Every time a pastor, as pastor Richard Okello of Apac District near Lira, tells us that he does not own a Bible, and that he must borrow a Bible from someone and return it after the service, we realize yet again what a privilege it is to be part of Harvesters Ministries. It is so wonderful to deliver God’s Word to His precious children and to see the joy in which the Bibles are received. It strengthens our calling and hope that every church involved with Harvesters has at least one Bible. People who live in remote areas often do not know where to get Bibles and cannot afford to buy Bibles.
Uganda, which is located on the equator, is a beautiful country with lush vegetation, large forests and a variety of wildlife – famous for gorillas and chimpanzees. This land, known as “The Pearl of Africa”, is also the country with plenty of water and large lakes. Before we landed on March 19 in Entebbe, we flew over Lake Victoria for 20 minutes and saw water that carried on endlessly and islands that stretched for kilometers and kilometers. This lake is the largest in Africa’s northern outlet and flows into the Nile River. Uganda is also the land of the Moon and Ruwenzori Mountains.
It was truly an amazing experience to visit this country during its rain seasons, but what stands out more was being able to meet several of God’s children who displayed sincerity in their faith. The Ugandans are welcoming and hospitable. Uganda, along with its ethnic value and various cultural groups, is generally regarded as a ‘Christian country’.
Aloysious Kinaalwa, Harvesters’ national leader in Uganda, is a passionate man of God with a desire to bring his people to God through the Harvesters Church Planting Model and Training Program. While transporting 200 Luganda Bibles to Gomba, and 1200 copies in English, Acholi and Lango to Lira, from the Bible House in Kampala, he was involved in an accident and attained a head injury. Aloysious’s WhatsApp message to us was: “I still feel headache, But God is supernaturally healing me. To God be the glory! It’s amazing, we serve a miracle working God!”
God is so good! Despite this incident and several hours on extreme dirt roads, God protected us so that we could deliver Bibles to more than 200 churches in Gomba as well as Lira. Some of these roads are almost impassable due to the rainy season which meant enormous potholes where we constantly had to dodge stones and branches in the road.
Harvesters cannot do this work without the wonderful partners who God sends us. Charles Mukhwana, Harvester’s regional leader in Lira province, is truly dependable. He has a great vision to train the thousands of pastors who live in remote villages in the Harvesters program. Charles arranged for the church leaders from various regions to gather at one church, where we could encourage the members, listen to their testimonies and then hand out three to four Bibles to each church. Every church’s name and the names of the recipients were on a separate list.
It was particularly encouraging for Herbie Venter and me to experience the great excitement and anticipation from the different churches. The members and pastors would sometimes wait for us for hours and receive us warmly then literally dance for joy as they received a Bible. Before we drove off, they would pray for us first – all of them praying out loud for our safety on the road as well as for our families at home.
For instance, the Abalo Kweri Congregation of pastor Elinga Bosco gathers under a mango tree. They are but a handful of people, yet they represent the body of Christ and show a great love for Jesus. What a privilege it was to hand out four Bibles to them!
Every time we place a new Bible in someone’s hand that is written in their mother tongue, we are encouraged by their testimony and we know that the Bible will be put to good use.
• “Now I can connect with women and do the work of God” – Semy Amori, leader of the women’s ministry, Church of God, Apac District
• Past Kate Molly (Victory Outreach Church Apac District) had a Bible years ago, but it was torn and destroyed. “With this new Bible, I will not only read it for my own self, but at the same time I will help other people to come to Christ.”
• “I am so happy for the Bible. I am proud because I have a tool now to use when I go to preach the Word of God. “
• Past Jastine Otim of the Victory Outreach Church in Pader, was thrilled to hear of the Harvesters Discipleship Program, “I had a misconception about Matthew 28… Go ye and make disciples… In my own understanding, I interpreted it as just bringing people into the Kingdom, but over 7 years of my pastoral experience, I realized I got stuck along the way and didn’t know how to get people from the level of coming to the Kingdom and getting them to another level of knowing God and having the authority of Christ in them.”
• Then the church under the hill in the lovely village of Kalonge: Past Thomas Amone (Victory Outreach Church) said, “I’m going to use the Bible to impact the lives of people, preaching the Gospel of Christ to other people. We appreciate the Bibles “
Conflict between the government and rebels started some years ago and lead to a prolonged war of almost 16 years. The trauma of the war has claimed thousands of lives and destroyed schools and health centers. The war was characterized by violation of human rights, abduction of men, women and children, torture and national insecurity.
To listen to a pastor who lives in that area’s testimony, we once again realized the need that arises for church planting and training of pastors in Uganda, and how desperate people are for it. This lady pastor told us that their congregation reaches out to areas where people live who were attacked by the rebels, abducted and tortured – people whose body parts such as lips, arms and legs were cut off. She testified that they visit these people, make friends, build relationships and they are then served with the Word.
The need is also to plant churches in these areas. Her words were: “The Bibles in our own language you allowed to come to us in our village, will make us strong to know more about Jesus Christ and all the nation will get saved through that Word of God that we are going to take to them.”
God’s Word is precious. Praise God for this opportunity and thank you, Harvesters Ministries and Midland Bible Church for making this Bible placement to many believers in Uganda possible. All the glory to God!