Wednesday, 29 July 2015

FINDING A PEARL OF GREAT VALUE IN THE PEARL OF AFRICA

We have been coming to Uganda for six years now.  Winston Churchill called Uganda the pearl of Africa.  We have done a number of things including leading Fatherheart Ministries A Schools in Mto Moyoni, Jinja which I have written about before (see blog July 2012).  We are supporting the work of Ingrid Wilts and Winette Hubregtse who have been building at Mto Moyoni over ten years or more.  They have held various weeks and youth schools for the people of Uganda and beyond. 

Almost every time we come here to lead a School there are some people who come from Katwe which is a town in the far west of Uganda close to the Congo border. Over time we have got to know them and seen the group from Katwe grow in this revelation of the Father.  I think of a young man called Benson who could barely look you in the eye when we first met.  Last weekend we travelled to Mbarara in the west and led an A School then held a two day conference.  Again there were 25 from Katwe, a mixture of people young and old, pastors, church leaders, students and young people.  They were smiling and three shared publicly of what Father had done.  Benson spoke for 10 minutes or so about what Father now meant to him and the freedom he now had as a son of God.  It was deeply moving.


I wondered how these people came to be there.  It is at least a 24 hour bus ride from Katwe to Jinja.  I heard a story of a lady from Tonsburg in Norway who was involved in some development work in Katwe. She has visited the place only once apparently.  She attended a FHM A School in Norway a few years ago that changed her life.  She began to sponsor and send people from Katwe to Jinja to Mto Moyoni and Fatherheart events.

Yesterday we went to Katwe, which is three hours beyond Mbarara, in the centre of Queen Eizabeth National Park.  We met Nicholas who worked for local conservation and he guided us for a day.  He had been to Mto for a week.  We stopped for lunch of rice and fresh tilapia caught in Lake Edward.  While we were there his mother came to greet us.  We have met her a number of times. She leads one of the churches in Katwe.  She greeted us with a warm embrace and with tears in her eyes thanked us for what we had been part of in bringing this revelation of Father and sonship to her people and her church and her town.  She said it has changed everything and she will never be the same.  She said all the churches in the town have been impacted.  Over one hundred people from the town have now done Fatherheart Schools in Jinja and Mbarara.  Now they meet monthly to encourage each other on their journey in sonship. There were tears in our eyes as we parted.




Katwe is a very small town, about 2,000 people.  Most of its people live by gathering salt from the saline crater lake on the edge of the town.  It is hard manual labour.  These people are not the wise and learned in the usual sense of the word.  They are poor, they are weak, they are unheard of.  Their churches are not grand and ornate, they are made from brick and mud with tin roofs.  But 5% of the people of this town have a hunger to know God as Father that has taken them across the country and back again many times to get more.  In many ways they are the epitome of what Jesus means when he says these things have been hidden from the wise and learned and revealed to little children.  As Paul said , "Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not —to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him." 1 Cor 1:26- 29.

So many of us in western countries tend to more than think twice about coming to Fatherheart Schools,  quibbling over the cost, the fact that it takes a week, and so on.  Just like I did.  We are so rich in opportunities and can feast on a smorgasbord of Christian delights that may in fact hinder us from knowing what heart hunger feels like.  But these people know something we don't. 



These dear people from Katwe have found the pearl of great price and it is transforming their lives and their communities and they will do anything to obtain it.  They have so little of what this world counts valuable and of worth but they have found something so priceless that they will never trade or lose the pearl of great price.

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