Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Back to Uganda in Summer 2013

On a bus in Uganda, summer 2010

This last semester in Arkansas has been so good for us, but sadly has gone by so quick.  I graduate in 31 days and we leave the country in 36 days.  Though those may be great things for us, I can't bring myself to really thinking about them because of all that must happen in that short time.  Part of not wanting to think about that time is that we are sad to leave Siloam Springs.  We love this little town, our community, our workplace, our church, our friends.  The relationships that have developed over the last 4 years are so important to us, and we are saddened by the fact that we will be leaving.  However, it is a bittersweet feeling because we are so thrilled to be going back to our home in Colorado.

As for a life update...

Families at Canaan Farm, summer 2010
Many of you reading this have received a graduation announcement and/or support letter about our upcoming trip to Uganda and general life update.  Before I go in depth with that, I want to clarify a few things.  Some of you have heard that we will be taking a short stop in Norway on our way to Uganda. 4 days.  This is true.  Marlena and I are very interested in Norway as a possible home some day so we are taking this time as an opportunity as to discover and see.  We want to spend time meeting with locals and praying about our possible future there.  It is important for us to let you know that the support we are raising for our Uganda trip does NOT INCLUDE Norway, we are paying for this ourselves.  We desire transparency with this whole trip, and we know that giving money for a trip involves a lot of trust in those being supported.  Regarding this, if you have any questions, concerns, or possible advice for Norway, please do not hesitate to contact us.  We would love to hear from you.

Now back to Uganda...

Canaan Farm, Summer 2010
Our plans are becoming more set in stone, and we have our plane tickets! Praise the Lord! This part is always such a hurdle, but it is also always so fun to see how He provides.  We will be arriving in Uganda on May 16th and partnering up with Yobel International out of Colorado Springs.  Their team will arrive a couple of days after us.  We will join Yobel in leading a business training course at Canaan Farm in the Kiryandongo Dirstrict (formerly Masindi) of Uganda.  The course was a curriculum developed by a ministry in South Africa, and is specifically tailored to apply to rural African village business.  Yobel taught this curriculum at the farm last year and the response was so good, that the farm leadership asked if we would come back and teach again to an entirely new set of aspiring village entrepreneurs.

Marlena with 2 of Sera's boys, summer 2010
We plan to spend roughly 12 days at the Farm and we are so thrilled to be going back there.  Some of you may know this already, but Canaan Farm is where our relationship began back in 2010.  This will be our third time going back, but our first time as husband and wife. We finally get our own hut! Both Marlena and I have many long standing friendships at Canaan Farm, and we are so excited to go back and pick up where those left off.  After we leave the farm, we will head south to Jinja, Uganda.  Here we will connect with our dear friend Sera Kasonga.  Sera is a foster mother to 27 girls and boys, all of whom were either "street kids" or abandoned by their families.  The month of May is the children's holiday, so it will be a perfect time for us to visit and spend time with the kids.  After we spend time in Jinja, we will leave Uganda on June 4th to return to Colorado.

Why now?

I will be graduating college in early May and we will be moving to Colorado 2 days later! From that point, we have until June 10th before I start my job.  That gives us an entire month of free time, and we believe the Lord has called us to use that time to be in Uganda.  We hope that he continues to send us there in the future, but we feel this is may be the last opportunity for a while for us to serve for this amount of time in Uganda.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.  We will be updating it regularly with information about our trip, and also plan to publish many stories of our time once we return.

If you are interested in supporting us, you can make a tax-deductible donation by writing a check to:

Grace Episcopal Church, memo: Christian & Marlena

and send to:

The Outlaw's, box 3272
2000 W. University St.
Siloam Springs, AR 72761

Have a wonderful week and enjoy this beautiful spring weather!
My great friend Jackson and I, Canaan Farm, Summer 2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

There and Back Again (...haha)

For those of you who are Lord of the Rings fans, you understand my title. If you don't get it, sorry. I just thought it would be funny :) And it has relevance to this post.

Enough of that, now on to why I am writing.

After leaving Jinja, I returned back to The Farm for my remaining 2 weeks in Uganda (the relevance). Honestly, getting back there, I wasn't sure the plan was going to be for that time. Us 4 interns met and discussed our desires with each other and with Richard and Susan, and with a bit of culmination were able to come up with a rough schedule.
On the plate for the following week already consisted 2 separate Gospel Conferences where other teams of missionaries were coming in to lead. During that week, Vern and I helped the construction sites by supplying the water for mixing mortar and concrete (which is a surprisingly time consuming job). Often when bible teaching is going to happen, Geofrey is commonly asked to play the worship music. During this time I was able to join him. I always enjoy playing with Geofrey, because he has such a passion for music and using that as a way to worship God. Geofrey has written many songs since learning how to play guitar; and since I had my computer, we were able to record 7 songs during our free time throughout those 2 weeks. It was so great to see be apart of Geofrey really hearing himself for the first time. He is truly a gifted musician. (photo taken by Emily Harpe)
One of the groups that came during that week was from Far Reaching Ministries which is actually based out of Southern Sudan, about 5 hours up the road from where we resided. We had some great conversations with them during their 3 days at the farm. The Co-director was actually an Accountant before entering the mission field, which gives me hope considering that is what I am studying in school. One of FRM's sub-ministries is a project called Love Covers Africa. LCA supplies all the students of one school per year in this region with: backpacks, uniforms, mosquito nets, blankets, t-shirt, underwear, notebooks, and pens. They have run this program at 2 (possibly 3?) schools now. This year, LCA has chosen a school just minutes from the farm, and many of the students are residents of the farm. Preparing all of those bags, 1000 to be exact, takes many hands and much time. During my final week there, we were able to prepare 600 of those bags. The day was long, hot, and constantly on the brink of a downpour, but it felt sooo good to help. Seeing all of us, Americans and farm staff, come together and get that done was a great experience. I also loved seeing 2 great ministries, Family Empowerment Uganda (Canaan Farm) and Love Covers Africa (Far Reaching Ministries), culminate their ideas and love for giving to do such a powerful and large scale event. The actual distribution will take place in September at the beginning of term.
Early in our final week, we also worked on a similar project to the LCA project. Two of our main team members, Marlena Dorsey and Laura Pearson, had it on their hearts to raise $5000 before coming to Uganda. The original idea was to use the money to purchase 1000 pairs of shoes for school children. This changed when they saw the mass need for school supplies in 2 of the local primary schools. With that in mind, they decided to purchase backpacks, pens, and notebooks for around 800 students. While I was in Jinja, some of the team members packed all the bags. I was able to help though on the distribution day. I'll admit, it was quite hectic, but all in all it was great to see the joy on the children's faces when we pulled in and unloaded the bags.
Amongst the craziness of packing 600 bags and also distributing others for a different project, we also were able to visit a family in need. Kate is the mother/guardian of 2 disabled children: John and Harriet. While our big team was here, 2 of the members who are practicing Physical Therapists also visited Kate's home and were able to make some good assessments. John is 18 years old and has a swollen skull due to water surrounding his brain. This has caused extreme underdevelopment in the rest of his body. John cannot walk and spends the entirety of his time laying on his side. The team members worked on simple muscle exercises for John's arms and legs. Harriet is about 4 years old and also suffers from mild underdevelopment. There is a higher level of hope for her however. The team also worked with her on upper and lower body exercises, and there is definite hope for Harriet to walk some day. During our couple of visits to their home, we were able to continue working on exercises and stretching with John and Harriet. Seeing their children much more active gave Kate and her family much hope. Vern and I also were able to do some small gardening there and plant some squash and okra for Kate's family. Here is a picture of John, sorry I do not have one of Harriet. Pray for their family. Doctors say that John exceeds the age limit to perform the surgery needed to heal him of his disorder. With that though, I do not want to doubt that there is hope.
As Yobel Interns, we did have a one more job to do: Finalize and purchase the jewelry order. The new designs came out of a mesh of idea from the team and those who actually make the jewelry. It was great to sit and help the workers as they pieced together some pretty awesome looking work. At the end of the week, the jewelry was packaged and purchased. This project does not generate their only form of income, however the money that comes from purchasing the jewelry pays the workers directly and helps invest back into this community in many ways. The teachers home and primary school (a future project) have been completely funded by the purchase of this great bamboo jewelry.
My final 2 weeks at the farm was incredible. In that time, I was really able to see more of the behind-the-scenes work that goes on to run a project like Canaan Farm. Richard and Susan Angoma are such a blessing, and it is great to see how they follow after the Lord's call on their lives. My time with Geofrey was awesome and we are so much closer as brothers in Christ. My entire 7 weeks in Uganda was a huge learning experience, and I feel I have come away many life changing experiences. I am so thankful that God changed my entire summer's plans, and took me back to Uganda last minute (literally). My prayer is that those who feel the call to go and serve, whether in Uganda or right here in America would listen and respond. God is huge and has such a great plan for all our lives, we just have to be available.
Thanks for reading and following me on this trip. I will probably continue to post stories and experiences as I continue processing this trip. I am so thankful for all your prayers and support. Thanks for being a part of this.

In Christ,

Christian (Agenorwot) Outlaw

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Boy's Home

When planning to go to Jinja, I really wasn't sure what my time would look like. I knew that I had ministry connections there, and wanted to check back in with those guys and maybe volunteer with them. Marlena had arranged that we would be staying with her friend Sera Kasonga at her ministry's house. Sera runs a boy's home, where she has pulled 16 boys off the streets and given them opportunity and protection. I remember walking through the gate at the boy's home the first night we arrived in Jinja; I was greeted with 32 hands and 16 hugs all at once. All the boys were shouting, "Uncle! You are most welcome!" After getting my stuff set down and gathered my bearings, I went back to the living room to sit with the boys. A feeling came over me and I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. Over the next few days, we were able to sit with Sera and hear her story as well as the story of how the boys home came to be.

Sera was a Rwandan refugee from the genocide that took place there back in the 90's. She fled to Uganda at a very young age. For years, she continued to face one bad situation and circumstance after another. Finally, when she was in her Senior 4 level of school (roughly 10th grade), Sera was introduced to couple from the states. They knew she had a drive to finish school, and also saw that she was beginning to build relationships with these kids on the streets. The American couple wanted to sponsor her through the final 2 years of her schooling. After she finished school, they noticed how impacting Sera had been on some of these street kids that she had been ministering to and spending time with. The couple said they would like to pay for Sera to go to university, but they also gave her the option of opening a home for these boys instead. Sera chose the boys.

Most of the boys have lost their parents due to illness such as HIV/AIDS, and some have lost theirs through tribal warfare. So for these boys, the streets chose them. All of them have a unique story, and through their struggles all have come to know the Lord.

Through our 2 weeks at the home, I really connected with many of the boys. They would all leave very early in the morning for school, before I would wake up. During the day, I tried to visit people I have seen on my last trip to Jinja in 2009. Once the boys got home, either watching the FIFA World Cup, or actually playing soccer were common occurrences. One of my favorite days however was taking the boys swimming. Many of the local hotels have nice pools, and for a fee, they are open for visitors. Marlena and I wanted to treat the boys to a fun afternoon, so we spent about 3 hours at one of the local hotels. Everything at the boys home usually happened on a whim such as playing cards or soccer, and occasionally, I would pull out my guitar and play for them some worship songs.

For me, the boy's home was really about relationship building and trying to show love. Both of those things came very easy because the boys are always giving them. I was just amazed at their response to life in general, given the horrific past many of them have.

Leaving the home was hard because I know the boys experience "Goodbyes" way more than I ever do. I really pray that the Lord will allow me to continue in relationship with them and hopefully see them again some day. Please pray for Sera Kasonga as she continues to help those boys grow and realize the potential they all have.

Please if you have any questions about the Boy's Home, don't hesitate to drop me a question in the comment section!

In Christ,


Some of the boys at the pool
Musa, hanging out at the house
Abdallah, getting blinded by the flash :)

Hanging out down at The Nile, which is practically the back yard!


I have made it home. Thank you all so much for your prayers. As I continue to adjust to life back in America and process what has happened in the last 8 weeks, I will be posting much. Please check the blog every few days for new posts and pictures. Again, thank you all so much for your love and support!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


What am I learning?

How am I being changed?

Where have I seen God?

How will I be different when I come home?

I have been challenged with questions like these on a daily occurrence. At times, I have really just been unsure on how to answer them. One thing I do know is that God is really teaching me patience and also how to hear his voice. I have not had any earth shattering experiences on this trip, and nor have I had any major breakthroughs with things he is teaching me. There are times when this is frustrating, because my thought is that, "I'm in Uganda, I'm doing missions, shouldn't I be having some crazy God experience?" This I think is the lie that Satan is telling me.
Last night, I was reading my friend Laura Parker's blog. Laura, her husband Matt, and their 3 three kids are living in Northern Thailand as missionaries right now. One thing I notice when I read her blog is simplicity. They are living in Thailand, serving people, and serving God. Yes I am sure that they have had some pretty intense spiritual experiences, but they are not on a quick summer mission trip. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with summer mission trips, I have taken part in my fair share. What is different about the Parkers though is that they are experiencing life and serving at the same time.
Let me try to tie this all together. I have been in Uganda for over a month now. Whether I would have come here or not, my relationship with the Lord would have continued. I would still be learning things if I were back in the states. I feel like I am living here, it may be a short time, but it is living. I am pursuing God here, and I know it was in his plan for me to be here. I don't have a complete and solid answer for any of these questions yet, but I know that ultimately God does have an answer. I am trying to listen and know that I will still have much to learn about my time here even once I get home.
I ask that you would pray that I am not distracted. Pray that I can hear the Lord's direction for the remainder of my time here, and also truly listen to what he is teaching me. Thanks for reading and I am so thankful that I can count on your prayers and support.

Sorry if my post was confusing or made no sense whatsoever!

God Bless,


Faces of Uganda

Face full of drool!
Christine from Suubi and her 9 month old
Suubi women rolling some beads
One of the Suubi women
Marlena and a friend from Suubi
Phillip Kakungulu, our friend from last time we were in Jinja
Abdallah from the boy's home
Musa from the Boy's home
Maureen, one of the volunteers at the Boy's Home
Baby Beckham who has been in Joe and Melissa's Care
An elderly man from the farm (photo courtesy of Emily Harpe)
A girl from the Farm (photo courtesy of Emily Harpe)
Tabatha's son
A lady from the farm
Olara Geofrey working on bamboo jewelry
Ochaya Jackson repairing the road
Little Susan
Mr. Achana slashing a grass roof

Sunday, June 27, 2010


On the morning of the 14th, we (Sarah Ray, Heather Ray, Pat Harpe, Emily Harpe, Emily Gamil, Katy Lindquist, Katelyn Wilson, Geofrey and myself) traveled to Pallisa located in Eastern Uganda. Sarah had a contact there named Simon. Simon is a Ugandan man who is on staff with YoungLife; a youth outreach organization. Going there, we weren't completely sure what our time would look like. The remainder of the large team was still at the farm and we would all later meet in Jinja before they head home. Sarah had asked Geofrey and I to come along. One reason being that there were no guys with them, but the other was that it would be a great opportunity for me to spend time with Geofrey and for him to gain some great connections in other parts of the country.

Our 'venture' (to say the least) to Pallisa, which should have taken maybe 7 hours, ended up taking about 14 hours. But thankfully, we arrived safely and were greeted by Simon at about 11:00 that night. The next morning, we took a short walk around Pallisa town and got to hear about the ministry Simon is taking part in. YoungLife club only happens on Saturdays, and unfortunately we would not be there on a saturday. Simon did tell us about all of the dedicated volunteer staff that YoungLife had in Pallisa. After discussing with him our desires for our time, we began making plans. We decided that we wanted to take all the volunteers on a day trip to Mbale and Mt. Elgon; both in eastern Uganda.

In the beginning of the week before taking the volunteers out, we went to a local school for 2 afternoons. Simon was also affiliated with the school. We hung out with the children playing volleyball and also teaching them some fun YoungLife style games. Also, once a week, the Younglife volunteers get together in the evening and have a prayer and worship time. We were blessed to be able to take part in that for this week.

On thursday that week, we traveled with the volunteers 2 hours to the east. Mt. Elgon was beautiful and it was so great to see all the YoungLife guys really enjoy themselves. Simon told us that this may be the only time they do anything like this all year. The highlight of our day was getting to hike to the base of Sipi Falls; which is 100+ feet high water fall. We ended our day by taking them to Mt. Elgon Hotel for a big late afternoon lunch. We were so thankful that we had the opportunity and resources to be able to do that for the leaders.

After our time in Pallisa, we traveled back towards Jinja where were would meet the rest of the team. But that's for another post! Thanks for reading.