The Seeds of UDM

By Jonathan Mayo, Uganda

img_0763Jonathan and Lisa Mayo are missionaries serving in university and education ministries in East, Africa and the ministry continues to expand throughout Africa. Jonathan recently wrote about how the seeds of the University Discipleship Movement have grown over the years and taken root across East Africa. Continue reading to learn how God is using UDM and its mentors and students to positively impact Africa for Christ.

“Shortly after Kennedy Kirui graduated from Kenya Highlands Bible College (now Kenya Highlands University), he arrived in Kampala, Uganda, in the fall of 2002 to continue his education at Kampala International University. Soon after arriving on campus, he realized that there were no Christian groups doing ministry on campus. Kennedy, along with two other students, met together for Bible study and fellowship and to encourage one another in their Christian walks. They met only once a week, attending their own churches on Sundays. As they continued to meet, Kennedy found out that Africa Gospel Church and World Gospel Mission were both in Uganda. Some WGM missionaries began to help lead Bible studies and other activities as called upon.

“As time went on, more students joined the fellowship and other groups began to form. Eventually, the students started United Faith Chapel, a thriving community of believers and a full-fledged, student-led church in Kampala.

“As early as 2005, Kennedy and I began to dream about seeing a university ministry like the one at KIU spread across Africa. This eventually led to the formation of University Discipleship Movement. God’s transforming work did not stop in Kampala; UDM has now grown from KIU to universities throughout East Africa as students at other universities have asked for help in creating their own student-led ministries.

img_1556“The movement’s vision is to see a generation of transformed university students who will take the whole gospel to the whole world. In addition to working with existing Christian groups on university and college campuses, UDM leaders help establish discipleship programs and campus churches at universities where Christian groups do not yet exist. Currently, discipleship ministries are being held on 22 campuses in East Africa with the potential of more universities being reached as financial and personnel needs are met.

“The discipleship movement reaches the less than 5 percent of East African people who are able to attend university. These students are growing closer to Jesus and are being challenged to be change agents for Him in their communities and countries. Many discipleship leaders shared that they see a huge difference in the students who have completed UDM’s programs. Students testify regularly about the transformation that has taken place in their lives.

“In the midst of this amazing work, the University Discipleship Movement is facing obstacles. Spiritual warfare challenges students and leaders in their faith, university administrators are not always open to the ministries’ active role in student life, and financial struggles make it difficult for the movement to expand and acquire necessary resources.

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“Despite these challenges, God is faithfully making a way for the movement to affect transformation among university students and leaders throughout Africa. Grounded in their faith in Jesus and their education, students are being equipped to spur long-lasting spiritual and economic development.”

WGM can help you get involved in the ministry of UDM as it continues to spread throughout Africa. Visit www.wgm.org/udm for more information about how you can help make a difference today!

God’s Perfect Timing

Andy and Stephanie Abrams are missionaries to Kenya. Their story of transition has been one filled with God blessings and perfect planning. Read on to hear what Stephanie wrote on their blog about their experiences in the past six months.

“It’s hard to believe that the last time we posted was about waiting on God’s perfect timing. Now we have been in Kenya for six months. How time flies! A lot has happened in the last six months as we adjust to living in a new culture and thousands of miles away from all that is familiar. There have been so many incredible days and there have been some incredibly hard days. Here is a recap of some of those times….

“Leaving Iowa: It’s hard to put into words the joy, excitement, heartache, uncertainty, and sadness of leaving our family, friends, and all that we knew for an unknown place. We had never been to Africa, let alone Kenya, and our children had never left the US before, or flown on an airplane for that matter. We dealt wabramsith airsickness, the airline running out of food, pure exhaustion, and a real questioning of what in the world did we get ourselves into. But, in all of those moments where it felt like too much, and we felt the longing of wanting to turn around and return to what was known, God was so faithful in giving us just enough strength to keep going. I wouldn’t say it was an overabundance of strength, but it was just the amount we needed to keep persevering. It was in those moments we truly felt His presence and knew we were on the right path.

“Arriving in Kenya: I don’t really remember a lot of the first week here…jet lag is not a friend of mine! 🙂 But for the first three weeks we lived in Nakuru while we got our bearings. It was, and still can be at times, overwhelming learning how to even shop in a new culture and foreign land. Then you add four children that are overwhelmed, overstimulated, and tired and it gets pretty interesting. Again, we were able to see God’s grace and provision in action.

“Language school: We next spent three months in language school studying Kiswahili. It was a hard, frustrating, and joy-filled experience. We absolutely loved our teachers and fellow students at Shade Language and Culture School and miss them all still to this day. We loved the large compound we lived on, and our children had so many friends. It was so nice to be able to let them roam and explore, knowing they were within a fenced area. Andy and I, along with Aubrey, attended class five days a week. Our minds were continually stretched as we strived to learn a new language. Kiswahili is not an easy language, but I think that can be said for any language that is not your mother tongue. We are nowhere near being fluent, but we can understand a fair amount and speak some. We came not knowing any Kiswahili, and I can now say that I enjoy listening to this beautiful language even if I don’t understand everything that is being said. 🙂

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“Settling in: We are finally settled into our own home. I can’t tell you how wonderful this is! We moved into our place five months, almost to the day, of arriving in Kenya. We have a beautiful compound and live in one of the older neighborhoods of Nakuru. Andy is in the process of figuring out how he can best help with agriculture. We both really feel a burden for the AGC (Africa Gospel Church) missionaries and hope to be an encouragement to them and support them as best we can. They are on the front line here and serving just as cross-culturally as we are. Please join us in praying for these amazing men and women of God that have a burden to see all of Kenya reached for Christ.

What we have learned: That the God who called us to Kenya is faithful! There were times while we were still in the States that felt like we would never arrive, and now there are times that are very discouraging and we wonder what He has in store for our family. But we can confidently say that we serve a living, amazing, faithful, gracious, and awesome God! This is not about us and what we can accomplish, but about how He has chosen to use us. We truly want to bring Him glory in all that we do. We are His instruments and long to be used however He can use us best.

Thank you for joining us on this journey! We pray that you are encouraged as God uses the ordinary for His extraordinary purposes. May we continue to be His hands and feet wherever He has us.”