Short-term team sees eternal impact through trip.

By August 24, 2006

Uganda (MNN) — “It’s a huge battleground out there,” says AMG International’s Alicia Hatton about ministry in Uganda, in East Africa, “but that there is light that’s shining very brightly out in those dark communities. And it was a privilege to be able to see it, to experience it, and to encourage those workers that are out there every day.”

God is doing great things in Uganda through the ministry outreaches of AMG. Hatton recently returned from leading a team of volunteers to share in some of that ministry work. Made up of 14 people from across the U.S. who brought a variety of skills to the team, they served for 16 days alongside national workers in a variety of ministries.

Hatton says one of their outreach opportunities was doing home visitations and evangelistic outreach in rural areas. Many of the home visits were to the families of children involved with AMG’s projects, and a number of people came to Christ through it. “We were able to into many rural areas and preach the gospel openly in some very difficult areas, areas that are not particularly friendly to the Gospel. There were different witchcraft and animistic and spiritist and even Muslim influences in many of these areas. It was just so amazing to see how the Lord opened people’s hearts and opened their ears to hear the Word, to hear the Gospel for the very first time.”

It was a very difficult area, but Hatton says it’s worth it to be part of God’s work. “It’s a huge battleground out there, but that there is light that’s shining very brightly out in those dark communities. And it was a privilege to be able to see it, to experience it, and to encourage those workers that are out there every day.”

AIDS continues to be a huge issue in Africa. For the past 10 years, the government of Uganda has advocated abstinence. Uganda is considered a success story for curbing the spread of AIDS, but it’s still a tragedy that impacts that country.

AMG serves more than 1100 children in the child care development ministry, helping to meet their educational needs, spiritual needs and medical needs. Hatton says the AIDS pandemic directly impacts their outreach, “Many of our children are very much affected by AIDS. I would say 90-95 percent of all of the children in our program have been affected by AIDS very directly. I know either one or both of their parents have died of AIDS, and that’s a huge strain on the family.”

The short-term team was able to work with the children in AMG’s program, doing VBS, Bible lessons, games, crafts. One long-term program AMG has implemented is a mentoring program, especially for the boys, who desperately need male role models. Hatton says, “Many of these kids are healthy, they’re growing. They’re growing strong. They’re growing in their faith, and that’s the hope that they need, is in Christ.”

Having several team members in the medical field proved a huge opportunity for the team. A doctor, a dentist and two medical assistants were able to work in AMG’s medical clinic in a rural area of Uganda, treating the physical and spiritual needs of nearly 500 patients during their trip.

AMG has several national workers, many of them local pastors who are working on church planting, growing churches in their faith, and teaching the Word in rural villages where there is no gospel witness. “The Lord gave us so many different opportunities to see what He’s doing in that country,” says Hatton. “It was really such a privilege to work along the national workers that we have through AMG International.”

The team also helped with some leadership training of pastors, pastors’ wives and Sunday school teachers. “There is a huge hunger for the Word and for leadership training and equipping in Uganda right now. There is just such a desire to see leaders that are grown and strengthened in faith and equipped with ministry tools, and we had different seminars and workshops with hundreds of pastors and pastors wives and teachers.”

Overall, the trip was an incredible experience, says Hatton, and the team members were excited and felt privileged to be used of God. “There were a lot of good things that happened, even though it is, you do have to take risks and you have to put yourself out there a little bit, and trust the Lord that He’ll take care of you, when you go into situations like that that may not be necessarily the safest. But it’s just worth it.”

Pray for the national workers and AMG’s ongoing work. Pray for the AMG workers in many areas: leadership training needs, being equipped in ministry, discipleship, need for Bibles and Bible resources, and health needs. Pray for the believers in Uganda. There’s such a hunger for the word and for leadership and training and equipping. Pray for those who accepted Christ.

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