Friday, October 16, 2015

AGC Library Grand Opening!

It started with desire.  Not mine, theirs.  Every Ugandan I met wanted to learn and yet few had the resources to help them.  I remembered the hundreds of books I left in storage back at home and felt compassion for them.  Something had to be done.  Jade and I tapped on a few shoulders and whispered in a few ears.  Before we knew it the books were arriving and piling up.  Our wonderful friends in America had latched on to an idea and partnered in a very special way.  It seems like it happened over night.  This is how the AGC Pastoral Library was born:

Jade worked with a friend in America to design a stamp specific to our little collection of books.  We stamped over 300 books as they arrived from generous partners in America.
Maddix and Sophie were 'hired' as librarians to help organize the books.
For a few months we stored the books at our home until the new space was ready.  Young Isaac (15) stared in awe at the selection.  He borrowed 'The Jesus I Never Knew' by Philip Yancey to study and read.
The library needed a big table.  Jade's dad and I went down to the local lumber yard to buy some wood.  This is a piece of Mahogany 2"X12"X18' which we bought for a great price!
I only own a jigsaw so the straight cuts and joints were a real challenge.  Do you see the shape coming together?
Jade's dad, Howie, had this idea to arrange the grains in a way that showed a cross.  Do you see it in the table?  The man on the right is Kevin Jumba, a very close family friend who does a lot of wood projects with me.  He is a talented man and a very hard worker.
With the table complete we began moving the library into its place.  We hung the light shade, a 25' timeline, a couple maps and several bookshelves.
It didn't take long for good discussions to find their way into the library space.  Even before the opening we found several hours here and there to "test" the space.  Here Rev. James Ouma and I (Nathan) are talking through church matters and vision for future work.
The day came to finally open the library.  Since we were short on chairs we needed to borrow a few.  Pastor Tony hopped up on top of the van to help keep the chairs from flying off during our short drive.  Even though everyone stared and pointed and laughed, I was a careful driver.
Jade helped several of the women in the church to prepare a meal for over 60 people!  They did a wonderful job and had fun in their work.  It was a loud kitchen:)
Pastors Tony, Aron and Rob were visiting from America as special guests for the event.  We were so blessed by their presence in our home and community over a week and a half.
The grand opening of the library was a service filled by God and the presence of the Holy Spirit.  We enjoyed passionate worship, loving fellowship and a tone of encouragement throughout.
I spoke to the pastors and leaders about shepherding sheep, fighting wolves and being filled by the Lion of Judah.
We closed the service by laying hands on the leaders of World Gospel Mission and Africa Gospel Church.  Pastor Wilson led in prayer as all our voices were lifted up in agreement, petition and praise.
We sang together as we moved from the shelter to the doors of the new library.  Bishop Kefa officially opened the library cutting the ribbon and blessing the space.  With the doors open the African pastors filled in until there was no room to move.  Rev. David spoke words of blessing and encouragement followed by a closing prayer of dedication.
Every pastor received a copy of the newly printed 2nd Edition of the AGC Church Discipleship Manual.  Over the past months I (Nathan) have been working to update and improve the previous version of the manual.  The book is a step by step training tool used to facilitate the discipleship of new Christians entering our church communities.  We were so excited to provide this updated tool on the day of the library opening.
Here you see the finished library.  We had a small amount to get a few cushioned chairs, refinish the floor and put some screen doors on.  A fan in the corner and power outlets around the room make it an easy place to spend a lot of time.
Jade and I donated this painting to the Africa Gospel Church.  We've seen dozens of lion paintings here but this expression is unique.  The lion appears to be praying and asking for strength and direction.  We put it in the library as a reminder to our pastors of the posture in which we learn and grow.
Pastor Thomas made a beautiful wooden sign for the library which we hung in the corner.  It was awesome to see all the contributions that came together to make the space special.
It's been so rewarding walking through the library with pastors who have never seen this many books in one place.  I've shown them the different sections and explained how to use different kinds of books.  What an awesome place!
Bishop Kefa said, "It's been said 'If you want to hide knowledge from an African, put it in a book'.  That saying is no longer true of us!"  Pastor Gideon said, "It is my hope that one day this library will become a university where we can send our children."

Thank you so much to those who helped make this day possible!  If you would like to donate to the AGC library please contact us.  God bless you and God bless Uganda!




5 comments:

  1. Wonderful to see it from beginning to end! The table is beautiful!!!

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  2. What a blessing to you all. The table is beautiful as is the heart of all who contributed to this mission!

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