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Have you ever gone through any training to help you grow in your faith? Read about individuals who have been transformed through training.
It all began with a long cruise along Entebbe express highway. The students were filled with anticipation on what was going to happen at the retreat that was ahead of us. We sat in the bus in suspense, wondering what was awaiting us. Every facial expression communicated something special.
Yet we all had one thing in common; we were going to spend four days of the Easter holiday far away from home, in a new place we had never been before. I was surrounded by new faces from both within and out of campus. I was curious to know who they were since we apparently fell in the same age bracket.
Finally, we arrived at our destination after a dusty drive on Kawuku road in Entebbe. A ray of hope brightened up our faces at the sight of the architectural Scripture Union Camp site. I felt a lot of joy with the satisfaction of safe arrival. I was too excited and so were the other students who could not wait to jump out of the bus and adventure the new environment.
There laid the lake view which was breath-taking. The blue waters reflected the amazing cloud in the sky. The compound was surrounded by green grass and tall trees which proved that nature was gracefully giving them a divine touch. We jumped off the bus excited to feel the fresh breath arising from the fresh breeze of the waters. The birds were truly enjoying every single moment within the atmosphere. It was at that very moment that we realized that the retreat had officially began. And we could not wait for the special packages stored in hand for us.
The bright sunlight of a new day arose which filled my heart with enthusiasm for I knew at the back of my mind that a new day had come with new friends surrounding me. The welcoming faces which kept muttering the "good morning" greeting left me amazed because it was a true reflection of family that withdrew every student from their comfort zone of constantly tapping their smartphones. It was a moment whereby everyone was willing and trying to bond with the other. It just reminded me of the several times I enter the classroom at Campus and no one bothers to say "hello". Seemingly, the world has suddenly turned into a lonely, anti-social environment. However, things operated differently here. People were lovely, and humble, for no one seemed greater than the other. Even the trainers themselves were down to earth.
The day kicked off with a time of Devotion. It began with a sessional touch of praise and worship which was fully led by the students and everyone was singing with utmost joy. Immediately after the praise and worship session, a young lady whom I got to know as our trainer welcomed a special guest who was going to lead us in the Devotion. He was introduced as the National Director of LIFE Ministry Uganda, Mr. David Wataba. There came our guest! From his movements, I could tell that he was brilliant and humble for he walked with peace and grace. Being my first time to attending a morning devotion, I honestly could not tell his purpose of coming before us for he was not dressed like an ordained church leader and it was not a Sunday. He led us in prayer and began to preach the Word of God.
I have always looked at the Bible as a Holy book but I never took it seriously. But for the first time in my life, I could feel the heavy weight of God's Word upon me. I stared at the Bible pages as if it was my first time to flip them. Mr. Wataba went on to share with us God's Word from 2 Timothy. I have always heard several preachers teach and I practically got used to the Sunday routine of sitting in church, hearing the sermon and then I walk away. But this time round, I could feel how strong the words were. I could feel them cut through my heart. I truly felt that the Gospel that had for so long fallen on hard and rocky grounds was finally landing on the fertile soil of my life for the first time. I then realized that God loves me so much that He even gave me an opportunity to listen to His Word. It was obvious that everything I have was also by His grace.
We were taught new things that pushed us to reflect upon our lives each moment of the retreat. We were taught how to be sure we are Christians, how to experience God's love and forgiveness, how to be filled with and Walk in the Spirit and how to help fulfil the Great Commission. These were new messages that changed my perception about life. The training sessions which began at 8:00am and ended at 5:00pm proved to be very transformative and life changing. The sports time always began after 5:00pm. Both students and trainers participated. It was a time for us to not only refresh after very engaging sessions but also to learn valuable life lessons and skills, for example the importance of team work and integrity.
I look back at the trainers and appreciate them. Those men and women were exceptionally equipped with humility and patience. A unique resilience was imparted in them. I felt their endurance when they would ask us random questions to test our minds and when we would fail, they taught us the same thing over and over again until the last student understood.
All in all, it was a journey worth taking for it made me appreciate the fact that God has a purpose for me and it was high time that I went down on my knees and acknowledged that I belonged to Him. I made a decision to obey and follow Jesus and trust Him with every detail of my life. I was greatly inspired and transformed by the beautiful time I spent with my newly found Christian family. The peaceful, gentle blue waters of Lake Victoria proved God's greatness and it made me trust in His sovereignty and believe that God has great plans for my life.
By Ketrah Nalujja, A student at Kyambogo University.
It was on Saturday, 26th March 2022 that I got distressed as I pondered on the realities of our generation. The Bible in Hosea 4:6 stresses that God's people perish because of lack of knowledge. "How come there is more destruction in the world even when knowledge has seemingly increased?" I asked myself. It is a paradox!
A week later, I thought that I had figured it out. In my opinion, this generation has been exposed to too much knowledge about God and we are persuaded that we know it all. However, we remain complacent to that which we have known and we do not aim for the depth of the knowledge and truth therein. Neither do we apply it in our lives. But then, the Students' retreat that I attended during the Easter holiday gave me a whole new and bigger perspective to this paradox as we were being trained in the Basic Level of New Life Training Curriculum (NLTC).
I figured out that the real heart of the problem is disobedience. We have failed to stand out and take the initiative to share the Truth we know thus the great destruction. Those 'who think they know' have themselves become a stumbling block to themselves; not giving themselves wholly to the Lordship of Jesus. We have loved so much of the world against Apostle Paul's caution, "Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2. More so, we have forsaken the mandate our Lord Jesus gave us in Matthew 28:18-20, "Go and make disciples of all nations . . . teaching them to obey all I have commanded you". We procrastinate about reaching out to people and instead give excuses; "how will they see me?", "am sure they will reject me", "I do not think it is worth the shot". We have chosen the easy way out, thereby denying the saving power of God and living in utter disobedience.
Witnessing for Christ both with our lives and words is and should be part of who we are. We ought to simply take the initiative to share Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leave the results to God. That is what success in witnessing is about and every Christian must live by that as a lifestyle. As a result, we will be a great resource to our friends, families, communities and the country at large as we share Christ. Perhaps the world needs to see people who have been transformed by the knowledge of truth as a testimony for their own salvation.
I am grateful to the facilitators who obeyed God and allowed Him to use them to help me solve the complex questions I had. I pledge to pass on what I have learnt to others so that everyone knows something who not only knows but also follows Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
By Kasumba Richard, A student at Kyambogo University
I am grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to attend the Jesus Film Project training in May 2022. My life never remained the same. On the first day, I learned that if am going to present the unchanging Gospel in the changing world, I must adjust to the change that is happening.
A trainer mentioned that “change does not make an appointment with your calendar”. That statement stirred me up! So, I made up my mind to go digital. We were thoroughly equipped with various tools and resources for evangelism, discipleship, and church planting, for example, the Jesus Film App and Godtools. I am now empowered to disciple the people God has entrusted to me so that they grow deeper in their faith.
I grew up being told that I should never associate with people from certain denominations. Although I developed a kingdom mindset years ago, I have not been considering Christians of some religions as my fellow kingdom laborers. However, I learned how to associate with them during the training. I actually discovered that we have the same goal: to preach Christ alone. I appreciate LIFE Ministry Uganda for conducting this training and I hope to continue partnering with them in helping fulfil the Great Commission in Uganda and beyond.
Bishop Clever Naamara, Christians Fountain of Life Ministries Uganda
I accepted the Lord Jesus as my personal Savior and Lord in March 1978 when I was 14 years old. Even in the darkest moments of my life, I acknowledge the Lord Jesus as my Lord and friend and the Holy Spirit as my help and guide.
My husband is a born-again Christian, and we have been married for 34 years. We have three adult sons and a daughter. By God’s grace, our family is growing. Two of our sons are married so we now have two more beautiful daughters. This March 2022, we got our first grandchild.
I joined the New Vision Printing and Publishing Company in 1992 as a trainee sub-editor and rose through the ranks from Children’s Editor, Women Editor, Deputy Features Editor and then Features Editor, a position I held for ten years. In 2006, I was appointed deputy Editor-in-Chief, and in April 2010, I got a promotion to Editor-in-Chief, a role I have to date by God’s grace.
As Editor-in-chief, I oversee the content generation and distribution for the Vision group platforms; five newspapers, six radio stations, five TV stations, the online platforms and magazines.
My specialty is development journalism, and I have coached and groomed many journalists in Uganda towards this. Together with the team at Vision group, we have evolved a unique brand of journalism that has grown from simply telling stories to media products that foster development by offering role model practices in farming, education, health, entrepreneurship, environment etc.
I hold a Master’s Degree in Journalism and Media studies from Rhodes University, South Africa and a diploma in Practical Journalism from the Thompson Foundation in Cardiff, United Kingdom.
Before I became a journalist, I was a high school teacher. To this effect, I hold a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education and a Master’s Degree in Education, both from Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.
In January 2019, I was appointed Board Member, LIFE Ministry Uganda, an affiliate of Campus Crusade for Christ.
How I connected to LMU and how LMU has impacted me
I first encountered LIFE Ministry at Makerere University when I participated in the Great Kampala EXPLO 1985. I was then exposed to the Four Spiritual Laws booklet for the first time. My husband, Mr Patrick Kaija and I were at the university together. We were not engaged then, but we were friends. We both attended this EXPLO, and so did many other Christian students. Patrick took to the Four Spiritual Laws better and faster than I did. To date, he still uses the tool for evangelism.
In December 2018, I was invited to the LIFE Ministry Board by the National Team Leader then, Dr Dickson Onen Obwoya. The invitation came at a time when I was praying about serving God. I had a hunger to do more though I had no clear leading. I knew I needed to start, and in January 2019, I became a Board Member of LIFE Ministry Uganda. LIFE Ministry is managed under five arms: Student-Led Movements, Leader Strategies, Global Church Movements, Digital Strategies and the Jesus Film project.
After a few interactions and getting to know more about the programmes at LIFE Ministry, I was convinced that my call was to be more than a Board member. A few months later, Patrick and I were invited to the LIFE Ministry IGNITE Conference in Entebbe, Uganda. At the heart of it was a call to serve with my LIFE (Life, Influence, Finances and Expertise); I wanted deeper involvement. Patrick already had this call, and by the grace of God, he is more active in the body of Christ including the local churches in our home district.
At LIFE Ministry, I have engaged with the Digital Strategies and the Leader Strategies arms. Being a media person, Digital Strategies is my natural and most comfortable space. I believe that Digital media is in God's plan of redemption. The young generation may hide from the church, but they are all out there on social media streets. Digital strategies will help us fulfil the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations faster than any other method.
However, Digital Strategies is a tool, and for anybody to minister adequately, they need both the tool and the message. I was hungry to be equipped with the message when I received the invitation to the Leader Impact Ministries, and I am privileged to have been among the first cohort of the Leader Impact movement.
The Leader Impact Groups and their multiplication
The preparations to start the Leader Impact Groups were quite an experience. Sweat ran down my spine when I was asked to lead a group. In my professional life, I oversee a large department with 270 staff and 400 freelancers; in the past, I have led Bible study groups, but I still felt very insufficient when I received the invitation. I was unsure if I could get 10 leaders into the group and keep them for 10 weeks. I also feared my unpredictable journalism schedule would not allow for consistency. However, NO, was not an option! The Holy Spirit kept reminding me that He had alerted me about this before the opportunity came, and He wanted me to trust Him for enablement. Everything was pointing to perfect timing!
Like the rest of the world, Uganda was undergoing the COVID-19 lockdown, which meant the Leaders we were targeting were working online, and it would be easier to engage them online. I reluctantly accepted to lead the group. It was clear I would not lead by my experience or expertise. I knew that I had to depend on the Holy Spirit for each step.
Once I jumped the initial inhibition, I was surprised. I hardly got any objection. People were willing to give it a try, though some dropped off along the way. In addition to praying for and with us, Dr. Peter Asiimwe and Eng. Elon Katweheyo continued training, coaching and encouraging us to form and lead the groups.
The Leader Impact groups were launched in July 2021, and six domains are currently operational: Management, Engineering/Science, Education, Medical, Law and Business/Finance. Each of these is led by a Domain Leader, and under each of these domains, different leaders lead impact groups of five to ten people each. One leader reaches ten, and the multiplication factor sets in. So far, we have had three cycles and the fourth cycle is beginning.
I lead the Management Domain and I also lead a group. These online discipleship sessions are exciting. The core leadership message is packaged in the Walking with Jesus videos we jointly watch as a group. These character-building series are engaging, relevant and gratifyingly African. As we go through the session, there is a lot to learn and the presence and conviction of the Holy Spirit is visible. The ensuing group discussions get us to reflect on our lives as leaders.
We celebrate the multiplication. So far, the Management Domain has seven impact Groups in session and tons of leaders have been reached so far. However, this type of discipleship ministry comes with challenges including online connectivity issues. The other big challenge is the leaders’ busy schedules. As I write, the Management Domain has just started the fourth cycle, and even then, the groups are at varying levels of completion. Along the way, some leaders drop off while others opt to do the sessions and not to lead a group. The group leader must persevere and be firm on follow up. The Holy Spirit is teaching us to be more patient. With better planning and flexibility, the Leader Impact Groups will grow into a movement that will cover the whole country and beyond.
How the LI groups have impacted me and my work and family space?
The Leader Impact Group sessions are online but they are quite intimate. Drawing lessons from Walking with Jesus, leaders open up about their professional, family and personal lives. We pray with each other and encourage each other. By the time the eight weeks are done, we are rejuvenated. I have seen this repeat itself in the second and third cycles. We have now started the fourth cycle. I now understand the Four Spiritual Laws better but I should confess, I still find it hard to reach out to individuals. I pray the Holy Spirit helps me improve this area.
The Leader Impact Groups have reawakened my zeal to serve God with my whole LIFE. The Holy Spirit is ministering to me as we go through the sessions. Some of my co-workers, younger relatives and friends seek me out when the tides of life are high and the Leader Impact ministry is equipping me to be more deliberate in offering Christ as the ultimate solution. Often, I introduce to them Jesus using the concepts in the Four Spiritual Laws.
The third Cohort of leaders that I led were mostly from my workplace and this drew us even closer, positively impacting our relationships at work. During the third edition my workplace also had a big EXPO that drew 200 exhibitors and over 15,000 participants. This is a huge annual project which stretches all of us. The whole company from CEO to cleaner give it our best. Something stood out for me this time round, at the most crucial of times, I saw the leaders of Impact exhibit service with integrity, humility, tenacity and joy.
My husband and I are planning for retirement and we are at the nescient stages of setting up a farm in Bethlehem of Rwensororo, in Masindi District. In addition to farming, Patrick visits the local churches to preach and often his sermons are crowned with an altar call, based on the Four Spiritual Laws. He also uses the Four Spiritual Laws for one-to-one evangelism in the surrounding villages and to witness to the farm workers. Most of the workers are contracted for the farming season so we have new groups coming in twice a year. Patrick is deliberate about witnessing to them. More recently, he has started them on the New Life classes.
In Bethlehem, the highlight of our Christmas is the Jesus film. We have for the last two years invited the children in the neighboring villages to watch the film. We crown this with a hearty meal of rice, beef stew and soda and the children run around with joy. I believe that the seed of the Word which is planted in these young hearts will continue to grow. The Holy Spirit is ministering to His people. As the Lord provides the necessary equipment, we shall do more outreaches with the Jesus film.
My personal call
I work for secular media, and over the years, I am awakening to the fact that my job is not just a profession but also a calling. The media platforms I oversee reach millions which is a powerful platform for evangelism. Apart from a few targeted programmes, it may not always be possible to preach directly, but we can infuse the fruit of the Holy Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in the content. Through the Haggai Institute training in Maui in October 2008, I became more alert to the fact that I can actively disciple Christians in the media, so they too disciple others. This call is actualized in a more deliberate way with the LIFE Ministry, Leader Impact Groups.
At this point, I sense a leading towards new media for Jesus and LIFE Ministry with the many resources already acclimatized for use in Uganda and Africa, which offers a perfect platform. LIFE Ministry through the Leader Strategies ministry is exposing us to some of these good resources.
Uganda is one of the youngest countries globally; 78% of the 45 million population is under 30 years, and this generation literally lives on social media. The generation needs media that can inform, educate and entertain them while ministering to each aspect of their life. I feel the urgency to minister to this generation through wholesome media and disciple others to do the same.
A challenge to the General public to be involved. Give of your Leadership, Influence, Finances and Expertise.
I conclude with this call for involvement; we need strong selfless leaders at different strata of society to drive and support development and at the core of good leadership is the heart. Uganda is a blessed country, with fertile soils, minerals, and friendly resilient people but this has not transformed into development. We have many brilliant ideas as a country or even at the family or organizational level, but many of them remain undeveloped due to a lack of strong leaders.
Under the Leader Impact movement, we want to grow a strong army of Leaders of Impact, leaders who have Christ at heart and espouse the fruit of the Spirit. We invite you to be part of this movement to build strong leaders who can transform the church, our workplaces, our communities and our country.
Barbara Kaija, Editor-in-Chief, Vision Group
I thank the Almighty God for giving me the opportunity to participate in level two training of the New Life Training Curriculum (NLTC) that was conducted by LIFE Ministry Uganda in conjunction with Kitgum Evangelical Federation. I appreciate the facilitators for being so clear, audible, and straight to the point. I learnt a lot from them and the training. First of all, I learnt that it is important to prioritize my relationship with God because God desires a relationship with me. This is evident through His love, that despite my sin, He gave His Son to reconcile me with Himself. Therefore, knowing God is the most important thing that I must do because it makes me become more like Christ.
Before, I did not take my relationship with God seriously. I used to take ministry more seriously but through the training, I realized that I must value my relationship with God above ministry. In relation to that, I also learnt to value my being with Christ through prayer and reading the Word of God more than doing for Christ (ministry).
Furthermore, I also learnt how to do effective follow up for new converts. Personally, I have won very many souls to Christ but the gap was in following them up. I would not help them grow in their faith but through NLTC, I learnt that I ought to walk with new believers until they are able to stand on their own and be able to also reach out to others with the Gospel.
In addition, I clearly understood that for me to do ministry effectively, I have to be invested in prayer and the Word of God. This has really changed my understanding and perception of ministry.
I, therefore, recommend this training (NLTC) to all the pastors in Kitgum so that we can minister effectively to the body of Christ.
Atim Constance Rosemary, Asst. Pastor with Faith Mission of Uganda Town Church.
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