I had a delightful lunch at Gray Brothers Cafeteria today with James Mwoho, a District Superintendent from Uganda in the East Africa Annual Conference, and Jim Hertel, pastor of Mt. Auburn UMC up at Greenwood.
Pastor Mwoho was a General Conference delegate. He was visiting for a few days before flying back to Africa. He met Jim on one of Jim's many trips to Uganda. Jim got involved in African missions the way many of us did: somebody invited us, we went intending to do a kind of one-off, found ourselves in relationship with people who now mattered to us, and wound up well and properly hooked.
We talked about Scouting in Africa. Jim was surprised to find out that Scouting began in Africa! Baden-Powell wrote his book for army scouts, Aids to Scouting
as a result of his experiences in the Boer War and in setting up the South African Constabulary thereafter. That later became Scouting for Boys
and you know the rest. Except that non-Scouters probably don't know that beads that are awarded to Wood Badge training graduates originally came off a necklace of beads given to B-P by an African chief named Dinizulu. B-P is also buried in Kenya, where he retired to.
We talked about church, government, and scouting in Uganda. We talked about the Scout Troop at Mt. Auburn and its history and leaders. We talked about making disciples through Scouting Ministry. Some definite, if not yet determined things came out of our meeting.
I made an offer to arrange for some Scouting Ministry training at Local Pastors School in Uganda. If I can't go, I can find someone who will. Moving adults around to do things is expensive, but easy. It's taking kids overseas that's hard.
That said, the Mt. Auburn UMC Scouts are talking about taking their troop to Uganda. I offered to help them with the planning process for such a trip. I also offered to do Scouting Ministry training for Mt. Auburn and its leaders. I thought about trying to get them to go to Congo with us next year, but I fear that would be a distraction. If you're called to Uganda, then go to Uganda, and we'll try to help; meanwhile, if you can promote our Congo trip or find us some money, then God bless you.
Indiana and Africa go back a long way. We have people regularly criss-crossing the ocean from Indiana to do missions in Tanzania and Congo and Uganda. I know other Hoosier UMs who have deep experience in Sierra Leone and Liberia. We're serious about this, and we can be relied upon. Bringing to bear the resources that Hoosier UM Scouters and NAUMS have at their disposal, we can make great impacts upon the mission field. And every time we do, it revitalizes our own churches and fires our youth's hearts with zeal for God.
What a great day to be on the Scouting Trail with Jesus.
||James Mwoho and Jim Hertel