Walk Uganda February 11th to March 3rd 2015
Judy Miller, one of the mission team members, has written this report:
Well we are back once more from Uganda – Sidney’s 15th and my 14th visit. I suppose the questions some people ask are ‘Why do you keep going?’ and ‘Do you make any difference?’
So why do we keep going? Well, we have made many strong friendships there and have an array of ‘sons and daughters’ whom we have watched grow and develop over the years. They matter to us. But the main reason we go is for one thing only – to share the love of Christ and tell the people what He has done for us all. And the telling is just so different!
Imagine the local hospital – Kagadi in Uganda or Bedford here in the UK. We arrive, having asked if we can come. We have a small gift of food for every patient a ‘fish and chips top’ for everyone in the maternity unit as well as some blankets and a suitcase full of dressings and medicines for James, the Medical Director.
We are escorted around the 4 wards. In each one we arrive, are welcomed by the staff and proceed to sing a couple of worship songs in the middle of the ward. Then one of our team – Frank – a retired obstetrician who has, as it happens, worked in Uganda, preaches a different message according to the type of ward, ending with a prayer for people to join in if they wish to give their lives to Jesus. On each ward, patients and visitors come forward having made a commitment, with their names and addresses (or mobile numbers where they have them) being taken so they can be followed up. Then we give out gifts and pray with individual patients if they would like us to, whatever their faith or lack of faith.
How politically incorrect! And yet the hospital welcomes us each year.
Or think of a local taxi rank, for example at Bedford station or the equivalent in Uganda – a group of ‘boda boda’ men with their motor bikes, which are the usual form of taxi, waiting in the middle of the village for custom. We stop, sing, preach a message – and hands go up, sometimes shyly at first. Again names etc are taken and prayers offered. The same happens at a pool table outside a café.
And the same again in schools, with the addition of the team acting whatever Bible story the preacher is using. We also provide an offering of text books, Bibles and, joy oh joy, as the faces and hands in the air show, a football!
You may well ask why, if it is so easy to preach the Gospel, we bother going, as so many are Christians. Indeed, many are but many others are still mixed up in witchcraft and need setting free, as well as many being Muslims. There is a huge new mosque being built with Gaddafi money in Ndejje, our third base. We arrived there one day after Umar Mulinde had visited Life Changing Church where we were based. He was a Muslim who converted to Christianity and became a pastor. One Christmas Eve in church someone called out, he turned round – and acid was thrown in his face. Thanks to an Israeli hospital he has kept sight in one eye, although his face is badly deformed. The threat from Islam is real. One of the notable things about this year’s trip though was the number of Muslims who have accepted Christ. Praise God! Some still struggle, however, to admit it openly – pray that they have the wisdom and courage to do so.
So – do we make any difference? We are obviously aware that some may pray a prayer of commitment without meaning it or fully understanding. That’s where the Ugandans come in, to follow up and disciple these baby Christians. Some came to church and/or the crusades that were part of the mission and were already showing their desire to follow Jesus. Sometimes we hear stories much later, for example in the case of Georgina.
In 2013 I was conducting a seminar in the isolated village of Ruteete. (It was in this area we met both adults and children who had never seen a white person before.) Georgina answered several of my questions and clearly knew her Bible. However, she shared in front of the whole church present that she had given her life to Christ in Primary Year 3 but had turned her back on God in her final primary year. She was 68 and for the last 48 years or so had been ‘a drunkard’ (her words). She said that she knew she would go to hell because of this. I gently shared how Jesus came to set us free from our past and that His Holy Spirit would help her give up alcohol. With tears streaming down her face, she came out to the front of church as I led her in a prayer of commitment. Sidney and I met her two days later in her hut and she shared how her son would bring alcohol into the house and how she feared she would not be able to resist it.
This year we met her vicar and I asked what had happened to her. She no longer drinks, is walking on with the Lord and is a warden! It’s not us that have made the difference – it’s Jesus!
Then there is Faridah. When I arrived at Freedom Church, Ndejje Kibutika, shown here, by car with the pastor, Jackson, someone arrived to ask him to come at once to someone who was dying. We went to a hut where an unconscious teenager lay, apparently having bled heavily with a miscarriage still in progress. I encouraged Jackson to drive the teenager to hospital at once, even though he would miss the service. The hut was very isolated – there were no cars anywhere – but God knew! Jackson had borrowed a car to collect me so was able to drive Faridah straight to a private hospital nearby where she underwent surgery. She is now home, the hospital bill having been sorted with UK funds – and – she has accepted Christ! Alleluia!
THANK YOU Christ Church, because your gifts do make a difference. Whether it’s buying 442 Bibles in 5 languages, numerous sacks of maize and beans for schools where the food prices have rocketed, food for the hospital patients or prisoners, textbooks for schools, children’s clothes and food for AIDS victims as well as medicines for their clinic or helping set up a life skills project to help women acquire skills that will bring in an income, making soap or learning tailoring for example, these things do make a difference to individual lives and show the love of Christ.
And thank you too for all your prayers that kept us safe and well and gave us opportunities to proclaim God’s love. Please keep praying for all those whose lives were touched, that many more will come to know the wonder of Christ’s death and resurrection, that they might know the joy of forgiveness and the assurance of eternal life with Him. Amen.
Lastly, we received this email from Eric Twine, whom we have known since 2003, and who is Archdeacon of Kagadi:
‘Just to share with you as friends, when I came to Kagadi 2009, I met three Needy Orphans who had finished and passed Primary Leaving Examinations but had no hope for further education. They were just forced to marry. When I went to Hoima- Canon Njangali Girls High School and shared with the Administration, they accepted to offer them free Secondary Education which they finished last year.
God is so good that they performed very well and all qualify for very good courses at Makerere University’ (the Oxbridge of Uganda) ‘but no hope.
1) Violet Tumwebaze qualifies for a Bachelors Degree in Medicine
2) Edith Bachelor of Law
3) Sharon Ahebwa Bachelor of Project Planning and Entrepreneurship.
They all came to my office with their result slips but had nothing to say of course.
This therefore serves to say if you are aware of any organisation that support and promote a Girl Child Education, advocate for these girls. They are born again, Loving and committed to the ministry of the Church. Universities open in August. They would be future Stars of the Church.’
If anyone would like to pursue helping any of these girls, please do get in touch with us through the TFM office.
TFM Uganda Mission February 2015 from Through Faith Missions on Vimeo.