On Sunday, November 1st, we will celebrate our birthday as a church family. To celebrate, we'll collect a special offering and 100% of the collection will go to 6 global initiatives that are directly linked to Ethos family members. One of these global initiatives is in Uganda — specifically the organization, Switchboard Missions.
The idea for Switchboard Missions was planted with founders Jana Ogg and Nicole Eaton while coordinating mission teams in Central America. In 2011 that idea grew into reality after Jana returned from Northern Uganda. Initially focused on holistic rehabilitation to the war-torn country, she began to see evidence that the only solution to the great need is Jesus Christ. Imitating His discipleship model of meeting the physical needs alongside the spiritual, poultry and agriculture projects were quickly followed by Bible distributions, which expanded into church leadership development, in-depth Bible studies and discipleship training. Today, guided by a staff and Board of Directors, and partnered with Onward Church Planting, Switchboard is working with leaders in five countries, with invitations to six more. Read on to hear about the work Jana Ogg and Switchboard Missions are participating in and leading in Uganda...
"I work with an organization called Switchboard Missions. Three years ago, we started working in a small village in Northern Uganda. This village was ravaged after a 25 year war. We built shelters, passed out mosquito nets and set up poultry farms. While those projects were helpful, we noticed the only thing people were truly hungry for was the Gospel. The village elders came to us and requested Bibles — confident in the fact that the only thing that would battle poverty, injustice and disease was the Gospel.
Switchboard Missions’ vision is to pursue and cultivate followers of Jesus Christ in every nation. If this statement sounds familiar, it’s because our vision parallels the charge of Jesus in Matthew 28 when he commissioned the disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything [he] commanded.”
Switchboard does not simply convert people. Jesus charged his followers to make disciples, baptize them and teach them to obey. Switchboard encounters people at various stages in their spiritual maturity (e.g., some will claim Christ as Lord but will not have been baptized. Some will have been baptized, but will not be walking in obedience with His commands.) The role of Switchboard varies as we nurture people in their spiritual growth. Sometimes we plant the seed, sometimes we water it, but we trust God to grow it. (1 Corinthians 3:6)
So we came to Ethos and asked for help providing Bibles, and we brought back thousands of Bibles in their native language of Acholi. We began to met people like Jennifer Lakony, a mighty woman of God who has never had access to a Bible. I have 7 Bibles on the shelf at my house, yet here was a woman who wanted nothing more than to be able to read and study the Word and was unable to. She literally danced and shouted with joy when she got her Bible, and then hit her knees, crying and thanking God for answering a prayer 50 years in the making. God began moving through the villages like wildfire — giving people dreams and visions of where to go to get a Bible. Our brothers and sisters, like Jennifer, would walk all night just to be able to own a Bible, and once it was in their hands they wouldn't put it down.
We began to see what really happens when the Word gets rooted in a community, and we saw God awakening a movement in Uganda before our eyes. He is using some of the strongest, most resilient and faithful men and women from Uganda to advance the gospel across their own country. Their thirst for knowledge has only intensified, and they began asking us to help equip, empower and train their indigenous pastors and leaders in the Bible and church planting."
On November 1st, we get the opportunity to join with native leaders in Uganda and support them as they advance the gospel across their country. 30% of our Birthday Offering will go to distribute Bibles and train Pastors in Northern Uganda. Be praying today for these amazing men and women, and pray how God is inviting you to be a part of it. If you'd like to give online to our special offering (100% is going to 6 global initiatives), you can give here. Please choose "Awaken a Movement" as your designation.
For more information about Birthday Sunday 2015, go here.