It was as if a dam had burst. All the people moved quickly to the front of the building, close to the pulpit. People were beating their chests, others were weeping scalding tears, which sparkled from the light through the unfinished wall of the church, as they splashed down onto the fronts of their clothes.
I had just finished a teaching which had defined repentance, not just the repentance from sin that leads to the new birth, but also from the sins we commit during the course of our Christian lives, and the state of repentance, of constantly seeking God's will, that mature Christians should be living in. We had talked of how mere remorse leads to death, but repentance leads to life, using the illustrations of King Saul opposed to King David, and Judas Iscariot as opposed to Simon Peter.*
The African church is so rich in faith and in mighty people of prayer. Many African Christians would rather pray than eat. Indeed, fasting is a regular weekly part of worship in most village churches. But a big weakness lies is in the lack of knowledge of the Word of God. Most pastors are uneducated, never went to Bible college, and some are even illiterate. So where the Word of God begins to be taught more effectively, the people respond as a starving man to bread.
This beautiful end to a Sunday service climaxed a morning that had started with powerful testimonies and worship. Kate Kasule had brought her new baby boy to church for the first time, and we had prayed over him, thanking God for his tiny new life. (See last newsletter.) She shared how during her difficult labor, interrupted by an emergency c/section, she had feared she was going to die, but she had committed herself into the hands of Jesus. The first day of the baby's life had been accompanied by fears that he would not live. He was in respiratory distress and on IV antibiotics. Even upon discharge a week later, the doctors were still marveling that he had survived!
Before we prayed over him, Pastor David asked the church if they could guess the baby's name? People suggested names like "Miracle," "Grace of God," and "Victory." Ugandans often name their children with such words that indicate events or characteristics. Traditionally, in the Baganda tribe of the Kasule family, the grandmother names the new babies. Several families have adopted me as their mother/grandmother, so I have been privileged to name several babies, including the last 2 Kasule boys. I give the Christian name and the biological grandmother gives the clan (last) name. And it's not uncommon to take a week or two to decide on a name that fits the new baby.
Early on, I knew I had to name this baby a name that reflected the times he was born into, a time of great victory in the midst of trials... which also would reflect the very story of his own birth! Thanks to the suggestion of a friend of mine, I chose the name Victor, from this scripture:
I didn't know it but Kate had already chosen a middle name for the baby, Muwaanguzi, which means "victory" in Luganda!
Another great testimony had been given by Cherengat, the Christian police officer in the church. The arrests mentioned in the last newsletter did not take place, due to police corruption. When his boss, the police chief, threatened his job because of him helping Pastor David in the current legal battles with this corrupt police department, Cherengat told his boss, "Man does not live by bread alone," meaning, "I don't live by my job alone." He said he has a Boss who is higher than the police chief, and it is only He who allows him to do anything to touch Cherengat. He rebuked his boss regarding the suffering of the innocent due to his unwillingness to follow the very law he is supposed to be upholding. As he stood up to his boss in righteousness, the man began to "get emotional." Then Cherengat told him he would give him 6 months to change his ways, else his Boss will remove him from his position!
As you can see, our police department is a mission field in itself. We have a few police and a few police wives who've been saved, and come to church. But as a whole, they oppress the people greatly through their corruption. Please pray for wisdom and for safety for all of us who are dealing with these men, that the Holy Spirit of God will move among them, save their souls, and clean up the corruption!
The prison ministry Pastor David was to have been involved with on October 7th has been postponed twice now. It is to take place now on October 30th, so please pray for that outreach to over 1000 prisoners at Luzira prison.
On October 8th Samaritan Emergency Volunteer Organization (SEVO) had its 3rd national day of prayer and fasting for God to lead and guide, and to provide for all their needs as the members work hard at saving lives in their communities. From the October 18th to November 1st, a national working conference is taking place at Kikunyu village, the SEVO headquarters. All members attending are working during the mornings to finish clearing the 2 acres of land that was donated to SEVO last year, and to erect the new training center that is being built with the bricks they've made at earlier such conferences. After lunch are meetings to share the teachings of Christ, particularly to do with reconciliation. There has been strife and jealousy between the original SEVO members and the newer ones who were brought in to be trained for our pilot groups, who have received much needed medical and rescue equipment in August. But all want reconciliation, so I know God is doing a great work during these 2 weeks!
Your prayers and financial support make you a part of this ministry. (1 Samuel 30: 24)
May God's richest blessings be upon you!