By John Muhanji – FUM Africa Ministries Representative, Kisumu, Kenya
The month of July was one of the most fulfilling times in my ministry. We visited the highest part of Mt. Elgon, called Kaboywa, where there is a Quaker church and a school, built in 1952 by Quaker missionaries. The children, who were in class, saw the vehicle we were in crossing the field toward the church. They did not wait to be given permission to go out by the teachers. They jumped up and left their classrooms, rushing toward our vehicle. Every child was full of excitement. I have never seen so much joy in my life. Their enthusiasm made me laugh. Even now, as I write, I am laughing to myself as I remember their expressions of joy. In fact, the whole school was full of joy and praises that day.
Visiting this school was such a breakthrough because we have not been able to reach that area. It is a region that is not visited by missionaries. I was delighted the people located there felt God remembered them. The joy of reaching out to those who have felt almost forgotten by other people is such a blessing to me.
I am also full of joy to share the fact we have hired a new education secretary, Zadock Malesi, who is currently serving as a school principal at Mufutu Friends Secondary School. He will begin his duties as education secretary on September 1.
Also, seven Friends from Wabash Friends Church visited the African Ministries Office and engaged in some of our ministry endeavors. The group spent one day learning and understanding how Kaptama Health Center originated and how it continues to offer services to the community of Kitale.
For your information, the Kaptama Health Center was established as a mobile dispensary outreach of Kaimosi Hospital in 1946. Today, the hospital has five staff houses, a bed capacity for 30 patients, a maternity ward, a lab and a pharmacy. Built on a seven acre property, the hospital has plenty of room for expansion.
Those seven friends from Wabash assisted in helping us through a global access program to create a discipleship training program for pastors in Uganda. The training was powerful and transformative. It gave new pastors insights on church planting and growth. This program is designed to empower pastors in micro-enterprise business that will aide them to do their ministry.
I was able to visit Uganda during the discipleship training program for ministers. There I heard testimonies from the leaders and saw unity in the Uganda Yearly Meeting that is beyond description. I praised God for the unity of purpose I saw especially after such a long, difficult time of struggle. The young people trained in discipleship training and planting new churches testified they had planted a new church with 50 members in one week. That is simply amazing to me!
Opening the leadership program to the leaders and to those less privileged is a great moment of ministry. These young people are now ready to go to Northern Uganda and help strengthen the church there.
The ministry of training has allowed all who participated to feel supported, equipped and energized to build new churches. All of them came away with the feeling they were at a new beginning of ministry and could minister more effectively.
As a final note, I am committed to the purpose statement of FUM: “Energize and equip Friends through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Through this commitment I have been encouraged to reach out to those who are difficult to reach, I can empower those called to ministry through discipleship training, and I can strengthen the church in Uganda through leadership and discipleship training. My talents and gifts have been strengthened as I abide in the purpose of FUM. It is an incredible feeling to empower the superintendents and pastors to be good stewards and help them focus on ministry and missions. It is also an unquestionable privilege to serve God in this ministry.