Isaiah prophesied regarding the coming Messiah that every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God’s salvation. (Luke 3:5-6) When Jesus was on earth, he spoke of mountains, comparing them to tough situations and lack of faith. He said, If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, "Move from here to there.", and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. (Matthew 17:20) He often went up alone on mountains to pray; even today the mountains in our lives will draw us closer to God.
In 2003, a donation made it possible for Christian Bible Study Centre (the umbrella name for our New Life ministries) to buy 3 acres of land just outside of Luweero town, in an area of several villages with no churches. The seller deceived Pastor David Kasule, having promised him a nice, flat piece of land, but with the money in his pocket, he switched it to an adjoining hilly piece instead. Naturally feeling angry and betrayed, David listened to his mother, who advised him not to fight with the seller. So he accepted, and we eventually built our first pole and roof church on the flattest end of the land, which also became New Life Academy.
During these early years, we continually prayed for a way to develop the rest of the land (see website for photos). Even when our church collapsed in a violent thunderstorm, we continued to pray for a way to rebuild and to advance our plans for the land, church and school. Then one day David was approached by a road construction company which was rebuilding the north- south highway across Uganda. A contract was negotiated and the company came in with heavy equipment and began to literally move our mountains! Those mountains turned out to be a gold mine for the ministry, payment being received for the murram soil in them that made good road beds. We had lost our primary supporter of New Life Academy that year, and the sale of our hills allowed us to meet expenses at that point in time. The seller of this land was no doubt weeping bitter tears, as his “prime” flat land that he’d kept for himself had no murram to sell! .
So we saw a literal fulfilling of the promise Jesus gave, that with a little faith, mountains can be moved! Everyone neighboring the church land thought we had tons of money, to bring in all that heavy equipment, having no clue that Christian Bible Study Centre was actually being paid by the owners of the heavy equipment, that it had cost us nothing to level our land.
Our little church is growing in faith, as well as in numbers, and people are learning the joy of giving. The people are extremely poor, and most of the women are married to polygamist husbands. But we don’t tell them they’re poor. We’ve taught them about tithing, offerings, and the joy of giving, both financially and of themselves. A speaker recently told the church, “Do you know your pastor is stealing your blessings?” That got an appropriately shocked response, and he repeated, “Do you know your pastor is stealing your blessings?” Then he explained. He told them that Pastor David was at the church every Saturday evening, cleaning the church compound, cleaning the benches, watering the plants. Every Sunday morning he was hauling baskets and other church materials to the church with a borrowed car, before the service. So he was getting all God’s blessings by serving the people.
Since then, the people have been showing up all days of the week, weeding the compound, cleaning the church, watering plants, planting gardens and flowers. Even before this, people had begun to give in new ways. We don’t take offerings in the conventional manner of passing a basket or bag around. In the back of the church, baskets are hung for people to place tithes and offerings. A third basket is for building fund. But we’re finding they’ve giving in ways outside the baskets. In a relatively cashless community, offerings are comparatively small. But people are donating things like cement to build a concrete floor in the church. The ones who can’t afford whole bags of cement are buying it by the kilogram, and we have a builder willing to work a brick at a time if need be. A wall at the rear of the church is slowly going up, to provide our pastor with badly needed offices and storage rooms. Wooden support poles, already termite damaged in our new building, are being replaced one at a time with metal poles, people buying them and donating them. As the church develops, the people’s pride of ownership is growing, and the pastor is hard pressed to “steal their blessings” any more! .
Our dirt road to the church has been steadily eroding under the frequent harsh tropical rains. But last week God saw fit to bless us with a new road as well! Not only is a good road necessary for the church, but in the fall, we’ll be harvesting 15,000 pineapples planted this past year on our flat land, which will need to be moved in vehicles. This is the beginning of an income generation project to help us restart New Life Academy in February 2010, and to provide for educating community orphans who’ve not been able to attend school anywhere since the Army closed New Life Academy down last year.
Beyond the church property, is a Member of Parliament and his nice home. Because the same road to our church is his driveway as well, the government provided a grader last week and rebuilt the road. So we now have a new driveway with proper drainage to help prevent future erosion. And due to further area development, another road was built at the opposite end of our land as well.
So does God still move mountains? You bet! Does He level land, straighten roads, and make the rough ones smooth? Oh yes! We don’t too often see this happening literally, as we at New Life Centre church have been blessed to see, but we all have mountains, crooked roads, and rough patches in our lives that a tiny seed of faith will still move, straighten, and smooth, in divine ways. And all mankind will see God’s salvation!