Lorraine and I have been to Uganda a number of times, but our trip this October was one of the most outstanding! When we first went in the 1980’s, the nation was seeking to rebuild after the horrors of a civil war which had devastated the country. And the churches had been through a terrible time of persecution under the rule of the President Idi Amin. But since then, the churches we are associated with, Deliverance Churches, have given themselves to praying for the nation, church-planting, and training young leaders in understanding how God’s kingdom can penetrate nations.
From a base of a handful of churches in the nation, they have grown to a vigorous group of 450 or so churches!
There were two thrusts to our trip to Uganda this time. First, many of our leaders across several nations in sub-Saharan Africa were gathering for a leadership conference. This group of leaders call themselves “Inuka Afrika”, which is Swahili for “Africa, arise!”. Representing about 12-15 nations, they gather once a year for their leaders’ conference, to set vision and goals for themselves. We have had the privilege of being with them before, but this conference was remarkable in terms of vision and faith for the continent of Africa and beyond. There were about 1000 – 1500 leaders gathered in Uganda, and several hundred others also attending online. The worship was fantastic, the teaching and training full of purpose, and the whole atmosphere was faith-filled.
This conference also coincided with celebrations of Uganda’s 60th anniversary of Independence. The wife of the current leader of the nation, president Museveni, is a committed Christian, and leads the nation in prayer. We had the privilege of attending various national events, a Youth Forum which encourages Christian young people to set the tone for the nation, and one of the younger leaders in the Deliverance Church, Paul Wafula, spoke at this event. And then there was a national prayer breakfast, attended by many Christian MP’s in the nation, and from nations around. One of our leaders from Kenya, JB Masinde spoke at this event, and was absolutely outstanding. The president’s wife also asked our Inuka team to pray with her after one of the events, and it was a privilege to be able to be part of this.
And because these were national events, our Inuka team were treated with great honour as guests of the state, being greeted at the airport as VIP’s, and ferried around in Police escorted motorcades This was quite an experience, which may not happen again, but which will stay etched in our memories for a long time!
It has been a privilege to be associated with the nation of Uganda for several decades now, and to see how, coming from a history of great brokenness, the church has penetrated this nation with the gospel and the presence of God’s kingdom, and prayed for the nation’s blessing consistently and continually. The seed of God’s kingdom has taken root, for sure, and the leaven is leavening the whole lump of the nation! A great lesson for us all!
Steve Thomas, Leader, Salt and Light International Team