Saturday, March 30, 2013

What's in a CVM "project" name?

So I was just going through some old documents and I discovered a list of project names that I was working on before my trip.

So before I share those, let me tell you about what I chose for my project name and why we need project names....

Imperishable Seed” is my official project name with CVM. A project name is required of every fieldworker for tax purposes and accountability. The IRS isn't to keen on giving a tax deduction to money give to the "Emily Arndt" fund. So I am the project manager of "Imperishable Seed" but first there is proper project documentation, budgets, etc. that are approved by CVM before the monies can be used. These all line up with CVM’s Mission and Values as governed by specific policies and procedures.

I discovered my project name during my quiet time with God in my hut. It was the morning after a really 
impactful conversation I had participated in the evening before. I knew that I had fallen in love with Africa 
and God had blessed me with A LOT of skills needed to live in such a place. I was prepared for the flat tire, 
broken generator, countless head of livestock, veterinary laboratory work, food items not typically considered for consumption by American standards, and trips across pitted dirt paths commonly referred to 
as roads. BUT, I knew that all of this was pointless if I didn't love the people. 

So my prayer had been for God to reveal to me His heart and love for the Karamojong. I Peter 1:22 was the verse I read that morning: “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.”It really hit me at that moment and I have been falling in love with the Karamojong ever since. Then I read the next verse: “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” “Imperishable Seed,” it was perfect sin
ce I’m working with plants and sharing the Gospel.

Preparing 'Edapal' to administer to livestock for our research

So as you can see, picking the name turned out to be pretty simple when God was in control. But here is the list of ideas that I was working on before my trip. Now mind you, we try to keep from blatant references to a specific part of the world or obviously Christian. Because if in 20 years God called me to an area of Asia where Christianity is illegal "Serving Jesus in Africa" wouldn't be fitting and would probably make it so you couldn't get in to the country. So you would have to go through all of the legal paperwork to change the name and reprint all of your prayer cards, brochures, etc. So it's easier to start out with a name that can travel with you.

Here are the instructions I was given from CVM for choosing the name:

I think when you come up with a project name you need to put yourself in the shoes of the people who will be reading it and say is it:
·         Intuitive to what I do – Not lead people down the wrong path in their mind when they see it.
·         Does it represent me – Does it relate to life verse or message.  Am I passionate about it, are there messages to develop out of it. etc
·         Is it transferable – can it move with me if I move to Uganda to Sudan or India.
·         Simple and short  - People just like this.

It is hard to hit on all of these so you do the best you can.

So here is are the project name ideas that hit the cutting room floor: 

Earthen Vessels – II Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

Unashamed (for Him) – Romans 1:16-17- I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.

Labor of Love- I Thess 1:3- We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed to be a Blessing- Luke 12:48b From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked

Worthy Life- Acts 20:24 - However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me —the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.

Task Force- Acts 20:24

Course Assistance- Acts 20:24

Completing Vital Task (CVT)- Acts 20:24

Living Example – (this one goes off of a verse talking about being young but I won't be young forever so it would become weird when I'm 60) I Timothy 4:12- 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

Living Stones – I Peter 2:4-5- As you come to him, the living Stone —rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Precious Stones – I Peter 2:4-5- As you come to him, the living Stone —rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Fragrant Offering – Ephesians 5:1-2-  Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God

Beautiful Feet- Romans 10:14-15-  How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!

Mission Possible- Matthew 19:26- 26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

And finally the name that was actually in the running as a strong possibility before my trip. Though now looking back, I'm glad God had different ideas:

Cross Trainer- or Cross Trainer 39 (39 is my favorite number and a racing number would be fitting) Philippians 4:8 (don’t remember why I picked this verse to go with this one) -  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Note: Acts 20:24 and II Peter 3:9 were also verses considered to be associated with this name.

Lodim Charles- CLIDE  Ethno-Veterinary Coordinator
If you are wondering, here is a sampling of some of the other CVM project names. This list is from a year ago so some more have been added since then, like "Threads of Love". There are also a few names that reference sensitive locations so they also have been removed. Plus, one's like "CVM Director's Office" have been removed. But yes, even most of the US Staff in the home office depends on the financial support of ministry partners, just like myself and every other CVM fieldworker living overseas.

As you can see, some names are flexible to move to other locations, others aren't.

Abundant Life
Africa Vet
Africa Veterinarians
Branching Out
Good News for Mongolia
Haiti Veterinarian
Heeding His Call
His Very Own
His Vets
Hope in the Himalayas
Karamojong Chronicle
Living Hope
Living Water
Loaves and Fish
One Generation to the Next
Shepherd's Gate
The Animal Bridge
To The Ends Of The Earth
Equipping the Nations
Fields of Promise
Frontier Vet
In The Gap
L.O.V.E. - Colossians 3:17
Milk and Honey
On Mission With God
Serving with Spirit
The Spend Yourselves Isaiah 58:10

"Africa Vet" is Dr Val. "His Very Own" is Dr Daniel and Rachel Graham. I will be joining both of them on the CLIDE (Community Livestock-Integrated Development Consultancy) team in Uganda!!

Behind me the cattle are coming in to the Kraal for the night
CVM currently has long-term workers in 13 countries (USA included) and have 35 full time workers. Last year CVM had over 350 short-term volunteers serve. There are also over 1000 students involved in CVF groups at the veterinary campuses. CVF is the Christian Veterinary Fellowship, a campus ministry for veterinary students. To explore the other CVM fieldworkers around the world just click on the CVM logo.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Hope and Truth in the Resurrection

I have had the opportunity to attend the local Lenten breakfast with my grandma for the past several weeks. Not only has it been a great time to connect with people interested in my mission work, I have also enjoyed it as it is a great gathering of believers from all denominations but with the common foundation in our faith in Jesus Christ.  Today was the final one in the Easter season.  One of the local pastors, Pastor Skip Robertson, shared this morning. I thought it was worth sharing so I asked him to send me his notes so I could share it here on my blog. I hope you are blessed by it as I was.

First he started out by reading I Corinthians 15:12-32 which isn't in his notes:

12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.
29 Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them? 30 And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? 31 I face death every day—yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord. 32 If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised,
“Let us eat and drink,
    for tomorrow we die.”


In one of his first public statements, Pope Francis said, “If we do not confess Christ what would we be?  What would happen would be like when children make sand castles and then it all falls down.
“I would like all of us… to have the courage to walk in the presence of God.  Let us never give in to the pessimism, to that bitterness, which the devil places before us every day.  Let us not give into pessimism and discouragement.

“When we walk without the cross, when we build without the cross, when we proclaim Christ without the cross, we are not disciples of the Lord.  We are worldly.  . . . we are not disciples of the Lord if we don’t follow Jesus.

“I say this humbly, the strongest message of the Lord is mercy.  The Lord never gets tired of forgiving.  Today amid so much darkness we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others.  To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope, it is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds.”

That is a summary of what he said but they are words that compel all of us.  Easter is here.  Today is Maundy Thursday.  Maundy comes from a Latin word that means “command.”  At that last supper with his disciples, Jesus gave some commands:

·         He told them to wash each other’s feet.  We are his disciples.  Do we wash each other’s feet?  Not literally, of course, but symbolically.  Are we willing to help one another in whatever manner is needed?

·         He told them to love one another.  Again I ask, “Do we?”  Do we offer to help before being asked or do we avoid the chance that our neighbor might need us by making excuses?

·         He told them to share his body and his blood every time we gather for a meal.  We do that by asking a blessing and inviting him to join us.  We really would do well to use the grace that so many of us taught our children, “Come Lord Jesus.  Be our guest . . . “ (Have them finish - “Let these gifts to us be blessed.”)  Is he the guest at every meal or do we forget to ask his blessing when we are at another person’s home or a restaurant?

On this Maundy Thursday we are once again confronted with the reality of Christ’s passion, his death and resurrection.  As I mentioned, just as we have shared our meal this morning, Jesus also shared a meal with his closest friends and family on that long-ago night.  Several things took place that evening:

·         He washed the feet of his followers in a profound act of humility.  What act of humility have we performed lately?

·         He told his friends that one of them would betray him and it happened.  Have we betrayed anyone?  Did we go to that person, confess, and ask forgiveness?

·         He broke bread and shared it, telling his friends that the bread symbolized his body which was broken for them.  Then he shared a cup of wine, telling his friends that the wine symbolized his blood which was shed for them.  What gift of love have we shared with our closest friends?

·         He was betrayed as he was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.  How often have we betrayed and denied him?

All these things happened two thousand years ago and yet, those events are fresh to us today.  They are fresh because they are current. They are current because human nature has not changed in two thousand years. 

In a few days it will be Easter.  We have gathered here each Thursday morning for seven weeks.  After today, it will be a long time before the next gathering but Easter lives in us every day if we let it.  We are Christians and that makes us Easter people - people who believe in the resurrection and in salvation through the shed blood of the Risen Christ.

Whether we are Lutheran, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, non-denominational, or any other denomination, we share several things in common:

First, we know that Jesus said that we should be baptized in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Some of us we were baptized symbolically as babies and then confirmed in our faith as teens.  Others of us were baptized in full knowledge of the decision to know Jesus as adults.  Whichever circumstance is ours, we share the baptism that Jesus commanded. 

Although some people challenge the validity of baptism, we cannot ignore or overlook the example that Jesus set.  He was baptized as an adult but he told his followers to let the children come to him and forsake them not.  Any baptism is as valid as the person and his or her family who is being baptized.  Anyone who says that any baptism is not valid says that God made a mistake by allowing the person to be baptized.  The God I worship does not make mistakes.

The second thing we have in common is the sacrament of Holy Communion.  If a Christian from the year 100 were to be brought into any of our churches for Holy Communion, even not knowing the language, that person would fully understand what is going on.  The manner in which we proclaim the sacrament is essentially the same as it has been for almost two thousand years.

I believe that the sacrament of Holy Communion binds all of Christ’s followers more than any other act.  I also believe that it is a shame for any church to deny the sacrament to any believer.  Jesus said to share it often and freely.

The third thing we have in common is God’s Holy Word.  We accept the Bible as the inspired Word of almighty God and we do so through faith.  There are those who would have us believe that scripture is just the work of humans and that it is filled with human mistakes and inaccuracies.  They are wrong.  We must have faith that the Bible is the inspired Word or else we are all fools.  Hebrews 11:1 tells us that, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  That faith applies to the written Word as well as too our belief in Christ and the resurrection.

The fourth thing we have in common is the kinship in Christ and in the friendship which we share well in fellowship settings such as these breakfasts.  Our friendship extends beyond church affiliations.  I do not know all of you here by name but I know many of you - some of you well - and I know most of you by face. 
Now we have come to the end of Lent and the end of our breakfasts for this year.  For me, there is both joy and sadness to the end of Lent - especially this year.  Although we are aware of the reasons for Christ’s suffering and death, we prefer the happy parts of Easter.

Jesus encouraged his followers to gather for worship and fellowship.  We are here, enjoying both.  Let us always remember his words. More than anything else, let us recall the words of John three, verses sixteen through eighteen, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

That man, the Son of God, is the reason we gather.  He is the reason we baptize.  He is the reason we share Communion.  He is the reason we seek out fellowship such as we are sharing here today.

Paul told a Roman jailer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”  That is all that is needed.  Believe and be saved. There is someone here today who has known of Jesus, possibly for all of his or her life, but has never asked him in.  The day will come for all of us when we must face the judgment.  That day there will be no wishing.  That day we will have to confess Jesus Christ as Savior.  Don’t wait.

On a personal note, I will especially miss these breakfasts.  As most of you know, I am retiring at the end of June and after today, I will not have a part in these breakfasts.  It has been an honor to know and serve all of you here.  It has been a great honor to work with the men who provide us with these opportunities for fellowship. 

May the Lord always hold you dear.

Let us pray:

Thank you Pastor Skip!!

This really struck me because in my travels to Guatemala I have seen secular organizations doing good works void of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It truly is pointless and empty. The people may have more food on the table or clothes on their back, but they lack HOPE. The hope found in salvation through Jesus Christ.

Even though I will be working with projects revolving around livestock and ethno-veterinary medicine research in Uganda- all of that work revolves around the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a door to be able to enter through to share the Good News. It is a way to help the physical needs so our Karamojong brothers and sisters can focus on their spiritual needs.

For the past several weeks my grandma has thought nothing of throwing $3 in the basket for the freewill offering for my meal. That is $12 in this past month. How many of you would have been willing to do that? How many still are? Would you be willing to take me to a weekly Lenten Breakfast by becoming a monthly financial partner in this ministry to share the Gospel in Uganda through the skills God has given me?

How sad it is that there are people in this world that haven't even been introduced to the hope found in Jesus Christ. I can only do my part of obeying the Great Commission to go when others do their part by providing a way for me to go through financial support. This ministry partnership already involves almost 50 people who have provided slightly more than 50% the needed funds to live and work in Karamoja. So will you be part of the next 40-50 supporters?!

God Bless you and Happy Easter!!

What is Faith Promise Giving?

This is the description of Faith Promise giving mention in last week's devotional series


The believer looks to the Lord "in faith" asking how much he would have the believer give; then promises to give as the Lord directs.
What is the biblical basis of FAITH-PROMISE GIVING?
Second Corinthians, chapters 8 and 9, forms the general basis for FAITH-PROMISE GIVING. Chapter 8, verse 3, mentions "to their power" and "beyond their power." "To their power" or according to their power, relates especially to tithes and offerings, or known sources of income. "Beyond their power" relates in a unique way to FAITH-PROMISE GIVING, since looking beyond any known sources of income is to look to the Lord for His special enabling.
What is the relationship between the FAITH-PROMISE plan and the paying of tithes, or the giving of offerings?
Tithes and offerings are taught in the Word of God and are urgently needed in the work of the church. But these are not sufficient to get the gospel to the world in this generation. Tithes and offerings look to, and depend on, a stated income. FAITH-PROMISE looks directly to God, asking in effect: "How much can I trust God to give through me?" This offers God a channel through which He can pour limitless amounts into His work through His children.
Are "FAITH-PROMISES" pledges?
No, FAITH-PROMISES are not pledges. A pledge is horizontal, made to a church, society, or other worthy cause. The FAITH-PROMISE is vertical, being made between the believer and the Lord. If at the end of the year God has not enabled the person to meet his FAITH-PROMISE commitment, the matter is only between that person and the Lord. 
How should FAITH-PROMISE commitments be made?
It is best that commitments be made at a missions conference time. If no such conference is held in the local church, it would be well for the church to have a missions Sunday and the commitments can be made at any time. The amount needs to be clearly indicated per week, per month, or per year.
Are FAITH-PROMISE commitments usually paid?
Yes. The history of the FAITH-PROMISE plan of giving is that the person, or church, usually has invested more in the Lord's work at the end of the year than the total commitment made. Since God is included in this unique partnership, it is His privilege to pour out a superabundance of blessings.
What is the advantage of FAITH-PROMISE GIVING?
The advantage is that in this plan God can get 100 percent of what He desires and directs into His work, while in the tithing plan God must give $10,000 to get $1,000 into His work. With offerings as the basis of giving, God may need to put $20,000 to $50,000 into the hands of His children to get $1,000 into His work.
Does FAITH-PROMISE GIVING really make us channels of blessing?
Yes--in a unique sense. If God so directs and desires, He can actually pour the thousands, even millions, of dollars directly into His work when He knows that his children will be unobstructed channels. He cares for His children's needs through their regular salaries or incomes, but the FAITH-PROMISE looks to the Lord especially for what He may desire to do through His children over and above salary, bank account, or income from any known or anticipated source.
What is the motivating power in FAITH-PROMISE GIVING?
The power of the Lord working through the willing partner is the key to FAITH-PROMISE GIVING. One's faith in God's ability to provide the full amount and the faithfulness to make the promise are the key. This type of giving is limited only by God's purpose.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Please tell me more about Karamoja!!

I just came across a great run down of some details on Karamoja.
The original post can be found here...


Karamoja is an agro-pastoralist region, northeast of Uganda. For the past decades, it
has been characterized by chronic underdevelopment and marginalization. The region
is currently going through a deep humanitarian crisis, combining severe food
insecurity, human insecurity and environmental destruction, all linked to global
climate change.


Rain and season patterns Karamoja is a remote region located near the Rift Valley in East Africa. Rain patterns are low, with an average of 500-700 millilitres of rainfall per year. But in contrast to purely pastoralist areas in the region, like the neighbouring Turkana, Karamoja is an agro-pastoralist area.

However, the natural environment is subject to variations which are scarcely predictable, and are often unexpected. It is generally accepted in official reports that the rainy season ‘normally’ begins late in March or earlyApril; and that the rains then continue with reasonable regularity until late September or early october when the dry season begins.

The visible impact of global climate change Karamoja is located far from any major urban centres. In Karamoja itself, there is little urban development. The principle way of life in the region remains pastoralism, which contributes little in carbon emissions.

Nomads such as the Karimojong have coped for centuries with adverse weather conditions, and have often been more successful coping with changing situations than the sedentary populations, as they could react more flexibly to changing conditions. But the contemporary changes in climate will most probably overburden the population.


The recent environmental destruction, whose fault?

Karamoja is sub-divided into three ecological categories running from the east to the west, with the west endowed with best prospects. In general, however, the vegetation is characterized by thorny bushes, cammiphora woodlands, occasional small trees and patches of grassland.

There has been widespread environmental destruction in recent times, mainly deforestation and overgrazing. A review of the historical evidence, however, reveals that before the colonial presence the Karimojong operated a viable system of land utilisation that left the country a ‘grass savanna’, where today it is burnt out bush.

There is a controversy whether this destruction is caused by mismanagement of grazing areas by pastoralists, or if it should be imputed on policies which have restricted the mobility of pastoralists and disrupted the ecological balance that used to be in place.

Local breeds and wildlife During the twentieth century, there have also been dramatic changes in terms of wildlife. The first turn came with the ivory trade that developed in the early twentieth century.

In Karamoja, the most viable form of livelihood is the rearing of livestock, mainly cattle, but also including camels, donkeys, sheep and goats. This is because livestock have an advantage over crops and can be moved from place to place in search of water and pastures, depending on the season.

There are several major diseases affecting livestock. Efforts at livestock development involve two aspects, namely disease control and improved animal husbandry.


Traditional water sources

There is no significant water body in the region.

Traditionally, the people of Karamoja obtained water in several ways. The main characteristic of traditional water catchments is that they do not normally last very long at any one place, and therefore prevent overgrazing as the cattle have to be moved from one water-hole to another.

Water development: new problems, same mistakes. But while in the past, the rivers never used to dry up, with the decreasing rains, the rivers nowadays dry up and getting water from drilling wells has become difficult. In this difficult context, water development has logically always been a priority.

Unfortunately, most if not all water development projects undertaken in the past have been considered as failures, and were characterized as misguided both for their huge size and for where they were built, but also the means employed in their construction.

Over the past few decades, greater pressure has been put on pastoralist mobility and conflicts over pastures have escalated, limiting access to some of the wetter areas. This means that water development without land reform, grazing control and cooperation from livestock producers leads rapidly to the destruction of the grass cover by serious overgrazing, bush encroachment and soil erosion.


Interpretive discrepancies about erosion and land use

Even in the 1930s, before the human and livestock populations mushroomed, the area was thought to be in a process of reduction to desert. Much of the land is not suitable for crop cultivation either because it has been degraded through erosion or because the soils are rocky, i.e. the soil is unable to retain water.

Government has for years tried to persuade the Karimojong to move west, where land is more fertile, rather than east. But the grass of the west is deficient in minerals in the dry season, and livestock herded there lose condition. In ecological terms, the Karimojong have developed tracking strategies that enable them to find ecological niches at the right time and at the right place, and know where to find e.g. minerals for their cattle.


The controversial demographic issue

Official reports now mention 1,1 million inhabitants. Exact figures are nevertheless unknown, and some experts consider the real figure greatly inferior, down to 500,000 people. Also, the population has historically been subjected to considerable variations.

The dominant approach to demography in Karamoja has always been ‘Malthusianist’, so that population growth has been considered one of the major causes of food insecurity in the region.

Migration represents another key demographic phenomenon; for the past decades, Karamoja has indeed experienced high migration rates. Many destitute people, excluded from the pastoral system, have moved to new areas in search of alternative livelihoods. In return, the government is forcefully sending back these people to Karamoja.

The Karimojong

The present Karimojong communities were established from the 1830s, when different ethnic groups and customs were irrevocably amalgamated. The region is constituted by several tribes, with a majority of Karimojong, who are sub-divided in ten sections.

Seven tribes (Jie, Turkana, Dodoso, Nyakwai, Toposa, Nyangatom, Teso) scattered over north-east Uganda, north-west Kenya, and adjacent parts of Sudan share with the Karimojong common characteristics, including a common language.

The Pokot

Within Karamoja, a non-related tribe is also present, the Pokot (also called Suk). They are the most pastoral section of the Kalenjin cultural group.

The British colonial administration decided to give them a tract of land in Karamoja – now known as Upe county. From then, fierce political battles emerged between the British and the Karimojong on the one hand and the Karimojong and the Pokot on the other hand,over what the Karimojong constantly refer to as ‘lost territory’.

The mountain tribes

The mountain-dwellers are remnants of a population pre-dating the incoming plains peoples. The Tepeth (or So) of the three southern volcanic masses, the Ik (or Teuso) of the remote northeastern mountains, and the Nyangeya of the northwest appear to speak related languages whose affiliation remains in dispute.

These minor tribes are sedentary as they do not own cattle in large quantity. They live on the hills and are mainly small agriculturalists, with a liking for hunting and fruit-gathering and have in general a tradition of clay and iron-working.

Legend and history about Karimojong migrations

All historical narratives of the Karimojong by outsiders adopt a simplistic view of history, of people moving from place A to B to settle or continue to C, etc. They view history as being a mere flow of time without considering social, technological, natural and other relations that combine to transform society. Karimojong legends contribute to reveal the complexity of historical migrations.

In terms of trend, however, all the tribes now have a more competitive attitude towards each other than in the past, when only the most war-like of them all, the Jie, kept being troublesome to others.
This competitiveness results in the compact movement of thousands of head of cattle at one time at a safe distance from their borders which therefore now form practically a strip of few kilometers wide no man’s land.


Karamoja has the worst socio-economic indicators in Uganda. The region has been under constant food aid since the famine of the early eighties, and it has lagged behind in terms of health, education or infrastructure development. Life expectancy is estimated to be 42 years, whereas it is about 52 years in Uganda. The reasons for this extreme poverty are multilayered, interconnected, and surely controversial.

Understanding the complexity of ecological factors: the clue to analyzing the economy of Karamoja

In Karamoja, the economy is based on cattle herding: this is considered by the Karimojong to be the most sustainable type of livelihood in the harsh environment in which they live.

This kind of subsistence strategy entails freedom to move, to opportunistically exploit grass and water resources wherever they can be found within the tribal territory. Movement enables the most productive use of available pasture and water, while also allowing areas time to recover.

Historically such land use systems were self-regulating with periodic famines and disease out breaks acting as controls. These self-regulating mechanisms are for various reasons, no longer allowed full play with resulting deterioration in land-use patterns, particularly in the settlement zones.

An essential aspect of this ecological equilibrium is that in Karamoja, all grazing is common to all herders in the tribe. This system offers a sense of security to community members. To distribute one’s cattle resources is a form of insurance against natural hazard and enemy depredation.

The traditional pastoralist mode of production is not a mode of commodity production, in other words, it is not designed to produce for the market, but for subsistence. Herds accumulation represents a vital economic asset in the life of the Karimojong. As a matter of fact, the economic function of major social institutions such as marriages and family bondages is fully centred on cattle acquisition.

Agriculture as a mere, though necessary, complement

Many Karimojong can be said to be involved in a mixed agro-pastoral economy. This dual system revolves around two locations at the same time. The permanent settlement, the so-called manyatta, where predominantly agricultural production takes place and some animals are kept, and the mobile cattle camp, the kraal, for pastoral production.

Agriculture is practiced to the extent permitted by the constraints in the ecological conditions.
Consequently, agricultural activity has only a complementary role in the field of Karimojong economic activity, but it is an important role because, without it, survival would be a much more complicated matter. In case of complete crop failure, people resort to exchanging livestock with agricultural products with neighbouring tribes, or everybody tends to move to the cattle camps and depend on cattle completely until a new crop is harvested.

Marginalization throughout history

Karamoja has remained largely underdeveloped and marginalized from national development policies, both during colonial and post-colonial times. The first pronounced military action against the Karimojong was the closure of the area, except to colonial military personnel.

It was only in 1987 that the NRM government considered reinstating the special status on Karamoja. However, the real problems of the region have not been clearly understood and so the solutions being offered are inappropriate.

The so-called ‘tragedy of the commons’ and the cattle complex

As early as 1920s, the onset of ecological degradation was regarded as the result of the ways in which pastoralists used resources in the rangelands. The “cattle complex” referred either to an aesthetic orientation which privileged cattle above all else, or to an irrational cultural holdover from a time when land was truly abundant, cattle rather scarce, and such a value indeed made sense. The deterioration of the environment in fact came about during and as a result of colonial rule and the particular forms of exploitation visited on the Karimojong.

The British Administrators themselves, before leaving Uganda, by recognizing the failure of their policy and allowing the Karimojong to go back to their traditional way of life, recognized its validity. Recent studies have ascertained that it is due to the local pastoral management which allows the natives to keep a number of animals double-fold in comparison with the one possible with a modern-rational system, in drought stricken areas, like Karamoja.

Compiled with additions from

By Longoli Simon Peter
The original post can be found here...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"Everyone Can Participate"- Mission's Devotional- Day 7

✤DAY 7✤
"Everyone Can Participate"

Psalm 37:25
I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the 
righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread.

1 Timothy 4:12 (NCV)
Do not let anyone treat you as if you are unimportant 
because you are young. Instead, be an example to the 
believers with your words, your actions, your love, your faith, 
and your pure life.

II Corinthians 9:13
Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, 
others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your 
confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in 
sharing with them and with everyone else.

Selwyn Hughes, founder of Crusade for World Revival, tells of a
time he was a pastor in a London church when a quite elderly 
widow of very modest means made a significant Faith Promise 
commitment. Shortly thereafter he contacted her to see if 
possibly she had made a mistake and maybe would like to 
decrease her commitment. The lady was brought to tears and she 
informed him that the amount she promised was correct and she 
believed God would enable her to give it. The pastor was 
surprised to see how she was in she was able to systematically 
give from such a meager financial position. It was sobering for 
Rev. Hughes to think how close he came to hindering this lady in 
her faith walk. It was a valuable lesson for him.

Little Aidan had just turned five years of age when the church 
where his dad was missions pastor held their first Global Impact 
Celebration and employed the Faith Promise approach to mission 
giving. When given the opportunity, Aidan wrote on his 
commitment card the biggest number he could think of— $100. 

Later when asked by his parents how God might provide the 
money for his Faith Promise, Aidan thought for a moment and 
then said that he had a lot of toys he doesn’t play with much and 
maybe he could sell them on eBay. It turns out that Aidan did 
sell his toys but not on eBay. He sold them through a local 
consignment store and netted $115 for missions. Aidan, at the 
age of five, learned a valuable lesson as well. He can count on 
God’s provision even as a young child.

These stories illustrate another principle of Faith Promise giving. 
No one should be left out; everyone can participate. From the old 
to the young, from the well-to-do to the not so well off, God can 
bring about His purposes through the Faith Promise and provide 
blessings in the process. How God will work through you and 
through your church remains to be seen, but He will work and 
people near and far will be blessed as he does.

Can I trust God to work through me no matter what my 
circumstance may be?

Father, I commit to trust you. As I do, I pray you will work in 
my heart and through my hands to bring blessings to others and 
glory to you.

Produced by: The Mission Society

Monday, March 25, 2013

"God Provides"- Mission's Devotional- Day 6

✤DAY 6✤
"God Provides"

Matthew 7:11
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your 
children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven 
give good things to those who ask him!

II Corinthians 9:11
You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous 
on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in 
thanksgiving to God.

Jack had made a Faith Promise commitment at his church’s first 
Global Impact Celebration. Before he even got home he was 
having “buyer’s remorse.” For days he agonized over where the 
money was going to come from. He thought he had heard from 
God but now he wasn’t so sure. His wife suggested they put a jar 
on the kitchen counter and over the course of time collect the 
loose change or bills they had in their pockets. However, Jack 
felt sure that approach would not come close to meeting the 
amount he put on his card.

Jack came home after work one day and as his wife prepared the 
evening meal he stepped out on the deck to smoke a cigarette. 
She would not let him smoke in the house. As he was standing 
there, the Lord spoke to him and said, “Jack, you are burning up 
your Faith Promise.” Jack immediately stopped smoking and 
began to set aside the money that had been supporting his habit. 
He was amazed that the money saved more than covered the 
Faith Promise commitment made.

You may be thinking, “That’s great, but I don’t smoke. Where 
would my Faith Promise come from?” Jack’s story is but one 
example of how God works to fulfill His promise of provision. 
Consider a few more brief examples:

 -At a friend’s invitation, Deborah attended a party where they 
evaluated home products. Much to her surprise, she received 
a small check three weeks later in appreciation for her input 
into the evaluation process. It helped fulfill her Faith 
Promise commitment that year.

-Janet and two other friends hold a giant yard sale three times 
in one year netting thousands of dollars for missions.

-Tyler gave up drinking sodas at lunch and breaks enabling 
him to give hundreds of dollars in Faith Promise offerings.

- Sue received a check in the mail. It turned out a relative that 
she had not seen in years had passed and he had generously 
bequeathed portions of his estate to more distant family 
members. She knew it was to be used for missions
The way God works through those who make a Faith Promise 
commitment are as varied as the people through whom He 
works. There is no pattern to how He provides. In some cases He
gives novel ideas on how to raise the funds, for others He may 
lead them to a lifestyle change, others may be asked to sacrifice, 
and sometimes He miraculously provides. But He does provide 
and along with the provision we find ourselves on a faithbuilding 
journey of immense worth.

Am I willing, like Jack and Tyler, to give up things that I like in 
order to please God and be used by Him? 

Father, I acknowledge that you are the great provider. I look to 
you alone as the source of my provision. I know I can be 
generous for you are generous to me and I praise you for your 
abiding presence with me.

Produced by: The Mission Society

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The next generation!

Today I had the privileged of speaking to about fifty 1st through 4th graders. It was a great time encouraging them to use whatever gifts God has given them to serve Him, even now. It was also great to be the first real live missionary some of them have seen. I still remember the very first missionary I ever heard speak. God used that as a seed for where I am now. Marilyn Laszlo came to our church not long after I came to our church. She was a single missionary that had spent 20+ year in Papua New Guinea working with Wycliffe to translate the Bible into a tribal language. I fell in love with missions at that point but it wasn't until a couple years later that I heard God's call on my own life to be a missionary!! Watch the YouTube video on Marilyn to see why she struck me so deeply. She is 80 and still going strong. I want to be like her when I grow up :-)

These kids have already learned about many different aspects of missions thanks to their great teachers. I loved being able to put some reality to what they had already learned.

This young man loved looking at the Karamojong Bible.
You really want to live here?"
Sharing with the next generation of missionaries, pastors, small group leaders, financial supporters, and disciple-makers. But encouraging them to all to pray!
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"Faith to Give"- Mission's Devotional- Day 5

✤DAY 5✤
"Faith to Give"

I Samuel 1:11
And she made a vow, saying, “LORD Almighty, if you will only 
look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not 
forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to 
the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be 
used on his head.”

II Corinthians 8:2-4
In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and 
their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify 
that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond 
their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with 
us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s 

A family drama is unfolding. One that has been in the making 
for quite some time. Years in fact. Hannah is childless and this 
reality is weighing on her mightily. Her husband, Elkanah, loves 
her very much, senses her pain, but really doesn’t connect with 
her deepest emotions in this matter. To add insult to injury, 
another member of the family takes every opportunity to heap 
ridicule and shame on Hannah for being childless. Hannah 
frequently finds herself in tears and without appetite due to the 
anxiety she feels.

On this annual trip to the temple in Shiloh, Hannah has almost 
reached the breaking point. In the midst of her deep pain Hannah 
weeps and prays before the Lord. It is a remarkable prayer in 
which she makes an offer: “Lord, do not forget me....give me a 
son....and I'll give him back to you for the rest of his life.”

Eli the priest is standing nearby observing Hannah. And though 
there is no indication that Eli knew what she had prayed, he 
blesses her and tells her that her request will be granted. Hannah 
returns home and in the course of time finds she is pregnant, 
delivers a male child, and names him Samuel.In essence, 
Hannah made a Faith Promise in that she committed 
to give a gift. A gift she did not have. A gift that she was totally 
dependent upon God for receiving. If she is to ever give the gift 
it will be up to God to provide it based on His promise spoken 
through His servant Eli.

Now here’s the rub. It is one thing to offer a baby that doesn’t
exist, but it is quite another for a mother to give up that child 
once she is holding it in her arms. You may be thinking that
Hannah is going to renege on her agreement. That when it gets 
down to crunch time she won’t be able to bring herself to give 
Samuel up. After all, commitments made under stress or when 
emotions are running high don’t really count, do they?

There are a myriad of reasons we can give and ways to 
rationalize why we shouldn’t follow through on what we said we 
would do. That’s why the faith in Faith Promise is faith to give. 
As God is faithful to follow through on His promise, we should 
stand ready to follow through in faith by giving when He

Is my faith such that I look for and recognize God’s provision 
and then be willing to pass that provision on?

Father, Grant me eyes of faith so that I may recognize your 
provision and then give me a heart of faith that I would follow 
through with my giving. In doing so, may I have the same 
overflowing joy and rich generosity spoken of the Macedonian 
believers that I might share in the service to your people.

Produced by: The Mission Society

Saturday, March 23, 2013

"The Promise is God's"- Mission's Devotional- Day 4

✤DAY 4✤
"The Promise is God's"

Psalm 105:7-8 (NCV)
He is the LORD our God. His laws are for all the world. He will 
keep his agreement forever; he will keep his promises always.

II Corinthians 9:10
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will 
also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the 
harvest of your righteousness.

A week before their 2011 Global Mission Celebration and the 
closing out of their 2010 Faith Promise collection, the Missions 
Pastor of a church in Clearwater, Florida received a phone call 
from one of their congregation. The caller said she would be 
bringing a check to church on Sunday for $50,000 for missions. 
She said that last year (March 2010) during the Faith Promise 
service, as we were asked to pray to hear what God would have 
us give to missions in the coming year, she heard the number 
$50,000. That number seemed beyond ridiculous for them 
because they were in the midst of total personal financial 
devastation at that time. So when her husband asked her what 
she had sensed God saying for their Faith Promise, she hedged a 
bit and told him that she knew it was ridiculous for them at this 
point, but that she had sensed $5,000. He looked at her and said 
that was not ridiculous—that what he had heard was 
ridiculous. He had heard $50,000! She confessed that she had 
sensed the same amount. Since they both heard it, they went 
ahead and wrote $50,000 on their Faith Promise Card. Then, just 
one week before the 2010 giving year was over, they received in 
the mail an unexpected settlement check from a car accident they
had had during the year. It was for an amount over 

$50,000. They knew that the money belonged to God!
The cynic would say that all of that is pure coincidence. But 
think about it for a minute. A couple undergoing financial stress 
in their personal finances each bow their heads in a church 
service and listen for God to speak. In the space of sixty seconds 
or so, each one, independent of the other, hears the same 
incredible amount of $50,000. Then within a year they come in 
to an amount that surpasses the $50,000. It goes beyond the 
bounds of reason to believe that, given this couples’ 
circumstances, they would be thinking in terms of numbers that 
high. $500— maybe. $5,000— far-fetched but possibly. But 
$50,000— no way!

But if in fact they actually heard God speak that amount then it 
doesn’t seem implausible at all. And if God spoke it, the promise 
was His and He would be responsible for its provision. That’s 
exactly how a Faith Promise works. God impresses upon us an 
amount to commit to, it is His promise to fulfill, when He
provides we serve as the conduit of His provision, and we share 
in the blessing it brings to a hurting world.

Look at II Corinthians 9:10 once more, “Now he who supplies 
seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and 
increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your 
righteousness.” God provides, people are blessed, and we get to 
share in that blessing. What a God we serve!

Do I really believe that God will use me as a conduit of His
blessing in a bold way?

Father, Give me a willing heart to make myself available to you 
to be a channel of blessing to a world that is in need of Jesus and 
His righteousness and peace.

Produced by: The Mission's Society

Friday, March 22, 2013

"Hearing from God"- Mission's Devotional- Day 3

✤DAY 3✤
"Hearing from God"

Isaiah 30:21
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear 
a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

II Corinthians 8:3
For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even 
beyond their ability.

By his own admission, Pastor Ed had never listed missions as 
one of his high priorities. In fact, each year when he ranked his 
ministry missions usually was at the bottom. Nevertheless, upon 
discovering that the church at which he was to become senior 
pastor had scheduled a missions workshop just weeks after his
planned arrival he not only gave the mission team the okay for
the event but planned to attend as well. Following that 
workshop, one of the church members invited Pastor Ed to join 
him on a trip to India a few months later. Surprisingly, even to 
himself, he accepted the invitation and experienced his first 
international mission trip.

Seven months later, his church was conducting their first Global 
Impact Celebration. On the final day of the celebration, Pastor 
Ed was sitting in the first worship service listening to the 
missions speaker preach the Faith Promise message. At the close 
of the message, the speaker asked those in the congregation to 
take their Faith Promise commitment cards and to pray about an 
amount God would have them give in the coming year in support 
of the church’s mission efforts.

As Pastor Ed bowed his head he thought of his two children 
whom he was putting through college, he thought of the difficult 
financial circumstances the country was in, and he thought about 
how the church would probably have to make some cuts. Given 
all that, he wrote an amount on the card and at the appropriate 
time went forward and placed his card in one of the baskets the 
missionary guests were holding at the front of the church.

At the close of the second service, the scene was reenacted. 
Pastor Ed was feeling pretty good about himself since he had 
filled out his card earlier. When the guest speaker asked the 
congregation to pray, Pastor Ed bowed his head. It was then that 
he heard God tell him to fill out a card. Pastor Ed protested, “But 
Lord, I have already turned in my Faith Promise commitment 
card!” Pastor Ed says he heard the Lord clearly say, “I know. But 
you put an amount on that card that indicated what you thought 
you could do. Now I want you to put an amount on this card that 
indicates what you think I can do through you.”

This story illustrates another key principle to Faith-Promise 
giving. That is hearing from God. We must never take the 
position of telling God what we can give. Our role is to pray, to 
focus, and to listen for Him to speak to us. After all, God is 
providing the resources and our ability to give out of His
bountiful supply. 

To continue the story, Pastor Ed quieted himself before God a 
second time and this time he was in a listening mode. He 
distinctly heard an amount God wanted to give through him. 

Am I in the practice of listening for the voice of God?

Father, Give me eyes to see a world that is hungering for your 
Word. Give me a mind that will accept the possibilities you offer 
to me. Give me ears that are listening for your words to me. Give 
me a heart of gratitude that you consider me worthy to be an 
instrument of your will.

Produced by: The Mission Society

Thursday, March 21, 2013

"Which Pie?" Mission's Devotional- Day 2

✤DAY 2✤
"Which Pie?"

Deuteronomy 10:14
To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest 
heavens, the earth and everything in it.

II Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at 
all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every 
good work.

For the past forty years Eunice Pike has worked with the 
Mazatec Indians in southwestern Mexico. During this time she 
has discovered some interesting things about these beautiful 
people. For instance, the people seldom wish someone well. Not 
only that, they are hesitant to teach one another or to share the 
gospel with each other. If asked, "Who taught you to bake 
bread?" the village baker answers, "I just know," meaning he has 
acquired the knowledge without anyone's help. Eunice says this 
odd behavior stems from the Indian's concept of "limited good." 
They believe there is only so much good, so much knowledge, so 
much love to go around. To teach another means you might drain 
yourself of knowledge. To love a second child means you have 
to love the first child less. To wish someone well by saying
"Have a good day" means you have just given away some of 
your own happiness, which cannot be reacquired.

When it comes to money for Kingdom work, we are often like 
the Mazatec Indians. We think in terms of limitations. We are 
limited by what is in our pocketbook, our bank account, or our 
investment portfolio. We are also limited by past performance, 
present reality, and future expectations. Whether as an individual 
or as a church, we tend to think we know how big the pie is and 
what will happen if we take a slice out of it. When we do that, 
we fail to consider that the pie may be much bigger than what we 

Our Scripture readings for today remind us of two simple truths. 
First, God is owner of everything. Second, he is the source for all 
that we have or hope to have. King David sums up these truths 
up as he prays, “Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and 
the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in 
heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are 
exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you 
are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power 
to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you 
thanks, and praise your glorious name. But who am I, and who 
are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as 
this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only 
what comes from your hand.” (1 Chronicles 29:11-14)

As we consider the Faith Promise, one of the things we 
recognize is, unlike the tithe or our regular giving to the church, 
Faith Promise giving is not based on our known assets or current 
budget. Rather, our giving is based on what God will provide, 
often in surprising and varied ways. As you continue these 
meditations over the next several days you will come to a better 
understanding of what that means. The salient point for now is 
that we serve a God who is limitless. If there is any constraint on 
Him at all it may be the degree to which we trust Him and place 
our faith in Him. Therefore, when it comes to Faith Promise 
giving we should be looking at His unlimited pie instead of our 
restricted one.

Do I need to take a fresh look at the greatness and goodness of 
God and His unconditional love for me?

Father, I acknowledge your greatness, power, glory and majesty. 
Free me from any propensity to focus on things that divert my 
attention away from your unlimited goodness, grace, and mercy. 

Produced by: The Mission Society