I have now been in Uganda for 16 days. I have been teaching on Buvuma Island out in Lake Victoria. I taught a five day Bible Institute, beginning the process of training the pastors, none of whom have had any formal training. Then I led a two day church planting conference, performed a wedding, intervened in a medical situation, and then drove back to Entebbe to pick up my wife, Gail. We are returning to the island this afternoon to continue with church planting and women’s conferences. Gail with have done 3 women’s meetings in the first two days of her stay on the island.

So yesterday as we drove to Entebbe, a pastor who has a church there was returning from the Bible Institute. I hadn’t had time to visit with him and so, with the interpreter driving my car, I asked him about his life in Christ. As usual, I am reminded to ask frequently for these stories because they always give me a lift and educate me about the culture here and the Kingdom of God.

Pastor Patrick told me that he had been a womanizer ten years ago, but at one time he chased after the wrong woman, the wife of a witch doctor. This resulted in a demonic curse which afflicted him with severe cutting pains in his abdomen. It became so intense that he thought we was dying, so he decided to go to some church and get right with God before he died (wise man there). He went to a church and received Christ, and as they ministered to him, he explained about the curse. They prayed for him to be delivered and he was instantly relieved of his symptoms. His worldly friends told him later that he could be a Christian but continue his partying lifestyle, so during the first week he returned to his old habits. Immediately the symptoms returned and doubled him over. He waiting in torment until the next Sunday and then went back to the church. They discipled him a bit in how a Christian should behave and how repentance works, and prayed for him again. Immediately the torment departed and has never returned. He subsequently became a deacon with a strong bent toward evangelism, and now since 2010 has been a pastor in a church he planted.

After my teaching on Buvuma, Patrick echoed the sentiments I have heard much in the last week as I have taught the Bible and its principles among this isolated island people group. He told me repeatedly that the gift I have brought to them with the teaching is “extraordinary,” has “kindled a great fire among them,” and “has taken me to a new level.” I have to keep these comments in the perspective of their isolation and the Lord’s anointing on my teaching, and not “deflect” with false humility as I am being taught in my men’s group back in the U.S., but also remain properly humble. I tell you that sometimes in the face of this overwhelming gratitude, this simple spiritual balance can be a struggle. However, the Lord is always ready to help in humbling me and often in the most precious manner, as I am about to relate.

Now the circumstances of his church plant are what I want to come to here. He was ministering evangelism in this area of Entebbe, and a man he had witnessed to but who had not responded died suddenly. He was led by the Spirit to go to this man’s house and pray for him. Those who were gathered there wondered aloud what prayer this evangelist could pray for a dead man. He sat with the man and prayed just as the Spirit led him for about thirty minutes. The man stirred, then as he continued to pray, he opened his eyes. As he recovered from his “death” experience, he told Patrick that he was being held down by people or beings who were dragging him away, but suddenly as he was resisting them, he heard Patrick’s voice calling to him. He related that as he continued to struggle, the voice became like a sword and cut through the arms that held him until finally he was free, and he immediately came toward the voice, and woke up in his bed with Patrick praying for him.

Needless to say, as Patrick ministered to this man, he received Christ. The people gathered there also responded to the message, about 18 praying to receive Christ. It was this group that asked him to plant a church there and pastor them. His home was quite a distance away near Jinja, but he asked his pastor and his overseer for permission to plant the church in Entebbe, and after a season of prayer, they agreed and sent him to do so.

It is worth noting that as I continued to probe his testimony, he related a second story of praying for a dead child who also returned to life in a very similar New Testament manner. I can’t use my brief time and space here to relate that story also, but maybe I will send it along later. My point is that this man, a humble pastor who is not trumpeting these testimonies, but whom I had to pry them out of during a three hour car ride, is telling me I have given “him” an extraordinary gift with my teaching, and have brought “him” to a new level in his faith. I must say, in the presence of this simple and uneducated pastor, who is merely following the Holy Spirit’s direction in his work, “I” am truly humbled, and it is a sweet humility to be used by God to teach such people as these.

Normal? Extraordinary? Typical? These terms begin to lose their meaning to me. So, you tell me…

 

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