This was my fifth visit to this region of Uganda in the last two years. The testimonies of how God keeps working were ridiculously encouraging. This training had 35-50 people (depending on the time of day). During one session, Pastor Florence shared the following. I tried to scribble it down as best I could, but she was talking so fast and the translator was trying to keep up so I didn’t get it word for word, but you’ll get the idea.
Last year I did not fully believe the teaching method of stories. I am a pastor and my church needs good teaching! But we did two stories of a paralytic and a demon possessed man and Pastor kept asking us a question. “Is our church a place that unloved people will feel love? If they can’t from us, who will they from?” That I could not forget.
Two months later I shared these two stories in the church and asked the same question. I told them to “Go!” and God descended on our town in such a way that we believed we were to love whoever people are.
I hated drunkards. Both of my uncles are drunkards. All my brothers and cousins are crippled because of alcohol. My uncle had a bar he called ‘school’ and he was the headmaster. He welcomed his ‘students’ every day and they would drink all day until they were beyond help.
That week I went to my uncle’s place and told him Jesus loves him just like other bad people and I shared the stories of Jesus loving bad people. I never saw such change! My uncle got saved! My cousins got saved! My brothers got saved! All the ‘students’ got saved and some of their wives!
[quoted exactly] “The drunkards are now in church. We love sinners. We don’t put them down. We love them and they believe. Fifty were drunkards and now in church. No others were doing the job of loving them, just the church. The school is closed now [lots of loud Ugandan cheering!] and the headmaster is telling people about Jesus! [louder cheering!]”
Besides story training, we talked about the character of a leader. I used the one sentence about Ulam (1 Chronicles 8:40) as a recurring point. In the previous eight chapters, there are endless lists of names, but there at the end of chapter 8 is Ulam, the only man called mighty warrior (a reflection of heart) and expert archer (a reflection of skill), and he is also noted for passing those on to his sons and grandsons. This relationship to ministry training, character, and reproducibility was brought up many times by the Ugandan leaders over the days together.
Thanks for your part in seeing people trained to love and share like Jesus did, and to even be part of a ‘school’ closing its doors.