All photos and text are property of Dave Forney and may not be used without express permission.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Feast

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sorry for being so delinquent with the blog...the past few months have been really busy and despite my intentions, I've struggled to post every single weekend.  I do have a lot of stuff to catch you up on, but I'll start with the Christmas Feast that our church served in a slum neighborhood of Kampala.  Below is one of the young boys enjoying the feast. They really cleaned the bones of every single morsel of meat!

On the 22nd, Joy and the kids helped with the preparation of the food. I was still working at MAF, so wasn't there for that. On Christmas Eve, we joined a group from our church, Sojourn, to serve a free Christmas dinner to the Wabigalo neighborhood.

Many hundreds came and ate their fill. In fact, it was probably at least a thousand or more!  This shot was taken near the beginning, before it really got packed.  For several hours there was a continual line of people moving through--never slowing down--each one getting a heaping plate of food, eating it hungrily, then moving out to make room for others.

The line outside was several people deep, and it stretched a long way out the door and down the alley.  Probably about 80% of them were kids, but there were also adults of every age mixed in.  You may notice that most of my photos are of children. That's because the crowd was mostly made up of kids, and because they love having their picture taken. Adults are a bit more wary, and I do like to be discrete with the camera, so I have to be selective and careful how I take shots.

Inside, it was even more crowded. People waited anxiously for their turn to get a heaping pile of steaming food. Most of these folks are very poor.  You and I may consider this meal to be meager, or lacking in choices. Not so. With several meat and vegetable choices to cover the mounds of rice and matoke (cooked starchy bananas), they were truly enjoying a rare and amazing feast!

The smiles from these kids who had just finished eating say it all.

We were really proud of our kids. They worked their tales off on Christmas Eve, and they did it with great attitudes, and had fun in the process, and learned a lot about blessing others. Here, Britt and Hannah, with a few of their friends, are working on dishes. Britt had some major dish-pan hands after washing many hundreds of plates and cups for several straight hours! There was no silverware--most people in places like this eat with there hands, so there was no need for silverware. The wash cloth the boys used was a piece of burlap. The wheel barrow in the background served as the drying rack till the girls got to them with the drying rags. It was a fast-moving assembly line of dishwashing wander!

The younger boys served water relentlessly. But occasionally they took a quick break from that to run around and collect dirty, emptied plates to be washed and re-used by others who continually flooded in.

Here's a few more pictures from the Christmas Eve feast, in honor of the birth of our Savior and King!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Worship Night 2015

In October I had the privilege of flying a ministry team from Uganda, up to Juba, South Sudan, for an all-night Worship event. These folks have been doing a massive Worship Night each Year, in Uganda, for a number of years now, and the opportunity came for them to start spreading out to nearby countries. Despite the security threats, and the ongoing instability in that fledgling country, thousands showed up to glorify God. Somehow, as a result of the connections I made with the awesome folks who I flew up there to South Sudan, my wife, Joy, got invited to speak at the all-night Worship Night here in Uganda in December. It happened last Friday night, December 4th.  All the pictures in this post are ones I took during that amazing evening.

So, last week was full of activities related to Worship Night 2015. It's a HUGE deal, inspired and hosted by Light the World Church, here in Kampala. Although this was something like the seventh year in a row that they've held the Worship Night here in Kampala, it was our first time attending, so we had no idea what to expect.

The event, which is held in an outdoor football (soccer) stadium starts at 6:00pm on a Friday Night and goes ALL night till 6:00am Saturday morning. What was it? It was tens of thousands of people coming together to worship God through music and teaching from the Word. What was it not? It was not an all-too-typical U.S.-style church service, where people sit (or sometimes stand) quietly with there hands folded or in there pockets. No, this was Ugandan-style worship--people on there feet, singing loudly, dancing, with hands held high in praise to their Creator! It's fantastic!

Here, below, our new friend, Pastor Wilson Bugembe, a very gifted and well-known Ugandan Gospel singer and the main preacher at Light the World Church, along with our friend Scott Lambie, who works with the renowned and inspiring African Children's Choir,  are getting ready to introduce my very good friend (and girlfriend haha) Joy, to the crowd. You can see Joy way over on the right side of the photo. This was sometime around 11:15pm, not quite half-way through the 12 hour, all-night event.

Joy was asked to share about Christ our Rock.

Although she's spoken at quite a number of events over the years, they've mostly been women's gatherings, and usually without a translator. Having an opportunity to speak at an event like this, with tens of thousands of people, and the addition of a translator (the translators, by the way, were extremely good at what they did!) is a totally different thing. She did a really great job--sharing the Gospel clearly, and glorifying Jesus!
Two days ago I was on my motorcycle stuck in a traffic jam where nothing (not even the motorcycles) were moving. A guy got off the back of a motorcycle taxi a few meters ahead of me, and walked over to me and asked, "Are you the one?"  Ummm... I wasn't sure how to answer.  Which one? Who are we talking about? It depends who or what 'the one' did or didn't do...  He asked again, "Are you the very one--the one who's wife spoke and blessed us at the Worship Night last week? I was there, and I was so blessed and encouraged by what she shared--she brought honor and glory to God. You tell her!"  Wow! Ok!

Our new friend Jesse Reeves (who came all the way from Texas for this event) preached the word. And man can this guy bring it! We're trying to get him to move over here with his family. He's the real deal--transparent, humble and living for and loving Jesus.

Another new friend, Icha Kavons, came all the way from Toronto, Canada to bless the Lord and the crowd through his gift of music. Man can this guy sing! Originally from Congo, this was Icha's first time back to Africa since moving to Canada many years ago. But you wouldn't have known that from the way he connected with the crowd in singing praises to Jesus. Incredible!

The African Children's Choir was equally amazing! I love hearing those kids sing!

And there were So many, many more! One after another, musicians and preachers took turns glorifying God during Worship Night 2015.

If you happen to be here in Uganda, next December, don't miss the all-night Worship Night. It's an incredible experience, where God is present and working in a powerful way!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

November News Letter

Here's a copy of our November News Letter.  If you want to see/download a pdf copy go here. If you're on our prayer letter e-mail list, then you should have already received a copy of this a few days ago.  If you get our letters via snail mail, then it should arrive sometime in the next week or so.

If you want to find out more about our ministry with MAF, and/or how you can be involved, please check out our MAF staff page.

Thank you for your generous ministry support and faithful prayers. We are so grateful for both!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Rainy Season

You may be curious why the title of this post is "Rainy Season" and while this photo looks like the complete opposite.  Well, that's a good question.  The answer is that I have not taken a lot of pictures in/during the rains and this was an unusually beautiful day, so I was snapping away.

Another reason is that, when I'm the pilot who is actually flying,  (the PIC - Pilot In Command) I'm pretty busy just handling the loading/unloading of baggage, passengers, etc., and checking/preparing the aircraft for the next leg of the flight. I usually don't have a lot of time to be snapping photos.  But on this particular day I was riding along as a "supervisory pilot" for Andrew, below, who had recently completed a Cessna Caravan transition training course here.  He's been flying for MAF in Chad for a number of years, but on a different aircraft, the Diesel-conversion Cessna 182.  Now he'll be flying the Caravan there as well.  Upon completion of the initial Caravan training here, he then spent a few weeks flying operationally, to help solidify what he had learned.  This was one of those flights, and it afforded me the opportunity to take a few pictures here and there.

The kids are always happy to have their pictures taken. In fact, they usually ask me to take their pictures, by gesturing to the camera and pointing and smiling, since we don't speak a common language.

These were taken in Amudat, far Southeastern Uganda, just along the border with Kenya.

This one, below, was taken on the opposite side of the country. Actually, it's just across the border in East Democratic Republic of Congo (EDRC).  And THIS is a lot more typical of what the weather has looked like over the past six weeks or so.  There has been a TON of rain throughout this part of Africa.  It's nice for clearing the dust out of the sky, but it does make the flying a bit more challenging.  Even so, I love watching the big storms building and dissipating and it's nice to see everything green again.

The ground is totally saturated here in the city, so every time it rains now the water just runs off and pools everywhere.  And because it tends to come in torrential downpours, it all happens very quickly. This has been a common scene in our yard lately--there's about two feet of water stuck at our back wall (the outlet drain holes are too small for the amount of water).  It forms sort of a moat around our goat shed.  Within a few hours it's all gone, and the ground is just squishy and wet.  Those are the milk goats we got this summer.  The white one is pregnant. After having a kid we plan to milk her. The brown one is still a bit too young, but when the time comes, we'll do the same with her.

Speaking of rain... there's obviously no autumn/winter seasons here.  So each "autumn", rather than having a fall festival, like kids back in the U.S. might have, here the school has a "Rain Festival".  It's not a festival where they do some weird ritual and call for rain--no, that's not necessary. The rains are already falling heavily at this time of year.  It's simply called the Rain Festival because its the rainy season and they are having a festival.  Each class at the school goes all out decorating their rooms with in a theme related to what they're learning, and then they get all dressed up and have a parade.  There's food and games and all sorts of activities, and it's a chance for the parents and families to come visit the school and see what the kids are up to.  Our son's 9th grade class had just read Lord of the Flies, and they chose to go with that theme...which meant that Britt didn't really have to do anything different than normal for his costume.  Well, he did add some war paint and threw on an Indonesian pig tusk and carried a "pig" on a pole.  But still, we thought it was pretty funny that he was voted best-dressed boy in his class, when in fact his "costume" was basically nothing but a pair of shorts. Most days he goes to school with no shoes. No flip flops. Nothing but bare feet.  He is required to bring shoes for gym class, but otherwise the school does not require shoes.  That's one of the benefits of being an MK I guess. Just for the record, he does normally wear a shirt to school. Haha

Sunday, October 25, 2015

MAF EDRC Conference

Last week we were invited to attend the MAF EDRC team conference, which was held over here in Uganda.  We're not actually part of the East Congo team, but our Uganda team works closely with them, and they have some team members stationed here in Uganda who do the maintenance on the East Congo planes (they fly their planes over here whenever they have inspections or heavy maintenance due).

So, all of that to say, they kindly invited us to join them, and we had a wonderful, encouraging time!  Above is a group shot of the EDRC team, along with the Rogers (the other U.S. family serving here on the Uganda team) and us, and the Rose Drive Church team that came over to do the speaking, worship and childrens' programs. 

There were a lot kids there and they all had a great time!

There were plenty of outdoor activities to fill in free time--including a frisbee, an aerobe, a soccer ball, volley ball, a swimming pool, and this little "football".  Our oldest son, Britt, has grown into quite the leaping, jumping athlete, who, by the way, rarely wears shoes.  

In addition to the teaching and VBS stuff, the Rose Drive team brought plenty of cool craft activities for all the different ages kids.  Here they are making parachute chord bracelets.  How fun is that? I want to make some!

They also paid for all of the kids to take a pottery class at the little pottery school that was at the place  where we were staying.  Even our little foster boy, Gift, (who has cerebral palsy and struggles with coordination, and is also deaf) was given the opportunity to make a bowl (with a good bit of help from the Rose Drive Team).  It was so fun to see him so focused on "painting" it.  He was very excited about that project!

Gift actually had the time of his life, as he was getting tons of one-on-one attention from the Rose Drive Team, as well as the other kids and families.  He's often a favorite wherever we go because of his huge smile, and his love of life.

Here's a picture of the Rose Drive Team.  Britt just happened to "photo bomb" the shot with perfect timing. I never saw him coming as he flew through the air seemingly out of nowhere.  The team thought it was hilarious. I did take another one afterwards, without Britt, but this one does make me laugh.

One evening we had a talent show after a bbq dinner.  Some of the "talents" were a bit short on talent, and heavy on humor.  We all had some good laughs!

We were supposed to have a campfire one evening, but due to rain (there's been a lot of rain lately) it got cancelled.  They re-scheduled it in the afternoon the last day of the conference.  Hotdogs and marshmallows for an afternoon snack. :-)

There was lots of other stuff too.  But for Joy and me, we especially enjoyed and soaked up the great fellowship, teaching, and worship.

Of course, the treats from the U.S. that the team kept handing out every day--well, those didn't hurt either.  They've obviously done a number of these conferences before, since they seemed to know exactly what to bring to bless all of us.  And its a proven fact that missionaries can focus better and learn more while munching on treats. Haha :-)

Thanks so much to the MAF EDRC team for inviting us to join you, and to the Rose Drive team for coming all the way over here to minister to us, and to all of those who helped plan, and give and pray to make that little conference happen.  It was a real blessing to our family to be a part of it!