Friday, December 24, 2010

From the Tolstads (Uganda Update)

Dear Partners and Friends,

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

e greet you from Kampala, Uganda where the temperature never changes. Being so close to the Equator (@20 miles) and over 4,000 feet high, we have a very nice year-round warm temperature. Christmas is an important time for Ugandans as they travel back to their home villages and spend several weeks visiting, reuniting with family and their clans. Christmas Day is an important time to go to Church and Celebrate the Birth of Jesus the Savior. We trust you are able to spend time with family and loved ones to Celebrate this special time.

We are making preparations for our General Conference in January. We are honored to have Bro David Bernard with us as special guest and speaker. We are looking forward to a great time of teaching and preaching that strengthens the Church of Uganda.

This month of December has been busy, as we had our Quarterly General Board meeting to plan and organize for the General Conference. It was exciting to see what all God is doing in Uganda.

I just returned late last night from a Seminar in Llyama. This is a new area with new pastors. Bro Kiria Erisama pastors in Llyama and is building a great church. He also has a Nursery/Primary School with over 150 Children in his school. He further cares for over forty Orphans who live at the school. Bro Kiria has a great desire to reach his area with this Gospel. We taught Apostolic Doctrine, Family Life/Bible Values and Prophecy for four days. In the Evening we went to the Trading Center and preached a Crusade. Over 51 people received the Holy Ghost. (I say "over" because, when we finished praying at the Crusade, it was so dark you couldn't see anyone or anything; all you could hear were people praying and worshiping!) On Saturday night as we were concluding our message, there was a near riot as a parade of several thousand people marched right through our Crusade. It was the Circumcision Initiation ritual for young boys, and they always march through their area with the Witch Doctors and Traditional Men. I thought we had lost the crowd, but on Sunday, two men from the Crusade Service on Saturday came to church, received the Holy Ghost and were baptized. On Sunday the church marched to the swamp where they dammed up a little creek in the rice paddies and baptized 23 folks. Three of the men and one Woman were Muslims. Not only were they baptized in the Name of Jesus, they changed their names from Muslim names to Christian Names to mark their conversion to Christ! (When people accept the Muslim Faith, they have to change their names to Muslim names; we tell folks when they become Disciples of Jesus they should take a Christian name to be a Witness to their family and friends, and they are now "Christians.")

Thank you all for your prayers and faithful giving in your "Faith Promise;" your faithful giving continues to spread the Gospel throughout Uganda. Thank you for your sacrifices and giving to our Projects. One young couple in Louisiana did not give Christmas gifts to each other, rather they bought a bicycle for a Pastor in Uganda with their Christmas Gift funds. This type of sacrifice is eternal as Bro. Erisama now is able to travel and preach the Gospel throughout his area. He is an Area Coordinator and over 13 Churches.

Phil & Twyla Tolstad

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