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In 1 Cor. 1:26 Paul wrote, "God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise" Indeed He has. God can use anybody and anything to further His kingdom. This is the story of God and goats.

My ministry, Standing Near the Cross, has recently raised money to purchase goats for unbelieving families in a village in Uganda. I thought you might be interested in how this came to pass. It is truly a God thing! And I thought you might also want to prayerfully considering be a part of our ministry to families here and in the uttermost parts of the world.   

In Feb. 2013 Craig and I traveled to Rwanda and Uganda to teach a program called Pioneer Evangelism. (For more information on this ministry click here.) We were trained at our home church Bellevue Baptist in Cordova, TN. to teach this 4-day program on sharing Christ, making disciples, and planting churches back in 2005 and have been able to present it about 15 times in foreign countries to pastors and church leaders. We primarily travel out into the bush, meeting in villages. The pastors travel to us and spend 4 days studying about 8 hours a day to learn this transferable program. Literally 1000s of new church plants have resulted from this ministry founded by our friends Wade and Barbara Akin

Every trip we return home with a renewed commitment to make Jesus known, "both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). This trip our interpretor in Kitgum, Uganda was Odonga James, a pastor in Lira about 3 hours away.

We had the privilege of teaching about 50 pastors and church leaders how to make disciples and plant churches. During our time with James he shared with us how God had led him and his congregation to "show God's love in practical ways" - one of the tenants of the training in Pioneer Evangelism. The idea behind it is that people don't really care how much we know, until they know how much we care. James told his congregation that he believed God was leading them to purchase goats, give them to unbelieving families especially widows (many men were killed during the recent warfare in northern Uganda, leaving many households without a husband or father). He told his congregation he believed they could purchase 100 goats! Now, please remember that in the villages, most families provide for themselves from what they are able to grow or barter. One goat costs $25.00 American dollars. Currently 1 Ugandan dollar is equal to $2060.00 American dollars. Do the math. This challenge represented more than this congregation could ever dream of, and yet as the church began to pray about it, they were convinced this was of God!! What faith!! James told us that when the offering plate was passed, his people began taking off their shirts and shoes and putting them in the offering plate! I must tell you that I was WRECKED in my spirit when I heard him relate this story of such faith!! And I knew I wanted to be a part of what God was doing in a tiny village in northern Uganda built of mud huts with thatched roofs. God and goats. It makes me giggle when I think of it.

James and his congregation began to identify the most needy families in their villages and began to pray God would provide a goat for each one. James' goat ministry has already provided some goats to families. After giving a goat, the church family begins to start loving on the family. Slowly a relationship is built. Instructions for raising a strong herd are given. Desperate physical needs are met. And in the way only God can - He is using GOATS to meet spiritual needs and bring people into the kingdom of God in northern Uganda! Praise God.

I teach a Bible study at my church called MOMS. For my birthday the sweet mommies had given me a cast gift to help offset the expenses of our trip to Uganda. I told Craig I wanted to use the money for something significant - not just roll it up into the expense account of the trip. I wanted something I could identify as my love gift from the MOMS. Instantly I knew God wanted me to give the money to buy goats in northern Uganda!! My moms would love knowing their gift had gone to help moms in Uganda!

(Sidebar-When we first starting doing mission trips we were instructed not to give out money. So typically we are very careful about "giving money" to anyone on missions trips. There is a danger that someone might possibly connect the American mission project with American money - possibly confusing the TRUE gospel message with a "social gospel" message. And obviously that could be very dangerous. So we leave all financial matters in the hands of those administrating our trips and are careful not to in any way do anything that might hinder God's work. Just so you know that giving money is not the purpose of what we do. We go to teach the nationals how to reach their people with a transferable problem that helps them share Christ, make disciples, and plant churches. Making any group dependent on American funds can be very dangerous. Instead we teach them to depend on God to provide-a lesson they are well aware of!)

With the money James and his congregation were able to buy 15 goats which were names in my honor. Love it! 

Several months later we bought 8 more by love gifts given to our ministry, Standing Near the Cross.
These are named Renae and Mary. And every Wed. night the Women's Ministry of James' church prays for each "goat giver" by name. What a love gift to be prayed over by women in Uganda!

Recently a friend in the ministry was planning to travel to Uganda. We took up a love offering of $785.00 and sent with him to be hand delivered to Odonga James. It took several months for the money to arrive in northern Uganda but on Sunday I got this note from James:

"Hi my dear friend Jean. I really thank God for the great birthday you have just had, God is so good. i would love to appreciate your great support toward our goat ministry in Northern Uganda. your ministry of standing near the cross is really blessing our communities in Northern part of Uganda that has been hard hit by the 20 years destructive insurgency, through this project families are restoring hope and they are now seeing God giving them grace.i really want to thank God because right now we have received some money from Floid Paris who came from USA and we are now purchasing some goats for some families and will make you posted. please may i know the names of those who donated the funds so that we can name the goats by their names for great recognition. Thanks and we promise to pray for you and Standing near the Cross ministry. love you, convey out great thanks to those friends."

This gift will allow James and his church to buy at least 31 goats and they will be named for the giver and each giver will be prayed over by name by the women of the church! Thank you for all who gave to Standing Near the Cross and allowed us to partner with Odonga James and his church in northern Uganda because only GOD could use GOATS to bring people into the kingdom of God!!

If you would like to financially support our ministry, Standing Near the Cross, you can give on-line or mail a check to Standing Near the Cross, P.O. Box 477, Oakland, TN. 38060. All gifts are tax-exempt and will help us strengthen families through the teaching of the Word, here and around the world! Thank you in advance. 

If you want your gift to go to the goat ministry in Uganda, please specify that and give us the name for your goat.

Posted: 11/14/2013 10:28:31 AM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments