Monday, July 4, 2016

Fort Portal Team

There are times when something comes together and you think, "Hm, I wonder if God is at work here?" and there are other times when His hand is so clearly putting something together that it is undeniable. The latter is what is happening with the Serge Fort Portal team right now.

A few months ago, it became very clear that it was no longer viable for Will and I to bring a new baby to South Sudan. There were many factors, but the main ones because that we no longer had a team around us, there is no medical personnel on the ground and South Sudan remains very unstable politically. Due to these factors, we were in need of a new field to move to. To be honest, we were really unsure about what was going to happen. There didn't seem to be anywhere that would be a good fit for us based on our ministry desires and growing family. But then we heard about the forming Fort Portal team.

Fort Portal is located in western Uganda and is situated in the Rwenzori Mountains. For the past 5 years, Pat Abbott, a missionary with Serge, has been living in Fort Portal by herself. She has partnered with the Serge Bundibugyo team, who are located about 2 hours away. Pat started a ministry called, "Women of the Proverbs", with which she seeks to train women in sewing and art skills to help make them self-sustainable (read more about this below). Jenna Murphy went to help Pat for a few months and decided to join Serge long-term so that she could partner with the work being done with Women of the Proverbs. Meanwhile, the West family was in Fort Portal for several months while they were adopting their daughter JoAn. While there, they felt a call to help support YES (Youth Encouragement Services), the organization JoAn was adopted from. In order to partner with YES, they joined Serge as their sending agency.

So, within a few months, this team was quickly forming around Pat in Fort Portal and Will and I were team leaders who had no team in the next few months. Our heart is in development work, and that is exactly the work that is being done in Fort Portal through this forming team. Will and I went to visit Fort Portal in April. It quickly became obvious that this would be a great fit for our family for this season. It is a great place to raise a family and we were very excited about the work Pat (and soon Jenna) were doing with Women of the Proverbs and the work the Wests would be joining through YES. Will and I agreed to move to Fort Portal after the baby is born- sometime in late August/ early September. All of the sudden, God had placed together a team and leaders for this area. We are beyond excited about what He is forming! Here is a little more information about the wonderful people we will be joining in Fort Portal.

Pat Abbott joined Serge in 1993. She served in Bundibugyo, Uganda for 18 years. In 2007, a close friend of Pat's passed away and requested that Pat become the guardian for her two daughters, Kym and Lydia. Pat agreed and moved to Fort Portal with the girls. She officially gained Ugandan adoption rights in 2015. Kym and Lydia now attend school in Kampala, Uganda.

In 2012, Pat started Women of the Proverbs. This is a discipleship program in which Pat does a Bible Study with the women involved 4 days a week and trains them in how to make crafts which can be sold locally in craft stores and markets. The women are mentored by Pat through this Bible Studies and taught skills which will allow them to have self-sustaining businesses in the future. Most of the women are single mothers who are working to provide for their children. I had the privilege of meeting some of these women when we visited Fort Portal in the spring. Their love for Pat and passion about what they were learning was so evident. Pat does a beautiful job investing in these women and the relationship between all of them was incredible to see. We are so excited to see this ministry thrive and grow. Please pray for Pat, Kym and Lydia and for the Women of the Proverbs ministry.

Jenna Murphy served as an intern with Serge in 2013 in Bundibugyo, Uganda. She spent 8 months teaching preschool, kids clubs and youth outreach Bible Studies. She finished her internship in Fort Portal helping Pat with Women of the Proverbs. Jenna joined Serge for a 5 year term to continue her work with Pat and Women of the Proverbs. She is hoping to arrive in Uganda in January of 2017. Please pray for Jenna as she is continuing to raise support and prepare to move to Fort Portal. To see more about Jenna's heart for Uganda and the work she plans to do there, watch this video:

Daryn and Brooke West and their children, Grace, JoAn, Anteneh and Luke are hoping to move to the field with Serge in December of 2016 and will partner with Y.E.S. For more information about Youth Encouragement Services, check out their website: In short, YES Uganda seeks to provide at-risk children and teens with resources such a school fees, uniforms, books, school lunch and discipleship. They aid nearly 300 children who are facing life-threatening poverty. Daryn and Brooke seek to help this organization through discipleship and partnering with the new vocational school, which is due to open in the fall. For more information about why the Wests decided to move to Fort Portal and who they are, check out their video: Please also keep them in your prayers as they are in the midst of support raising and will be doing pre-field training in October.

Praise the Lord for the team He is forming in Fort Portal! We are so excited to join these amazing people and come along-side them in their different ministry areas. We are looking forward to seeing the many ways God provides for the people of Fort Portal through this team and the many ways our hearts are changes by those around us. May God be glorified through this team and honored in the work He puts our hands to.