This is the first in a series of short articles covering what the Lord did through a recent joint Christian Healing Institute (CHI) and Connecting Lives International Mission (CLIM) trip to bring Jesus’ ministry of healing to the South Sudanese people living in Uganda.

Fran Boyle has been traveling to East Africa to minister to the people of South Sudan for nearly 20 years, making many friends in virtually every part of the country. I have been blessed to join her on these trips each year since 2013. However, in the summer of 2016 the security situation in South Sudan was very unsettled, and everyone Fran contacted advised her that a ministry visit would not be welcome. Not only would the visitors not be safe, but the South Sudanese feared that our presence would draw unwanted attention and put them at risk, as well. After seeking the Lord’s guidance, we were led to plan a very different mission trip from our previous trips together. In earlier visits to South Sudanese communities in Kenya and South Sudan, Fran and I had focused on week-long trauma healing workshops for groups of people ranging from 40–200 in number. This time, we were led to go to the South Sudanese who had fled the years of fighting and were living in Kampala, Uganda. We also were to prepare for a larger conference-style setting, focusing on both healing and teaching others how to pray for healing.

This conference theme and location was an exciting melding of the mission focus of two organizations: CLIM and CHI. CLIM was founded by Fran founded in 2003 to stand with and support the Christians in and from southern Sudan. Combine this with CHI’s mission to equip others to carry out Jesus’ ministry of healing, and you get a healing conference in Uganda for displaced South Sudanese!

We shared this conference vision with a non-denominational pastor we knew in Juba, South Sudan, and he collaborated with a South Sudanese pastor he knew who was serving in Kampala. When these pastors got together to pray about this conference, the Bible verse that came to them as a focal point was Psalm 107:20 “He sent out His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction” (ESV)–a great foretaste of what the Lord had in store. They secured a space suitable for the conference we envisioned, and we set the date for the third week of January 2017. After more prayer, the US-based team came together: Fran Boyle; Rob Krech, a transitional deacon under the Reverend Jay Baylor at Apostles in the City in Baltimore; my wife Sharon Thompson; and me.

My next post will outline how the Lord turned a scheduling misunderstanding into an opportunity to do some wonderful things!