Can you give us some background information on you and your family, and how God led you to the place where you serve today?
Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ! Since we gave our lives to God, many things have taken place. Madelon and I never thought we would find ourselves in Uganda East Africa. It seems God has given us a love for the prospects of what He can do through us. He has been molding us for His purpose for our lives, The Great African Commission. We trust God will help us faithfully serve Him in Uganda as we plan to train people (especially men) to do the work of God. We have four children at this time who were all born here in Uganda East Africa, they are; Esther (6), Charles Jr. (5), Abraham (3), and Priscilla (2).
CHARLES SIEKBERT AUTOBIOGRAPHY
I have a very memorable account of receiving Jesus Christ at about age ten. I was brought up from birth attending First Baptist Church of Milford Ohio. Many at our home church dedicated themselves to its ministries. They built their foundations on The Rock, Jesus Christ. Because of their investments, God sent out a small army of Christian pioneers from our church who loved God enough to pay the cost for missionary work. My family is part of the dividends of their investments. I wish I could name all the people who contributed to my life. However, I will only be able to write about two pioneers involved in the influence of missions to me personally.
One of the people who came out of the midst of those pioneers was Ron Todd, missionary to Costa Rica. He was the first missionary to invest in me (Charles) specifically. After a missions trip I took to Costa Rica, Bro. Todd took a little time and interest to write me from the field. It impressed me, that a missionary would hand-write personal letters to me. When he returned on furlough to the States he took me to a few of his meetings as he reported on the field. It was those times that gave me a vision. Missions is accomplished when God uses His most unlikely subjects! God isn’t looking for dynamic speakers, powerful presentations, or good personality. He’s looking for a man who will demonstrate His love to this world through the most powerful way known to man, personal relationships.
A second of those pioneers was a man who came into our midst at First Baptist Church many years ago named Bob Hayes, Missionary to Ghana West Africa. At Sunday morning prayer meeting I could almost always find a seat next to Bro. Bob Hayes. He was faithful! In my college years, I had taken a trip to Venezuela and Bro. Hayes had been there. How an old man could retain such youthful humor I don’t know but he could. Years later I was with him in India on a missions trip. The group gave me the privilege of helping him because it was difficult for him to mobilize from a previous stroke. He was resolved to attend himself as much as possible. The quiet concern he demonstrated was his love for God! Bro. Hayes was an example that one man/family can make a difference. God used his death (a car accident in Ghana West Africa that also took the lives of his son and daughter) as a means of confirming His plan for me in Africa.
MADELON SIEKBERT AUTOBIOGRAPHY
My family started attending Newtonsville Baptist Church as a result of the bus ministry. I received Christ at age seven. My Pastor’s wife led me to the Lord after a Sunday evening service. At age twelve, I read a book entitled Hidden Valley about missionaries in Africa. It burdened my heart for missions, but caused fears about Africa. At a youth camp on August 9, 1990 I surrendered to be a missionary, willing to go anywhere but Africa. I graduated from Crown College with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 1999, instead of the MRS degree I was hoping to receive. I got a job teaching first grade at Milford Christian Academy (a ministry of First Baptist Church, Milford). Teaching was great, but I knew God wanted me to be a missionary. I spoke to Dr. Keen (then pastor) about my burden and he advised me to make it public at church. He told me to finish the school year and then take some survey trips to find where God wanted me. I was afraid of going alone, but wanted to please Christ. The day I finally turned my fears of Africa and serving single over to the Lord was the exact day my husband, Charles, asked me out on a date. God’s timing is perfect! I enjoy serving the Lord with the wonderful husband and children He has given me.
THE LORD’S WORKING THROUGH US IN UGANDA
God has sent and blessed us to serve Him in Uganda for the last eight years. We returned to Uganda June 20th 2011 to serve our third term. Our first term in Uganda started in July of 2003. We spent six months in Uganda learning with a missionary who was then called to serve elsewhere. We were given a small group of people to work with. After six months God led us to invite them into home Bible studies because things were not growing healthily. It became a completely different work after another six months. We invited them into our home and began First Baptist Church. Early in the work things grew well. The people moved into our garage, painted the walls and floors, paid for their own chairs, baptismal, and study tools, and then invited visitors to come. The physical growth slowed after our agreement on that building expired and we moved down the road one kilometer. At the end of 2006 we went on furlough and the people were successful maintaining the church. However, in our absence some divisions hurt the spirit of the church. We had been working through difficulties from the old idea that a missionary is to take all the responsibilities. We intend to maintain indigenous works. This, at least in Uganda, is very difficult. We are still learners in the process as to what will work and how much of what we do will work there. We have seen many people come to Christ! Most of them are converts of our church members who are beginning to discover a spiritual walk with the Lord and a concern for lost souls. We see spiritual growth from people we did not expect. They have taken over most all of the services and programs of the church under their student pastor, Jackson Kasajja. He is taking an active role in leading the church. Pray for us to gain people who have a desire for God to get the glory!
Concerning our short-term accomplishments and goals, we would like to see the Kampala church have their own facility to meet, even if it is small and indiscrete. It will take time and some partnering with people who may be able to help us raise some funds. In Kampala, the Capital, property moves fast and expensive. In Uganda you have the extremely rich or the extremely poor. Pray for our work! God is faithful and He knows the timing and abilities of our people and their faith. The church has three weekly service times, weekly visitation, and staff/ teacher meetings. We offer several Bible courses each year to promote knowledge and Biblical leadership in their relationships with God. Pray for them to grow in their faithfulness to the Lord!
Concerning our long-term goals, it is our desire to start other works. We are looking at places to begin a second and possibly a third church. It is our desire to move to Mukono, a growing town seven to ten miles outside the Capital. There are no known Independent Baptist works there. Also, the Lord has given us funds for land in the fishing village of Mbulamuti, about two and one half hours from the Capital. We plan to begin Bible studies there in 2012.
Last, our goals include ten to fifteen more years in Africa if the Lord will. We are setting a realistic shelf life on day to day involvement in Africa knowing the Lord would have us to be useful elsewhere as we mature. Our goals involve establishing works and leaving them as independent ministries (as soon as possible) opposed to building and maintaining them as missionary pastor type ministries. The Apostle Paul demonstrated that not everything works out the way we plan. God’s will and ways are unlimited and sometimes unknown until after the fact. Pray the Lord will continue to honor Himself in giving us a ministry vision as we serve Him here on the field of Uganda East Africa!
How will you go about evangelizing the people you are trying to reach?
There are four ways I know to evangelize. (1) Spend time with the people. (2) Preach the Gospel of repentance and the remission of sins by the blood of Jesus Christ. (3) Live in front of your converts the “distinction” of God’s Word, and (4) Give to your people the “sense” of what the Scriptures mean (Neh.8:8). I believe maintaining a learning spirit can also help us help the national believers become what they ought in order to reach their people without Westernized opinion and added issues. One temptation is to teach and preach things that are not an issue among today’s so called heathen world.