In 2000, Stan and Pam Wafler answered god’s call to the international mission field. After completing a four year assignment in South Sudan, the Waflers began their present assignment in Arua, Uganda with the Lugbara people who have a population of over 3, 000,000. The Lugbara are located in the northwest section of Uganda and the eastern part of the Congo. In 2005, God called Gordon and Bonnie Caldwell to join the Waflers under the International Mission Board’s “Master” program. The Master program provides the opportunity for retired people with certain skill sets to be able to use their giftedness on the mission field. First Baptist Church of Winterset, where Bonnie’s mother is a member, became prayer partners with the Caldwells that same year. First Baptist Church’s prayers led them to examine the possibility of partnering with the Waflers and Caldwells in reaching the Lugbara.
After a scouting trip in 2006, FBC Winterset did indeed engage the Lugbara in December of 2007 and entered into a formal three year partnership with the Waflers, the Caldwells and the International Mission Board (IMB). Since that time, the Caldwells have returned to the States and now live in Florida where they are leading their congregation to also partner with the IMB and the Waflers. In 2009, God called another young missionary family to join the Waflers in Arua. Doug and Kathryn Taylor, with their three children, packed up their belongings and moved to Africa. The strategy for reaching the Lugbara has “morphed” through the years. The last three years have seen progress made in using bible storying and the T4T (Training for Trainers) model to raise up a cadre of high school students who are leading small groups all throughout the Arua area. In 2010, FBC Winterset extended their partnership for another three years. Fusion teams have worked with the Waflers and Taylors as have several other mission volunteers from a handful of churches around the United States. In August of 2012 students at the Arua camp witnessed two students follow the Lord in believer’s baptism and after camp, four more students were baptized by a national pastor.
Recently, Stan was asked, “What does partnership mean to you?” He said:
First, partnership is about prayer. We do not have the strength or wisdom for this work apart from the power of God. We depend on committed, well informed churches who understand our people and our daily struggles to keep lifting us up in prayer. Second, partnership is about relationships. Partner churches are choosing to walk alongside us to see what we see and that brings encouragement, creative dialogue and ongoing deepening relationships with nationals. Third, partnership brings an intentional focus on lostness. This means partner churches are intentionally creating an environment in their church for specific training to prepare workers to invest their lives among the Lugbara for two weeks or longer. This intentionality allows us as missionaries to multiply our efforts because new workers are being trained year round. Partnership is surely a God-sized process we could never have planned because it demonstrates how God connects missionaries and churches with the lost people who need to hear the Gospel. All the glory goes to Him. Doors are opening, God is moving and “the best is yet to come!”