Have you ever been riding in a minibus crammed together with 21 other sweaty people and wanted to tell someone sitting next to you that they have spinach between their teeth or toilet paper stuck to their shoe. Certainly it can be an awkward situation for anyone, especially if you don’t speak the same language.

Now you will be equipped to handle just such embarrassing moments with ease and confidence, especially if the other person is a Lumasaaba speaker.

Catherine and Shem Mabongor, leaders of Open Chapel International, have written a Lumasaaba language course, called Learning Lumasaaba, that will help you communicate exactly what you want to say in Pastor Shem’s native language of Lumasaaba.

It has such helpful phrase as:

You’re standing on my foot. Wemile khushikyele shasse.

Where’s the toilet. Shisheyo shili wiyena.

Or perhaps more importantly:

My female cousin from my uncle on my mother’s side wants a cup of sugar.

Umukoko wasse uwa hotsa akana shikombe sukari.

You will learn how to speak in far and near past, as well as present and future tense, give commands and ask questions. It explains the difficult concepts of demonstrative pronouns, verb infinitives, indicative mood and negation.

Lumasaaba GrammarOver two-hundred pages of the – what, when, and how – of Lumasaaba, including cultural notes, practical conversation practice, extensive vocabulary lists, and practical application through grammar exercises. There is no other book of its kind.

If you would like your copy, you will soon be able to order for Kindle on Amazon.com (which will include audio recordings of all the Lumasaaba text).  The final product should be available for Christmas 2017 giving.

There are over one and a half million Lumasaaba speakers in the world. This book is without precedent. It will encourage missionaries and other aid workers to use the heart language of those they minister to. Even other tribes within Uganda will find this book helpful in learning the language of their neighbors. Learning Lumasaaba will also become the gold standard for spelling, grammar and syntax for Lumasaaba, therefore helping to preserve the language from further erosion.

Catherine Mabongor is from Alaska, but she loves the language of Lumasaaba.  She should – after all she is married to a Mumasaaba.  For years, Catherine has been asking her husband, Pastor Shem Mabongor (leader of Open Chapel International) a million questions about how to speak Lumasaaba.  The result of all of those inquiries is a Lumasaaba language learning book, set to be released through Amazon.com for Kindle by Christmas 2018.

Encouraging Visitors from U.K.

We were determined to try Farming God’s Way again in 2017.  We had overcome many obstacles during our first attempt during 2016.  One of which was the low yield and the cost of mulching.   During the prolonged drought that followed harvest, we quickly used up our maize from the previous season.  We began looking for advice from others who had tried this way of farming.  We received many emails but the highlight of our efforts was a personal visit from Mrs. Hannah Couchman and her friend Chris Goodship.  They came all the way from U.K. to visit our fields.

Continue Reading . . .

Trainer of Trainers

CHE Trainer of Trainers (TOT)

CHE Training of Trainers (TOT) is designed to equip participants to implement their own integrated ministry of community health and evangelism in a target area. The training is done in three phases. Each phase involves 35 hours of learning followed by approximately six months in the field.

Continue Reading . . .

Our First Efforts

In  March 2016, we set about to plant one sixth of an acre as a model test garden using the Farming God’s Way solution.  It was a hard row to hoe, as they say.  We soon found out that conservation farming is no joke.  It was a lot of hot dusty back-breaking labor.  This is a chronicle of our journey to harvest.

Continue Reading . . .

The last Tuesday of each month, three days of unity prayers and fasting are held in various locations.  Contact us for the current venue.

Event: Unity Prayers

Piglets Arrived!

On June 25, 2016 Pepper the Pig gave birth to nine piglets; three female and six male.  Congratulations Pepper!

You are very sweet and perhaps overly optimistic to think we would have any media appearances lined up.  But thank you for checking anyway.  The best way to see us is to come to Uganda and see us “Live and in Person.”  See you soon.

Appearance: Live and in Person!
Format: Other

How to eat insects with style.

First of all, don’t watch the insects being roasted, they tend to try and crawl out of the saucepan across the dead bodies of their comrades.  But after roasting, take a palm full of insects (preferably termites) and rub your hands together to dislodge the hairy legs and any possible wings.  Blow the chaff off and take a deep breath, then pop the little babies into your mouth.  Chew while thinking about something else – swallow.  Drink some water to rinse your mouth and go for it again.

“To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy – to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!  Amen”  Jude 24 & 25

Holy Bible (New International Version)

This is a photo of the ministry team for Open Chapel International.

Mabongor Family Webpage

Shutterstock Praying Hands

If you would like to know more about the leaders of Open Chapel International, please check out their family’s personal website.

The Bait of Satan (Lake Mary, Florida: Charisma House, 2004)

When living with people from different cultures and backgrounds, it is all to easy for misunderstandings and conflict to occur.  Many times we can become offended which brings hurt and anger, disrupting the unity of the ministry team.  This book helps us do a spiritual house cleaning of our hearts to keep us free from  unforgiveness, bitterness and offense.  It is a valuable resource for both individual and team application.

Learning Something New

Pastor Shem Mabongor had always wanted to use mulch to cover his gardens, but he didn’t know it was God’s way of doing things until he heard of the no plow, mulching method of conservation farming called Farming God’s Way. He was excited to learn that mulch was God’s blanket.  In Pastor Shem’s home village near Mbale Uganda many of the trees have been cut down.  Because of that firewood is scarce.  People look for any small twig or dry stick they can use to cook a meal.  God’s blanket has been stripped from this area.

When the Mabongor’s missionary sending agency, Christian Health Service Corps, offered to send Pastor Shem for training in how to farm using God’s Way it was the perfect opportunity to learn what was already in his heart. 

Continue Reading . . .