December 15, 2008

Our Year in Review

This year will soon be over. But what a year it’s been!

Two themes stand out in my mind as I reflect on ACFAR’s progress in 2008: Prayer and patience.

Divitos in UgandaOne fruit of your prayers for ACFAR—and the highlight of the year—was returning to Uganda with my wife in April. God has given me a deep love for this country, and she also fell in love with the people and the area. While we kept busy with research, planning, and ministry, our days in East Africa were unforgettable and marvelous.

This year the Lord also gave us greater opportunities than ever to raise awareness about the urgent need to advance biblical discernment in East Africa. I’ve spoken and preached in several states. Our web site and blog continue to attract numerous visitors. We even had a special evening in Southern California with Greg Koukl from Stand to Reason as our keynote speaker (feel free to download and listen to his message in MP3), and we produced a video to spread the vision for ACFAR.

So by God’s grace, we gathered a great deal of momentum in 2008. More and more people are catching the vision. Fellow believers, both here and in Africa, are getting excited as we work toward helping our African brothers and sisters in Christ defend our common faith. We’re closer than ever to reaching our goal and launching our ministry.

Now for the part about patience.

This year brought its share of challenges. Our oldest daughter was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes, adding expenses and delaying our target date for departure until May. The global recession is limiting our opportunities to raise awareness and support. As the year closes, we still need at least 28o new prayer partners, $5,800 in additional monthly support commitments, and $30,000 for one-time special support to reach our goal.

We’re trusting in Christ, knowing that he can generously and abundantly provide! And we praise God with the Apostle Paul, who wrote: “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).

Where do we stand as we head into 2009?

If I were to add a theme to carry us into the new year, it would be “persistence.” Because one thing is certain: We can’t slow down.

As you can imagine from reading the “Weekly Round-Up” on this blog each Friday, my spirit is provoked within me (cf. Acts 17:16) as I watch the steady stream of news from across East Africa—cult controversies, charismatic confusion, the surge in occultic practices—all posing a challenge to the Body of Christ and its witness.

Ugandans in PrayerWill we answer the cry from our brothers and sisters in Uganda? They’re asking us to equip them with the tools and the training they need to grow in biblical discernment and to resist and refute the intrusion of cults and false teaching. Will we help them to win cultists to Christ?

With just five months to go, our target date is aggressive. But we’re placing our trust in Jesus and keeping our eyes on the goals set before us.

It’s hard to express my thanks for the many of you who pray. Most of the answered intercession we’ve seen this year began in your hearts. Your continued interest, encouragement, and support are both moving and humbling. Please prayerfully consider how can you help ACFAR in 2009. Let’s serve our Lord together for the sake of His kingdom in Africa next year!