……. He was wheeled out of his first surgical procedure at the age of 60 and in an anesthetized state, he began singing praise songs and preaching the Gospel to the doctors and nurses around him. Before the day was done, he had evangelized the entire wing of the hospital. This is a man who has experienced a full life including being chased from his home on more than one occasion in the days of Idi Amin. He is a living example of what it means to live out the 2 Greatest Commandments to love God and love others.
This is the story of George, the original senior pastor of Kabarole Baptist Church here in Ft Portal and a man I am blessed to have as a ministry partner. This man doesn’t just talk evangelism and church planting; he lives it each and every day. His surgery was for a hernia a few years ago and the doctors missed a serious issue and he almost died and left us before another surgery and a long road of recovery corrected it.
I have been privileged to work with this man.
My role has been in training him and his leaders with curriculum I developed that addresses weaknesses in the proper study and delivery of messages as well as teaching the proper methods of facilitating Bible studies. This curriculum will be translated into the local languages and be used to train leaders in other churches in the western region that George oversees; many of which he started & continues to guide to stay healthy.
When we were looking for a home church, the Lord led us to that church for many reasons.
For one, it is the only church that has ever embraced the street kids we moved over from the slums of Naguru which brought us here. George insisted on not only embracing them but allowing the to sing on Sunday mornings and teach them. He puts a smile on every face he comes into contact with. I know what you are thinking: “Yeah, I have heard that before about a lot of people.” That is why I started the article as I did. Anyone who would be coming out of a fog after surgery in massive pain singing praise songs gets my vote for Disciple Of The Year! He and his lovely wife Mary are simply a joy to be around.
Mary is George’s anchor and over the gut wrenching years of suffering they have been through living in poverty and running for their lives when they were younger, they have amassed 40 years of an amazing marriage.
Mary is a prayer warrior and speaks into the lives of not only the women in the church but all over their village in the humble home they live in just outside town. We met an American couple, Skip & Ruth, who were here when George started the church and were instrumental in getting the church going and getting it established, among other things.
They are amazing people who have been here since the mid eighties!
George has had many “muzungus” over the years partnering with him and We are blessed to be the newest ones. His insistance to reject the prosperity gospel and stay true to the Word has been the main reason I have been working with him. But we get the benefit of having a true friend who would do anything for us.
I have listened to the many stories (Ugandans love to tell stories) about the Idi Amin days and losing everything over and over again.
It is fascinating and heartbreaking at the same time as I look into the eyes of a man who has seen atrocities far worse than any I can imagine. He is jazzed over the simple things: “Do you know that back in the 90’s it was not possible to get butter here!!” While he struggles some with his health since the surgeries, you would not know it by the tireless way he ministers to others. We meet weeklly and talk planning and pray at a local restaurant.
He knows everyone and while he is waiting for me he is evangelizing the staff or a passer by. He doesn’t stand on street corners screaming and yelling; he talks face to face, one relationship at a time about Jesus. He dreams big and has plans to grow the church and provide a school and other things to not only help the community but also pave the way for the next pastor who he will eventually pass along the torch to.
As we get to journey here in Uganda, we see tragic and horrible things but we also get to do life with some pretty amazing people and when we see a light like George shining all over people, it makes the unbearable a little more bearable.
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