Latin Pop Star, SHAKIRA sings a song called WAKA WAKA and in the chorus is a line that says, “This Time For Africa.” For the third year in a row, I was invited by Dr. Joseph Serwadda and Dr. Chuck Balsamo, respectively to preach at the PASSOVER New Year’s Eve Celebration held at the iconic NELSON MANDELA NATIONAL STADIUM in Kampala, Africa. A day after Christmas, I kissed my family goodbye to help enlarge the Family of God. Thanks to the generous donations and many prayers of friends we were able to play a small part in what God did in a BIG way!
I flew solo from Dulles International Airport (Washington DC) and boarded a non stop flight to Ethiopia and after a brief layover flew to Entebbe. Exactly 24 hours of travel time later, we touchdown in Uganda. I note “we” because as a Christian one is never alone and I felt like I carried the prayers of hundreds of faithful friends across Facebook and America. What a JOY to return and preach at the pastors’ conference to hundreds of church leaders at Dr. Serwadda’s congregation. The Lord impressed on me to preach a message, “Don’t Forget Your First Love.” The Lord moved in a powerful way! It was a treat to also minister all week alongside Dr. Hugh Osgood who oversees 1/3 of all the churches in the United Kingdom. Dr. Von Peaks from Dallas, TX preached on “Kingdom Authority” and my good buddy, Dr. Chuck Balsamo from Virginia inspired all in attendance and Pastor Eric Newberry from Ohio was a fresh voice to this crowd. We all not only ministered together at the conference but stadium celebration as well.
The Lord blessed us with tons of prayer partners on this trip and that gave us peace personally and power in the pulpit. Nothing happens apart from PRAYER! Leading up to the crusade was amazing and the fellowship was sweet. Dr. Joseph & Freda Serwadda have hearts for Jesus and their pulse beats to further the Kingdom. Very few people have a platform from God to bless a nation and the Serwadda’s have been entrusted by God to do just that. I couldn’t be more proud or inspired by their ministry. On my first visit to Uganda I had been praying for a message and the Lord whispered in my heart, “Frank – do you trust me?” I said, “yes Lord.” He then said, “change your message.” On the flight overseas, God had me take out a pen and paper and write the new sermon that I would preach in the stadium. It was like He downloaded it and I was trying to write it as He gave it. I learned long ago, “It is God’s show and I need to get out of the way and let Him be the Star.” More than ever, I am just a mailman delivering the mail to mankind. God had me do it again on this trip and while in the hotel at 4AM I was still finishing up my remarks. We saw glimpses of God throughout the trip and He was with us each step of the way. A back story to this is that my son had a 104 fever just days before me leaving and I got sick with chills, fever and aches. I kept praying and pressing into God and loved ones told me to stay home but I could sense that God was going to do something BIG and when we are weak HE is strong.
Preparing for the Passover Celebration I was reminded of the stadium that bears the name of the former president of South Africa. Nelson Mandela had spent over 28 years in prison but finally was set free. My prayer was that the Lord would allow THOUSANDS to be set FREE from sin and walk away from the stadium with a snap to their step because of God’s grace. Praise the Lord and that is exactly what happened. What an honor it was to share the Gospel with some other powerful preachers and when I gave the invitation to receive Christ following my sermon it sounded like a chorus of voices responding and repeating the prayer. It was a sound to behold and music to God’s ears. The angels in Heaven rejoice over ONE sinner that repents. I always prayed as a young man to see over 3,000 saved like at Pentecost and praise the Lord I believe we saw it at Passover 2018. To God Be the Glory! The crowd grew larger as midnight came and all my fellow clergy friends preached amazing messages. Dr. Adrian Rogers said, “Someone may preach the Gospel better but could never preach a better Gospel.”
We were tasked to preach on the theme, “Little By Little – Step By Step.” I preached on the lad who loaned his lunch to the Lord was ANONYMOUS. I shared you do not have to be KNOWN to make His Name known. When he approached Jesus with his lunch he walked ‘little by little – step by step.” I shared the LADY (widow) who gave Jesus two copper mites that were not even worth a cent but the irony is she had more SENSE than everyone in that sanctuary. Obedience is greater than sacrifice and her gift was little but she followed through step by step. Lastly, I concluded to the crowd about the Lord. The lad gave his lunch, the lady a love offering but the Lord gave His life. I shared how Pontius Pilate ordered him be whipped and His body was beaten to a pulp and blood covered His entire frame. The beating alone killed other men but this Man was not some mortal but Divine borrowing a life of flesh. With the weight of the world and a wooden cross upon His back the Lord slowly made His way to Calvary and He did it, “Little by little – Step by Step.”
Below is a shot of the stadium in the evening prior to midnight and my buddy, Chuck Balsamo preached another message for the ages that enriched all our lives. He is LOVED in Uganda and I treasure his friendship and ministry. Organizers and police officials estimate that 120,000 souls PACKED OUT the stadium with thousands outside listening to the sound system who couldn’t get in. It aired LIVE on both a Christian TV outlet and national television to a secular audience to additional 30 Million homes. The Lord is so good and God only knows how many responded to Christ and lives whom were changed but we do know a nation was inspired by a fresh touch of Almighty God. This is His doing and we are careful to give Him all the glory.
It was also a treat to preach on Sunday morning about an hour away from Kampala, Africa. I preached the simple, Gospel message and the sermon was called, “ONE IS STILL A BIG NUMBER.” We had scores respond for salvation and when I gave the altar call for folks to get a burden for lost souls the ENTIRE congregation came forward except for two people in the very back. The Lord met with us in a powerful way and many were touched. God is so good! What I love about our team – they not only enjoy speaking to large crowds but the very next day we go to an orphanage and love on hundreds of children bringing with us toys, clothes and games. We were able to cook and serve about FOUR HUNDRED children and adults with a delicious meal of beef, rice and potatoes accompanied with a drink. The night before I preached Jesus feeding the 5,000 and God kept multiplying our surplus of food. We had prepared for about 300 but somehow we had leftovers. The Lord is so good!
We also visited a village and we went door to door loving on people and we brought gifts. I felt like Santa a couple days late walking up a dirt road going to the ends of the earth bringing the JOY of JESUS to so many people with no hope. One of our team members asked a family what their dream was? She paused and replied, “I don’t know. I didn’t go to college and never thought of it.” We told her that Hope is found in Christ and she became happy. We came to love and listen and get to know them right where they were at. As we gave one gift to each person we also shared with them how Christ is the greatest Gift. We came upon a family outside a small hut selling goods and after interacting with them and the help of the pastor translating I was blessed to lead an entire family (pic below) to Jesus during one of those visits. When I posted it on Facebook with the caption, MEET MY FAMILY it went borderline viral with hundreds of well wishes and comments. Five minutes later, a local pastor and I came upon an 18 year old Muslim man. I gave him a gift and with the pastor translating we began to talk. He shared his allegiance to Mohammed and I just kindly befriended him and we had a nice conversation. I asked him if he knew the differences between JESUS and Mohammed and he said, “no.” I told him how Christ was not merely a “Good Teacher” but the Son of the Living God and that Mohammed is still dead in his grave but Christ died for our sins and arose on the third day and ALIVE today! His eyes grew wide and his heart open and I asked him if he would like to receive Christ as his Savior and repent of his sin and without hesitation he said, “YES!” We bowed our heads and I had the honor to led him to Christ! Go God!!
As the team in two vans made the trek down the mountain we got back on a dirt road filled with people. Our good friend, Eric Newberry from Ohio helped arrange the outreach and we came upon a bunch of people on the side of the road. We stopped, jumped out of the car and we each gave an impromptu greeting from our delegation from the United States. When they handed me the microphone I shared God’s love with them and preached a simple Gospel message on being on the WINNING TEAM. Six minutes later, it seemed that almost the ENTIRE crowd responded to Christ for salvation. You can see that video on our Facebook page. The Lord moved in a powerful way and I cannot thank our friends back home who prayed for us and those who selflessly donated to help make the trip possible. God used YOU to help make it happen and your reward in Heaven will be great.
God really blessed us and I cannot thank enough Pastor Joseph and Chuck Balsamo for the invite and everyone played a HUGE role. My friends Coree Balsamo and Eric each have a HUGE heart for missions and I learn so much from being with them. They are Gospel Globetrotters and special thanks to Pastor John Steven Segundo for chaperoning us while back in Africa. Lord willing, I would love to take my family in the future for them to see it firsthand and next year my college buddy, Pastor Clayton King is scheduled to return and join us. He now is a pastor at the fourth largest church in America (NewSpring in Anderson, SC). He is also a powerful evangelist and harvester. One of the reasons I believe God has opened doors for us to minister is because we not only preach the Gospel but extend an invitation for folks to respond. This week wherever you go be on the look out to share God’s love with those hurting. Regardless if Africa, America or Australia people need the Lord. In the last year and half I have been blessed to preach in India, Romania, France, El Salvador and all across America but like Shakira’s song our recent trip this one was for Africa. #PraiseTheLord