Last month a new building was dedicated for the PAG (Pentecostal Assemblies of God) church in Lokinene, the Ik area we live in. PAG is one of the strategic partners in our work since they will most likely provide a translator in the future and be the first to benefit from Ik Scripture translations and related materials. It is also the church we attend when we are in the area.
Before the new building was built, the congregation of about forty Christians was meeting in a dilapidated (from age and use) structure made of logs, mud, and grass thatch. The Pentecostal church in Germany donated funds for the construction of a new, permanent church building.
The small Ik congregation in Lokinene is one of the reasons we decided to locate where we did. At the time (2008), they were the only non-Catholic church in the Ik area, and the only church who met in a physical structure. (Now the Catholic and Anglican churches have constructed church buildings in other areas). In SIL our aim is to serve all Christian churches with our work, but we have had the most enthusiastic support and encouragement from PAG so far. In Lokinene, we felt a spirit of peace and welcoming we hadn't in the other areas we visited.
So while we believe strongly that church buildings are only secondary to the 'living body' of the church that is Christians living in community, we are happy for the Ik pentecostals of Lokinene who now have a beautiful, secure, and spacious place of worship to call their own.
Here the superintendent of the German PAG church and the bishop of the the Ugandan PAG church together cut the ribbon to officially open the doors:
Lots of people crammed into the building to hear the choirs and speeches:
Terrill trying his hand at mingling a bit of posho (he's really just posing!):
The crowds line up for their share of the celebration feast, which they put in any container they had available, from plates to pitchers to pails (one lady even brought a watering can):