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My dad just returned from two weeks in Uganda with a team from Antioch.

They were visiting and collaborating with an orphanage in Lira, Uganda called Otino-Waa, which was started by a couple from Bend, Oregon Bob and Carol Higgins.  Otino-Waa is an innovative orphanage and educational facility that has become a model for getting away from Western style orphanages and using good development principles that build family and community in smaller units.

Here’s a picture my dad took. I’m looking forward to connecting with him and the team and getting to hear their story.


Uganda Trip

On April 28, Amanda Wingers, Lauren Edwards, my dad John Wytsma and Sam and Darci Meier will travel to Uganda on a missions trip for Antioch Church.

They will be establishing the groundwork for future trips to an orphanage in Lira, Uganda and to continue our partnership with Alex and Faith Mutagubya with their church in Kampala, Uganda.

To read more click on the picture below and check out our new Antioch Missions Blog!


Uganda Fundraiser With Ben Edwards

In late April, a small team from Antioch is going to Uganda to pilot two new missions opportunities.

The first week the team will be at the Otino-Waa Orphanage in Lira, Uganda.  Otino-Waa was started by a Bend couple Bob and Carol Higgins. The last two days the team will be in the capital city Kampala profiling Alex & Faith Mutagubya’s church, which Antioch will have an ongoing partnership with when they return to Uganda later this year after studying in Portland.

The purpose of the trip is to lay the groundwork for future short-term trips, explore Mission Kids opportunities, find ways to help Alex’s church in Kampala with upcoming launch events and much more.

The group is paying their own way and the Photo Fundraiser goes toward covering their costs.

Here are the details I was given:

Uganda Facebook Photo Fundraiser with Photographer Benjamin Edwards

Friday March 25th 1pm-5pm; Saturday March 26th 9am-5pm

10 minute portrait slots – view and pick your image immediately

$75 per image, tax deductible and for a good cause, payable at shoot

Payments made to Antioch Church with “Uganda Trip” in the memo line

Different backdrops available – Funny, crazy, serious, etc…

To book a time slot, please email Amanda Wingers @:

amanda_wingers (at)


Alex Mutagubya

Alex is a Ugandan pastor and friend who is studying along with his wife Faith at Multnomah Bible Institute.

Alex joined us at Antioch this Sunday and talked about being ambassadors of God’s Kingdom.

Check it out below!

Guest Speaker :: Alex Mutagubya from Antioch Church on Vimeo.


Mercenary Rewards

One of the concepts that C.S. Lewis used regularly as a literary device was that of Mercenary Rewards.

The mercenary, for Lewis, was the perfect symbol of someone who doesn’t act for true love or desire for the thing itself, but for the reward he receives – much like mercenaries don’t care about the cause of a war, only the spoils.

One of the problems with how we tend to approach God is that we often embody the mercenary. Instead of realizing that God himself is our salvation, we ask for stuff we believe will save us. Instead of realizing that He is what we desire, we seek spoils.

“A joy there is that is not granted to the godless,” prays St. Augustine in his Confessions, “but to those only who worship you without looking for reward, because you yourself are their joy.” He adds, “This is the happy life, and this alone: to rejoice in you, about you and because of you. This is the life of happiness, and it is not to be found anywhere else.”

When we seek mercenary rewards from God, it betrays our nationality, our hypocrisy and our theology.

When we love God truly, we will, as scripture exhorts, delight ourselves in the Lord and rejoice in the Lord – not as mercenaries, but with undivided hearts.

Which do you desire more, God or what God can give?


Human Rights Documentary

This Sunday night at the Kilns is the first showing of the human rights documentary film on FGM that Beth Fischer and Benjamin Edwards shot when we were over in Uganda in February.

FGM stands for Female Genital Mutilation and is a horrible practice. The film was made to support a Ugandan Christian ministry called “Reach” that advocates for the abolishment of the practice and helps victims of abuse.

The issue has come before the Ugandan parliament and it is our hope that some of the MP’s (members of parliament) who worked with us will be able to use this to push through legislation against the practice.

The video is pretty hard core and viewer discretion is advised.

When: Sunday, September 27th at 7 p.m.
Where: The Kilns Bookstore (map)
What: A video and photography presentation with question and answer

* Below is a picture of a man they called “the elder” in the Kapchorwa region of Uganda that we were in who has long stood against FGM. The picture was taken in the cave where his family lived and hid during the reign of Idi Amin.


Video from Sunday


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Posted in: Uganda, videos

Kids Choir Pics

Here are some pictures of the Matsiko Ugandan Kids Choir that will be singing at Antioch this Sunday.


Posted in: Uganda

Yellow Bean Project

Below is the text of an e-mail from the young business man from Bukwo that John Courtney, Kim and I had the pleasure of meeting and working with while in Uganda. Antioch funded an entrepreneurial project of growing a lucrative cash crop of yellow beans in Bukwo that Martin was going to administer.

Martin is amazing. This excerpt is only half of the e-mail that he sent with detailed records, names and rules for the farmers in the project. A third of them live in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps and a third of them are widows.

We’re pretty excited to see what Martin will be able to accomplish through the yellow bean project!!


Praise God John!

How are you and your wife? Hope you are fine and doing well. I am fine and ok too. I came from Bukwo on 31st March 2008 and am now in Kampala for a week trying to prepare for my exams due next month.

I managed to purchase 450 kgs of yellow beans at a rate of $1 per kg, seeds preservative chemical 8kgs at $6.25 per kg totalling to $50, facilitation during training $ 31.3, transport to Bukwo plus loading and offloading expenses $78.1 and hired a fully prepared 1.5 acres of land for the church to grow some of the beans at a cost of $90.6.

We managed to identify majorly the needy people from the church, IDP camps and widows who had land ready for planting but had no access to any kind of seeds.

Total of 45 people were selected to pioneer the yellow beans project i.e. 15 in the church, 15 IDP camps and 15 widows.

I named the project “Torasis Church Farmers Project (TCFP) Bukwo“. I also drafted beneficiaries’ membership form, which aimed at capturing the necessary information ranging from personal, educational, religious, employment/occupational and farming information. Passport photographs was also taken and attached to the membership form.

The membership form contains 12 simple rules and regulations governing the project.

Approximate total of 18 acres of land contains yellow beans. We are expecting a maximum output of 10 tonnes and minimum of 7 tonnes in June 2008 upon the success of the pioneer project.

Otherwise I will be in touch with Pastor Fred and also give him this report and the receipts. Most of all everybody was excited about the yellow beans and they are really grateful and please receive their best regards and thanks be to God for your efforts and the Antioch Church at large.

We trust God and we are sure all will be well. Looking forward to hearing from you!


Thank You!

Martin Muneria


Posted in: Uganda

Congolese Mountains

I’m sitting on the porch of the Brose’s old home in Burundi looking out over Lake Tanganyika at the Congolese Mountains.

Burundi, which is the 3rd poorest country in Africa, is one of the most beautiful places that I’ve ever been.  Like Rwanda, it is a nation of hills and beautiful trees.
We have had nonstop meetings with the World Relief staff and I have met some of the most capable people that I have ever met.  World Relief has an amazing vision as well as quality people.
The internet is very slow… so I will save all the tidbits for some other time.
Everyone is doing good!!


Posted in: Uganda

Quick Pics

Some quick pictures that Ben shot… The first is a lady in her home outside of Kapchorwa and the second is a tribal elder in the cave where he was born and where they lived during the reign of Idi Amin.


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Posted in: Uganda

Monkey Island

Last night we had Chinese Food with Pastor Peter and Pastor Fred from Africa Renewal (ARM’s). It was at a restaurant called, “Fang Fang.” I’ll pass on Chinese Food for a while :)

So the lineup for today…

John & Lori Courtney are heading to the ARM’s office to meet for a lengthy time with Fred Sekyewa the Executive Director about child sponsorships and everything else related to Africa Renewal. John is the best “question asker” I have ever met. It has been great having a thorough lawyer along on the trip to move things forward!! After their meetings they will be heading to Bethany Village, which is an orphan village on Lake Victoria that was started by ARM’s.

Ben, Beth and Kim are headed to “Monkey Island.” It’s an island in the middle of Lake Victoria that you get to by a half hour boat ride that is supposed to be filled with Monkey’s. Ben has a long lens for his camera that he affectionately named his “monkey lens” as it is his dream to be able to photograph some wildlife.

I told Ben that he needs to get a picture of Kim acting like a monkey with a real monkey behind her that we could auction off when we get back to church… pretty good idea, right??

As for me… I will be heading to Entebbe Airport to go hunting for my luggage…

At 3:00 a.m. we head to the airport for a 5:00 a.m. flight to Burundi via Nairobi, Kenya. We will be met there by Dan and Tambre Brose who are from Antioch.

As far as what is being accomplished…… there is so much happening and developing that I have a perpetual migraine and can’t imagine trying to type it all out right now… sorry :)

More later~


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Posted in: Uganda

The Gold Jacket Lives!!!

Since my luggage is still lost… I had to preach this morning at Ggaba Community Church to a thousand people wearing the gold jacket they bought me when we went to visit the first lady.

To the jacket was added a 30 year old tie that was in someone else’s luggage to be given away.

I looked so sketchy to the American eye that a couple at the service from Saddleback Church wanted to avoid me during the meet and great time. After the service they told me that I weirded them out a little and looked like some televangelist until they heard about my lost luggage and borrowed clothes.

Anyway, the Gold Jacket lives on and the whole adventure continues!!


Posted in: Uganda

13 out of 14

13 of the 14 missing bags were delivered to us tonight…. Guess who’s bag was #14


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Posted in: Uganda

Safari John

John “Safari” Courtney (I say that because he reminds me of MacGyver on this trip) did a good job of negotiating with British Airways… and even though we won’t get our bags till late Saturday, we all got 35 British Pounds (70 bucks) for our trouble. Patience and diplomacy live!!!

Things have been going well… Beth, Ben and Lori are way ahead of schedule on the FGM video (and are having their lives changed in the process).

John and Kim spent yesterday learning about the child sponsorship program in Kapchorwa as it will be the oversight center for the Bukwo child sponsorships when they come. They also visited Testimony School that Sisters Church helped to build. John was excited and (according to Kim) broke the world record for questions asked in a 3 hour period!

Today, John and Kim were able to drive down to the Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps and hand out school supplies and water treatment tablets. It is the definition of poverty and both of them were moved by the hopelessness as well as the lack of clean water in some of the camps. It was also a real educational experience learning about the history of this area.

As for me, I’ve been meeting with Pastor David from Bukwo and growing in excitment over future opportunities.

We should all be finishing up sometime this evening and then might drive to Sipi Falls to catch the African Sunset.

We’re all pretty exhausted and jet lagged so we’ll hopefully get some good sleep before driving back to Kampala tomorrow.

On Sunday, I will be preaching at Ggaba Church (the headquarters of ARM’s), which was a surprise to me. After that the whole team will be meeting with the two Parliamentary members from Bukwo.

Monday it is off to Bethany Village (the orphan village run by ARM’s) on Lake Victoria and then down to Entebbe to get some rest before getting up at 3:00 a.m. to catch a 5:20 a.m. flight to Burundi.

From there the schedule gets really full :)

All for now!!!


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Posted in: Uganda


It’s a crazy world!!

We arrived in Uganda this morning and while the team was filling out lost bag forms (that’s right… they won’t get here till Saturday!) I hopped in a Land Rover with John Hornbeck from Sisters Church and was wisked away to go and meet the First Lady of Uganda (Janet Museveni).

I had on jeans and a plain shirt, so while John changed into his nice clothes they went and bought me a bright gold double breasted jacket to clash with the tan pants I borrowed.

So there I was… meeting the President’s wife and looking like quite the fashion statement. John Hornbeck couldn’t stop laughing.

I’ll be heading up to Kapchorwa first thing in the morning and rejoining the team there. They headed up straight from the airport along with the rest of the team from Sisters Church.

I’ll be sitting around wondering “what next” in my two day old clothes for a couple (or three) more days.

What a wild beginning to a trip!!!


Posted in: Uganda

It’s BA… everything is complimentary!!

That’s what the British Airways rep said in a heavy accent as we were boarding the plane to London in Seattle.

He had just finished telling us that there was a 99% chance that our luggage wasn’t going to make it on the flight (long story) and suggested we board the plane and get a bottle of red wine… “everything is complimentary.”

We’re hanging out in the International Terminal at London / Heathrow now wondering how we’re going to kill a 7 hour layover before we head to Entebbe, Uganda.

It’s been the craziest trip ever so far… my dog peed on my bag, we almost didn’t make it out of Redmond in time, a plane had a flat time (go figure?), half our team didn’t have the right reservations on the flight from Redmond to Seattle and had to do a multi flight dash to get to Seattle (and they still beat the rest of us), we almost left without the trip money (I tried to blame that one on Kip, but it was probably my oversight), and it ended with a personal escort van ride from the Horizon flight direct to the British Airways 777 (they pulled us off the Horizon plane before letting anyone else stand up!)

Anyway, I’m hoping that our bags will be in Entebbe, but I’m preparing myself for 4 days without my stuff (the next flight to Uganda is 3 days later!!)


Posted in: Uganda


We’re off to Africa in less than 24 hours.

The team is myself, Kim Hunt, Beth Fischer, Benjamin Edwards, John Courtney and Lori Courtney.

We arrive in Entebbe, Uganda on the morning of the 20th. We’ll spend a week in Uganda driving to Kapchorwa, visiting some refugee camps, shooting a human rights video and hopefully making it to Bukwo (depending on safety issues).

After Uganda, we’ll be boarding Kenya Airways and heading to Burundi via Nairobi. We’ll spend five days in Burundi with some staff from World Relief. Our time in Burundi will be fast paced as we will be visiting some of the major towns and World Relief projects as well as heading “up country.” I think “up country” simply means a long drive past a lot of guys holding guns.

I’m going to try and blog periodically as I think I can find internet every couple of days.

Any prayer is welcome!!


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