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Phil and Linda Byler, missionaries in Sudan
October 29, 2013 1:17 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

P&L photoIt was our second Uganda Wedding Introduction. This time we were a bit more prepared with proper attire and expectations. And with the couple being our compound neighbors made it special.

The proper attire for the men is the “kanzu” topped by a dark dress coat and for the women the traditional colorful dress called a “gomas.”  These gomas are seriously colorful and usually have underlying extra padding to accentuate the hips. They are pretty tricky to assemble and to wear with only two buttons and a BIG belt to hold the wrap around yards of fabric into position. This being her second time, Linda, after getting help from our neighbor lady to assemble it, inserted a few hidden safety pins to improve her confidence in remaining well dressed.

IntroductionAn introduction is almost as big a deal as a wedding and seals the couple as fully married from the standpoint of society and family. The party atmosphere follows a script of acting like the families have never met the proposed and then playfully going through a series of first introducing aunties who ” find” the groom in the audience and introduce him. Later the bride appears as one amidst a group of other beautiful women who colorfully dance their way into the center and eventually the bride is identified amidst great rejoicing.

This introduction took an unexpected turn for most participants. It was a coming together of two different tribes and somewhat different cultural customs related to introductions. The husband’s tribe locally settles the dowry negotiations prior to the introduction while the bride’s tribe from Northern Uganda does it during the introduction. Today the audience waited about three hours for the dowry to be settled before the ceremony could be concluded. Consequently there was quite a time of inactivity after the meal while the dowry negotiations took place privately. We might have slipped away earlier except our vehicle was not only parked in but had transported and was holding dozens of gifts to be given to the bride’s family as soon as the dowry was settled. Meanwhile we learned that God introduced the concept of dowry in Genesis. The very first dowry was Adam’s rib.

Linda and BeatriceA day’s highlight was getting acquainted with Beatrice pictured in the green gomas with Linda. This vibrant 23- year-old primary school teacher affirmed her unmarried status by declaring that she is so much in love with Christ and her desire that this “wonderful invisible relationship” with Jesus be so strong that it would meet her deepest heart needs instead of falsely expecting a future husband to fill those needs. What an inspiration! Later when I asked where she goes to church I was not surprised at her answer of Watoto Central. This is the mother church of Watoto South where we so much enjoy Christ-centered worship, teaching and fellowship with others who are passionate about Jesus.

October 29, 2013 12:56 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

Phil has gone to Bristol, England, for 8 days of AIM International meetings.

October 10, 2013 9:31 am
Published in: Uncategorized

Lake Victoria Serena Resort HotelGeoff is two days younger than Phil. He is freshly out off South Sudan and hadn’t yet celebrated his birthday, so our wives took us out to Lake Victoria Serena Resort Hotel. Talk about first class, five star, stellar… the wives that is!

BirthdayWe praise God for the awesome gift of marriage and friendship and 64 years of life… abundant life in JESUS!

October 1, 2013 1:34 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

C20 ExecPhil’s five-day visit to Bunia, Congo encountered a peaceful town bustling with normal life despite the government/rebel fighting leaving many thousands of displaced people just 20 km south. I spent three days in CECA 20 Executive meetings with these fine brothers. C20 is our partner church in Congo. Besides business and good food we sang many hymns with foreign words but familiar old tunes from my youth. Among other topics, we grappled with the New Wineskins needed to contain the New Wine of indigenous missions of Africa nationals.

T&A w prbThis young Canadian couple are short termer missionaries with AIM for one year in Bunia. Their strong French ability along with their flexible and learners attitude have gotten them off to a strong start.

after school street boysTom is pouring the love of Jesus into House of Grace, Street Boys program. Fifteen rambunctious 8-10 year olds from a totally undisciplined street life are a challenge to settle into a classroom atmosphere. Love and patience are desperately needed Spirit Fruits to flow into these boys brimming with potential. How can some in both society and in the church view them as worthless recipients of love and grace?