McDowell Technical Community College

Plumtree Presbyterian Church

Plumtree Team Goes to Uganda

By Pastor Ryan Bridgeo

Avery County

I was lying in bed one morning in early October and God spoke to me. He said, “I want you to go to Uganda before the end of this year.” The next morning, I heard God say it again, “I want you to go to Uganda before the end of this year.” I had in mind to ask two of my friends from church to go with me. I checked the cost of the flights and it was around $1000 each. Immediately after this I checked my email and someone had made an online donation to our church for $3000 and labeled it “missions”. That was the confirmation I needed.

On Monday, November 27th David Mark Gillespie, John Stevenson and I went on a wild adventure to Uganda, Africa. We landed in Entebbe at 10:20 pm Tuesday, (they are 8 hours ahead of us) and met up with the local pastors at the airport. We prayed together in the parking lot, thanking God for a successful journey there and requesting success for our upcoming ministry adventures.

We arrived at the Vinetea Hotel in Kampala close to 1 am. The rooms were nice with running water, showers, electricity, AC and WIFI. The hotel had a connected restaurant where we could order anything we liked.

Wednesday morning we meet up with Pastor David and crew shortly after 9 am. We drove through town and exchanged money at the bank and made a few other stops for supplies. It was a three-hour drive but with the traffic and road conditions, we probably averaged 35 miles an hour.

We arrived in Gomba around 1:30 pm. They were so excited to see us. For many of them, it was their first time seeing a white man. We got out of the van and went right into the meeting. They introduced our team and we shared a little about our journey. Then we had a break for lunch.

After lunch, I spoke on the 5 step prayer model for healing. It went well, but with no microphone, it was a little challenging. Around 20 people were healed.

After the meeting, we went to a nearby guesthouse. This one was not as nice. The toilet was a squatty potty with no running water or shower. The smell coming from the toilet was very bad. I kept my bathroom door shut all night.

Thursday morning we had breakfast at Pastor Thomas’ house around 9 AM. He lived in a small home with a metal roof with one small solar panel on top. They had no electricity or running water. But they made us feel right at home.

After breakfast, we went to deliver food and supplies (rice, beans, sugar, soap) to five very poor widows. We prayed for each one as they had a need.

The most notable miracle we saw that morning was George, whom we met along the way. George used to have a good job working in town. But a witchdoctor placed a curse on him and he lost his mind. When his father introduced us to him he said that he was a madman. We prayed for George and God quickly restored him. He started speaking to us right away. We asked him if he had any pain in his body and he had pain in his chest and shoulder. God healed that as well. His father (a Muslim) was shocked and said, “What is George doing speaking to these white men. He hasn’t spoken for over 6 years”. George then told us that he wanted to receive Christ as his personal savior. We led him to the Lord and he followed us to church.

We went on to the next home and there prayed for a sweet widow who lived in a grass hut. She really appreciated our gifts and prayers and she blessed us with a big stalk of bananas and some beans. I think she gave us more then we gave her.

Our security guard Emanuel noticed all of these miracles we were seeing and asked for us to pray for him. He was having trouble with his vision. He knew English pretty well. I teased him saying, “You mean to tell me you are carrying around an AK47 and you have bad eyesight?” He laughed and said, “Yes”. His eyes were blurry and would sometimes water when he would read. We prayed for Emanuel’s eyes and God quickly healed him. John handed him Randy Clark’s book, There is More and he randomly selected a page to read. To our amazement, the paragraph he read was about a man’s eyes being healed. Then Emanuel told us that he wanted to receive Christ as his savior. His wife had been praying for years for him to get saved. But he was often hostile to her requests for salvation. He told us, that his wife was going to be so happy. Emanuel didn’t own a Bible so John gave him his. This was all before church started.

On the way back to the church David Mark carried the bananas on his head like a native. An elderly man stopped him along the path saying that in all his life he had never seen a white man carrying bananas on his head.

We got to the church around 11 am and worship had already begun. That morning we had seen 5 healings and 2 salvations all before church even started. As I glanced around the church I saw George sitting there in his right mind in the service. I couldn’t help but pause and thank God for this miracle.

Pastor David was so moved by George’s miracle that he took off his shoes and gave them to him. Pastor David stood there on a dirt floor church in his socks because he had literally given the shoes right off of his feet. He then told George to go to his suitcase and pick out any outfit that he wanted. George did and came back looking sharp. Pastor Jonah took off his suit jacket and gave it to George as well. I was overwhelmed by this display of generosity among such poverty. Then to top it off they took up an offering for him. People gave George corn, potatoes and money.

After worship, I shared on Words of Knowledge for healing. Several more were healed.

On Friday we left around 6 am. After a short distance, we stopped at a large outdoor market. People were selling fruit, vegetables etc. We bought some sweet apple bananas which were very good.

Along the trip, we crossed the Nile River on a ferry. We had to get out and pay to cross. They gave us pieces from a cardboard box for tickets for the ride.

We arrived in the Eastern Region of Buyende around noon. When we pulled up to the church everyone began to shout. The service began, after praise and worship, I shared the 5-step prayer model for healing. It went really well. There were many healings. I asked people to come forward and share testimonies about what God had done for them. Everyone was so excited.

After this, we went back to the guest house for lunch and a break. The guesthouse didn’t have running water, showers, toilets, electricity, appliances, etc. We set up our room, and had a rest until the evening crusade at 6 pm.

At the crusade, the people and especially the children were staring at us like we were aliens. Many of them had never seen a white man. I shared from Luke 15 about the loving Father willing to take back His prodigal son. We then had an altar call for salvation and healing. Many responded and were saved and healed. After the service, they watched the Jesus movie on a bed sheet screen. They were so excited. For many, it was their first movie ever.

Saturday we left for the morning conference at Pastor Peter’s church. On the way, we stopped by and prayed for Pastor Peter’s mother. She was 81 years old. She had pain in her thigh. We prayed for her and the pain totally left. She was shocked and very happy that the pain was gone.

There were a lot of children outside. We noticed a girl (named Rose) there with a shriveled hand. Her arm seemed paralyzed from the shoulder down. We prayed for her arm but nothing noticeable happened. We were then informed that she was deaf. We prayed for her and both of her ears opened. She was hearing everything we said. In a short time, she was repeating our sounds and saying, “mama”. It was beautiful.

We arrived at church for the conference and worship was great. I shared on Words of Knowledge for healing. I asked does anyone here have stomach pain? Many people put up their hands. I prayed a quick prayer and 20 people were instantly healed. It was awesome! What an amazing sermon demonstration.

I had asked David Mark and John to ask God for words of knowledge (WOK) and they had some. Everyone they prayed for was healed. Others shared WOK as well. Some WOK were for emotional healing. As far as I know, all who responded to the WOK and received prayer were healed. We prayed for many others and they were healed too. The service concluded and we went back to the guest house for lunch.

After lunch, we tried to rest but it was so hot and humid, it was a struggle. We didn’t have a fan so we used baby wipes on our skin to help cool off.

Around 5:30 pm we left for the crusade. When we arrived the place was already booming with excitement. The worship had begun and it seemed like everyone was dancing. It was the largest crowd so far probably 2000-3000, maybe more.

I shared my message called Face to Face with God encouraging people to draw close to God. After the message, many responded to the altar call for healing and salvation. John and David prayed with many people and saw great miracles. After the service, they had another film to show them.

Sunday morning David Mark shared at one church, John shared at another church and I shared at Pastor Peter’s church where the conference was held. This was probably my favorite time sharing. It flowed so well. The people were really getting it. As I proceeded with the message I could feel the weight of His glory resting on the people as they began to understand the gospel. I saw tears running down faces all across the sanctuary. They spontaneously started praising God for His mercy and grace.

After we prayed for healing we heard many testimonies. One young lady shared how she had walked 50 miles (one way) with a bad back to attend the conference and crusade. She was very hungry for more of God. She told us how God had touched her and she was now healed. One after another, shared how God had touched them; backs, necks, knees, headaches, stomach pain, wrist pain, shoulder pain, etc. healed in Jesus’ name.

That afternoon the local pastors baptized around 250 new converts at the lake. They each received their own baptism certificates by the end of the night.

After lunch, we tried to take a nap but this was the hottest day yet. We laid there and eventually gave up. We took three chairs and sat outside under the mango tree. The children from across the road started working their way closer. David Mark climbed up the tree and then swung down and scared them. It was really funny. We showed them how to do the bottle flip game. Then David Mark showed them how to do cartwheels, flips and how to walk on their hands. They all were eager to try something new.

Then we ventured out for the final night of the crusade. What a powerful time we had. John and David Mark prayed for many for healing while I shared the message. At least 50 more received Christ that night and many others were healed.

On Monday around 10:30 am we left to go fishing. It was an amazing experience. We rented canoe type boats that leaked and we used bamboo for our fishing poles. They took us out in groups of 3, roughly 200 feet from shore. We paddled out to a big rock and fished. The biggest one we caught was around 2 inches. But it was still fun and the scenery was beautiful.

After the tour of the River Nile we ventured back to Kampala to spend the night at our hotel. We were looking forward to this as we had not had a shower for 3 days and the hotel had AC. After a long, hot, dusty, bumpy ride, with crazy traffic we arrived around 10 pm.

On Tuesday we had a meeting with local pastors, went to the zoo and then on to the airport to begin our long trip home.

On this short trip we saw God heal many, many people, we also witnessed over 300 people get saved in five days. To God be the glory