You Were Where?

Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything for my blog/website and there have been a lot of things that have happened since last August, for sure. Here’s the story of one of my little adventures.

I was supposed to go back to Africa in April 2015 but, four days before I was to get on a plane to Uganda, I ended up in the emergency room. I was with my son at a small festival in midtown Atlanta. He got us the tickets thinking that it would be a fun day before I headed to Africa.

Now this wasn’t just any old festival, this was called a bacon-fest but the bacon was not that good so we were fixing to leave when things got really interesting. I had a mild heart attack! Now I know you’re thinking, “At a bacon festival? Really? You’ve got to be kidding!” Nope, I’m not kidding. I really was at a bacon festival when I had a heart attack. You can’t make this stuff up and yes, my life can be strange and weird at times.

I have to tell you the details just to show you how every part of our lives is ordered by God, even when we don’t think much about Him ordering our every step. Because we were at this bacon festival in midtown, I was less than ten minutes from Emory Hospital, one of the best heart hospitals in the world. That meant that it was less than an hour and a half from the time when I had my first chest pain, which was really bad, until my heart cath. That’s really quick!

When they, mostly my son who is a paramedic, got me to the hospital and into the ER, the lady doc and all the nurses thought that it was extremely funny that I was at a bacon festival and, of course, had a good time making jokes about it. The doctor said that if she had not had to work that day she would have been at the festival with her boyfriend. Then she added that that was where he was right now, so I suggested that she should call him to tell him that he should leave before it killed him. Just saying.

So they finally run out of jokes and send me upstairs to have a heart cath where they find a 90% blockage, which they fixed with a stint. I don’t know about you, but having people put things in my body just seems a little creepy and weird. Now I’ve got this expanding mesh thing to let the blood flow to my heart or maybe it’s from my heart, anyway something like that.

The heart cath was no big deal, but, as normal for me, things are not always simple even if they start out simple. I mean, who knew that I would have a reaction to the dye that they use and not just a reaction but a severe reaction, as in, one of the worst that they had ever seen! Everybody got really excited and started yelling about reactions, pushing meds, getting meto ICU, and yelling at people to get out of the way, kind of just like on tv shows. The last thing I remember, as they are running down the hall to ICU, is doing a quick confessing with the Lord. I was telling Him that if I was going to die could we make it kind of quick because I had quit having fun some time back when the whole throat swelling shut, skin burning and everything else started to almost freak me out!

Later, I wake up in the ICU unit with all these people running around giving me shots and putting in IVs and new stick-on leads for ekg stuff. Just a side note, did you know that nobody will use somebody else’s stick-on leads? So now I’m on my fourth or fifth set of these stick-on things. I mean, if they had to put another set on me they would have to start ripping old ones off. So anyway, all of these people are sticking me, poking me, and hooking me up to stuff, all the while commenting on the fact that they had never seen anybody so red and broken out with such a rash. I mean, I had a rash between my fingers, toes, and every square inch of my body but at least my throat had not swelled completely shut so I could breath. You learn to be thankful for the little things.

As you’ve guessed by now, I didn’t die. I’m still around and kicking. I’m doing well but still need to lose some weight and all that kind of stuff… but, all in all, I’m doing pretty good.

I’ll be going back to Africa, I hope, in February 2016 and in the meantime, I’m staying busy helping Archbishop Jones. I’ll also be traveling with him and a team to Brazil in October to minister to some of our CEC churches there.

Please pray for me. It’s been a busy summer and its looks like a busy fall coming up. For sure, pray for me to hear the Lord better so that He doesn’t have to almost kill me to get me to do what He wants me to do.

Oh yea, I still like bacon!!


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God at Work (video)

In March 2014, Bishop Chuck Jones traveled and ministered in Uganda and Tanzania with an anointed team from the USA. Below is a slideshow of pictures I took of the team ministering. (And yes, I was there…just behind the camera!)


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Larry Robert’s Obituary & Guest Book

Larry W. Roberts
(Died August 11, 2014)

Larry W. Roberts, age 77, of Bessemer, AL, passed away Monday, August 11, 2014. He was retired from Vulcan Engineering. Larry is survived by his wife, Betty Roberts; his son, Jeff Roberts, his daughter, Kelly (Stevon) Higgins; his grandchildren, Adam and Lexie Roberts and Austin Higgins; his brother, Ron Roberts and his nephew, Andrew Roberts. Funeral services will be held Friday, August 15, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. at Bessemer Brown Service Funeral Home. The family will receive friends Friday from 5:00 p.m. until service time. Bro. Carl Benedict will be officiating. Graveside services will be held Saturday, August 16, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. at Big Creek Baptist Church Cemetery.


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Funeral Arrangements for Ron’s Brother

Ron’s brother, Larry Roberts, passed away at 8:10 am on Monday morning. Please keep the family in prayer and feel free to text, email, facebook or post comments to Ron.  They really minister a great deal to him even though he is not able to respond to them right now.

Larry Roberts

Larry Roberts

The visitation and service will be at
Brown’s Funeral Home in Bessemer
on Friday, August 15, 2014.
Visitation: 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Service:  7:00 pm

Bessemer-Brown Funeral Home
1300 4th Avenue
Bessemer, Alabama   35021
Phone: 205-425-2424


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Learning to Rest in His Embrace

I want to thank everyone for all the prayers for my brother and his family. There is no way that I could ever tell you or explain how much your prayers have helped and how much they mean to me. Please continue to pray for my brother, Larry, his wife, Betty, their children, and grandchildren. Right now he’s struggling for his life here in CICU at Shelby Hospital in AL.

Growing up, my brother was my hero. There is a 13 years age difference (Larry is now 77) so he was always my BIG brother that I looked up to. I always wanted to be just like him. He’s just a good guy and it shows so people are drawn to him. I have never met anyone who didn’t like my brother. I never saw a little kid or baby that didn’t want to be around him and be held by him.

Right now one of the things that The Lord is trying to teach me is to embrace Him and then to rest in His embrace as He walks me through life.
The Lord blessed me in being able to get back from Tanzania without any problems, but there were many chances to trust in His goodness along the way. Making the decision to leave and come back was hard and the stress of it all was really hard. All along the way, there was so much that could have gone wrong with my bus trips and my flights, but even in the stress The Lord was giving me a peace. I knew that He was with me every step of the way, embracing me with His lovingkindness.

From what the doctors are telling us, this is going to be a long haul. Even if he started showing some major improvements, we are still looking at weeks before he could get out of the hospital.

I will try to keep everyone updated as my family and I walk through this difficult time in my brother’s life.

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Arrived Safely

Just a quick post to let you know that Ron has arrived in America safely and he is spending time with his family.

Your continued prayers are greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
Karen Welch

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Change Of Plans

Just a quick post to update you. On Sunday morning I will be going to Dodoma but not to visit the church as planned. My older brother, Larry, is in the hospital and I have decided to go to America to see him.

I will be taking a bus from Dodoma to Dar es Salaam (an all-day bus ride) where I’ll spend the night before catching a flight back to America. My flight leaves on Monday night (about 3:00 pm CST) and I’ll arrive in Atlanta on Tuesday afternoon.

Please pray for Larry, his wife Betty, and our whole family, as well as, for my travels.
Thank you.

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Get Your Motor Runnin’

It’s Thursday, July 17th, I think. We are on our way somewhere, and of course I have no idea where we are going. We just stopped at a village close to Bishop Jackson’s home to get this out. My reception was good on the way to his house but right in his compound I don’t have any. I’m hoping that I won’t have to go very far to be able to have internet on a regular basis.

I left Mwanza on Wednesday before 6 am on a bus headed to Dodoma. Now, until you’ve actually been to a large bus park in Africa in the dark you have no idea! No way to explain it and can’t take a picture so I’ll leave it to your imagination.

I got on the bus and selected my seat. Where you sit is oh, so important on an African bus. Then I ended up with a guy sitting next to me that was super-sized. At least I had a window and half of my seat!!!! I kept telling myself that it’s just 9 hours but was feeling like an old tube of toothpaste. The question of the day was, “Will my ipod last 9 hours? If not, I may NOT!” When the guy next to me put his seat belt on and it began to feel like the twilight zone!!!! Really a seat belt on a bus in Africa!!!!

sunrise on the way to dodoma    sunrise on the way to dodoma3

About 7 am, there was a beautiful African sunrise. I tried to take pictures but it’s difficult when riding on a bus.  The pictures don’t do it justice.

second Bus

We arrived in Dodoma safely and then it was time for my next bus. This one was quite large and colorful not to mention totally pack before we got very far. I thought, “If we keep going there will be people on top!!!!!” It takes about 1-1/2 to 2 hours from Dodoma to Bishop Jackson’s house and getting there is a story of its own that I’ll try to write something about later.


There is a small village right here near Bishop Jackson’s house and then a little larger village about 3 miles down the road headed to Dodoma.  There aren’t any homes very close to the house so the stars are awesome!!!!!!!! It reminds me of Meto, Kenya.

This morning it was very cool, low 60s. There are lots of trees around to gather under for shade during the day, but no plastic chairs. I’ve already started to have withdraw. I may have to buy a few chairs for sitting out at night and looking at the stars.

We will leave this morning around 10:00 African time to go somewhere to meet most of Bishop Jackson’s clergy. We will be spending the night, me in my tent. On Friday, we will be fasting and praying and I guess making plans for my stay here, or as they say in Africa “putting together a program”.

We will be renting motorcycles for the weekend so this has the makings of an adventure!! I’m planning on checking out the cost of motorcycles here.  Hopefully I can purchase one to use while I’m here and then leave it for Bsp. Jackson.

I had better finish my packing for the weekend. We will come back Saturday evening and then go into Dodoma for church on Sunday so I guess I’d better get my motor running!

I was hoping to have the rest of this week to rest and scope out everything but it looks like that will have to wait till next week. I’m already looking forward to Monday.

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I Love Mwanza

I have been in Mwanza, Tanzania for three weeks of unofficial “cultural training” and I’m now getting ready to go on to Dodoma on Tuesday the 15th. That’s getting ready…it might actually be Tuesday or it might be Wednesday…or Thursday…after all it’s Africa.

Took this at the grave side makes me want to climbMwanza is an awesome town on the shores of Lake Victoria in the north central part of Tanzania. It is the second largest town in Tanzania. Those who live here call it rock city because it’s hills are covered with huge boulders. If you’re a climber that likes to boulder this place is awesome. I used to climb and boulder when I was a whole lot younger so looking at all of the great boulders is really tempting for me to try and work out a few routes. But don’t worry, every time I starting slipping over the edge into crazy The Lord reminds me of my age and the fact the I really don’t want to wind up in a hospital in Africa. That might be a case of, if the fall doesn’t kill me the hospital might!!!

I love the mornings here. It’s nice and cool and quiet before everybody’s day gets started. The air is fresh and clean, the birds are doing their things and even the people that are up are moving a little slower and making less noise. Africa in the mornings can be something that just makes you glad to be here.

If you’re ever out and about early in the morning, it’s really cool to watch the streets waking up for the start of a new day. Gradually venders arrive to set up their stalls in the market and then the streets begin to fill with people, and sounds, and smells. Like every place that I’ve been in Africa, Mwanza has its own sights, smells and sounds. Some are really awesome but some are not so good. Together they all make Africa, Africa.

There are sounds almost all the time in Africa and, at the market, it’s like everybody and everything is competing for attention all at once, which can be confusing at times. Just walking through a market is a great adventure all in itself, and if you stop to look at something, you’re in for a great shouting and tugging match for your attention as they all try to sell you something. If you’re not sure what you might want, don’t worry, there will be plenty of people to help you make up your mind. Sometimes you think that if you buy something maybe, just maybe, you might get to make an escape. Don’t count on it! The trick that seems to work the best for me, if there is a trick, is to just stay home!!! I’m just kidding. What seems to work is to not look at anything very long, just a quick glance and keep saying, “No, no, no, no, no…” with a lot of hand waving and head shaking thrown in.

Mbale Market 5The hustle and craziness of the markets take a little getting used to but I love them. You get to see more stuff in ten minutes in a market in Africa than you’ll see all day in a Wal-Mart in America!!! And one of the things that makes it an adventure is that there is no order, everything is just all mixed up; clothes and beans, locks and soap, shoes and fish. Everything that you can think of and a lot of stuff you have never thought of, all mixed up together in one place, and everybody trying to sell it to you!!!!!

The great challenge is to buy something, not just anything but something that, first you know what it is, second it’s something that you want or even need, and third you manage to talk the seller down to a price that is only double what an African would pay!!!!! Of course it helps to have some idea of what an African would pay for whatever it is that you’re trying to buy. Now don’t get all upset that you might be taking advantage of the poor African, trust me, if you’re not with an African friend you’re going to get the chance to bless the seller with more than he would normally sell whatever it is you’re buying. If you don’t take it all personally, it can be great fun!

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Privileged to Pray for God’s Children

This Thursday, July 10, 2014, was a good day for a deacon. We were up before 6am headed to the hospital to visit a relative of Bishop Sekelwa’s wife. Bishop said that this was the third largest hospital in Tanzania and the best in Mwanza. It was built by the Israelis and is part of a college run by the Catholic Church to teach doctors.

The building is 8 stores tall and looks like a medium sized hospital in America on the outside. But once you go inside, you remember that you’re in Africa. There were very few nurses and not much in the way of support staff in the area that we went to. The lady that we visited was in a maternity ward with 5 other lady’s. This was a large room with no curtains and it was not very clean, not as dirty as some I’ve seen but still a lot dirtier than anything in the US. It’s pretty shocking for an American to see a hospital this dirty but this is the best that they have. So while Bishop and Martha visited, I just prayed for Mercy to abound. When we got ready to leave, they asked me to pray. What a privilege it is to pray for one of God’s children who has so little yet has so much of His love. I’m always reminded that as much as my heart might ache for my brothers and sister here, it’s nothing compared to the ache that is in God’s heart for His children.

Bishop Sekelwa's churchThe rest of my morning was spent here at home resting and getting ready to preach this Sunday. In the afternoon, I was invited to join two of the pastors who meet at the church from 1:00 to 4:00 every Thursday to pray for people. Sometimes they have appointments but most of the time they just wait for people to show up with a need. Sometimes no one comes for prayer but they are still there every Thursday. This Thursday we only had one person show up to talk with the pastors about a youth conference that was coming up in August. Still, I had a good time hanging out with them. Besides, I got to walk to the church by myself (about a half mile) and back home. That is always an adventure in itself.

Thursday goes down as a good day for sure!

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