It’s difficult enough to imagine moving to Mbale, Uganda, but the difficulty increases exponentially if one considers moving a family of ten there. That, however, is exactly what Rev. Eric and Dianna Tuininga hope to do.
Rev. Tuininga will serve as a missionary evangelist with the OPC for the next four to five years or more. He will focus primarily on training men for ministry at Knox Theological College (KTC), although he will also preach in village churches and disciple Ugandan pastors and elders. He will be part of an OPC mission team that includes two other ministers, a full-time deacon, a doctor, other medical staff, and several missionary associates.
A service to install Rev. Tuininga in the OPC’s Presbytery of the Northwest has been scheduled for April 27, 2012; however, he will continue to pastor Immanuel’s Reformed Church (URCNA) in Salem, OR, until mid-June. The Tuininga family plans to fly to Uganda on July 18 so that he can begin teaching classes at KTC in August.
During 2007, the Tuininga family went from three children to six children in less than six months through the adoption of two sons from Liberia, Africa, and the birth of another son. Two more children have been added since then, bringing the family total to ten. The eight children are ages ten or younger (Timothy-10, Katelyn-9, Matthew-8, Rebecca-7, Jimmy-5, William- 4, Benaiah-2, and infant Talitha).
The Tuininga family spent some time in Mbale during March of 2011, even staying in the house they will move into at the end of July. Dianna relates that the family did not feel continually “unsafe” while in Uganda.
“Our lives are in God’s hands,” she writes, “therefore we are immortal until the day God chooses for us to die…so why worry? Even the hairs on our heads are numbered.”
Mbale has a population of about 92,000 and is located near the Kenyan border in eastern Uganda, in the vicinity of Lake Victoria. Students from both Kenya and Uganda attend KTC to receive training for preaching God’s word.
While Rev. Tuininga will focus on teaching at KTC, Dianna will continue teaching their children and undertake her homemaker role in a new culture.
The decision to serve in Uganda arose from Rev. Tuininga’s desire to best use his gifts in service to Christ’s kingdom. As the couple prayerfully considered serving in Uganda, they received a letter from Desiring God Ministries that spoke of Uganda’s greatest need as—not the plight of AIDS, the number of orphans, or wars and child abductions—but a “dearth of leadership in the church” of this nominally Christian country.
“There is a great need in Uganda for training of ministers,” says Rev. Tuininga. “As Reformed believers living in North America, we have been blessed in many ways by God—especially theologically and materially. We have a great privilege to assist our brothers and sisters in Christ in Uganda by sharing the treasures of wisdom and theological knowledge with them.”
“Please join us in prayer that the Lord will richly bless this opportunity for ministry,” he adds, “for His provision in all the details of moving a family of ten to Uganda, that we might be used by the Lord in the best possible way for His glory and the edification of the church in Uganda, and for His blessing on Immanuel’s Reformed Church in bringing a new pastor.”
More information about the Tuiningas’ move can be found at their online blog here.
The above article by Glenda Mathes appeared on page 17 of the May 2, 2012, issue of Christian Renewal. The Tuiningas have since arrived in Uganda.