Many of you have become accustomed to getting a letter from me about this time each year soliciting funds for my next mission trip to Africa. This is not that letter--at least, not exactly.
In many African countries the Church is growing faster than it can train leaders. For each of the last three summers I have spent an intensive month or three weeks in Uganda training national pastors, most of whom have had no opportunity for formal education beyond high school. The ministry has been deeply appreciated by my African brethren, and I hope to have an opportunity to return there again in the future. But I have already agreed to two speaking engagements this summer that will make a trip to Africa impossible to schedule this year, given that I have to teach summer school the first part of the summer in order to make ends meet.
July 15-29 I will be leading the annual summer workshop of the Southern California C. S. Lewis Society in Valyermo, CA, studying the writings of that great Christian thinker. Then the second week of August I will be giving a paper at a conference at the University of Birmingham, England, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. This conference is being jointly sponsored by the Tolkien Society and the Mythopoeic Society in the city where Tolkien grew up. These are great opportunities that seem to be the Lord's will for me this year. And their cost is covered, I am grateful to say, either by the hosting organization or by my college or by funds I have set aside.
And yet . . . . While I will not be needing to raise money to stick my body full of shots and haul it to Africa and back this year, the needs I left behind there still continue in my absence. I have promised my friends in Uganda that I would try to help them with two critical needs. First is raising money for scholarships that would allow local pastors to receive the formal training whose lack I try inadequately to make up for when I am there. For only about $500.00 U.S. you can provide a Ugandan with a "full ride" scholarship to Bible school for a year. That's about one twentieth of what it would cost to send someone to my college here in the states! So those who contribute to these scholarships are getting tremendous "bang for their buck." Yet in the local economy it is virtually impossible for Ugandans to raise this money themselves. The second critical need is to help care for orphans who have lost their parents to AIDS. The Rakai District in Western Uganda, the worst hit region in the world, has had a 50 % death rate among the adults who ought to be raising this generation of children! I work with a group in Uganda called Jesu Afaayo, which means "Jesus Cares" in Luganda, the main tribal language. Their purpose is to provide school fees for such children, being cared for sacrificially by church families who can barely afford to send their own children to school. (There is no free education in Uganda.) If they are not kept in school, they basically have no future. If you had met some of these children as I have, you would find the need to help them simply irresistible.
So, while I do not need to raise money for a trip to Africa this year, I would still like to be able to help my African brothers and sisters. If any of you should be moved to contribute to either of these needs, I would be glad to make sure the money gets to the right place. My mailing address is:
Donald T. Williams, PhD P. O. Box # 800807 Toccoa Falls, GA. 30598
As in the past, if you need a tax receipt please make checks out to University Church, and indicate which need you would like to help with. If you can't help right now, God bless you, and please pray for these folk. Perhaps by next year I will be needing help with plane fare again!
Yours for His glory,
Read the 2002 Uganda Missions Report.
Read the 2003 Uganda Missions Report.
Read the 2004 Uganda Missions Report.
Read the 2005 Uganda Missions Report.
Read the 2006 Uganda/Kenya Missions Report.
Read the 2008 Uganda Missions Report.