Francis could not hold his gratitude at bay. With tears of gratitude, maybe even relief, he fell to his knees and flung his arms around the legs of ITMI’s Steve Evers, sobbing.
“Thank you. Thank you…” he kept repeating.
What Steve was empowered by ITMI supporters to do was simple. For Francis, it was life-changing. And the far-reaching impact for the kingdom will be worth many times what it cost.
What You Need to Know About Francis
He wanted to visit a slum to get some pictures to help others understand the realities of life in Uganda, and bless people living there with handshakes, printed photos of themselves and small gifts, like pieces of candy for the children. In Steve’s words, “...and not cause a big fuss.”
Kawede, who is the Principal of ITMI’s International School of Missions, doesn’t work directly in any of these areas. But he has relationships with many leaders and pastors in the area.
He introduced Steve and Kent to Francis.
ITMI's Muhindo Kawede (left) with Francis (right).
Francis ministers to children in Katooga slum, not far from the banks of Lake Victoria and across the bay from ISM.
As Francis walked with them around the slum, Steve and Kent were impressed with the way Francis interacted with the community and admired the work that the church was doing with the meager resources they have.
A 9-year-old girl stuck close to Steve. She stood out as different than most children he crosses paths with in Africa. We shared what he learned from her not long after he returned to the States on our website.
Steve and Kent were impressed with how Francis interacted with the community.
Francis, Kent and slum children cross over open sewage to access the make-shift structure that shelters the church when they gather.
The 9-year-old girl from Katooga slum that did something unexpected.
In addition to his ministry in the slum, Francis tried to provide for his family by doing whatever he could find. He often cut the prolific weeds in tropical Kampala, just barely providing for his family's daily needs.
They lived in day-to-day dependance on God to provide for that day’s food.
Then, Steve and Kent discovered something else about Francis.
The slum pastor really wanted to be trained for ministry, to be a better, more Biblical leader and be discipled as a pastor.
He had participated in one of Kawede’s Portable Bible School classes, but the $670 annual tuition for the International School of Missions was far too much for his simple family who was barely surviving on less than $2 per day.
A refugee from Democratic Republic of Congo whose parents abandoned him at an early age, Francis doesn’t have anyone he can ask for help.
His rough past has beautifully prepared him to better serve the children in this impoverished, informal settlement who are experiencing tumultuous childhoods themselves.
Katooga slum residents.
How Steve, Kent and ITMI Supporters Brought Francis to His Knees in Gratitude
After several interviews with Francis, Steve felt the Spirit leading him to help this godly servant attend ISM. Because of ITMI supporters, he was able to offer that ITMI would pay for his tuition as well as provide a small stipend that his family could live on.
The gratitude and relief from the pressure Francis carries is what made him react with such emotion, falling on his knees in thankfulness.
He was doing the best he can to minister to children in Katooga slum. But he hadn’t been equipped. He didn’t have resources to turn to. And he was faithfully doing this ministry unsupported - financially and emotionally - while trying to ensure his family’s survival.
Francis has been attending ISM for most of 2018. He is learning and growing as a leader and a person. He is grateful for the opportunity.
This is the difference ITMI supporters make in the lives of faithful and godly nationals who are doing the best they can with what God has already given them to share Jesus.
This Christmas, we can help you increase the impact of your giving. By sponsoring a worthy pastor or leader to attend our International School of Missions for a year with a gift of $670, you:
- Launch the lifelong ministry of a faithful believer by equipping them to lead Biblically and preach solid doctrine.
- Open up community and resources available through the International School of Missions to enhance the ministry of someone who desperately wants to know God’s Word.
- Give Muhindo Kawede the opportunity to disciple someone who is positioned to reach people who are often forgotten and needy with the Good News.
- Help the entire International School of Missions thrive. Operating costs are set, so more students enable ISM to cover expenses.
When you partner with quality national believers, your impact is far reaching and lasting. You not only provide for the physical needs of the needy, but you do so much more!
You connect them with a believer near them, someone who can share Jesus, disciple them and offer community and connection.
ITMI's Muhindo Kawede with an ISM student.
It really accomplishes a whole lot.
Tomorrow, as you reflect on what you have to be thankful for, remember that what our Lord has done for us is worthy of finding ourselves on our own knees, clasping his legs and repeating our thanks. Over and over.
He has truly been good to us!