Scripture: Hosea 5:14-6:3
Speaker: Tim Prince
Come complete a two-day biking tour on the Root River Trail in South Eastern MN. Make and build friendships with us on this Bikepacking adventure!
The cost is 25$ and includes camping fees, transportation, and gas. Limited to 12 spots.
This is a self supported adventure. You will need to provide your own bike, food and gear. We do have a limited amount of bike panniers that people may use. Please let us know if you need panniers (bicycle packs that hold gear). BIKE HELMETS ARE REQUIRED ON THIS ADVENTURE. CANCELLATION POLICY Cancellations on/before July 15, 2022 will receive a full refund. No refunds after unless there is inclement weather forecasted prior to the event (thunderstorms/lightening). COVID POLICY Please stay home if you or someone is experiencing symptoms or has tested positive. Masks may not be worn in carpooling vehicles. If you prefer to wear a mask, we recommend you drive yourself.
WHAT YOU MIGHT EXPECT
Activities include but are not limited to: bike touring on paved, gravel or uneven terrain. Operating a bike that will have packs/panniers to haul camping gear. Hauling camping gear to/from campsite and packing gear. Elevation changes, traffic changes and/or re-routes. A variety of weather conditions that may change unexpectedly or quickly, including but not limited to: rain, thunderstorms, variable and high winds, hail, cold or hot temperatures. Food may be shared, offered or prepared by Thrive members or leaders.
RISK MAY INCLUDE
Vehicles that may not be watching for cyclists or signal their intent. Heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Biting, poisonous and/or stinging insects or animals, both domestic or wild. Cyclists on the trail that may not abide by trail rules and etiquette. After you’ve registered, Thrive Leader, Jen Theisen will be emailing you a custom packing list, itinerary, directions and other helpful information in planning for this adventure
God is both just AND merciful. While he does exercise justice, God’s heart is to be merciful to us. In response to his great love and mercy, we must seek to
cultivate mercy within our own heart and in relationship to others. As God seeks to address the heart of His people, we discover that he desires mercy more than sacrifice.
Scripture: 1 Peter 2: 9-17
Speaker: Tim Prince
Friday, June 3rd
(start by watching the video above. Click on the man I know affectionately as 2nd Dennis).
This last post marks the end of a four-year partnership that could change the face of the church in northern Uganda and beyond for years ahead. I’m currently sitting in a park in Hudson by myself. I wrote the posts over the years by myself, but everything that was accomplished by anyone along the way was the result of a series of partnerships. I want to acknowledge the key players in this process.
First, there is the St. Croix Valley LEAD Team churches from Somerset, New Richmond, Baldwin, River Falls and Hudson. This successful cohort (37 strong) in Uganda is the direct result of partnerships built in the last 25 years, that has resulted not only in churches planted in the St. Croix Valley, but now in Uganda. It was these churches that financed the trips of pastors and elders to far away Uganda, the fruit of our latest Vision for the Valley gathering. May our partnership and effectiveness flourish for God’s ongoing work of reconciling the world to himself under King Jesus.
Training Leaders International (TLI) and Mike Evans in particular. It was TLI who put together a curriculum to truly alter the way leaders in Uganda are handling the Scripture. They provided teacher’s guides, trainee guides and facilitated the translation of materials for Acholi speakers.
They also met with us before each trip to ensure that we were understanding the curriculum and kept the main objectives at the forefront of our teaching. They sent along a representative on each trip to help carry the teaching load and provide coaching as we went through the process of teaching the nine courses.
Mike Evans, a former member of the St. Croix Valley LEAD Team went on the most of these trips and provided much valued support and friendship along the way.
Our relationship with Four Corners Ministry was key in all that took place. You may not remember, but this was the second round of teaching we did in Uganda. The first round was good, but midway through the cohort, we recognized three missing elements that would need to be in place if we were to begin a second one. They included
Four Corners (a man named Kris Mobbs in particular) provided all three, including facilities to meet which were fine for us and really nice for the Ugandans. It was Kris who held things together and had a base already in place for us to build. We provided curriculum and teaching he was longing for, and he provided continuity and regional insight that was most valuable. We have gained a dear friend and a trusted partner.
This is the end of this excursion. God willing, Ugandan churches will be bearing fruit for generations because of these partnerships.
I close with a little biography. I’m not much of a dreamer, never have been. In my moments of dreaming I remember thinking if God allowed me to truly impact six family trees in my life, I would see that as I life well lived.
I asked Kris Mobbs how many people groups were represented in this seven-man cohort. The answer…six! God has granted me (and of course, all of you through these partnerships) the gift of impacting six different people groups, distinct languages during these four years. Way more than my puny vision!
“ Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”
The Apostle Paul
Thursday, June 2nd
I am home and I think the jet lag is behind me (one never knows) on this the final trip of our four-year excursion (COVID made it longer) into Africa. The goal has been met and I am grateful. We believe we have established the foundation for the vision of an abiding network of Gospel-centered, Bible saturated, African lead churches.
The most gratifying part of this whole process is that it looks like it will take place. I have had many “visions” in life not come to fruition. This is especially gratifying given the complexity of doing so cross-culturally. We have completed our task; now it is time to get out of Africa.
Or is it? After our graduation of the 37 church leaders from the pastoral training center, Mike Evans and I joined five others for a trip to South Sudan. We have been invited to consider doing something similar for this young country (independence came in 2011).
Archbishop Stephen Dokolo oversees three other bishops and around 500 Anglican churches in four dioceses in and around Mundri County. The South Sudanese people have lived at war with those from the north. There have been conflicts from
In the most recent conflict, a civil war within South Sudan, over 400,000 people died, with another 4,000,000 people displaced home and abroad (many to Uganda, where we just trained two South Sudanese leaders in a refugee camp near the border).
During the conflict that ended in 2020, Stephen (that’s what the archbishop asked us to call him) was doing anything he could to hold his churches together, including appointing pastors who are not well grounded in the Scriptures. He is looking for outside help to get these four dioceses on a healthier path and have asked us (Four Corners Ministry and the St. Croix Valley LEAD Team) to join forces to help.
In our four days, we held a two-day gospel clarity conference and Stephen was excited by it. He kept saying, gospel clarity is what we need-this is most helpful. He shares a robust faith in Christ.
This has really gotten my attention. To help the church in a war-torn country find their footing for the future seems like a very worthy task. The logistics here present significant hurdles. The longer we were there, from my vantage point, I couldn’t see it working. My pragmatic side was winning out.
As we shared these insights with Stephen, he handled them quite well (people in such settings are used to disappointment). Then he came up with an idea that really changed my mind. What if he and the trainees from South Sudan would take a two-day bus trip both ways to Gulu, Uganda (where we have solid logistical help) for a next cohort? This group would meet right before the ongoing cohort led by Africans, taking advantage of the logistical strengths that exist.
There are many things to work out:
If all of these matters (and other matters I’m sure I’m not aware of yet) can be worked out, there would likely be a practice session in January of 2023. If all goes well, an agreement would be signed for three trips per year for three years beginning in May.
Are we out of Africa?…we’ll see!
The pictures are of Stephen and me in front of his home (that’s what 500 churches under you will get you), some remnants of the latest conflict, and Stephen sharing his heart with our group.
One last post to come!
Scripture: 2 Kings 5:1-19
Speaker: Tim Prince
Sunday, May 29th
The day after we finished our training, we headed to Murchison National Park so Joel, the Training Leaders International Curriculum Director, could go on his first safari. We had a decent safari (you become a snob of sorts when you’ve been on three!), and Joel left for the airport the next morning. Mike and I stayed two more nights before continuing the trip to South Sudan (more posts coming about this portion of the trip coming). The whole time we were there, our meals were served to us by a delightful guy named Junior. He took great care of us the entire time-every meal.
We asked Junior about his life, and he told an amazing story about his grandmother. She was banished to an island as a pregnant twelve-year-old, left to die! The island, known as Punishment Island, was the price the pregnant girl would pay, because they were no longer suited to generate a dowry for the family. I’m no doctor, but I think the pregnancy involved a man as well-I don’t think there was an island for them!
As tragic as the whole enterprise was, there is an amazing redemptive element here. I was able to point out how this story points to Jesus’ work on behalf of the forsaken. The fact we were talking about his grandmother is a hint of what took place. There is an article and a three-minute video (after the obligatory ad) and is instructive and eye opening. Check out the link below.
It is quite common for the man (like Junior) to live apart from the family to make money to send home to care for them in Uganda. At the conclusion of our trip, we left him a note with a $20 tip for him and he was excited to send it home to help with his kid’s school fees. School fees are a constant battle for Ugandans, and fathers and mothers go to great lengths to make this happen for the kids they for whom they want a better future.
It is one of the many joys of these trips to get to know people like Junior. I’m amazed at the resilience and intelligence of so many we meet. Junior speaks four languages and his English is really solid. Our driver, Otim, speaks seven languages. Between his language skills and his delightful personality, wherever we go, he seems to know someone. I’m home, but there are more stories to come, especially some opportunities that lie ahead. Click the link, you will not be disappointed.