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Kitgum was one of the places we visited on our trip to Uganda in March-April 2015. We’d been told that there were a good number of brothers and sisters there and had built a hall on the strength of that. However, it turned out that there was only one brother left, Peter - the other three members had gone to South Sudan!
It appears that after all the terrible atrocities perpetrated by the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army) in this part of the world a few years ago, the area was flooded by evangelical Christians from the US, who taught the people to worship in a typically Pentecostal fashion. They baptised a lot of people and call each other “brothers and sisters”, as Africans do in general. So getting the answer “Yes” to the question “Are you baptised?” does not mean someone is a Christadelphian. And when you are told there is a large number of brothers and sisters in a place it does not mean they are Christadelphians.
We had a wonderful couple of days there though – and, boy, did they know their Bibles! Since our visit, two brothers have been back there to help Peter, and it appears that there are well over a dozen really interested people who want to learn more and realise the errors of their previous beliefs. You prayers are needed...
Peter used to be a pastor in another church, and we found out a lot about pastors in Uganda this trip. Pastors in Uganda are held in high esteem, and are very highly paid! In many churches, if you want to be prayed for by the senior pastor, you have to pay a lot more money than if you are happy to be prayed for by the junior one. In other words, the more money you are willing to contribute, the more senior the person praying for you, and presumably the more effective the prayers! Pastors in Uganda charge for everything; we came across a group of pastors who were, so say, digging up evil objects in people’s gardens to get rid of demons, and charging for the privilege. They all have huge cars and huge houses, and are known to be totally corrupt, but nobody dares gainsay them – fear is a huge weapon and when you have no better knowledge, then you will always be persuaded by your pastor that what he says is true. He obviously knows God better than you do and you just dare not risk not doing what he says. It is really quite terrible to hear how people are totally taken in by the whole scandal, and absolutely ripped off. Their pay is what they can extort from their congregations, so it is obviously in their interests to say that the more the people give, the more they will be blessed! Peter needs our prayers.
The very last few days of the trip, John, Martin and Mayende went to Buvuma Island, where there are two young churches who very much need our prayers. The island is a couple of hours ferry ride across Lake Victoria from Jinja; they are very active, and brought many visitors, including Muslims, who were asking lots of questions. A lot is going on there! The picture of the lifejackets with the island in the background is a reminder of Jesus saving lives there – even on the ferry one of the crew was chatting to John all about Jesus.
As always, there are so many things and people to pray for in Uganda. Let’s pray it won’t be long before Jesus comes back, and you’ll get to meet them all!
|"Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation." (Mark 16:15)|