Sobering news came this week when an elder (Daniel) in our church here in Jinja and a church leader and speaker (Andrew) were traveling north in Uganda. Police arrested and beat them. Andrew and Daniel spoke briefly at church today. Andrew still has a limp. He sat during worship songs today and will be seeing a doctor about possible spine damage tomorrow morning. Both men are married and love Jesus.
These two Christians were arrested by police or military for being thieves, beaten badly, their money and belongings (including their shoes) stolen, and thrown into jail. One of our Ugandan brothers described the jail cell as a “closet a person would not want to spend one minute in” where other inmates were standing and urine was on the floor.
Our pastor, Terry Nester, reminded the Jinja congregation, many of us missionaries, that sometimes we joke about suffering in Uganda by missing out on McDonald’s or other conveniences and material things. But when something like this happens with its pain, suffering and tears, it is a sobering reminder that men are evil, the powers of darkness are real, and we don’t play with Barbie dolls on the battlefield.
When Daniel and Andrew were in jail, they shared with fellow inmates that they were not thieves, but preachers of the Gospel. Ironically Andrew was to start a new sermon series in our church’s early service (a church in Luganda language) on the book of Philippians, which has the theme of joy during suffering (Paul was a prisoner when he wrote the letter).
Please pray for Daniel and Andrew – that they and their families would heal from this physically and mentally abusive situation; for their tormenters that they would come to know Christ; and for good to come from this, even that Jesus is glorified.
On a bit lighter note, this past week Equip Uganda sponsored a training conference for Ugandan pastors about HIV, called HIV Hope. The one-week conference was held on the outskirts of Kampala at Enid’s place (Enid is an Equip Uganda national missionary worker) and about twenty pastors attended.
Before the event even started Equip leadership received communication that two separate individuals (Ugandans) communicated two separate dreams about the good God would be doing at this conference. Being from the west, we’re cautious about dreams, but we’re so happy to report the event was a GREAT success and we apparently received a prophetic word before hand.
Jeremy Boone related to me that by the end of the week the pastors were such a strong, unified team. Someone had communicated to him at the end of the conference that they were not looking forward to the conference, but during the week very much enjoyed it! The mood was very upbeat and hopeful! A letter of sincere thanks was written to Duane, the conference speaker. I hope to share some more information in the future, maybe even pictures. We praise God for what He did through Duane, Enid and Enid’s family, Jeremy, Luke and the others. If you prayed, thank you so very much! Praise God.
Missions (whether overseas or across the street) should always get us past the frivolous like missing McDonald’s and to the real – whether suffering at the hands and batons of abusers or whether understanding the realities of life like HIV disease and placing our hope in a Savior who loves us and taught us how to suffer and still trust God.