FORT PORTAL, UGANDA – When I began reading about the FBO, Where He Leads, I recalled a recurring segment of the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. From time to time, Carson would read newspaper clippings of engagement and wedding announcements in which the couple’s name came across as humorous. I don’t know if Carson ever read theirs, but Where He Leads began soon after “Money Marries Cash.”
That was more than 25 years ago. The Lord led the young couple to Uganda. They have been there ever since.
The common Christian colloquialism for missions divides between long-term and short-term. The term that I feel best describes Jeff and Cheryl is “permanent.”
The soon-to-be empty-nesters have raised four children in the equatorial African country that continues to recover in the aftermath of the Idi Amin dictatorship during the 1970s and the devastation caused by Joseph Koni’s rebel army during the late 1980s.
But Uganda is where the Lord led Jeff and Cheryl. And so, they went.
Many of the aspects of their ministry mirror the methods of missionaries all over the world. As we might expect, they share the Gospel, make disciples, plant churches, and equip native Ugandan’s to break their generational cycle of poverty.
The heart of their ministry is “Campfire Worship,” where they gather together with believers around a fire, “sharing a meal, singing, and telling Bible stories.” This ministry mainstay has become an unexpected blessing in many ways, not the least of which is that it has remained viable for worship gatherings even through the nation’s strict lockdown through the COVID-19 pandemic. “Families and small groups have [continued to] gather around small fires across Fort Portal for worship.”
Several aspects of the ministry have provided unique experiences for the couple who have both worked on advanced degrees while serving.
One of those is Crosswinds Wings of Mercy. Jeff is a licensed and accomplished pilot. The aviation service allows him to reach, teach, and mentor believers in more than three dozen village churches that he and Cheryl have helped to establish.
The Christian Fire Brigade grew out of the need for fire-fighting equipment at the Crosswind airstrip. The Lord supplied a fire truck that had been actively in use in Tyler, Texas, in 2012. Stationed at the airstrip, the truck is used by the Christian Fire Brigade to serve the Fort Portal community in the name of Jesus.
The Cash family has created Fish Ponds for local families and several churches. Maintained properly, the fish ponds are yet another income-generating opportunity for the communities in which Jeff and Cheryl minister.
Where He Leads is replete with stories of rescuing people trapped near rebel forces, ministering to refugees from the neighboring DRC, and participating in search and rescue missions. They have even baptized people in mud ponds when there was no other water nearby!
Yet, the focus of the ministry is Jesus Christ and going Where He Leads. “While other missionaries [have come and gone] in Uganda after a few years . . . Jeff and Cheryl are in the process of gaining dual citizenship. They have no plans to leave Uganda.
After all, this is where the Lord has led them.