We almost crossed paths with Ken Chapman back in 1979 when I (Larry) served as a linguistics instructor for Agape International Training, an intensive, 12-week course required for all Cru staff members heading to overseas ministries. Ken, a trained dentist, had been recruited to open a dental clinic at the Mengo Hospital in Uganda. His professional skills would serve the people and open doors for spiritual ministry.
While Ken worked his way through the training in Los Angeles, Betty and I were back in Tennessee working to enlarge our support base of ministry partners to meet the needs of our growing family. Before we returned to California, Ken’s group graduated from the training course, so we did not get to meet him.
Most Agape staff members served 2 to 3 years in their overseas assignments. But, thirty-nine years later, Ken is still in Uganda! His wife, Lynn, describes him as “one of the last standing Agape staff with Cru.”
Lynn, a trained nurse, served with Cru in North Central Uganda. She and Ken met on a bus en route to a Cru staff conference in Kenya in 1989. They married in 1997and are pictured above with their 18-year-old daughter, Brianna, and their 13-year-old adopted Ugandan daughter, Sophia (on the far left). The shortest girl pictured is a close family friend.
In Uganda Cru is known as LIFE Ministry (Lay Involvement for Evangelism). While Ken serves as the director of a 10-chair dental clinic and oversees 35 staff members, he and Lynn also work with a team of Ugandans in the LIFE Leader Impact Department. Their team trains executive/professional level people to WIN, BUILD and SEND their fellow workers for Christ.
As part of their ministry with other professionals, Ken and Lynn hosted a six-week Art of Marriage study group. The main purpose was to develop couples who would use the materials to start their own groups and multiply God-centered marriages.
Lynn reports, “The material is culturally American in its style. We had some lively and funny discussions regarding differences in American and Ugandan cultural practices.” Despite those cultural differences, the couples enjoyed the teachings, which helped their own marriages. One couple, Dr. David and Mrs. (Jacki) Muyanja, asked Ken and Lynn to procure an Art of Marriage DVD kit for their personal ministry.
While Ken and Lynn were on furlough in the U.S., they ordered the Art of Marriage DVD kit from our Cru Resources online store. When it arrived at her mom’s home in Wisconsin, Lynn tucked the unopened package into her luggage and took it back Uganda. But when Jacki and her husband broke the cellophane wrapping and opened the package, they found only the leader’s guide and two workbooks . . . NO DVD!
Lynn emailed our office, and Betty worked with our supervisor to send a new Art of Marriage DVD kit to Uganda. Jacki Muyanja and her daughter walked to the Chapman’s home to pick up the materials.
The Chapmans also visit, pray, and share Christ with hospitalized patients at Mengo. And Ken recently flew to Lebanon for a short-term dental outreach among refugees.
We have enjoyed our email exchanges with the Chapmans related to supplying the full replacement set of the Art of Marriage DVD series (produced by Family Life, a Cru ministry) and in preparing to write this brief overview of their work. It has been heart-warming to think back to those first three years of our own journey with Cru (1976-1979). Although Ken was not in one of the groups I trained, he is representative of about 250 Cru staff members I trained in language learning skills before they headed to their overseas assignments forty years ago. May the Lord enable all of us to press on and finish well!
With love and gratitude for your ministry partnership with us,