AFRICAN MISSION UPDATE – JUNE, 1999
“It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers . . . praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord; So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God” (II Chronicles 5:13 – 14). At the dedication of Solomon’s temple, God’s glory descended like a cloud, and the priests were unable to stand in His presence. When Judas and his band of men went to apprehend Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, many of them fell backward, for they could not stand in the awesome presence of the Living God (John 18:1 – 6). John, on the isle of Patmos, also fell as a dead man at the revelation of God’s glory in Jesus Christ (Revelation 1:12 – 17). While in Uganda, God’s glory and presence were so thick, that many there found that they too were unable to stand before our awesome God. Some fell to their knees: some fell prostrate of their own volition, while others just yielded to the power of God. We were deeply humbled by His awesome visitations. We were made to hunger, not just for visitations, but for habitations of His glory and of His presence.
I must share one particular incident with you regarding the power and goodness of God. To make a long story short, my ministry and travelling companion (Ruth Payton) and I had prayed for a man at the guesthouse to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. My heart was grieved when he failed to receive his prayer language, and so I sought the Lord and also sent a plea for help to Mildred Corley via email. A couple of days later, this man (Michael), desiring more exposure to our ministry, accompanied us to one of our meetings. During the ministry time, in which God was moving mightily by His Spirit, I once again prayed unsuccessfully for him to receive his prayer language. The next day, the pastor came to our guesthouse to return a Bible Ruth had left at the church. In casual conversation, she said that many people had spoken in tongues during the meeting the previous day. I asked her if that was unusual, and she said, “Yes!’ Then she went on to tell me that she had wanted me to pray for the people to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. She had touched me lightly, at one point in the service, to share her request with me, but, I, being restrained by the Spirit, had failed to respond promptly. By the time I looked over at her, she was deep in worship. Soon afterward, though I was unaware of her desire, the Lord inspired me to tell the people that He really wanted to baptize them in the Holy Spirit. The pastor said that at that point, the Holy Spirit moved across the congregation like a wind, and many people spoke in tongues — some for the first time and some who had not done so in 2 to 3 years. I had no idea that had happened because the native language of the people “sounded” like tongues to me, and I did not discern the difference. I was so humbled and blessed by her report. I had labored in prayer and grieved over one man who had failed to receive, and God, in His goodness, moved sovereignly by His Spirit to baptize a whole group at one time! He truly is a wonderful Lord!
Over the course of our two weeks in Uganda, Ruth and I ministered in schools, at a women’s conference, at a hospital, in various churches, and in outdoor crusades. In all, we saw about 105 people receive Christ. We were invited by the chief of Namagera to conduct a church-planting crusade in his village. About 30 received Christ. Native pastors, who had accompanied us, announced plans to return a week later to begin weekly services. After our return to the States, our host pastor (Daniel Lubowa) told me that the people were assembled and awaiting the arrival of the native pastors the following week. There were more men present than women and children. That was a real work of God — usually it is the opposite. Daniel said the people wanted to honor us for our ministry to them, so they named their church “The Spirit and the Word Church.”
As I have mentioned in the past, the Muslims are aggressively penetrating Uganda. Not only are they offering free schooling to the children of new converts, but they are now giving $5,000 to each Christian pastor who will turn to the Islam faith. (It is extremely difficult for people living in such a destitute nation to refuse such offers.) After reading What Christians Should Know About Muslims and after a time of sharing, two of our host pastors were moved upon by the Holy Spirit to accept God’s mandate for them to take a ministry team into Sudan, a Muslim stronghold. Praise God that His conviction superceded their fear! That same sense of destiny seemed to capture the hearts of the women in Jinja who had gathered for an Aglow formation meeting. Women’s Aglow has been given a call to reach the Muslim women, and now is the time. While Ruth and I were in Jinja, we had the opportunity to share the Gospel with two Muslim young ladies. They seemed drawn to us, visiting us at the guesthouse and serving us a scrumptious dinner in their home. Even though they did not receive Christ as their Savior, they did request prayer for healing. A friendship was forged, and the door is open for further ministry to them. It will not be by might or power that the victory is won, but by the Spirit of God (Zechariah 4:6).
Each time I return to Uganda, I see that the people are growing in their faith and vision. God is doing a great work in that nation, and I thank Him for allowing me to be part of His ministry there. I also thank Him for all of you who have also shared in the fruit through your prayers and your giving. The Bibles and the monetary gifts that were given to the Bible school students and to the ministries, respectively, were deeply appreciated. I pray that you will reap many times that which you have sown. Only heaven will reveal the full impact of your ministry to the precious people of Uganda.
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20 -21).
AFRICAN MISSION UPDATE – JUNE, 1999