When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Colossians 2:13-15
SATANISM, SECULARISM OR THE SAVIOR?
In Touch Monthly Newsletter, March 2009
Superstition. Black magic. Demon possession. Child sacrifices. All unpalatable concepts to the Western mindset. In fact, even Christian believers in the USA have a hard time swallowing the truth that these more explicit manifestations of evil still exist in modern times.
These thoughts, however, didn’t cross the minds of ITMI Director Steve Evers and fellow traveler Bob Fulkerson, Missions Deacon of First Baptist Church of Tempe, although they soon would. This was Bob’s first trip to Africa. He had been praying for months to go on a mission trip with Steve to the Dark Continent. The Lord graciously answered Bob’s prayer by sending the two off at the beginning of this year to minister to the saints in Uganda and Sudan. It would be a trip that would challenge many thoughts and preconceptions.
Kampala is the capital city of Uganda with an estimated daytime population of 2.5 million people. At night, 1 million people leave the city to sleep in the outlying rural areas. The other 70% of Kampala’s residents live in the slums. Several reports indicate that Kampala has, for decades, operated under the infrastructure of a 1950s city development plan designed for an urban population of 100,000. City services such as water, sewer and sanitation, electricity, paved roads and street lighting are severely underfunded and poorly maintained. Educational opportunities are rare. Some 36% of university graduates are unemployed. “Have money or die” is a proverbial saying in Kampala, creating the perfect environment for Satan to pander to the greedy and marginalized.
Despite many failed attempts by government officials to raise living standards to acceptable norms, city council members have finally embraced the globalist vision of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals as well as opening their empty hands to the financial resources of the World Bank. In order for Kampala to catch up, funding, resources and a national plan of “re-education” must be implemented within a decade. The elite specialists who modernize poor countries must take the superstitious and surreal out of the tribes of Africa and replace it with the “more rational” secular sanity that the global community exhibits, which is to say that Satan has two con games going on at once.
This is the “world” that Steve and Bob traveled to on December 31, 2008 – a world of satanism and secularism, magic and modernism. ITMI Project Partner, Bill Johnson, picked them up from Entebbe airport about thirty miles southwest of Kampala. Bill, in his 70s, teaches Bible courses at International School of Missions where another project partner, Muhindo Kawede, serves as Principal. The school for pastors and church leaders is a critical project for the glory of God in this part of Uganda and seeks to shed the light of the Gospel of Christ upon a people living in darkness. There was much talk over the next several days of how strategic a position ISM occupies in preparing men and women to share the message and life of our Lord with those in their community.
ISM is now 3 ½ years old. Its primary purpose is to equip church leaders (many of whom have never had formal Bible training) to evangelize and disciple the world in
which they live. ISM offers two programs of instruction: a 2-year diploma in Bible or a 4-year bachelor’s degree in Missions. The cost for a pastor or church leader to attend is $450 per year – a small price to pay to provide solid Biblical instruction for current and future church leaders.
In their discussions, Steve, Bob, Bill and Kawede recognized that this task of building up the nation is more about building people than it is about building structures and implementing programs as the UN seeks to do. The power players in the upper echelon of Ugandan society also recognize this and will use whatever means necessary to remain in control – even to the point of incorporating the animistic practices of the past to stay on top of the ash heap.
For instance, child sacrifice is on the rise according to government officials. One prominent Kampala executive hired a local witchdoctor team to sacrifice a kidnapped street kid upon the foundations of a new building project in order to ensure that the spirits in the area were appeased. Not surprisingly, the Ethics and Integrity Minister called for tougher measures on witchdoctors to include the possibility of “life imprisonments” after admitting that child sacrifice was becoming “a national danger!” As partners with ISM, we can get the word out that there is only one sacrifice that truly appeases – and it was finished 2,000 years ago on Calvary’s cross.
Another reminder that Africa is under a great measure of darkness revealed itself in a shocking way on the first Sunday that Steve, Bob and the Kawede family attended church. One of Kawede’s students, the pastor of a local church in Gaba, had invited Steve to preach the morning sermon. Before the message, however, a woman went into a demonic fit during public testimonies. But the pastor of the church appeared to quiet her down with prayer, commands, and Scripture verses spoken aloud – so much so, that she was allowed to remain in the service to listen to Steve’s message about a person’s greatest advantage in life: to be forgiven of one’s sins through Christ’s death on the cross.
Midway through the message when the blood of Christ was mentioned, the woman went into another demonic rage. She was gently but forcibly ushered out of the service by the church leadership and dealt with in the privacy of the church office where there was much prayer and agonizing. Not long after, Steve called upon everyone present to find their only hope in Jesus and give Him total control over their thoughts and ways. Many quickly responded. After the service, Steve and Bob spent over an hour with the leadership of the church as they prayed together and spent time working with “Edith” who formerly had been involved with a demonic cult in Senegal.
This is just one more reason why the Gospel testimony of Jesus and our partnership with ISM is so important for the future of Kampala – and Uganda at large. The problems that face the country can only be met head on by a changed people. And Christ is changing people and building His Church even in the faraway places of the Earth. Last year at this time, Kawede wrote that the Libyan president, Colonel Muammar Gadaffi, called the Bible “worthless” because it did not mention the prophet Muhammad. Gadaffi was in Old Kampala opening a $30 million dollar mosque for Muslims. Yet in mid-January under a tin roof and mud-brick walls, Steve and Bob were witness to the 16 students preparing to graduate from ISM with a Bible diploma and 3 with a degree in Missions. Christ Jesus will prevail.
More evidences of the spiritual darkness that Steve and Bob witnessed in Uganda (and later Sudan), will have to wait another issue. Both men returned with a fresh and invigorating sense of God’s Almighty power over the darkness of this world through our Lord Jesus Christ!
What can you do to help? Our first request is that you partner with us to pray. We can do all things through Christ Who gives us strength – and these are problems that no man or woman can tackle alone. Pray for the believers in Uganda. Pray for the work of ISM, Muhindo Kawede, and Bill Johnson. Pray that God might arrest the powers of darkness in order for Ugandans to live by His truth and build a better society.
Our second request is that you partner with us to proclaim. Tell people in your community what God is doing in Uganda. Tell them that the only hope Ugandans have is in Christ Jesus and that you’re praying that God might raise up more workers for the harvest fields. There is work to be done and Christ has thrown down the gauntlet to the rulers of this dark world saying, “Uganda is Mine!” Maybe the Lord is preparing to send you or one of your friends to help Kawede and Bill Johnson teach a course or two. What a joy it is to catch a vision of our Risen King!
Our final request is that you partner with us to provide. Would you consider financially supporting one of our Project Partners, Muhindo Kawede or Bill Johnson, as they labor to instruct pastors and church leaders? Maybe you know someone who would be interested in giving toward the tuition costs of a needy pastor? Is there a church group who could get behind a container project of medical equipment from Project C.U.R.E. to use in a land purchase for ISM? Each gift is precious and bears eternal dividends.
Above all, remember that Christ died for the nations. How many Ugandans will you see in heaven who benefited directly from your prayers, your proclamations, and your provisions as God moved you along to do His good will? To God Be The Glory!
Jeff Black – Tempe, Arizona
Source: ITM Newsletter, 03/09