Ministry of Margaret Nelson
Uganda, Africa

November 2, 2005

SEVO Seminar

On Monday we went to the airport in Entebbe and picked up 3 visitors from Seattle, WA. Greg Matthews, EMT, has returned for his 3rd trip in just over 2 years to further the training of Ugandan trainers for our Samaritan Emergency Volunteer Organization (SEVO). With him have come 2 paramedics, Mike Rocha and Phil Pierson who will complete this teaching team, working with us in the Luweero area for the next 10 days. The three men were also warmly welcomed by about 10 SEVO members who traveled to Entebbe with handmade posters and big hugs. SEVO members began arriving from far points of Uganda on Saturday!

There are always a number of things that we must do with newly arrived visitors, which involves spending most of the day in Kampala. We must buy bottled water for them to drink while they're here, buy anti-malaria medicines for any of the team who did not get them in the USA (they're cheaper here if you don't have medical insurance to cover the cost at home), exchange dollars for shillings, have a good meal, and go by the office of the Kampala Foursquare Gospel Church so they can meet Greg Fisher and other church leadership. Oh yes, and we must work out a system for telephone communication for while they're here, and often emails need to be sent. Families always must be notified of the visitors' safe arrival

So Monday we did all these things, plus one more. Recently Hannington Serugga, director and founder of SEVO, was approached about a marine rescue program for Lake Victoria, considered to be one of the most dangerous lakes in the world in terms of loss of life. There is no rescue system whatever from any of the 3 nations that share this world's 2nd largest freshwater lake. Sudden violent storms combine with overloaded boats, and crocodiles, to make for an unknown number of fatalities every year.

SEVO has not had any water or fire rescue training yet, so we knew that the timing of this training seminar being given by Greg, Phil and Mike was very timely. Greg had been communicating by email with one of the directors of the embryonic marine rescue project called National Lake Rescue. NLR has been struggling for 4 years to try to establish an emergency rescue and medical system for the lake, but has been totally lacking the medical/rescue aspect. So Greg had asked to take a couple of hours to meet with the NLR director, a South African man who's lived in Uganda since 1999.

So the guys went with Hannington and Pastor David Kasule for this impromptu meeting. The meeting was electrifying as they learned that the director of this NLR has much the same type of vision that we of SEVO have, to educate and train people in basic first aid and rescue to save the many lives that are so needlessly lost from lack of any kind of emergency medical service. And the man had been terribly discouraged, going to work every day, feeling like a child being forced to go to school when he hates school. Just this morning he'd gotten on his knees, crying out to God for some sort of encouragement… and then Greg called him to set up this meeting this afternoon!

All this fits with the sense of excitement all of us have had leading up to this 10 day SEVO training seminar. We would appreciate your upholding this ministry in prayer as we work to reach and teach people in both medical and spiritual knowledge. Here is a brief outline of our schedule so you can be praying for each day, starting Tuesday, November 1st. Remember that Ugandan time is 11 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time.

Tues/Wed: Training in organizational management for the SEVO local and national program, to help to ultimately establish a national Emergency Medical System.

Thursday: Official opening of SEVO rally, with dignitaries present. Two day rally begins with SEVO members reenacting rescues they've done, which will be a teaching platform for Greg, Phil and Mike. In the evening, the Jesus film will be shown.

Friday: Second day of the rally, with the Passion of the Christ film being shown in the evening.

Sat./Sun: I will take the 3 guys for a getaway weekend, to be spent at the Source of the Nile River and visiting a few tourist sites. We will worship at Kampala Foursquare Church, returning to Luweero Sunday evening.

Monday thru Thursday afternoon: Advanced training of about 30 of SEVO trainer/leaders. They will be divided up into 2 groups, according to their areas of personal interest, one continuing on with Phase 3 of the emergency rescue services, the other receiving training in marine rescue to be able to work with and train members of National Lake Rescue. A third group will be composed of 5 medical doctors and 2 nurses who will be trained in advanced life support and trauma care, in order to provide follow-up care for accident victims rescued by SEVO members.

The Jesus film and the Passion will be shown again two nights at Pastor David's church nearby.

God says in Hosea, chapter 4, verse 6, "… my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge." The context of this verse is God speaking against the sins of ancient Israel. And yet I've seen the truth of this statement in spiritual and other ways, even today. People in Uganda are dying from lack of education, from lack of medical knowledge, from lack of political knowledge, lack of economic knowledge, as well as from lack of spiritual knowledge.

Please pray for those of us who are attempting to bring knowledge to hungry people in all of these areas of need, from a grass-roots level.

Margaret Nelson

Hannington and a Muslim lady reading the story of the Good Samaritan.
Hannington in his SEVO vest and a Muslim lady reading to an audience the story of the Good Samaritan.
SEVO rescue drama.
SEVO rescue drama.

SEVO members carrying off a mock victim on homemade stretcher.
SEVO members carrying off a mock victim on homemade stretcher.