We made it home!

We made it into Atlanta Friday afternoon, and everything went really smoothly. We headed to Wadley to spend the night — we just didn’t think we wanted to drive six hours back home after spending almost 24 hours traveling. We got there and Sarah, my sister-in-law, made us an awesome dinner and then we crashed. We were still messed up on time because all of us were up at 4 a.m. We headed to Auburn to take the girls to a softball game and then headed home. It sure is nice to be home, but we can’t get the people we met out of our minds.

Easter was good — we wore the clothes we got in Africa. The girls looked great in the outfits that Pastor Nelson’s wife Sarah made for them. I sat there in church and just couldn’t get out of my mind the people over there how they worshipped and how they loved God and How I wish the American church and myself could grab on to how much God loves us. I really think that if we could understand that our worship would be different.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a great service and I know most of the people there really love God, but what kind of sacrifice did we have to make to get there that day? God made the ultimate sacrifice for us, and sometimes I feel like I don’t sacrifice anything for Him. It is just different being back because the people we met totally depended on God for everything. I know some of you are saying, “Oh they will get over it and forget about those over there once they are home for a while.” I pray that will never happen. I feel God has burned those images of them worshipping a God that is so real to them that they feel they touch Him every time they sing His praises. People walking miles to come to worship a God that provides for them every day. People who don’t care what they have or what they don’t have, but instead about how much they love God.

I know that there are so many needs in America and around the world. But I think the biggest need is on an individual basis. We all need to look at ourselves and ask ourselves, “Am I really doing all I can for God, and if not, what can I do differently? Am I really in love with Jesus or just the idea of Jesus?” We can’t fix all the problems, but we can make sure we are right where we need to be. I guess my biggest lesson learned is spiritual poverty is a far greater concern then material poverty and that most of us have it backward.

I am talking to myself here also, so don’t get your panties in a wad thinking I am saying I am better because I went to Africa. Really it would have been easier to stay at home and pretend there isn’t a problem. I went there to help people I thought, but came home with a new awareness of my flaws. The people I met helped me way more than I helped them.
Thanks to Mark, Simon, Kenneth, John, Festo, Pastor Nelson, Isaac, and all the boys and Girls I met for showing me what it is to be a true Christian and how it looks to totally depend on Him for everything. I am forever grateful for the friendships we have made. Thanks also to all my friends and family here that prayed for us supported us on this mission. We hope you will continue to pray for us and support Ransom Ministries.

I pray this experience will help us better serve here at Ransom Café in the ministry that God has given us.

The Armbrusters

 

Our last day… and oh what a day

Our last day in Kampala was great! The team decided instead of going sight seeing, we wanted to go back to the Girls Home and the Boys Home. We went to the Boys Home first, and oh what a blessing. Three of us started building a Rocket Stove, and a couple others hooked up the Sawyer Filter system. While we were doing these projects, the boys treated everyone to a praise and worship concert. Listening to them sing while building the stove was so awesome. The stove worked great and it heated the water so much faster and created a lot less smoke. They were so grateful for the things we did. We want to do more for them and want to encourage others to get involved. You can sponsor a boy for just $30 per month through Four Corners Ministries and 100 percent of that money goes to the boys. As of now there are 50 boys and only 5 are sponsored. The money goes toward their care and education.

We then went to the Girls Home, and they were so excited to see us. We built them two stoves and hooked them up with the Sawyer water filter which will give them 1 million gallons of clean water. The lady that does all the cooking was very excited about the stove. She said usually it took 30-45 minutes to boil the water, and the stove did it in 10 minutes with less wood. I am so glad we got to do the stoves because I really felt like God wanted us to do it. While we were doing that, the ladies painted the girls’ finger nails and even talked some of the guys on the team into paint theirs. They colored pictures and seemed to really enjoy that. Then one of the proudest moments on the trip was watching Abbey share the gospel though the beads with an interpreter to the girls of the home. She did an awesome job. What a special day. So glad we chose that over sight seeing.

This trip has been great for all of us, and at times it’s been tough and very emotional. We don’t expect everyone to understand all we saw because pictures or words cannot explain it. We do know this trip has helped us see people differently and will help with our ministry at home. If any of you feel lead to go I strongly urge you to go… you won’t regret it. The people of Uganda are some of the nicest and happiest people I have ever met, and I ask that you pray for them — not that they would get the things we think they need, but that they would remain faithful to God and continue to be an inspiration in their walk. Like I said before, the people over there depend on God every second of their life, and this has made them the strongest Christians I have ever met. Their wealth is in their walk with God and I myself think that is so much more important than any material wealth they could ever receive.

Right now I sit in the Amsterdam Airport praying that God will never let me forget this experience or the faces of the people I have met and that this will change me forever.

Next blog will be from the states!

 

All For His Glory

The Armbrusters

Day 5 village

Today was another fun filled day. We went to a village in a very remote area to do medical clinic, some water purification practical teaching and to play with the kids. We got there and they were so happy to see us. Again, the church was filled to overflowing and people were standing outside. They had the welcome service and again all I can say is wow, they really love Jesus.

Tripp asked me to share a gospel message with the crowd so I did. We all praised our Lord, and then the medical team set up for the clinic. We all went outside and talked to people, and then Pastor William showed me around the property. He showed me his home — a brick structure with dirt floors and beds on the floor. Then he showed me that he was raising chickens and at night he had to keep them in the house because people would steal them. We then gave the kids a new soccer ball that Jeff and Amy had brought, and they went nuts. The one they had was very old. We also had some beach balls, and they loved to hit them around. The kids really enjoyed the coloring books and crayons, and I actually almost started a riot over the crayons. We were able to show them the water purification and rehydration lessons and also give the church a Sawyer water filter that will filter 1 million gallons of water for them to drink. The clinic was able to see and treat 192 village people. Praise God for that.

The team had a choice of going sight seeing or go back to the Boys Home and the Girls Home, and we all choose to go back and spend some time with the boys and girls. We are going to install a Sawyer water filter system at each home as well as build them a Rocket stove for cooking. We are really excited to get to go back and spend some time with these orphans and street children. We have made some great new friends this week: Mark, Festo, Simon, Abby, Pastor Nelson, John, Solomon, Phillip, Godfrey, and so many more. I am so thankful to have met them. Please pray that this final day goes well and we give God the glory. Be praying for us as we leave Uganda Friday at 12 a.m. and probably won’t blog until we get back into the states. This trip has been so awesome and I know I will not do it justice just telling about it, but I hope you see that this is an awesome country and the people here are so spiritually rich that it makes us look poor in our spiritual walk. See you in the USA!

All for His Glory

The Armbrusters

Day 4 Myanzi Village

Today, we went to another village two hours outside Kampala. We saw some amazing things on the way and some things that broke our hearts.  The children as well as the adults along the roads would wave and cheer as we went by. Our interpreters say that the people here love Americans and know they are usually here to help.

When we got to the village church, Pastor David along with a bunch of church members greeted us all. We then went inside the church, which was a building made of mud and limbs with dirt floors and wooden benches. When we walked inside, the place was full. We thought all the people were outside, but they were outside because there was no room inside. In all, I would say there was more than 300 people there to meet us. Then Pastor David and the congregation had a time of welcome and thanked all of us for coming and they wanted to let us know they loved us. Then we all worshiped our Lord together, and man they love Jesus. They might not have a lot, but they sure do have a lot of Jesus.

Then the children did a few songs for us and did some native dancing. Wow, what a blessing that was. We then went outside and kicked soccer balls, played with bubbles and Eric played guitar while Jeff and I did a water purification demonstration for the adults. We had many questions and comments during this, but we really feel this was a very good demo and that they can now do it themselves. The Village then put on a feast for us of their traditional food made right there. This food was very special because they don’t have much themselves, but they wanted to share with us and what a blessing it was.  We then shared the beads and what they mean with the men while the ladies had a devotional time with the ladies and handed out some care packages to them as well. We had many come to us for prayer about many things. The beads have become a very easy way to share the gospel with many people at one time. It was then time to go and we said our goodbyes and headed to the bus with most of them following to say one last goodbye.

What a blessing today was. I am learning more from the people of Uganda then I feel we are teaching them. I have seen what daily devotion to God is and depending on Him for daily needs. Sometimes we have so much we don’t have to depend on God for anything, and these people we have been meeting depend totally on God to provide every hour. They worship because of who He is not what they have or don’t have. I am so thankful for what I have been able to see and learn and for what Abbey and Mary Paige have been able to take part in. I also realized that we need to pray for Christians in the United States daily. As I was heading to our nice hotel, I remembered those faces of hope and peace. Even though they don’t have much materially, they have so much more than most of us spiritually, and that is what really matters. My prayer is that being a Christian means as much to us as it does to them because I am here to tell you, it is a matter of life and death to them and it should be for us as well. Please pray for our remaining days! Happy birthday to Mary Paige. Today she turned 6 and has had a blast so far.

For His glory

The Armbrusters

Day 3 Katuso Village Uganda

Today I painted faces and played with bubbles. The children loved to play with bubbles and laughed the whole time. I also got to hold a little baby from the village. They really enjoyed playing with the beach balls we took to them. I also got to help out at the medical clinic at the church and it was really neat.

Mary Paige

Today I painted faces at the kids carnival and also was able to meet some really nice people, and they really enjoyed us painting. We had brought a soccer ball and we played with it just kicking it around with the children. I also helped with the medical clinic and really enjoyed it. I made some new friends, and even though they did not speak English, we all like to play and have fun. I really liked the children and running and playing. We played with bubbles and they really seemed to enjoy that. They laughed so hard chasing the bubbles. What really touched me today was that some kids were hurting with stomach aches but they still had a smile on their faces. It made me realize that it’s hard to take care of themselves and they do best they can.

Love,

Abbey

Well as you can see our girls are really having fun and are learning a lot about other people. We have really enjoyed seeing them love on others. Today was a little different. We went about an hour outside of Kampala to Katuso Village. This village is in a very rural setting. The people did not speak any English, so we had to take four interpreters with us.  The children did not know what to think about Mary Paige and Abbey — some of the Ugandans have told us that this is the first time many of them have seen young Americans. All of the interpreters said this is first time they have met Americans this young.

Jeff and I needed some water for our demonstration on purified water. We asked where it was and they said they would show us. We started to walk, and two miles later, we came to a spring with a hand pump. We met three little children and they were pumping water for their home. We helped them pump theirs, and then we pumped ours.

We put it in these containers that hold 22 liters. The boys then put the containers on their heads, and off they went back up the path. We tried to carry it on our heads, but it was difficult. We carried it back to the church we were at and many people gathered in a school room to hear our teaching.

We then shared the gospel with them and they were so happy to hear about Jesus. We also taught them the beads again with the help of the interpreters and then had each child and adult tell us what the beads meant before they could get one. So in their own language most of them could tell us with no help. It was awesome so see these children share the story of Jesus though the beads and in the Ugandan language.

While we were loading the bus, one of our team members felt lead to share the gospel with a man on a motorcycle. So he called one of our interpreters and he shared the gospel and the man told them he needed this Jesus they were talking about, and he prayed and asked Jesus to take over his life right there on his bike.

We also all tried sugar cane for the first time, and the girls loved it. We will be going to another village two hours away and we will be eating traditional food. I am excited, but Tara and the girls not so much. We are looking forward to it and can’t wait to see what God is going to do in us and through us. Until tomorrow, keep praying for the cafe. From what I hear it is going great and I thank Jodie so much for running it while we’re gone.

For His glory

Matt and Tara

Day 2 Kampala Uganda

What a day. We went to the church today in the slum area, and it was packed full of local slum residents, children and those that could get there. We were wondering to ourselves about the trouble they must go through to get there and how we in the states can come up with almost any excuse not to go to church and worship. They started it off with testimony time, and many people came up to share what God had done in their lives. Then the children got up to sing and dance, and boy can they dance. The choir came up next and sang some beatiful songs and danced as well. Then Eric Blackman from our team taught the crowd a song from America with the help of a translator. Then, with the Lord’s help, Matt got to speak to these awesome people with the help of the translator.

This was a day of many firsts for Matt — first time preaching in Africa and first time speaking outdoors and with a translator. He really felt the power of God giving him the words to say. We then did the practical teaching on urban gardens and water purification technologies with a great crowd listening and asking some really good questions. Then we went to a Girls Home that 4 Corners supports where there are about 40+ girls from 2 on up. These girls are orphans with no parents. I can say this was the most humbling experience I have ever had. These girls live in a run down home with six girls to a room, and they are the happiest little girls I have ever seen. They couldn’t wait to show us their rooms. They were so proud. Then they treated us to some songs, and man could they sing. They sang the song “Because He lives I can face tomorrow.” This is an awesome testimony after seeing the conditions they were living in, but at least it wasn’t on the streets. They are really depending on God for everything, and they have joy no matter what. They really were a great ending to an already awesome day. Looking forward to day 3 as we go out into a surrounding village to share the Love of Jesus in practical ways. Please continue to pray for all of us as we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

For His glory

Matt, Tara, Abbey and Mary Paige

Day 1 in Kampala, Uganda

Well, we got started this morning and drove down to the slum area of Kampala. It was very eye opening to us to see all those people living in what look like sheds. You cannot imagine the conditions they live in. Pictures don’t do it justice; you need to smell it for yourself! We then got to Pastor Nelson’s church and he shared his testimony with us and how God gave him a vision for this area. The Children were just wanting someone to love on them. Every time we turned around, there were kids hanging on our legs and wanting us to pick them up. Mary Paige and Abbey had the kids really attaching to them and wanting them to hold them and hold their hands. Jeff and I needed some old tires, cans and some empty plastic bottles for our urban gardens and water purification classes. The kids were our biggest help! They ran off and came back with everything we needed. We had some large crowds for both the Urban Garden and Water Purification Class. They had many questions and seemed to really like it. We then went up to the medical clinic, where Josh, Eric, and Amy had people lined up to get medicine. We left there and went to the Boys Home and I shared with them about the power bracelets and what each of the beads meant. We gave them all a bracelet if they could tell us what the beads meant, and they all could! We also had a coloring station, puppet-making station, and face painting station. Abbey and Mary Paige did a great job painting faces. The boys really enjoyed coloring and were very good at it. As we left to come back to the hotel, the boys lined the fence and waved goodbye. It was such a blessing for me to watch my children love on these little kids no matter what they looked like, what they were wearing, or how they smelled. I am so thankful God allowed us to come have this experience as a family. Please pray for me tomorrow as I have been asked to preach. I have no idea what to preach on, so I am asking for the Spirit to lead me. Thanks again for all your prayers.

Matt