This was a great experience for everyone… Some were skeptical thinking, “How will this musungu stay with us?” Others were excited that someone would even consider living exactly like them. I ate with them, joked with them, worked with them, fetched water with them, ministered beside them, they all enjoyed it so much. Even while talking with them mid-week, one of the Ugandans commented, “What kind of musungu are you? You are very well informed. You are a true missionary because your skin is white but your heart is definitely black! You are Ugandan…” Then I commented back, “Nope I am better, I am Congolese, you know they are used to suffering more than the Ugandans… “ This was followed by streams of laughter!
But you know, hearing a comment like that was very humbling and touching. This is the hope and dream of all missionaries to gain the respect of the nationals and be considered an equal partner in the harvest. In fact, I became very close with a group of Ugandans where we always laughed about everything. They enjoyed my witty comments about living in the bush. I told them methodologies for using the long-drop, how to take the best bush bath, how to negotiate with locals and a variety of other daily living things. They laughed so hard but after hearing, they concluded, “You must not even be Ugandan, I am too informed.” (This statement was followed with more laughter but comments on how they’ll utilize some of these methodologies.) Smiles are a universal method to create a friendship.
Living like the locals is exciting and it preaches a strong Gospel message in addition to the actual Word of God. Ministering next to the Ugandans made my heart leap! I arrived with them, helped them set up and then had the opportunity to preach right next to them. I was blessed with the opportunity to preach in the equipping seminars during the day before the nightly crusade. This was where teaching and discipleship occurred. At one occasion there where over 250 people crammed into the tiny bush church and I asked if everyone was saved and everyone nodded and shouted yes! I don’t think I’ve ever been to a service where everyone present was a born again believer!
In the evening was the crusade. Every night from Monday through Friday the speaker preached a strong Gospel message! Each night anywhere between 100-300 people came forward to receive salvation, just as many got filled with the Holy Spirit and just as many were prayed over for healing. Many people came forward to testify about Jesus setting them free from sin, how the Holy Spirit was working in their lives and/or how they were healed of a sickness or disease. Also, many were set free from evil spirits and demonic attacks.
One story stood out to me in particular. There was an older Muslim man who came every night and finally on Friday (which so happened to be the day they broke fast from Ramadan) he decided to turn from Islam and put his full faith in Jesus. He also had back and respiratory pain. We prayed over him and he was so happy! He danced around like a little kid and was so relieved to be a Christian. You could see the look in his eye and his whole demeanor changed. He was dancing and moving around as if he received a full healing. When it was time to testify of what the Lord has done, he went up and was so assertive in explaining his past and what Jesus did to his heart. Let’s continue to pray that there is no relapse both physically and spiritually!
Another aspect of this past weeks’ crusade included a free medical clinic during the day before the nightly crusade meeting. Over 1,200 people received treatment for simple things such as stomach deworming and infected wounds to malaria and typhoid fever. Moreover, on two occasions some of the patients were so sick that we needed to send them with one of our drivers to the nearest hospital for treatment. Some of the New Orleans team members were doctors. Lead by Rozena Erbs, a former operation room nurse turned missionary and director of Hannah’s House Ministry here in Uganda (which takes care of neglected or abused women), the New Orleans team worked very well alongside our handpicked team of Ugandan medical nurses and doctors.
Jesus showed up in a mighty way. Buseta and the surrounding area will never be the same as a result of the ministry God did. It is always a humbling experience to be a part of what God is doing around the world. When we can be the mouth, hands and feet of Jesus there is no greater satisfaction. When someone asks, “What kind of musungu is this?” it brings a great joy because I want everyone to see Jesus when they see me. Lord uses us more, let us decrease and you increase!