Archive for the ‘Uganda’ Category

More Opportunities in 2011

September 30, 2010
In 2006, I spent the summer in Uganda helping Arise Africa International in any way I could. It consisted of leading Bible studies, fixing computers for their ministry office, building structures for new churches to meet in, and spending time encouraging the small village churches. In my time there, I saw a handful of churches come through Arise Africa’s Guest House for their week of missions. One team came for over a week but spent little time doing actual ministry. What they called “missions” consisted of a short Bible study and a cute puppet show in a small village for three days. The rest of their time was spent sightseeing, white water rafting on the Nile River, and a three day safari. I’m sorry, but that is not missions. That is not the Gospel.

If I’m going to spend thousands of dollars to go overseas on a mission trip then I want to spend every ounce of energy I have to proclaim the Gospel. I want to fly home to the States absolutely exhausted. You wouldn’t expect anything less from this ministry. You give and you sacrifice so that the Kingdom can expand for God’s glory, not for us to go sightseeing. RVM is solely about the advancement of the Gospel.

As I join the RVM team in January, one strategy we want to implement is to partner more with you and your church. I believe that the American church is embracing anew the Great Commission and regaining an urgency for the Gospel (see the Great Comission Resurgence). However, so many churches do not have the resources to take their own mission trips. That’s where RVM can be a blessing. We want to partner with your church to train your team, handle the logistics, plan for the trip, and have Rick Via lead the team. Administration in missions is extremely important for your time overseas to be the most effective. We can help by organizing travel itineraries, booking flights, transportation and lodging, assuring passports, visas, and shots are all in order, assembling interpreters, planning ministry activities alongside missionaries,  and budgeting for travel and ministry. All of these things (and more) go in to a taking a successful, safe, short term mission trip. We believe, by the grace of God, and through much prayer that we can partner with more churches, train more pastors, reach more people, and see more souls come to salvation in Christ in 2011. With your help, your giving, and your prayer, we will see God continue to do amazing things around the world for His glory.

Please continue to pray for Keesha and I as we diligently raise our support in order to come on staff with RVM. If the Lord leads you, we would ask that you commit to support Keesha and I on a monthly basis for one year. You can donate online here. Please pray about how you might partner with us for the sake of the Gospel.

By His Grace,
Jacob Via

A Tragic Bombing and An Urgent Gospel

July 13, 2010

I was shocked and saddened when I received the news about the terrorist bombing in Uganda. It appears that a terrorist group associated with Al Qaeda bombed two establishments in Kampala on Sunday evening. These establishments were filled with people watching the World Cup soccer match. At the last count there were 74 people killed, including one young American teenager, and many others wounded and injured. There was also an American mission team that was injured in the explosion. This attack has become very personal to me and my family. As you know, I was just in Uganda 2 weeks ago with our team of 28 volunteers. On the last day of our mission, we ate lunch at the mall in Kampala located just next to the restaurant that was bombed. Please join me in praying for all of our missionaries and our Ugandan friends who have been impacted by this tragic event. I’ve been going to Uganda for the last 20 years and these are some of the dearest people on the face of God’s earth. Also, please remember to pray for those who were a part of this vicious bombing. The people who believe in this kind of violence are in deep spiritual darkness. It is a reminder to me that there are always ricks involved in taking the Gospel around the world. Even more reason to take seriously our purpose on this earth. We need a fresh urgency for the Gospel. We live in a dark and dying world, and the mission we have been given by God can’t be taken lightly. I’m so proud of Arise Africa International and our Ugandan believers and missionaries who model this type urgency for the Gospel every day.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”
(1 Corinthians 1:3-5)

To all of our Ugandan friends – we want you to know that you are in our prayers and in our hearts. You are not forgotten at this time of sorrow and we are confident that our Lord is still on His throne. As long as He is on His throne, He will bring something good out of this senseless attack.

From Carissa Drauss

July 3, 2010

We’ve been home for one week now…. Ask me if “real life” has hit me yet? Ok… no. It hasn’t. Frankly I hope that it never does. God did such an amazing work in my heart and life…. I hope it never fades away. I fear that being back and being surrounded by “stuff” will drown out the Voice that I heard so clearly when I was in Uganda.

This past weekend at church, I noticed that I now have beautiful footage in my heart and mind to go along with worship. For example, when I read in Psalm “He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. And so I walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth,” I noticed that I now have visions of Deborah – a beautiful Ugandan woman who had gangrene so bad that her leg may need to be amputated- but I’m told that she had her arms lifted to the Lord! Presumably she was praising Him because she trusted Him and He sent our nurses! She worshiped and praised Him despite the fact that she was in tremendous pain and staring death right in the face. Deborah is a true testament and example of what we are supposed to be.

There were so many stories like this- so many beautiful people. People who trusted and loved the Lord simply- purely- with a genuine love. A humble love. I pray that I will not only experience that kind of love here in the US, but that I may continue to be a vessel for Jesus’ love here. I pray that I don’t get mired in the stuff of “self” or frozen in fear or concerned with what people think. I am often so worried about what people think! I can’t be like that anymore. I am God’s! I must submit and surrender completely to Him so that He can use me – so that He can help me BE the love.

It was so cool to be able to feel Jesus giving me His soft eyes filled with love to look at these people with! Also, I had never shared the Gospel or my testimony or walked with anyone as they accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior – but I was so blessed to have had that opportunity on this trip! It was so wonderful to feel connected to the Source and Sustainer and to be used by Him in that capacity!

Also – I have a quick note about our team – our God-breathed RVM Uganda Team! If you’ve read in 1 Corinthians 12 about everyone in the church having different parts – different rolls to fill – well, that was definitely the case here. God put together a team that truly complimented one another. Individual strengths were shared and woven into the fabric of our team’s shared heart. It was another miracle. God just poured His blessings out on us all!

I am so grateful for this experience! I am grateful to God first and then to the Via Family, and to Godfrey & Joy Wanamitsa & Arise Africa for their leadership and the hard work they invested in making this life-altering trip a reality! THANK YOU ALL – leaders, team members, supporters and of course, the Ugandan people – for your passion for and faithfulness in spreading the Good News!!! He is risen!!!

God Be Praised!
Carissa Drauss

From Rebekah Brammer

July 2, 2010

Uganda has been one of the best experiences of my life! I have been on mission trips before but I was able to experience almost all aspects this time from helping the nurses, telling my testimony, sharing the gospel, visiting schools and a prison, and playing with the kids. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I had to pray every day that God would give me the strength and desire to be out there because it is very exhausting. God never failed to give me the strength. There was always one child that would come up to me and warm my heart, which gave me the strength to go on. I remember the first day in Uganda a team member, Carissa, asked for the team to pray for boldness. She felt like the Lord was placing it on her heart. I know that it was that prayer that helped me to be so bold in sharing! I have even been able to bring the boldness back to the states with me because I have been so excited to share with anyone who asks. I hope it will spark something in someone to go to Uganda in the future! I want to thank everyone for praying while we were gone, it was truly a blessing because I could only do what I did with the power of Jesus Christ working through me.

From Samantha Plybon

July 1, 2010

If you were to ask me two years ago if I would ever go on a mission trip to Africa, I would have never thought it. It has been such a blessing to be a part of this team with RVM. In preparing for my first mission trip, I was nervous, excited and looking forward to see how God would use this to change my life. After my first day of being on the mission field, I learned there was no need to be nervous. God was with me all the way. God was working on the hearts and lives of the Ugandan people. I was just blessed that He chose to use me for this work. I have learned how easy it can be to witness to others. Now I pray I can continue to do so in a country that is so prosperous. – Samantha Plybon

From Jamie Butler

June 30, 2010

This trip has been the most overwhelming yet the most rewarding experience I have ever had. The Lord brought 14 different churches together in unity to serve His purpose. There was hunger for the Lord in the eyes of the Ugandan people. We provide them with medicines for a short amount of time. However, His Word is medicine for a lifetime. The experience of seeing my two daughters (ages 9 & 11) serve the people of Uganda and leading lost souls to the Lord was such a blessing. A great harvest was planted in Uganda and through prayer we will see the harvest multiply. Glory to our Lord and Savior for the amount of medicine distributed and the number of souls saved during this mission trip. What a mighty God we serve.

– Jamie Butler

From Dr. Tommy Snyder

June 30, 2010

It was my honor to be apart of the recent team of 28 ministering in Uganda. Rick Via Ministries has established a special relationship with the precious people of Uganda. The mission team was:

  • Well Prepared – The training manual is the best I have seen! Everything one needed to know in preparation and execution of the work was covered in the manual.
  • Spiritually Focused – Prayer was emphasized throughout the trip. Every ministry opportunity was bathed in prayer.
  • Soul Conscious – We were reminded often our main duty was to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I am already making plans to go back next year.

– Dr. Tommy Snyder
Memphis, TN

Bukaleba Orphanage by Joy Via

June 28, 2010

As some of you know, I had the privilege of spending last summer in Uganda, Africa selecting orphans for the new Arise Africa orphanage. The orphanage was finished in February of this year and the children were finally able to move into their new home.  For the last five months, these children have been regaining their health and nutrition. It was amazing to see these children flourishing, after not having a bed to sleep in, food to eat, or anyone to care for them. Every day these children are fed and cared for and in an environment where they will learn about our Lord and Savior. Please pray for these forty-three children as well as the staff. It is very difficult financially to keep this home running. Please pray for God’s guidance and provision.  If you wish to make a donation toward this orphanage, please send your donation to Journey Church, c/o Mark Harvey, P.O. Box 58515, Raleigh, NC 27658 and earmark it for the AAI orphanage.

Thank you for your prayers and support for these precious children. In the near future, please visit to see a full video update on the orphanage.

Here are a few photos of the team with the orphans.

Return From Africa

June 28, 2010

I am writing this article at 33,000 feet above the earth. This Boeing 767 is taking our team back to the USA. We have just completed our 15th mission to Uganda. This week, I have asked some of our team members to write about their experiences from the past two weeks in Uganda. We will post one article each day this week along with some great photos of our ministry in Uganda.

Here are some highlights of our trip:

  • Our nurses treated 5,758 patients in six villages.
  • We were able to present the Gospel in eight schools, five prisons and nine churches.
  • We were blessed to witness 1,180 people confess faith in Jesus Christ.
  • We had over 150 pastors and 90 wives receive Bible training, encouragement and personal gifts for their families.
  • We transported one adult and two children from very poor villages to a hospital for further treatment. Their hospital care was paid for by our team.
  • Land was donated to begin a new village church.

Your support, prayers and financial giving made this one of our best mission efforts ever. Thank you for helping us touch this part of the work with the love of Jesus Christ!

Why Uganda?

June 14, 2010

I have been to Uganda, Africa 18 times over the last 15 years. I have often been asked, “why Uganda? Why do you keep going there?” Here is the story in a nut shell.

In 1982 I was a young seminary graduate just starting out in ministry. My mentor professor Roy Fish recommended that I read a book called A Distant Grief. I didn’t know what the book was about but eagerly started to read it because of his recommendation. The book not only challenged my life but also broke my heart. A Distant Grief is about the suffering church in Uganda during the days of Edi Amin. The book told of countless stories of brave pastors and other christian leaders who gave their lives for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When I finished the book, I knelt down by my couch and I prayed a simple prayer “Lord, if you will let me go I would like to go to Uganda some day and bring help and healing to those broken people.” Fast forward 5 years… in 1987 another one of my mentors Dr. Sumner Wemp, called me from Liberty University, He said “Rick, I’m going to Africa this summer and I want you to go with me.” I was thrilled at the invitation and I said “Bother Sumner, where exactly are we going?” He Said “We are going to Uganda.” I had no control over those events, but God honored the prayer from 5 years earlier and sent me to Uganda. That trip would revolutionize my heart and life. And now when people ask me “Why Uganda?” My mind goes back to a simple prayer, a broken heart, and a desire to bring help and healing to a shattered nation. The rest is history…

Pray for us as we lead 28 people to Uganda this week. Pray that God will continue to work in the nation of Uganda, that we will see many saved this week.

Stay updated with our ministry in Uganda this week by following us on Twitter.