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1,200 make decisions for Jesus during Uganda missions project

LIRA, Uganda (BP)–About 1,200 Ugandans accepted Jesus Christ as Savior during a volunteer missions project organized by Shalom Outreach Inc., a short-term missions agency working in partnership with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.
Shalom, known for its efforts to mobilize African-American evangelicals for missions, has been sending volunteers on short-term missions projects to Africa since 1996.
During the recent project in Uganda, 23 volunteers split into small groups to span the cities of Mbale, Soroti and Lira and conduct a fivefold project of pastor’s conferences, women’s conferences, youth ministries, street witnessing and evangelistic crusades. They worked in conjunction with Southern Baptist missionaries, Ugandan Baptists and some other evangelical groups.
The volunteers were “very, very moved to see what God is doing in other parts of the world,” said Julian Dangerfield, Shalom’s executive director, who led the team. “Just to see people stand out there crying and coming forward to accept Christ was very moving. We saw thousands of people attend the crusades in each city.”
The volunteers also experienced God at work in their decision to travel to Lira, a harder and more dangerous area for evangelism than the other cities on their itinerary. Just before they were to leave for Lira, the team learned of a State Department travel advisory for that region. Despite the risk, they felt God leading them to go ahead with their plans.
“We just felt that God was with us, and so we went into Lira and probably saw the greatest movement of God in that city than (in) any of the others,” said Dangerfield. “We’re excited that He honored His Word and kept us in it.”
A week after the team left Uganda, people still were accepting Christ in the three cities, partly because of intensive follow-up programs, he said.
The Uganda project is just one illustration of Shalom’s objective to “meet the essential needs of mankind worldwide” through missions projects, prison counseling, volunteer work at convalescent centers and other ministries.
Shalom, a non-profit organization in Dale City, Va., has made a name for itself as a result of its intensive campaign for international missions, mainly through Africa-American churches. Earlier this year the International Mission Board honored the agency with the Simmons Award, given for leading and encouraging African-Americans to be on mission with God.
The award is named in honor of Willie Simmons, manager of the board’s black church relations program from 1983 to 1986, who pioneered relationships between the agency and African-American Baptist churches.
The IMB’s relationship with Shalom should not be interpreted that the International Mission Board has stopped seeking to involve African-Americans in international missions, said David Cornelius, the board’s director of African-American church relations.
“In fact, that work continues with redoubled efforts,” he said. “Rather, Shalom should be viewed as another channel, working in partnership with the IMB to increase African-American involvement in international missions, with both agencies working under the overarching umbrella of the Great Commission.”
With fewer than 30 on the field, African-Americans currently form only a tiny minority of the IMB’s nearly 4,800 missionaries. Other evangelical mission agencies reflect similar statistics.
Dangerfield hopes Shalom can help change those numbers.
“I’ve been on a campaign to meet with African-American pastors for the purpose of promoting missions, and they are responding,” he said. “I believe in God for a dramatic increase in African Americans’ participation in short-term mission projects, and ultimately (in God’s) kingdom outside the United States.”
Although Shalom has gained recognition for its status as a predominantly black organization, race has never been its main focus, Dangerfield added.
“I don’t project Shalom as being a black organization, because we project Christ over culture, but God is using our ‘blackness’ as an avenue into the offices of pastors who are the gatekeepers for local congregations and who use the open door to create an option for the congregation to partner in a short-term mission field,” he said.
Dangerfield said the organization’s name came from a word study on “shalom,” a Hebrew word meaning “peace,” “prosper,” “be healed” and “live in abundance.”
“That’s what I’d like to think our ministry does when we go into a host country and introduce (people) to the Prince of Peace,” he said.
For more information about Shalom’s upcoming projects in Kenya and Brazil, contact Dangerfield by phone at (703) 590-4629 or via e-mail at ([email protected]).

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  • Jenny Rogers