AFRICAN MINISTRY UPDATE – JULY/AUGUST, 1998
This truly was a most blessed time in the Lord. His grace, peace, and protection were rich. We were in Jinja, Uganda when the war erupted in Zaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and in Kampala when the two American embassies were bombed. Although additional bomb threats and warnings to Americans were issued, we never felt unsafe or at risk. We knew that God had sent us there at that time, and we trusted Him to protect us and to keep us. Except for one occasion when we prayed during a lunch meeting for the civil war in the DRC, the native people never mentioned anything to us or to those around us about the surrounding turmoil. After a while, we came to realize that because death and strife are so common place for them, they were not moved by the threat of danger.
In the midst of the silence, we started to buy a newspaper everyday. We had heard about the rebel activity to the north, but reading about it was another thing. The western and northern hills were, and still are, fertile grounds for abduction, robbery, and even brutal death. In the center part of the country, a great lake, Kyoga by name, was overflowing its banks. Large floating islands of sod were blocking the outflow. The newspaper reporters said that officials did not have the resources or the technology to deal with the problem. In the surrounding areas, many crops were being destroyed, and cholera was rampant. One young high school boy committed suicide because he owed a debt of $20. A piece of construction equipment and its operator fell into the Nile River Dam, and the local people blamed the accident on evil spirits. The papers were full of death, superstition, corruption, and strife. One reporter said that peace in Africa is virtually impossible because there are many tribes, each looking after its own advantage and welfare. They will cooperate with each other for a cause, but when one rises to “power,” then suddenly, the advantage found in unity becomes a stumbling block to the favor and promotion of the others as the tribe in power favors and promotes its own. The articles went on and on. The Lord greatly enlarged our perspective and our understanding as we read day by day. Our hearts were greatly moved with the compassion of the Lord. The needs truly are so great. The people need hope. They need help. They need an anchor in their seemingly continuing time of storm.
We spent our first two seeks in Jinja. Sam and Terry ministered in the schools, public and private, nearly every morning. After sharing Christ, they taught the children how to play baseball. How the kids loved it! They wanted Sam to come back every day after school to continue play. In addition to ministering in the schools, we taught and preached in four outdoor crusades, in four lunchtime meetings, and in many church services. We also did door to door evangelism in the villages. At one point, we had parked our van in a Muslim neighborhood. One of the local Christians took us to view a piece of property he had donated for a Bible school. When we returned to our vehicle to depart, we saw that about ten to fifteen Muslims had gathered there. They did not want us to leave without preaching to them! After doing so, they all prayed to receive Christ! Praise the Lord! Is that ripe fruit, or what? Altogether, we saw about 85 people come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, 20+ of whom were patronizing a local bar that we mistook for a private residence. God ordered our footsteps every step of the way!
In Kampala, we ministered to the body of Christ in several churches. We also ministered at two Women’s Aglow meetings. God truly gave us His Word in season. Much of what we shared concerned prayer and spiritual warfare. The Christians have a burning passion for God. They meet daily and pray fervently, but they lack knowledge. We believe that many gained insight and wisdom from God that will make their praying more effective. In return, we became partakers with them in their zeal and hunger for the Lord. How much worse things could be for them if it was not for their faithful dedication to prayer. As they have learned from us, how we, in America, need to learn from them.
We prayed for many, many people during our three weeks there. It seemed that everyone had a need, and they all just wanted a touch from God. He was so faithful in His ministry to them. According to Revelation 12:11, we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the Word of our testimony. That being the case, there were times when we asked the people to share what God had done for them. Among those who shared was a woman in Malaba who was healed of facial paralysis. She was born with a deformed jaw. As an adult, she had had her jaw broken and reset, but, as before, it remained immovable. As we prayed, she said a warm sensation, something like flowing lava, came down over her face, and her jaw was loosed! She had never been able to move it on her own. Praise the Lord! He is a mighty God!
In His Service,
AFRICAN MINISTRY UPDATE – JULY/AUGUST, 1998