Bethany and I are incredibly fortunate to be able to see God move in so many wonderful ways in Uganda. Between the work we get to be involved in at Show Mercy, and interacting with mission teams and the people of the surrounding villages, God never ceases to amaze us each and every day. Just in the past couple of weeks, we have seen and heard of numerous people being healed of injuries and illnesses, others being delivered from demonic attack, and countless people giving their lives to Jesus. God is good! However, surprisingly enough, I think the one place where I have seen God moving the most has been in our church.
It wasn’t long after we had made our commitment to stay in Uganda that one of the founders of SMI and a Ugandan friend both asked us where we were going to church. We had a long list of reasons why we hadn’t been going. The village churches are tiresome after a long week of work, the language barrier is too great for us to really get anything out of village church, Kampala is too far away, and on and on we went. But because two people from two different continents asked us about going to church, we really felt like God was trying to tell us something. It was also becoming clear to us that we would need to find a community and some sort of social life outside of the organization we work in.
By the grace of God we saw that a “Facebook friend” – someone we had never actually met before – had be raving about the church he and his family had been attending in Kampala. Now Kampala is about a forty-five minute drive for us, on a good day, without traffic or cattle in the roads. Forty-five minutes on the road doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but remember these are not U.S. Highways we’re talking about. An hour on these roads and driving in the city of Kampala – one of the busiest cities in Africa – causes the whitest of knuckles and can bring the bravest of drivers to tears. The roads consist of traffic going all ways. Not two way traffic, but all and every way. Add in countless Boda Bodas (motorcycles) with passengers on the back, other times goats and chickens strapped on, and occasionally furniture stacked 10ft high. Oh yeah, let’s not forget about the hundreds of people walking in and out of traffic carrying all sorts of goods, children, animals, etc. Driving in Uganda takes a special talent and can make a young man old real quick. Despite the challenge that this would be each Sunday, we put our faith in the grace that God provides each day, and made the decision to try out this church that our friend had spoken so highly of.
Freedom Church. Connecting anyone anywhere to a life-changing relationship with Jesus.
It took only this one time attending this church to know that this is where we belonged. We knew this is where we belonged because the church made us feel like we belonged. It was like we had been attending for years, like we were family. Bethany and I both didn’t realize how much we missed attending church. The worship, the messages, the community. It was all missed and hit us both with a wave of refreshment. We loved everything about that first week at Freedom Church and have loved every Sunday since.
Over the past three months, we have met many great new friends (including a fellow Nebraskan). We have participated in their annual event called The Cave and their ministry for boys living on the streets of Kampala called, Freedom Heroes. This last weekend we volunteered at the church for the first time, and later this month, I’m happy to announce that I will be baptized at this church. We could both go on and on about how much we love Freedom Church. It has truly been God in action and we’re so thankful for how He has used this experience to change our lives.
Freedom Church, by the end of this year, will have seventeen different locations on three different continents. Their vision is to connect anyone anywhere to a life-changing relationship with Jesus, and I can honestly say they back this up. When they decided to plant the church in Kampala, Uganda, I can almost assure you they didn’t have in mind that they would be making a significant impact on the lives of a young couple from Nebraska. But this church has truly stood behind their vision and intentionally loves everyone they meet. This is a rare thing in church these days.
We are so happy and thankful that we found Freedom Church, but what’s really on my heart to share is that I want everyone to have a church they can call home. Bethany and I thought we were doing fine because we had responded to God’s call and moved to Africa, but it wasn’t until we started attending church – at least for me – that things really began to change. God started moving inside me like never before. I want to encourage you all to find a church and get involved in building church.
If you don’t currently attend church I encourage you to find one to attend as soon as possible. If you’re not a believer, or maybe you’re not quite sure about the whole church scene, then I encourage you to check out Freedom Church online. This is an opportunity to be a part of a worldwide community from the comforts and safety of your own home.
God is amazing and works in so many fascinating ways, and believe it or not, He still works through the church. My prayer is that everyone loves their church as much as we do.