After 10 days of concerted activities, the curtains finally came down on the Kampala Mission 2018. It was a time of great celebration as AE staff, local pastors, mission volunteers and, most importantly, new converts, came together to celebrate the faithfulness of God over the mission period. Together, they looked back at the harvest over the entire period and, from one speaker to another, the constant refrain was: “Glory be to God!”
One of the standard goals of AE missions, besides actually reaching people with the Gospel, is to equip the local church for evangelism, so that the task may continue long after AE evangelists have gone. As members of the mission steering committee and zone leaders gave their testimonies, it was clear that God had been at work, not just saving sinners, but also in renewing the church. The following statements at the closing rally capture this reality:
“What I have learned is that as we praise God in our churches, there are many outside not saved. Our commitment, moving forward, is to engage in serious door to door evangelism.” – Pastor Raphael, Coordinator of Zone One
“It’s been such a joy to see Muslims coming to Christ without arguing. I am more convinced of the need for continuous evangelism. I sense that God has an issue with us as churches and church leaders in Uganda. We must go out to evangelise, and give hope to the many out there, desperate for the message of the Gospel. We thank God for AE! The initiative in bringing us together for this great task and the resources invested in the community have all been a blessing from God. We will be discussing the possibility of doing this kind of mission every year with other church leaders. We hope we can still have the partnership of AE in the process.” – – Zone Two Coordinating Team.
Before he led the congregation in a prayer of blessing for AE, Pastor Charles Kiwalabye, who was coordinating zone three, said: “I sincerely give thanks to God for bringing us together as churches to evangelise our neighbourhood. We have reached so many, yet the task that remains is massive. We must continue with this task.”
As AE moves on from the Kampala, Rubaga Mission, the great joy is that a passion for mission and evangelism has been awakened in the church and they are unified to do the work of the Gospel together. Praise God!
The greatest highlight of the closing ceremony was when some of those who had been converted during the mission, and who were present, stood to be received by the church. The crowd celebrated the new brothers and sisters in Christ with tears and joy. Rev Paul Wasswa, AE Uganda Team Leader, led the congregation in this moment of celebration.
“We are celebrating in joy, with the angels in heaven, for every soul that has turned to God. We are celebrating the fact that the lost are found, the dead are alive again, those in enmity with God are restored, and those in captivity have been set free. But the church also rejoices, that God has given us an opportunity to participate in his mission. God can do it alone, but he has privileged us to be his co-workers and the channels of his saving grace and power.”
Among the new believers present was Steve Mtebi Salongo, a 35 years old man who has been, by his own confession, an alcoholic. An architect by profession, his alcoholism recently led to him losing his well-paying job with a construction firm in Kampala. Although he still gets short contracts from which he earns, Steve hardly sees the benefit for himself and his family, because he loses most of his earnings to alcohol. He was often left with nothing; not even enough for food. Steve came to Christ, that he may find forgiveness from sin and healing from his addiction. He came to the closing ceremony to confirm his decision to follow Christ and be welcomed by the church. What a joy it was to see him there.
In his closing remarks, the AE Uganda Team Leader, Rev Paul Wasswa, urged the new converts to continue in their faith, and the church leaders and members to ensure they are established in the faith. “The long but extremely important task of preservation begins now; and our partnership goal is not fulfilled until this task is done,” he said.
This task of encouraging and preserving the faith of new believers began on September 30th, the last Sunday of the mission. As the local pastors embraced and received the new converts who were present, they also made a commitment that they will do their best to ensure that each and every new convert is followed up and discipled into maturity.
As we help churches follow up with new believers, continue to pray for them and their new life in Christ. Pray that their hearts would remain open to Him and that their lives would be transformed by His love.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness (Colossians 2:6-7).