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AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF GOD'S CALL AND DEALINGS IN MY LIFE

 This is one book I did not want to write. My understanding of biographies is that they are written about great people with life long achievements that posterity would be blessed with a documentation of those achievements. From my perspective there appears nothing of great note that I have accomplished, so far, in life to justify this autobiography. The operative phrase here is, 'my perspective', but NOT God's perspective.

 Only very recently, I was struggling with writing this book. I was not convinced God was in it and had contemplated giving up. I was frustrated at not being absolutely sure, and yet not wanting to be a faithless, disobedient servant. In a dream, I found myself saying, in frustration,:

   "I can't see God in any of this or anything I'm doing!"

All of a sudden, so unexpectedly, I heard the deep audible Voice of the Holy Spirit respond to my angst in a gentle but firm manner and say, in a matter of fact way:

    "I CAN!"

 I was shocked and terrified! Not expecting that response, but fully realising it was a gentle rebuke I immediately apologised and said: "I'm sorry!"  That was the end of my excuses.

 It is, therefore, one of those things one learns as a Christian to do because the Holy Spirit has said to. It is not by force of argument that you obey God, rather by the knowledge that His Ways are always higher than yours and His Thoughts higher than your thoughts. The Holy Spirit said "Write!”  I have done so.

 To my surprise, as I reflected on what to write, I learnt a great deal about the way God seemed to be ordering all my ways. Both the supernatural and the so-called natural events are beginning to reveal God's dealings with me, and His plan for my life that were not obvious at the outset. There is clearly an ordered method in which I am being prepared by the Holy Spirit to be commissioned for the fulfilment of the Divine call given some twenty years ago.

 The most important lessons from this book relate to the great importance of being obedient to God at all costs. The other major lesson is the need for all Christians to realise that we are really in a spiritual war till our last breath. We are NOT in a battle that only lasts a short time. This is a protracted war with many, many battles to be fought and won by the power of the Holy Spirit to the Glory of God through His Son, The Lord Jesus Christ. Such is the testimony of this book.
 

Chapter 1

THE YEARS OF YEARNING

In a provincial country town known as Gulu, north of the Ugandan capital, Kampala, there I was born. My mother reckons I was the easiest to give birth to of all the nine births. There were no delays or complications as if I was ready to face the world. The seventh child, the third and youngest son, born around 7.30 p.m., weighing 7.5 pounds (3 kilograms) in the month of September. 

Looking back at the first 7 years of my life, from the accounts obtained and personal recollections, it could best be summed as the years of physical and emotional torment. I had a horrendous allergy to grass. This meant that I could only play with all the other children while suffering from very itchy sores that covered any part of my body that was exposed. There was no medical cure for the relentless itchiness at that time. 

Within a year of my birth, I had to be separated from my parents for a period of about two years.  In those colonial days students, who wanted to take their wives with them during their overseas postgraduate studies, were not allowed funding for children. I was, therefore, left to the care of my aunt, who at the time had also just given birth to twins! It was a time for competition between the three of us for breast-feeding!  

In African culture, this practice was done in cases such as this or when a child is orphaned, or the mother is seriously ill.  A near relative, who is breast feeding her own child, can be called upon to come to the aid of the child.  There was no ready access to baby milk formula in those days.  As far as I was concerned, I suppose, if it was good enough for my cousins it was good enough for me! 

Undoubtedly, the pre-mature separation from my mother, coupled with the allergy caused many traumas for a child at that crucial age, alienating me from my parents. Both physically and emotionally they were strangers when they came back one day to reclaim me. My heart broken parents told me that I did not want to go home with them. I just wanted to stay with my baby-sitter, who had become my adopted mother. The confusion in my mind, and emotional trauma must have been immense having gone through three "mothers" within the space of two years.  

As a consequence, I reckon, I became the loneliest child in the family because all my other brothers and sisters had at least remained together living with my father's sister's family.  I remember, even at the age of six, how often I felt so empty inside. Everything was futile, and many times I would think to myself what is the meaning of this empty feeling inside. All I had known until then was physical and emotional torment with no emotional solace with anyone.  It was to be another seven more long years before true lasting relief came my way.

Living in a countryside where there were superstitions about witchdoctors, cannibals, and certain wild animals was a far cry from the city life in the capital when we moved there, in 1963. Dad, a medical doctor, had been appointed to work in the largest public hospital, Mulago Hospital. Coming to a totally new environment provided some relief through the inevitable attraction of all things new to a 7-year-old.  

This home was larger than the one in the countryside with a beautifully terraced garden covering about one and a half acres. It was only 100m from the hospital, and therefore very handy for Dad to quickly respond to any emergency calls from the hospital. There were all manners of tropical fruits in the garden that we proceeded to gorge ourselves with, as soon as we moved in, much to the amusement of our parents.  

Here the grass was always well cut and we were forbidden from exploring the strange new plants, and flower beds. As a consequence I began to recover from the entire skin allergy much to the relief of my distraught parents. In the countryside, we enjoyed living a little "on the wild side" with forays into the bush to hunt, and set traps for feral animals, cats, small wild animals, birds or just to look for wild fruit. This meant walking through very tall elephant grass, which grows anywhere to about two metres tall with very sharp spiked blades. Although we got badly cut by it, and I had a horrible allergic reaction to it, nevertheless, it was too good to be abandoned. It was truly the case of "folly being bound up in the heart of a child". Dad, in particular, was very glad to get us out of that environment. And as he would, on occasions, amusingly put it: He feared we were becoming like the wild animals we hunted! We would all just roar with laughter in response.

 There was an exciting new school to go to, and new friends to make. There was the challenge of learning the English language more vigorously. This was a much more modern school by countryside standards. Here they had exercise books and wrote with ink pens! In the country, where I had studied in first grade (primary 1), we each had our own one-foot-square blackboard and chalk as the exercise book! With all the wastage of chalk that 6-year-olds make, we would all end up going home at lunchtime looking like ghosts!  

In this new environment there was also, however, the stress of meeting the academic demands both of one of the highest standards primary schools in the country, and a very professional parentage. My parents, being professionals, were not about to fail in instilling this professionalism in all of us.  

The initial joys of change from the countryside eventually wore off. Not being a mathematical whiz kid made life hard, since in those days without maths and English there were virtually no avenues for further education beyond primary school.  Then there was the anguish of being very lack lustre in sports.  My sisters were very athletic winning numerous trophies. My brothers were in some type of sports team.  My best effort was tripping over my own feet every time I went for a serious sprint.  Many an anguish did my mother suffer when I arrived home with severely bruised knees (to the bone) and hands.   Being born with an outward turned feet did a lot to hold down and undermine my self-confidence. This was made worse by the constant teasing I got from everyone about my feet. 

I became a slight stutterer. There was a deep yearning to do the right thing, although I knew what I wanted to say, my insecurity and severe lack of confidence always made me struggle to speak for fear of being misunderstood.  As a consequence I become more introspective totally desponded and disillusion about my prospects in life. My heart and mind were crying out for someone, something that enables me to be accepted with all my inadequacies. There was no real future in the hard road of life being disadvantaged in those crucial areas that the world demanded. 

Dad and Mum, being staunch Anglicans made us attend Sunday school every Sunday without fail.  I clearly remember what Dad once said when my youngest sister (about five years old at time) did not want to go to church. She was having a tantrum. Dad, in his deep voice, bellowed out a command for her to get ready for church immediately giving a simple but memorable reason. 

"I will not have pagans in my household!"

 I learnt a lot about the Bible characters and its message, but unfortunately not about how I could come to a personal knowledge and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. The 'Crusader' Christian camps were particularly memorable because of the fun and activities with my newfound friends. We were able to spend time together without the family constraints and the pressure of studies.

 It was during this period that Dad purchased a children's Illustrated Bible story series of ten books. I was very fascinated by the pictures and often would look through them. What drew my attention most were the pictures of Jesus and the accompanying stories about what He did for those in need around Him. Another major attraction was the illustrated pictures of what Heaven was like. These made me have a very strong yearning to go to Heaven.  I remember praying many times in anguish to God that I might go to Heaven one day when I died.  Nothing happened to encourage me that my prayers had been heard.

 One thing did happen though, I was very much overwhelmed by the stories about Jesus, and I loved Him for it.  I regularly used to go and look through and read the accounts finding great solace that there was at least one Person who truly loved me and maybe one day if I lived a good life I would go to Heaven and see Him face to face. Though I yearned often for that, it also became my point of greatest despair because Heaven was so far away, and God so unreachable. In my child's mind and lacking in true Christian teaching there seemed only distant hope and a great empty gulf of space between me and God. Many a helpless tear was shed over this anguish of heart and soul.

 At the age of thirteen, I entered the then very prestigious and elite Anglican High School, King's College, Budo.  Against all the odds, I was able to achieve the required scores in the national primary leaving examinations. The future hopes of those who were to achieve anything in a developing country, like Uganda, were put to their first significant test in these examinations. 

 Dad, who was a "wunderkinder" from his village, had attended the school on a string of scholarships in the colonial days. He had longed to see one of his sons attend that school.  In retrospect, I can freely acknowledge that it was the grace of God because my academic performance up until twelve months before the public examinations clearly showed that I would never make it to "The" High school.

 Mum had attended, and now all my older sisters were already attending the most prestigious Anglican girls' school, Gayaza Girls' High School - the "crème de la crème" academy in the country. With such pressures to achieve and maintain the high academic standards it had to have been a miracle from God, unbeknownst to me being unsaved at the time.

 I had to somehow overcome my sense of failure and inadequacy. Perhaps the greatest influence was the frequent sobering "lectures" that my parents gave us at the beginning and end of each school term about the realities of the harsh world out there. If we did not study hard and achieved academically, it was clear that our lot in life would be condemned to one of misery, hardship and eventual privation.  I was also made aware of the reality of separating from my school friends who had demonstrated the academic ability to enter that school. By the "skin of my teeth" and abundance of God's unseen guidance I made it! 
 

CHAPTER 2

 THE SHATTERING OF A NATION'S DREAMS

 The night of 25 January 1971 was one of inexplicable noise around the city. The sounds of gunfire, and exploding bombs rocked the city. Being the "numero uno" sleepy head in the family I was not even remotely awakened by all the noise, although it was only about three kilometres away. Waking up in the morning, I heard that the civilian government of Milton Obote had been overthrown in a bloody military coup de tat. After several tense hours of uncertainty, and a city covered in thick smog from all the military hardware expenditure, the first announcements came on the radio.

 Prior to that there had only been instrumental music, mostly military band type that we used to love watching at parades during the various celebrations. My favourite was during the Independence Day celebrations on 9th October. In those days they were the proudest moments of the country. The nationals could now look up as people who had been freed from all the colonial shackles, and the feeling of being, at best, second class humans in their own country. We would line up the streets and wave to the Presidential motorcade cheering wildly in our childhood excitement. I always looked forward to the accompanying floats; with all manner of displays slowly winding their way through the streets as part of the celebration parade. These were the achievements of the nation since independence on display.

 A nation that the Late British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, called the "Switzerland of Africa" because of its natural geographic beauty.  Added to this was the best health and educational system, road network, and cheapest energy and most abundant water supply in Eastern Africa.  The nation was growing full steam ahead towards prosperity and the fulfilment of cherished dreams that the leaders had instilled into the minds of the nationals.  The celebrations were truly nostalgic  for the pioneering generation that secured independence on the 9th October, 1962.

 On such occasions, my parents who were part of that pioneering generation of Ugandans would attend the numerous State and private banquets while we, the children, watched various speeches on television. It was also our few chances to watch the late night movies. With parents who kept a strict vigil on how long we spent in front of the television, and since they were always at home in the evenings with the family for at least 360 days a year, such nights were treasured indulgence for us. One can appreciate such occasions when you know that we all had breakfast together, lunch together, afternoon tea together, and dinner together seven days a week throughout the year - all ten of us!

 The Odonga family was one of the symbols of the fulfilled dreams for our tribe. An icon and example to all others in the tribe. The Acholi tribe was a very proud people with a fierce-some warrior heritage well appreciated by the neighbouring tribes and the British colonialists.  They became the main source of labour for the army and the police. Their heritage of loyalty and respect for authority and fellow humans was to prove their "Achilles heel" during and immediately after the military coup. They were slaughtered by the thousands because the military regime feared they would mutiny and maintain allegiance to the ousted civilian government.

 Dad, born in a very poor peasant sugar cane growing family experienced the success stories that one reads in fiction novels. With a great deal of disadvantage in all respects he defied the demons of poverty that strapped most of the kinfolk of his day. With the help of a missionary who recognised his brilliance in primary school, he was soon on a string of scholarships from primary right through to University medical school. I firmly believe that the grace of God abounded and was shown through that missionary. There were many kinfolk in his day that failed along the way, but a straight A-grade student it was granted him to be all the way!

 Mum, daughter of a constitutional chief, was no ordinary achiever among the women-folk in those early days when opportunities for women were very limited. With a proud, conservative heritage; teaching became her forte with considerable national influence on the development of education in later years.

 These two became the elite sophisticated duo that loved classical music, and enjoyed a large but well disciplined family. Yet, they were able to maintain a balance and kept contact with the traditional lifestyle of the country folk. What had just happened that morning in January, however, was about to throw them into the era of tumult. Such tumult that would rock the very foundations of everything they had built their lives on.

 The announcement on the radio came. For the first time we heard the speech by an army officer called, Idi Amin Dada. He announced the military coup that was to begin the process of shattering our lives. Within a few days my parents began to get reports of relatives and friends who had been brutally murdered, some in front of their wives and children while they screamed and begged for mercy! A heavy darkness had settled over the land and the joys of independence soon became distant memories of another time zone.

 The radio and television became major focal points at the regular news intervals. I remember looking at my parents and noting that blank disillusioned feeling on their faces as they sat quietly sorrowing over the bereavement of yet another person. My joys of having made it to "The" High school gave way to heartache and emptiness at the sorrow of my parents. I had always grown up seeing my parents always happy and generally contented with life. They thoroughly enjoyed their family and spent all of their time including holidays with us. This thing was most heart wrenching for me.

 A new fear soon gripped our hearts when it became clear that not even my parents were safe. With so many people from our tribe being systematically slaughtered, even though they were civilians, meant no one was safe any longer. It did not matter whether you had nothing to do with politics or you were not in the army or police. It had become tribal conflict and revenge for ancient tribal wars fought before the British had colonised the country at the turn of this century. We prayed more fervently than ever but the fears remained, and the sense that God was so far away became more acute. Who will save us from this horror! It was to be another six more fearful years for me before my parents called it quits and we all fled the country!

 To school I had to go, nevertheless. To "The" King's College, Budo I went with much of the joy and gloss wiped off by the fear and worry whether I would ever see my parents again. Little did I know that I was to experience what would totally and radically change me forever. From a shattered, disillusioned, poor self-imaged person a major restoration was to happen that was set to affect the lives of thousands in Uganda and overseas.

 
 

CHAPTER 3

 TWO CRAZY TEENAGE PREACHERS

 The High School system, being modelled on the British system, had senior years 1 to 4 at the end of which you sat for the "O" Levels (Ordinary levels) public examinations. This determined whether you could proceed to the "A" Levels (Advanced Levels) and then to University or other tertiary institutions. With so few available schools and no compulsory educational system as yet, the competition continued fiercely from primary school.

 It was great fun being in boarding school with my close friends from primary school who had survived the primary leaving public examinations.  It was a time of new challenges. This time my parents were not there to supervise my lifestyle any more. I had to make my own decisions about how I managed my own time, hygiene, money, and morals. The high level of discipline within the school ensured by the very committed missionary staff kept most of the 600 students "on the straight and narrow".  

Before I was driven to the School, I received a long lecture from my parents about personal responsibility. It was made abundantly clear that the time for this 13-year-old boy to realise that his very future was now in his own hands. If I just fooled around, something which was very tempting to do with all that freedom from parents, I was going to pay for it very dearly in the future.  The two or so hours lecture the night before, plus wind-up summaries along the 12-kilometre journey,

left me with a real foreboding and a great weight on my shoulders. My parents never "pulled any punches" whenever they talked to us on such matters.  I knew that the bottom-line was not to let both the family and myself down on such a proud occasion for my parents.

 The School, perched on top of a sizeable hill, was once the location of the coronation of the local monarchs. Secured by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) on the terms of providing the educational facilities for the King's family and courtiers.  With such a heritage, undoubtedly one had to fully appreciate class differentiation between those of humble ancestry like myself and the children of the nobility.  It became the melting pot of the new generation of the nation's elite.  No one knew, however, what God was about to do in that school that would forever change its character.

 The first year, Senior 1, was serious business because everyone was competing for a special class of select students that were above average in the first year. They had the privilege of entering into a three-year program, instead of the normal four-year "O" Level program.  Thus began my struggles again with the meaning to life and this unending pressure. There was no time to grow up, just performance. This time my efforts were in vain since I was competing among the very cream of the nation. It was back to the days of disillusionment and realisation that I did not really have what it took when faced with the very best.  I had to be content to be one of the "ordinary", among the nation's elite students.

 The second year, Senior 2, started off uneventfully in school, after the long Christmas holidays.  The country was still reeling from the haphazard techniques of government by the neurotic military dictatorship.  I was glad that my parents were still alive and unharmed seeing that some of the students had been orphaned during the year by the genocidal practices of the regime. I greatly treasured those holidays with my parents, and always eagerly looked forward to having them back home for lunch and the evening meal. Going back to school was made all the more heart rending with the dreadful fear of being orphaned.

 In May 1972 there was the arrival of the new students for Senior 5. These had successfully gained entry to the school after passing the gruelling "O" Levels public examinations.  Among these were two students who had held their own and returned to the school. There were usually many casualties because of the intense competition by students from other less prestigious schools to gain entry.

The two students were very different from the rest. Something had happened to them since the previous year. Those who knew them before could not get over the dramatic change that had occurred in them.  They had become preachers, and were soon being mocked for their preaching.  In a school that was strictly Anglican with compulsory chapel every morning and a Sunday service, this was something really radical. No one had heard the gospel in this way before in spite of the fact that it was being run by missionaries! The chapel service was all religion, and not about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and the students loathed them.

 These two students named, Stephen Langa and Gad Gusatura, not only talked about being saved but also about a strange experience that we had never ever heard of before. They said it was to do with being baptised in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues! They were scorned and mocked at what seemed ridiculous to the students. They had never been taught about tongues before. Was it in the Bible? No one ever read their Bibles anyway, except maybe during the chapel services or the compulsory Scripture classes.

 A major feature of these two students was their seeming eternal state of joy. They always had a big smile on their face and openly confessed that Jesus was always with them in all their daily life, even in their studies! Even in their studies?!! In a school of such competition this drew some considerable attention, needless to say.  Some students thought them mad. Others thought them crazy and would have nothing to do with them. They were challenged by students with all manner of questions from the most sincere but difficult to the ridiculous. Much to our astonishment they had a reply from the Bible every time which silenced their opponents!

 What had happened to them? Apparently they had attended the first ever Pentecostal convention in the country conducted by a Pastor Joseph Kayo, from Kenya, a neighbouring country. It was there that they had got saved and baptised in the Holy Spirit. This had occurred only about a month before they had come to school. With only a month's knowledge of the Christian faith they were already exercising such faith in the God and His Word to confound all the questions of even the brightest students!

 There was a very memorable occasion when these two students, only about two months as Christians, challenged the entire school student body to ask them any questions they liked. This challenge was made during announcement time at lunch in the school-dining hall. There were many who scoffed at the challenge and thought they would be able to publicly, humiliate them. The challenge was accepted. It was to be held in one of the senior Chemistry lecture theatres. These two students proceeded to humiliate their opponents much to the delight and roaring with laughter of the rest of the student body.

 I was very intrigued, by these two students' audacity and felt drawn to them in a sympathetic, way. They seemed to make a lot of sense in what they were saying. I could understand what they were claiming because having gone to Sunday school for seven years from the age of seven, I could clearly recollect and understand some of the Scriptures they were quoting. In fact, there was one occasion, when I actually helped to explain what a particular Scripture, meant to another student, although I was not even saved!

 It seemed my ability to grasp the message of the gospel was unusually deep for someone who was not even saved. Every time I would hear these two students preaching or witnessing to a small group of students I felt a tremendous, pull from the inside of me. There was a wonderful sense of peace and tranquillity, that came over me as I heard them preach! It brought joy to my heart just to hear the gospel and it was as easy to understand as could ever be. I was fascinated, by the joy the students had, and the genuine hearty laughter they frequently had. My troubled, tortured soul and heart yearned for that. I had no peace within, and the heavy burden of life's pressures weighed me down.

 Not only was it clear from the preaching that I could truly have peace, and the removal of these burdens from within as well, but I was actually experiencing it happening every time I was around these students as they preached the gospel. The Holy Spirit was truly giving me a definite taste of things to come, and testifying that what was being preached was really true and worthy of acceptance.  After the preaching had finished, I would go away and very soon those burdens and the torture of my soul would envelope again.

 My ears had not, however, yet been opened to hear how I could really be free and free indeed in spite of understanding the gospel message. Somehow, I could not quite get how to go about getting it. Moreover, my friends thought the students lunatics and that put me under peer pressure not to really do anything serious about it, but not for too long.

  

CHAPTER 4

 THE SHEKINAH GLORY RADIATES VISIBLY

 One afternoon a student, by the name of Shalita, came up to a group of us in the dormitory and asked if we would be interested in hearing the gospel.  We were a bit reluctant because of the peer pressure not to be converted by the crazy students. I was very keen to hear, but could feel the pressure not to. The grace of God did prevail , however, because in his diplomatic way, Shalita comforted us that we were not going to be forcibly converted. We greed and in the late afternoon, Stephen Langa came over to our dormitory and sitting on one of the double bunk, beds began to preach. We listened quitely, but intently. It was all so new to us, but so good to hear. As I heard the gospel, again a peace, joy, and freedom came upon me. It was a beautiful resting for the tortured heart and soul of a 14 year old, and I loved every minute of it.

 Stephen preached about the victory that he now had over the devil.  He explained with a big grin, and sparkling eyes how Jesus had turned the tables against Satan at the cross. He gave a graphical illustration using his feet.

 " When I was not saved the devil had me under his feet, stepping on me as he pleased", he explained. 

Our eyes were transfixed at his feet. He was one of those people who preached with a sort of a hushed voice combined with a serious facial expression. Like some one explaining something very secret and serious, but loud enough to be heard by those around, yet not bellowing it. With quick flashing eyes first on us and then at his foot, he said, with an unmistakable air of triumph,

 " Now! because, of the victory, of the cross where Satan, was defeated, I  have Satan under my feet!".

 He would then lean back with a triumphant laughter that even forced us to agree with a smile. His captivating oratory kept us riveted at the edge of the beds wanting to hear more!

 He would then explain to us the relevant; Scriptures that stated changed the situation to back-up his claims. What utter triumph!  What joy and peace that overwhelmed me at such good news.

 When he had finished his preaching after about an hour or so, he left us with an invitation to come and see him if we wanted to be saved and baptised in the Holy Spirit. None of us would dare make an immediate commitment before our friends, but I kept all that he had said in my mind and pondered on it very seriously.

 Unknown to me until much later, being the month of May around the period when Pentecost is celebrated, I got thinking one late afternoon. It was 10th May 1972, I had, been considering whether or not to go and get saved. I thought of the pros and cons privately not daring to tell my friends. That Wednesday night, it seemed to me that there was nothing to lose by trying this salvation out. I had already experienced the great peace, joy and liberty that I yearned for during the preaching.  Having resolved in my mind to get saved, I went to Stephen Langa who was living in a neighbouring dormitory.

 When I finally met him, I told him of my readiness to get saved. I hoped we could go and pray right away. He was very glad to see me and to hear that I was willing to get saved, I would be his first convert. To my disappointment, however, he was unable to pray immediately because he had become snowed-under by all the homework!  He promised to get back to me on another day! Being only very young in Christ and not having had any teaching on the urgency of praying for a person, he postponed my salvation.  I went back again, maybe a day or so later, but his response was the same to my disappointment. On the following Wednesday, exactly a week later, I was so frustrated at having been knocked back that I told myself that day that it would be the last time I went to him. That was it! I would completely abandoned, the idea of getting saved if I got knocked back yet again!

 In the evening of Wednesday, 17th May, 1972 the Day of Pentecost, I went to Stephen Langa and asked him for the last time to go pray with me so that I might get saved and receive, the Holy Spirit baptism. He responded, to my delight and relief, saying that he would do so that evening. Moreover, there were three others too who were going to be prayed for.

 At about 7.30-8.00pm, a small group of us including Stephen Langa, Gad Gusatura, Shalita, Samuel Byagagaire, Samuel Kisaka, and myself went to the chapel.  The chapel had a main section with about a 600-seat capacity. It also has a small chapel or "chaplet" at the back with a capacity of about 40 people, complete with an Alter, and a stained glass window.

We went into the small chapel. Stephen gave us a briefing of what we were about to enter into and how it was going to be done. The four of us were then asked to stand before the altar in line beside one another facing the altar.

 It was the moment I was waiting for. I did not understand fully what was about to take place having never seen it before. Stephen led us in a prayer of repentance. As I confessed my sin and acknowledge the saving work of the cross, I will never forget how so unexpectedly I felt a huge burden on the inside roll off my back. The sensation was much like dropping a heavy backpack after a long journey. I felt so light on the inside as if I was floating on air! It was a very strange, but Oh! so wonderful feeling! A peace and joy came all over me. I could not help but break out into a smile. At last this tortured soul had found real relief, peace, and joy. I knew my sins were truly dealt with and the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross had set me free indeed!

 Now we were ready to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, Stephen explained, according to the Scriptures. I was standing in the middle, the third from the left from where Stephen started to pray for the baptism. He laid his hands on the, first person and prayed for them to be baptised in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. I was a little nervous with excitement not knowing a thing of what should or would happen. Soon the first person was speaking in tongues and then he moved to the next person, and they were also speaking. It was my turn next!

 He stretched out his hands and lay them on my head. Something happened totally unexpectedly and uncharacteristically based on previous experiences! I had shut my eyes so being in total darkness. All of a sudden the darkness disappeared totally! My eyelids still shut I was starring at a blinding brilliant white light! It was brighter than the brightest noonday sunshine on a clear day! I felt, a surge of electrical current through my body making them tingle incredulously. For what seemed like a moment I don't know what happened, where I was. I was totally disoriented! I found myself speaking in tongues at the top of my voice, but totally blinded by this white light. I could not see a thing!

 I opened my eyelids to see what was going on around me, but I still could not see a thing! It did not matter whether my eyes were open or shut I could not see anything! I turned my head in vain to see but to no avail. The brightness was so intense that I could not even see my own self! Even when I waved my hands in front of my face I could not see it. I gave up trying to look around and shut my eyelids again, not that it made any difference, and started to pray in tongues again.

 After what seemed a short while I began to be aware of the darkness with my eyelids shut. I stopped praying, opened my eyes and looked around to see what was happening. I found my face wet with tears. To my amazement there was nobody standing around me! They had all moved away some distance and were staring at me. Everything seemed to have a whitish haziness about them. I was so full of joy and felt so light and free. It was so beautiful! My whole body was still tingling all over!

 Unknown to me, this blindingly brilliant white light was actually physically visible to those around me so much so that it light up that dimly light chapel! It was also the reason why when I could eventually see a little clearly, I had found that everyone had moved away from me. They were also being blinded by it themselves and were scared! This had never happened before to anyone, and never happened to any of the other three students who were also prayed for to be baptised in the Holy Spirit. This was truly a mighty open supernatural sign and wonder, but what did it all mean? Why did it only happen to me?

 Little did I know then that I was given the wonderfully awesome privilege to behold, feel, and carry on my body the very Shekinah glory of the Most High God! In that period when I lost perception of time I did not know whether I was in the physical body or not. I understand now in hindsight, reflecting on that event, how Moses must have felt when he was up on Mt Sinai. With that kind of disorientation about time, space, and whether you are in the body or not; no wonder he could stay for 40 days without food or water and not realise it! It was as if I had become the tabernacle and the Ark of the New Covenant (the Holy Spirit) had been placed in the Holy of Holies, my spirit, therein to dwell.

 I later found out that what seemed a short time in prayer for me was in reality about one and one-half hours that I had been praying in tongues!  It was very late and we were breaking bedtime curfew, which was at 10.00pm. This attracted the attention of the teacher who was rostered for duty that night. The teacher so happened to be the chaplain, the Rev. John Silvester, an English missionary. By this time all the noise from the chapel had attracted the attention of some of the students in the dormitories.

The chaplain was not impressed by what had happened, and the time it had happened and told us to go off to bed. He had missed to see the glory of God radiate. We started off towards our dormitories talking excitedly about what had just happened. Our dormitories were about one hundred metres from the chapel. There was no lighting for the footpath and it was pitch dark along the dirt pathway. By this time there were many students who had started to make their way along the curved footpath towards the chapel eager to see what had been happening in the chapel. Word had gone around the school assisted by the noise of us praying the Chapel. As we walked along, incredibly, there was still enough radiance, from my face that we could see the stones and footpath! 

 All of a sudden as we came round a bend we found ourselves face to face with all these students. When they saw me, and the radiance of the glory of God on my face clearly visible in the darkness, they were terrified and fled in all directions crying out as if they had seen a ghost! What has happened to Stephen Odonga? what has happened? Perhaps being superstitious themselves did not help their fears.  As they fled we all just laughed, and laughed, heartily at them all. 

As I entered the dormitory they all stood at some distance staring wide-eyed at me and commanding the other students to "Make way for Stephen Odonga, make way!" And all those who were in front of me promptly obeyed being fearful themselves.  They then followed after, me, ever so cautiously, ready to run for their dear lives should something else happen. Needless to say, I was very amused at the commotion and the sudden dignity I had acquired, but pre-occupied with the sense of lightness of my whole being on the inside, the joy and peace that I had.

To my recollection that was the first night that I had slept so peacefully uninterrupted, and enjoyed it. Something had happened to me the impact of which the school was to experience in a way that would totally change its very spiritual atmosphere permanently. It was a time of such rapid spiritual change that shook the totally unprepared Anglican missionary staff.  Tried as they would to brand it as demonic, unchristian, un-Anglican, and so on, it was unstoppable as more and more students started to get saved and baptised into the Holy Spirit.

 The staff was yet to face bigger challenges to come from this new breed of Christianity championed by over zealous and radical teenagers.  The more they persecuted and vilified, the more we were encouraged to preach the gospel. What an irony! The missionaries who had devoted their lives to bringing the heathen natives Christianity were now the very ones trying to quench the Holy Spirit who had come in response to their many years of labour of love! This tragic irony was repeated throughout the country in school after school as the revival swept through the higher educational system. The missionaries thought they were doing God a service by stamping out the revival!

 

CHAPTER 5

 THE CHARIOTS FROM HEAVEN

 The revival in school had started on such a supernatural level with us the first converts that the levels of excitement were understandably high. We would get up about an extra half hour earlier before breakfast, which was at 7.30 am, and go to the chapel to pray in tongues. We would all stand in a line, lift up our hands and speak in tongues and worship God.  The power and joy of the Holy Spirit would fall upon us and refresh us in readiness for another day of witnessing.

Some of the curious students would come and stare at us in wonderment at what was going on. Others would come and stand behind us and mock us  by mimicking the way we spoke in tongues. We would solemnly warn them about the risk of severe Divine retribution for mocking the Holy Spirit.

 I distinctly remember one such occasion when I had gone to share the gospel in one of the dormitories and there was a student who was carrying on.  He was ridiculing the Holy Spirit's work in our lives. I became very indignant being alarmed at his blasphemous words. I solemnly warned him that he was in serious danger of Divine retribution if he did not stop. It was much wiser not to make any comments about what he had no knowledge of. In spite of this he just laughed at my warnings and carried on. I ignored him like I had done to others before who had mocked us.

 About three days later, I heard that this student had experienced a horrendous beating at night while in his bed! No one had heard him cry out in pain although he was in a dormitory with about 40 other students. The beating was so severe that he could not move his body for pain and swelling for more than three days.  That experience totally silenced him from further blasphemies and brought fear on the other students who from then on desisted from doing the same. 

The next lot of students who got saved not long after we did included my close friends: Kwame Rubadiri, and Douglas Mukasa. Being a co-educational school, some of the girls also started getting saved much to the consternation of their unsaved boyfriends.  This led to a new wave of slanderous accusations about the newly established fellowship, but we went full steam ahead. We had no idea what supernatural experiences were waiting for us. We had no mature Pentecostal minister to help and teach us, this being a staunch Anglican establishment - it was unthinkable.

 Stephen Langa and Gad Gusatura both became our defacto Pastors, with only about three to four months Christian experience to boot. The Holy Spirit was very gracious to us, nevertheless, by giving these two such accurate revelations regarding interpretation of Scriptures. We later proved these true during the school holidays when we were able to hear the same interpretations and teaching from the local Pentecostal church.  Such was the anointing on these makeshift Pastors that would have blessed theological scholars. Even the missionaries who desperately tried to vilify these Pentecostal experiences were unable to overcome them under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. 

We started to have Wednesday afternoon fellowships because it was a free afternoon for students. We also had Sunday afternoon fellowship in the chapel for about two hours. Saturdays, being free days, students had informal fellowship depending on whether they were not committed to sports or had assignments to complete. As a whole students who became Christians, scattered among the nine dormitories had informal fellowship and shared the gospel on a continuos basis. With a captive audience twenty-four hours a day, for several weeks at a time, the boarding school set up provided both a challenge to share the gospel, and to live the gospel.

 Soon after my conversion, I was very keen to get all my family saved, of course. I wrote to my oldest sister, Florence, who was a student in Gayaza High School and told her about my conversion. She was delighted since she had become a Christian some years before through the Evangelical Christian fellowship in her school. She had been praying for the rest of the family sometimes in great frustration at the seeming disinterest in conversion that we all showed.  She, however, did not fully appreciate this brand of Christianity that I was involved in. This was no cool Evangelical Christianity, but rather fiery, no nonsense Pentecostalism! This kid brother was a burning fire determined to bring the entire family into the Kingdom in the Pentecostal style!

 As soon as I got home I started sharing the gospel with my family. My parents, who could not relate to it just though it was sweet that their son was heading towards being a good teenager.  They told me not to get too carried away, but to concentrate on my studies. That I was only a boy of 14 years and therefore still very wet behind the ears regarding the real issues of religion. They were totally convinced that I would grow out of it. It was to them nothing more than a typical teenage

phase of my life. I would as time went on see things in a better perspective. 

My two brothers only listened somewhat bemused at my enthusiasm about religion. As far as they were concerned there was still too much to enjoy out there than to get hyped up about getting saved. That would take away all the "real" fun in life. Religion was a bore to them being in a very religious family with a very restricted lifestyle as far as they were concerned. All they could say was "good for you, but thank goodness not us!"

My sisters (all four of them), encouraged by the lead already given by my oldest sister's conversion listened to me. Soon they started one by one over several months, to be converted and baptised in the Holy Spirit!

 Back in the school, strange supernatural events were beginning to happen to the Christians. During one fellowship meeting, Douglas Mukasa asked Kwame Rubadiri in a rather casual and reluctant way in a conversation that ran something like this:

 "Did I see you somewhere last night? In a very different place, a very beautiful place?", Douglas asked, with great anxiety and anticipation. Not wanting to look a fool in case he had only seen Kwame in a dream.

 "Umm, Umm, ", replied Kwame, not so sure that he wanted to be the one to confirm this meeting.

 "I think so", Kwame continued cautiously. "It was in Heaven, was it?", he asked looking at Douglas a little sheepishly expecting the rest of us to burst out laughing.  Douglas' eyes however, beaming with growing confidence confirmed with a grin and nod "Yes!"

 Together, they then began to piece together what each one had seen and asked whether the other person had also seen the same things. As they corroborated each others experiences the level of excitement grew immensely. It was indeed an awesome and an unusual experience.  They also both testified that they had seen one other girl there. She was quickly called upon and closely questioned by the excited students. To their amazement she fully agreed to having been in Heaven.

 It was clear that they had each gone up to Heaven in three separate chariots, with an Angel on board, around about the same time the previous night. Kwame related how he had woken up late at night and felt led to go outside. On arriving outside, right outside the entrance to the dormitory stood a beautiful chariot driven by an Angel. He was invite to come on board. He said that they travelled at an incredible speed upwards. He saw millions of stars flash past them as they travelled through space! It was a very quick trip, but judging at the incredible speeds they were travelling the distance was incalculable by his reckoning.

On arrival they were taken to a waiting lounge room area. They were told to wait for the Lord Jesus Christ.  In the meantime, they were served some incredibly sumptuous fruits that they have never tasted on earth. Kwame also remarked, at the amazing chair that he had sat on. He made the comment that the chair seemed to be alive! It was so comfortable that you sank into it, and it sort of partly wrapped itself around you! This amazing account about the "living" lounge-suit never left my mind for some strange reason. They were given a guided tour of some parts of Heaven and marvelled at the beauty and perfection in architectural design and construction.  We were all astounded by these accounts but accepted them knowing the integrity of these students.

 About 10 years later, a 17-year-old American preacher called Roberts Liardon, came to Uganda. He spoke at Makerere University to the Christian fellowship, in the Anglican chapel. At the time I was in Uganda, from Australia, on a research trip as part of my Masters in Economics study program. I remember my younger sister, Eve, then a Veterinary student at the University, inviting me to come along. She had told me of this preacher, who had been to Heaven and was only 17 years old. As I listened to Roberts Liardon's account of his experience in Heaven I remembered the high school experience.  When he explained about the "living" lounge-suit and how "it cuddled you" and constantly kept adjusting itself so that you were always comfortable, I knew then that my school-mates, some 10 years before, had indeed truly gone to Heaven. What an irrefutable corroboration from so far apart and so unknown a source.

 One of the distinct evidences that something had really happened to these three students was that they all began to see visions. Some were 'words of Knowledge' related, others were prophetic in nature. I distinctly remember that Kwame, who was a close friend used to have visions of the spiritual realm. He frequently saw Angelic beings, and sometimes demons engaged in fierce combat with the Angels during the times when we were praying against some opposition elements we were facing in the school. It was always very comforting to hear that the Angels were really out there fighting on our behalf. We always won in the end in those prayer warfare.

 All of a sudden there was a new surge of interest among the students as a result of these events. These three students claimed to have made three trips to Heaven on separate occasions all around the same time.

 There also came a greater awareness of the need to live lives that was holy and pure before God. Their ability to have supernatural revelations about the conduct of a fellow student's private life sent shock waves through the fellowship.

 I remember how terrified I was of going to the fellowship with unconfessed sin in my life. I made sure that I had confessed all my sins before daring to go to the fellowship. I even went so far as to plead with the Lord not to put me to shame publicly because I had asked His forgiveness. He never let me down; my sins were truly forgiven by His abundant grace and mercy towards me. After one instance in which one of the student's double life was exposed, no one with any sense would continue in the fellowship without dealing with their sins.

 THE WATERS OF BAPTISM COVERED BY HOLY SPIRIT FIRE

 I remember, during one of the school holidays, attending the major Pentecostal church when the Pastor declared that there was to be a major water baptism ceremony. This was to take place on the shores of lake Victoria, some 15-20 kms from where the church fellowshipped. It was a very exciting prospect for everyone in the church since most people had not yet been water baptised. There was a major problem I had, however, with my parents agreeing to this. It had been hard enough for them to come to terms with me going Pentecostal, now another water baptism!

I was very nervous when I went to tell them I was going to get water baptised. I had already made up my mind that I had to obey God in this matter whether my parents agreed to it or not. Nevertheless, I hated the thought of having a quarrel with my parents because it was always heartbreaking for me to see them upset on my account. I'm not given to quarrelling even at the worst of times, much less with my parents. To quarrel with them smacked of disobedience, rebellion, and dishonouring

of one's parents by challenging their authority; something I was opposed to and find distasteful as a Christian, and within our culture.

 Their traditional Anglican understanding was that baptism occurred only when you were young. At that time you were also given a name. As far as they were concerned I had already gone through that; so what is this about another baptism

 Was I going to be given a new name as well, and what was that name? They felt very insulted that I should want another name without even having consulted them! I tried hard not to burst out laughing, managing  a smile. I reassured them that it had absolutely nothing to do with names, but everything to do with obedience to the command of Jesus Christ to be baptised, after one's conversion. There was a tolerant, though begrudging, sigh of relief!

 The whole church went for the ceremony. Pastor, Stephen Mun'goma, briefed us on the purpose, of water baptism. He then led us into a time of praise and worship on the shores. After that there was prayer offered up to God for the Holy Spirit to come and cover the water, and to bless those being baptised. During that prayer time Kwame Rubadiri later testified that, in a vision, he saw the Holy Spirit like a fire all around us on the shores! As we continued in prayer the fire flowed like a river on to the lake covering it! It became like a lake on fire as we went into the water to be baptised.  I remember coming out of the water sensing a strong presence of God all over me, and a great joy and peace!

 

CHAPTER 6

  "IT IS I WHO HAVE CALLED YOU..." (THE FATHER SPEAKS)

 The trips to Heaven by the students had a profound impact on the way I saw my relationship with God. It was like my past life of inferiority, and the fear of failure had come back to haunt me. I thought to myself, why did I not go to visit Heaven?  The situation was made worse by the immaturity of one of the three students who insinuated that the reasons was because we were not worthy to be taken up.  Those insinuations really cut me very deeply because until then, I had been totally set free from the poor self-image, of the past. I was now very positive about life, with a great vigour, about everything for the gospel. Even my slowness of speech had, miraculously gone.

 I would walk around sometimes very depressed that I was not good enough from God's point of view. The great joy of salvation had been replaced by a growing fear, doubt and unbelief about the genuineness of my salvation. Would I make it to Heaven if I died right then? I would regularly go to the chapel alone very down cast and pray for God's assurance that His promises were really true for me. Sometimes I would even weep in anguish, because I so desperately wanted to go to Heaven at whatever cost. I surrendered everything again and again, even what I did not know just in case. Nothing happened and I began to unconsciously, see the faith walk as a works based walk. With this came the realisation that it would be neigh impossible. I struggled with this alone, foolishly I might add, never sharing it with either Stephen or Gad, our defacto pastors.

 Since the day I had become a born-again, Spirit-filled Christian the Bible had become the most precious thing for me. In it were the real gems of life. Spending every available spare time I could find, after classes, between classes, on weekends devouring the Scriptures.  I would often find comfort through the Scriptures, but now some other negative thoughts that brought to question what I had read would seem to overwhelm my mind. I struggled along determined to seek God's assurance regarding my salvation.

One night totally unexpectedly as has tended to be my experiences, I saw in a dream, the school chapel. Then, like in a film, I saw inside the chapel and I seemed to be drawn towards the altar of the main auditorium.  Suddenly, superimposed on this altar I saw a very large tent with the entrance, opened. As I drew near there was a man dressed in the traditional clothing of the Bible days. He stood there at the entrance looking at me. He was elderly with a greying beard. To me it seemed like Moses, since he was not wearing the High Priestly robes, as Aaron might have worn. There was a bright light coming out of the tent entrance. I was drawn towards it and walked to the entrance to have a look and see what this light was.

 I looked into the tent and there in the middle of the tent stood the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:10-22; 37:1-5; Rev. 11:19-).  It was shinning with a combination of brilliant gold and white colours coming from it. The brightness prevented me from seeing all the intricate details, but I could just see the shape of the two Cherubims facing each other.  As I looked at it transfixed at its beauty and radiance, having never so much as seen a replica before in my life, a Voice spoke from between the Cherubims just above the Mercy Seat.

 The best, but rather inadequate way to describe, that Voice is as follows.  It was like having gigantic concert speakers somewhere in the sky, turning the volume on to the maximum decibels! You than hook it to

a base guitar or a piano and play the lowest possible note. It would cause an earthquake as the vibrations went forth. That was exactly what happened to me. My whole body shook, vibrating with every word spoken! To make matters worse it was both a word of re-assuring comfort that I was called by God Himself, but also a rebuke! I was so terrified that I cried out for forgiveness. He said,

 “It is I who have called you. Why do you follow after the flesh?”

 Waking up in terror, I found myself still hearing the final rumblings of the Voice like peals of rolling thunder, which went on for about 15 -20 seconds! I was shaking and sweating in my bed as I stared out the window and looked at the sky where the thundering, was still going on. I hastily looked around at the other students fast asleep all around me in the dormitory. Needless to say, it was not so easy to get back to sleep. I also realised that I had heard the God of the Bible speak! 

In the Old Testament, the Ark of the covenant was the very presence of God. During the Israelites sojourn in the wilderness and before the temple was built to house the Ark, it was placed in a very large tent, called the Tabernacle. In this dream, the chapel in which I saw this tent housing the Ark was clearly meant to symbolise the Tabernacle. The fact that the tent, in the dream, was located on the very spot where the chapel altar is situated, was meant to show it was in the Holy of Holies.

 The Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle was where the Ark was placed with a curtain or vail at the entrance so that no one except Moses or the High Priest could see the Ark. In the dream, the Ark was in a two-compartment tent, but this time the entrance was open, and the Shekinah glory of God was radiating through it. The radiance was so strong that I could see it like a brilliant white floodlight at night radiating into the next compartment where there was a person attending at the entrance. The rest of the second compartment of the tent was very dimly light without the Shekinah radiance. 

The fact that there was no vail or curtain at the entrance to the Holy of Holies is very consistent with Scripture because the death of Jesus Christ has removed that vail. That means we can now have direct access into the very Presence of God. Not surprisingly, therefore, I was allowed by the attendant at the entrance, not only to look into the Holy of Holies, but to actually go right in and bow down in awe before the Almighty Father as He spoke to me!  

The Father did not rebuke me for entering into the Holy of Holies, on the contrary He spoke to me as a loving Father, yet a Holy God Who wanted the personal face to face interaction. He wanted to Personally straighten out my wrong thinking by doubting my salvation experience when His very glory radiated visibly on my face. I had to stop following my emotions and listening to those who were speaking out of their human reasoning or flesh. 

Why had God decided to visit this insignificant teenager and speak to him face to face in such a powerful way? Why did God make this boy's face radiate His Divine glory? Why him and not the others? My mind kept asking these questions continually, but there were no obvious pat answers except a knowing from deep within that there was a big job ahead and God was in the recruiting process. 

From then on, a deeper desire to live for and love God with increasing intimacy became my obsession. I developed a deep emotional affection for The Father because I was deeply grateful that He would even consider speaking so directly to me.  He became close, and whenever I prayed, "Father", there was a deep sense of joy and confidence just as a child would have towards their parents who truly loved them and treated them as a true parent should. 

My zeal for the things of God, however, was not always tempered with adequate knowledge and wisdom. This sometimes got me into trouble, with my parents especially when my academic performance was suffering.  In my immaturity, I lost some perspective of the reality of living on earth and the need to be able to carry on with living on it. The intensity of my absorption with the things, of God was very much a product of the face to face encounters with the GodHead. 

No doubt anyone who had lived their early childhood with such tremendous, personal anguish of soul would not be able to contain themselves when faced with such dramatic experiences. It was only the realisation, after some counselling and revelation from the Holy Spirit, that my testimony was best served by having better academic results did I then begin to work harder. It was still hard because I was acutely aware of the transitory nature of life having seen the Author of the Eternal things. I have never since fully come to terms with the current reality of this existence, being ever increasingly in aware of the true and everlasting reality that exists all around us

today. It is a constant challenge to keep a balance waiting patiently for entry into the eternal habitation in Christ my Lord and Saviour.

 

CHAPTER 7

 JESUS COMES TO SET ME FREE AT LAST!  FREE INDEED!

 My affection for the Lord Jesus Christ was based on the knowledge that it was His precious blood that had secured me the freedom, peace, and joy I had longed for. The Scriptures became a wonderful source of  description of the nature and person of my Lord and Saviour. There was, however, some difficulty that we as humans have when relating to someone you have never actually seen physically. There is always a sense of a gap deep within my mind and spirit that sometimes frustrated me because I wanted to be really as close as possible. This feeling was made more acute by the trips that the three students made to Heaven and saw the Lord Jesus face to face.

 One ordinary night I was given the wonderful privilege, of seeing what Jesus had actually done for me on the day I got saved. It was like a "spiritual video recording" of what was actually taking place in the spiritual realm of the events taking place that life changing night.

 I saw in this dream, that I was in a large room with a sitting capacity of about 100 people. It was similar to a terraced lecture room. Right in the front row, I saw myself sitting with other prisoners all of us were bound up in linked chains.  In front of us was this demonic looking creature that had a whip with which it tormented us. We were all crying out in pain as the whip struck us. In vain we were trying to get ourselves free. It was a most horrendously tortuous, desperate, but  totally hapless situation as all we could only do was to writhe under the tormentor's whip.

 Behind the tormentor, demonic creature, was only one ordinary looking dark brown wooden door which was closed. There were no windows because I had looked all around. All of a sudden the door opened, and there He was! He just stood there looking straight at me with a smile! Standing about six feet tall, with darkish brown shoulder length hair, and a full beard but trimmed! He wore a brilliant white robe, and Roman type leather brown sandals. 

As soon as I saw Him at the door, suddenly the chains on my hands and body just dropped off as I stood up with my eyes transfixed on Him! They were very heavy chains and I noticed them, only ever so briefly, as they fell off by themselves with the usual heavy metallic sound!  I was so thrilled and filled with awe and joy unspeakable to see His Majesty, the Lord Jesus Christ. I ran to Him and fell down at His feet and just worshipped Him! I was free and so full of joy inside!

His Majesty just stood there for a short while as I worshipped, as if to give me time to express my gratitude. He then turned round without saying a word and walked out, and I rose up and followed Him into what seemed like an ordinary street in the middle of some big city.  All of a sudden, His clothing changed when we got outside. His was now wearing a pair of blue Jeans and a casual dark blue shirt. He was facing me as I came outside. He was looking at me waiting for me. As I came near to Him, He turned round and walked up a main street we were on. It was a bright clear day with a cloudless sky. The road was a modern tarmac road that was straight and it lead into what looked like a city with tall white walled buildings. The street lined with trees.  This seemed like some foreign country He was leading me into. I followed according to the Scriptures that His sheep hear His voice and follow Him as the good Shepherd.

 The prophetic nature of this dream was hidden from me for years until only recently when I was revisiting this testimony that I realised how accurate the dream had been. Living permanently in Australia now for the last 18 years, it is obvious that God has brought me to this country and this part of the world to fulfil His sovereign purpose through the prophetic ministry

This dream totally changed my relationship with His Majesty, the Lord Jesus Christ. Reflecting on it made me develop a very deep affection for Him and strengthened commitment to live for Him for eternity. Now I had beheld His glory, face to face and seen the smile that brought me freedom from a tortuous, bondage. The Name of Jesus Christ and the clear recollection of the smile would sometimes bring tears to my eyes. 

 The Hymn "Psalm 23 - the Lord's My Shepherd" and the song "What a Friend we have in Jesus" became my favourites.

 My spiritual walk stabilised substantially as a result of these two experiences, as one would expect. I began to grow very rapidly in the faith and confidence; God having dealt with my insecurities so directly and powerfully. This was the love of God in crystal clear manifestation, and I appreciated it no end. My eyes and faith were now directed squarely at God and His Son, and no one else. It did not matter whether others were committed or not I was going full steam ahead in developing a deeper, relationship with my true Eternal Family. As long as God was happy with my devotion to Him, I was happy.

  

CHAPTER 8

 FRUITLESS EFFORTS

 The following year, in 1973, our two de facto Pastors were facing the Higher School Certificate (HSC) public examinations. This meant that they were under a lot of academic pressure and therefore had to reduce their involvement in the fellowship.  At the time, I was then anointed to take over the leadership of the fellowship. The Holy Spirit had already strongly witnessed in my spirit, in the previous, year, that I was His choice to be the de facto pastor, but He had instructed me not to mention it to anyone. The Holy Spirit was going to give proof of His choice when the time came. I was not surprised, therefore, when I was approached by Stephen Langa and Gad Gusatura to take charge from them.  

By this time I had greatly stabilised, in my relationship with the Lord privately, although I was only about 10 months as a Christian, and just 15 years old!  The fellowship had grown to about 40 students and had begun to stabilise, and settle down from its tumultuous, beginnings. The whole school student body and staff had by then had an earful of the Gospel. Moreover, a kind of undeclared stand-off was in effect between ourselves and our clearly identified and resolute opponents.  We knew who they were and did not try to preach to them. 

We now mainly targeted the newly fresh faces that entered the school at the beginning of each year. We wanted to get to them before they formed cliques that were led by ungodly students inspired by the spirit of anti-Christ. The Lord was always gracious, to us and we were able to bring some to a knowledge of His Majesty, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the baptism in the Holy Spirit. 

In late 1973 and most of 1974, the fellowship further consolidated but there was not much by way of significant inroads for the Kingdom of God.  It was as if we were only just holding our own ground. While there were some students who backslid bringing disrepute to the fellowship, others were returning to the Lord. The fellowship seemed to be a spiritual boat on the rough seas. This, was a time of great personal testing for me being the de facto Pastor.  

There were many times I spent in anguished prayer for the fellowship. I would sometimes sit for hours on a weekend seeking God for a breakthrough.  I desperately, wanted us to become fruitful, again as in the days when we first got saved. They were, on the one hand, nostalgic moments for me personally, but on the other they were also the greatest source of anguish. I had to struggle with the sense of inadequacy, and not being a "match" for the first de facto Pastors.

 Try as hard as I would to steer the boat, the response was generally lukewarm and the fellowship seemed be adrift. To make matters worse, I was also preparing for the "O" Levels public examinations.  There was the enormous pressure to perform well from my Christian testimony point of view as well as upholding the family reputation.  I was also facing the prospect of going to Theological Seminary on the way to becoming and Evangelist.  This was my real dream and ambition. 

 In the midst of all this was the growing uncertainty about my future. My parents were clearly opposed to the idea of me becoming a preacher. To them it was just a childhood fantasy fuelled, by a growing number of exploitative evangelists most of whom were uneducated.  The fear and feeling of alienation were very strong. Pray as hard as I could God did not seemed to make things any easier. He gave me no straightforward answers to clarify whether He really wanted me to go to the Theological Seminary or not.  If not, than what was I meant to do for the subsequent tertiary entry examinations (HSC)? What was to be my career path if I was not to enter ministry as yet?

 During those stressful days preparing for the examinations, I had handed over most of the fellowship responsibilities to other students.  My personal time with the Lord suffered, however, because of the volume of study to get through.  I was acutely aware of it although resigned to what appears a helpless situation. "God understands", were my only consoling thoughts.

 The examinations were over a period of one month starting mid - October of 1974.  During one of my examination weeks, after having done several examinations, so many of them had seemed so difficult that I feared I might fail the entire examination. So terrified was I at the prospect of failure that, the very next Sunday I decided to pray and seek the Lord. Having not maintained steadfastly my private, fellowship, with the Lord I had become low in spirit and so feared my failure as due to this.

 I decided to pray and fast that Sunday lunch.  I spent this period in the vestry of the chapel praying in tongues, singing, playing my mouth organ, worshipping God and meditating on the Scriptures. It was a very fruitful time for me spiritually knowing I was getting essential spiritual nourishment. At around 4 O'clock that afternoon, just before afternoon tea, when I was just ending with a prayer in order to break the fast and go to tea, the power of God came upon me tangibly. It was very unexpected and I began to wonder what it really meant.  I was directed, by a strong inward witness to turn to the book of Psalms 2:8 which reads, 

"Ask of Me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession." (NKJV)

 As soon as I began to ask God in prayer to make this a reality the power, of God increased in intensity. In fact, the more I prayed the greater the intensity on my body. He seemed to ask me to claim thousands upon thousands to Him through my ministry. So when I changed my prayers to the effect that "God use me to get these people saved" His power increased even more. I ended up missing my afternoon tea and extending the fast!  This incident happened on 17th November 1974.

 "I WILL TEACH YOU IN MY SCHOOL..." (THE HOLY SPIRIT SPEAKS)

The following year in around February 1975, when my result for the examinations came I was faced with a major choice. Although I had been praying fervently for direction as to what I should do at this important cross road, of my life, I had not received any clear answers. If I had, it had probably not registered strongly enough because I wanted to go to the Theological Seminary rather than back to School. How could I ever hope to fulfil the call of God on my life if I went back to school.

 I remember, the day I got so desperate, for an answer from God. My parents were giving their own forceful advice what I had to do, with well meaning intentions no doubt. In my mind I clearly remembered the call of God, but what was the next right step to take. I remember how that evening before I got into bed how I prayed weeping in anguish, and desperation. I cried out to God for some kind of response; any kind of response because I  wanted so much to do His will not my will. If He did not then I would have to do whatever my parents wanted because I was too young and lacking in knowledge what was best for me in the long term. There was no answer. Exhausted from the travailing I went to sleep.

 At about 3 a.m. in the morning, I suddenly woke up. I was so wide-awake as if someone had come and snatched sleep from my eyes so that I was fully alert like in the middle of the day. Immediately, still baffled by this experience, I sensed the supernatural Presence of the Holy Spirit in the room.  It was very, very strong. A great joy, and peace was also there.

 I tuned to the inner man because I could here Him speaking clearly to my spirit. He was making clear to me that I was to go back to school because my time was not yet to enter the ministry. I was still too young spiritually, and that He, the Holy Spirit, would teach me in "The School of the Holy Spirit".  He made it clear that I was not to go to any Theological Seminary or Bible College because He was going to be my Teacher.

This should have been easy to accept for me, but not so. I had become, so convinced that the Seminary was the place to go. It was also a way of escape from the seemingly, futile nature of temporal academic pursuits. I argued with the Holy Spirit trying to convince Him that my idea was the best way to go, but He would not changed His mind.  His response was always a gentle, but firm command to go back to school.  It was a most frustrating encounter because the thought of going back to school really goaded me. My feeling of inadequacy and lacklustre performance in the examinations did not help me see a bright future in academia.

 After about 15-20 minutes of resisting and arguing, I realised that God knew what He was on about and meant well for me. I had to accept His direction because, after all, He is my Lord and I want to do whatever He commands. I relented rather reluctantly. Immediately a great sense of peace and joy came over me. I knew then that all would be well regarding my future in school. This was the assurance I desperately needed to be able to face going back to the pressure, having just made it across the line in the examinations.  From then on I looked forward to going back to school much to my parents relief, although they were puzzled at my sudden change of heart about doing the subjects I was recommended to do.

 

CHAPTER 9

 "GOD IS LOOKING FOR SOMEONE.." (THE SON SPEAKS)

 I went back to school to year 11, and resumed my de facto Pastor role which I had been exercising, for two years by then. It was back to the struggle of getting, the fellowship to become more fervent for the Lord.  Being so desperate, I began, to seek advice from well known ministries overseas. I had been blessed by one such ministry through their book so I wrote a letter. During the week of 23-28th June 1975, I received, a reply from an earlier letter I had written to Bob Buess of the "Sweeter than Honey " ministries in the USA.  I had written a letter asking him to pray to God to show him what it was that was hindering my life from being fruitful for the Lord.

 In his reply, the Lord revealed, that my faith was not active enough or alive. So I shared this with another Christian, brother and committed it to the Lord. I was challenged to believe God and have living faith. On the Friday, of that week, I had a dream in which I saw myself in a certain building that was about to collapse while many people were inside. There was panic, as people screamed in horror with the roof and wall caving in as if caused by some massive earthquake.  However, because I believed in God we were not hurt and the roof and walls did not collapse. I interpreted this to mean that God was teaching me the great significance of having the faith of God.

 On the Saturday, I went home being nearly financially broke. I went believing that I would get 100 shillings. To my surprise that day my oldest brother gave me a cheque for the exact some of money I wanted. More importantly though, all through that day there appeared to be an unusual sense of the supernatural Presence of God. I wondered what that really meant. During that day I also saw other miracles take place as I applied my faith. This unusual awareness of the Presence of God made sense that night in a dream. This time it was an indication of the nature of my Divine call. In a sense it was a continuation of The Father's visitation in that awesome and frighting encounter with The Almighty.

 In this dream, I saw myself on my knees praying in a small room. It had only one window and light shone through it lighting up the whole room. I was facing this window with light shining on my face from outside. Suddenly, His Majesty, the Lord Jesus Christ, appeared and stood in the middle of the room. He began to speak in, what could best be described as a baritone voice. It was the first time I had heard Him speak, and only the second time I had seen Him face to face.

 Just to give you some background to the what transpired in the dream. After I got saved I became very greatly interested in the ministry of men and women of God whose biographies I had read or stories I had heard. They were to me the very ideal of what effective ministry was all about. Men like D.L. Moody, Finney, Smith Wigglesworth, and so on, these were dead, but left us a powerful heritage. Then there were those who were still alive and greatly impacting the world such as T.L. Osborne, Oral Roberts, Billy Graham, and so on. I wanted to know how these people were able to secure this great privilege of being able to move in such power.

 Over the years I had heard enough from powerless preachers who were content, year after year to get just a handful of people into the Kingdom with no accompanying signs and wonders that Jesus promised in John 14:12. There was an intense longing and frequently earnest prayer for God to consider me for such a privilege if it were possible. I did not know the terms and conditions, but I would to the best of my ability meet them if He only gave me a chance.

 Now to the dream: the very setting of the dream clearly revealed what was foremost in my heart at the time. In the dream, I was praying actually asking all these questions when the Lord Jesus appeared. The fact that I was kneeling and looking up toward Heaven through a window, showed clearly that I had access to God and there was effective communication taking place.  The brilliant white light that shone through the window onto my face, and lighting up the room was the Shekinah Glory of God from the very Throne Room. God was listening to my heart's cry! The room I was in was symbolic of my heart or secret prayer closet.

 It was in this response to my heart's intense longing that the Lord Jesus had come to give an answer. He recounted to me the men of God that had been used by God in the past, but have already gone to be with Him. These were the same people who I had either heard about or read about including D.L. Moody, Finney, Wigglesworth. 

 He also mentioned some of those who are still alive today such as Billy Graham, T.L. Osborne, Oral Roberts. He called them His servants who had done a great deal, but He also expressed, concern that they had become old and that some would soon be going home to be with Him. He did not necessarily mean the above mentioned names since they were examples I could immediately relate to. He explained that there was, however, still a great deal of work yet to be done. His Majesty said that God was looking for younger people to carry on the enormous task. He then stopped speaking and waited for my reply. I had listened attentively to everything said and I remembered when the prophet Isaiah was called, in Isaiah chapter 6:8. God had asked Him:

 "Whom shall I send? And who shall go for Us?"

 Isaiah then responded, "Here am I!, send me."

 It was very clear to me at that very moment that The Lord Jesus was asking me the same questions. The Holy Spirit had, in fact, brought the Scripture to my memory in the dream. I was nervous at the realisation at what His Majesty was asking of me and I felt terribly inadequate for the task. Nevertheless, I was determined to respond with the affirmative, so I quickly, but nervously responded:

 "Send me!"

 I expected something to happen miraculously right there and then, but nothing took place.  When I woke up in the morning, I looked up and saw dark clouds and the thought of revival came strongly to my spirit. That Sunday I rededicated myself to the Holy Spirit to train me in living faith so that I could be ready when the time came.

 Anyhow, it was clear to me that what God had planned for my life was to be of a global dimension just as all His previous, and existing great men have been operating in. This realisation set me on yet another new orientation phase. All of a sudden, I had a destiny in God, and a job to do! It was not to be the everyday career path that everyone took. The thought of serving God full-time could not have thrilled me more. This was the ultimate lifestyle for me. No more meaningless academics and pre-occupation with the temporal things of life. Now I had every reason to give greater emphasis on my future career in the ministry.

 This seemingly logical reasoning was, however, not only to prove wrong for that period of my life, but was also to bring me more heartache and frustration. My vision had to die the proverbial "thousand deaths", and even today at writing, it still seems to be in "death row". There were at least two major errors of conclusion I had made as a result of the call.

 The first, was to assume the timing. This is a very common mistake I have seen many people make. The moment they are called, people are off to Bible College for their theological training. Straight after that they are in ministry all within a space of three or four years. This was my view at the time because it was what was promoted by those in ministry whom I had read about. There were a few exceptions to this, of course. I was convinced that going to a Theological Seminary would cut short the period of learning and therefore ensure as rapid a preparation for ministry as possible.

 Being 17.75 years old at the time meant that I could enter in Theological Seminary after completing the "A" Levels or Year 12. After the four years of theological training, at 23 years of age, I would be just old enough to begin the fulfilment of the Divine call. This presumption about the timing, which God had not indicated in any clear way, was to prove a major source of frustration. So often since then I have heard Pastors give the same wrong type of advice from the pulpits urging those who feel called to the ministry to enter Bible College. They were either ignorant about the correct Scriptural approach, to enter the ministry or they were more concerned about filling their institutions. This has led to many unnecessary tragedies at Bible Colleges with some students abandoning their ministries and / or becoming purely academics.

 The second error of conclusion from that call relates to the actual type of ministry that I was being called into. I assumed wrongly, based on the very common mistake people make when they relate their ministry to those currently being exercised by some great preacher. They ignore the Biblical description, of what the ministries are and their purposes. This is set out in the apostle Paul's letter to the church at Ephesus (Ephesians 4:11-16). At that time, in our part of the world, the only well known type of ministries were those of the Pastor and the healing Evangelist. I, therefore, concluded from that I was to be a healing Evangelist like those whose names had been mentioned (excluding Billy Graham) by His Majesty.

 It was to take twenty years before I could really fully understand that I was not really called to be an Evangelist, but in another ministry which also had some of the characteristics of an Evangelist. This seemingly, eternal delay was not because I was unteachable, but rather because of the widely misunderstood and not yet fully realised meaning of Ephesians 4:11-16 regarding the Spiritual offices that God has set in the Church.

 Not satisfied, at the time, with this revelation regarding, the call, I wanted, some independent proof that what I had experienced from God was indeed true. I wanted a confirmation through some other form of revelation. The Scriptures talk of accepting the testimony of two or three witnesses. Kwame Rubadiri, was the obvious independent alternative around. He had established himself as a kind of "Seer  prophet" because he saw visions very frequently, almost on request! This was an extra-ordinary gifting. He was, however, a very humble sort of person and took it as it came without gloating about the significance of his gifting.

 I arranged with him for a private prayer session to see if God would show him what my future ministry was going to be. Being a close friend, and me being the defacto Pastor, he obliged. He was also interested to know. I had called on his prophetic services many times before since his visit to Heaven and subsequent gifting in this area.  I remember us going to the chapel vestry, the favourite private place for prayer in the school. It was a simple prayer to the Lord to show Kwame in a vision what He had in store for me for ministry. The Lord did not hesitate, and gave a vision straight away.

 In the vision he saw a plantation of trees. The trees were very small at the beginning. As he saw them grow up there was one that was very small and seemed to grow slower than every other tree. It reached a point where it seemed to grow in starts and stops and seemed to almost, stop for sometime. Then all of a sudden this smallest of all the trees suddenly shot up! It became the biggest tree of them all. It was so tall that its branches went into outer space and spreading over a very large area. He saw that on the top of the branches, there was an airport like complex with aircraft landing and taking-off.

 The vision reminded me of the parable of the mustard seed that Jesus spoke about (Matthew 13:31-32). The mustard seed was the smallest of all the seeds, but when planted grew to be the biggest tree, and the birds came and found dwelling and shelter for their nests in its branches. This certainly confirmed and reinforced the dream that God had shown me regarding the global nature of my ministry.

  

CHAPTER 10

 WARFARE AND TRAVAILING FOR REVIVAL

 During my second term school holidays an unusual event occurred on the  Sunday morning service of 24th August, 1975.  The senior Pastor, Stephen Mun'goma, shared in his message the story of what a boy did during a service in another country. The boy, being very poor, and yet keen to give to God during the offering went and sat in the offering basket at the altar!  When questioned, by the astonished minister of that church, what he was doing, he replied to the effect that he was giving himself to God as an alternative offering having no money. As a result of that act God honoured the boy so that he has become one of the great preachers of today! Praise God!

 That very morning when I was going to church, I realised I had no money, and started to pray urgently to God to give me money to give to church. I was really in agony of soul because I had many other needs for God to meet. I was really shocked, when the pastor shared the testimony of the boy because I had been doing it secretly that very morning. As I listened to that testimony, I was convicted by the Holy Spirit to go and do likewise. 

 I was reluctant being rather shy about doing such a thing. I asked for proof that if it was really God telling me to do it then I should feel the tangible power of God on both my hands (a tingling 'electricity' type sensation).  This seemed, to me on objective enough proof that God was speaking to me. I thought to myself, half believing, that if God would provide this proof than it meant He has a future in ministry for me. It would further verify the other revelations I had already received. To my utter surprise the very moment I finished praying, the power of God came upon my hands just as I had asked! This gave me courage and so I went up to the front of the Church and told the Pastor that I had offered up myself to the Lord as an offering for the work of the ministry! I was too big for the offering basket, though, being almost 18 years old.

 Returning to school for the third term, the Holy Spirit began to stir me in a direction that was to totally and permanently change the way I  promoted the gospel. I had a close circle of friends who were truly committed to the Christian walk and could be trusted. They were Kwame Rubadiri, Freddie Kalibwani, Apollo Gesa, and Peter Kisule. We began to pray and fast for revival in our school. During that term the Lord answered our prayers and added a number of new Christians to the fellowship.  I was, however, not content with this break-through.

 After almost three years of being the de facto Pastor of the fellowship there had been only little progress in extending the Kingdom. Most of the time had been trying to hold our own ground and deepening the  personal relationship of each one with the Lord Jesus Christ. But what about the rest of the student body? Some were leaving at the end of the year and we might never see them again forever. This was most painful for me. I desperately needed a major breakthrough. The initial results of the fast gave me great encouragement.

 In the meantime, in the natural, there were major shaking up taking place in our entire school structure. There was a general decline in the standard of boarding school life. Academic performance was also on the decline. It seemed that God was working along side us by forcing major changes to this very prestigious school.  On the other hand, the Christians were growing stronger in character and their reputation being increasingly recognised, even by non-christians. The Christians became the most trusted with things financial, requiring true justice, and committed leadership. More and more Christians were democratically elected to be dormitory leaders including the Prefect's Counsel the highest student representative body.

 It was the once rejected Pentecostal Christians who were now being asked by the school authorities to pray for the school as it headed into anarchy. There were food riots because the quality hard deteriorated so badly. This was primarily as a result of the rapid general economic decline during the dictatorship of Idi Amin. Tremendous pressure was being applied on the school authorities to keep the standards while the students were becoming more militant. The situation got so bad that one time the police had to be brought in to restore order.

 During that period of the shakeout 1972-1976, all except one, of the hard headed conservative Anglican missionaries and expatriates left the school. The withdrawal of diplomatic relations from Britain, together with the increasing risks for foreigners, especially Britons, forced them to leave. Their exit meant the entry of indigenous teachers most of who were indifferent to the religious convictions of the missionaries. This gave greater freedom to the fellowship and their influence in the school grew more rapidly although there were, before the revival in 1976, only about 40 of us in a student body of 600. 

As God would have it, the situation continued to grow worse until the school Principle resigned on the verge of a nervous breakdown. It was a necessity, for him to be removed by God because he had strongly opposed the initial revival in early 1972. God needed to get a Principle who would not stifle what he was about to do in the school as we continued to pray for revival. He had to bring, change in the school's administration first, and He did it forcibly. 

The new Principle was totally indifferent to all religions and was a pure educationalist. He was primarily concerned with restoring the prestige of the school. Anything that would help to ensure a culture, of peace and submission to authority was welcomed.  The Pentecostal Christians were therefore a welcome bonus because they were always on the side of the law. The reshuffle, in the School administration was now ready to handle the coming revival! 

In December of 1975, the pastor of Deliverance Church, Stephen Mun'goma declared a one day fast by the whole church for 1st January 1976.  This was to enable an effective spiritual warfare, so that God would move in that year. This encouraged me a lot. I felt the Lord was trying to tell me something.  

I obtained a book by Bob Buess on the power of fasting. I had not yet fully appreciated the power of fasting although I knew about praying and fasting having had varying successes in school. This time my eyes were opened to see that if I fasted a long period while meeting the right conditions, God would be able to do more in my life. The book recounted the testimonies, of some Christians who had, fasted 10 days, and a few of them even 40 days on water only or bread and water!  As a result these people had tremendous moves of God in their lives. To cap, things off, Bob Buess noted that most well known Evangelists spent long periods in prayer with fasting.

 I straight away knew what the Holy Spirit was saying, so I decide to have a three day fast with water only, something I had never done before. It was very difficult and I almost resigned except for the Grace of God. 

At the opening of the First school term of 1976, I was challenged by the Holy Spirit to pray and fast two days from the following day of my arrival at School. The Holy Spirit spoke to my spirit about the need for a few truly dedicated, vision filled and determined people. They must mean business and seek His face seriously for a revival in the school. I asked the Lord to help me by bringing them to my room so that I could share this message with them.  The Holy Spirit brought three students, totally unsuspectedly to me. They had felt to come and visit me having not seen me since the previous term the year before.

 After sharing the challenge with them we all dedicated ourselves to seeking the Lord till we saw a revival in the school. We prayed that God, would show us how we were to pray for this revival. We wanted to be 100% effective. The Holy Spirit gave a vision to one of the students called Freddie Kalibwani. In this vision, he saw a long line of people zigzagging, into the distance. They were all bound up like slaves

with chain-links around their necks and their hands were also tied up as they walked along. We understood the interpretation to mean that in order to see revival we had to break the chains of bondages that prevented the students from being open to the gospel. This meant spiritual warfare against the demonic forces that were responsible for these bondages. The Scripture reference to accompany that vision was

Luke 10:19 which reads,

 "Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you."

 The Holy Spirit also led us to start having a four day fast in the first week of every month. On the fourth day we would have an overnight prayer meeting during which we engaged in spiritual warfare, setting

the captive students free in the spiritual realm. We wanted to see God save, keep, and feed those whom He had saved. In addition, we also wanted our studies to improve, which it did.  We continued doing this for a few months with not a great deal of obvious results, but we knew in our spirits that was only a matter of time.

A STORMY BEGINNING

 The Holy Spirit then prompted us to send an invitation to Pastor Stephen Mun'goma to come a preach at our school. This was the first time it was possible. It would have been sacrilegious, to have invited the Pastor under the old administration, being a Pentecostal minister, and regarded by most mainline churches as the key troublemaker with his Pentecostalism. He had rocked the established churches to their foundations and he was bitterly opposed and vilified by most. Nevertheless, he brought the great revival that swept Uganda in the 1970s, right along-side the nation's worst, political nightmare - Idi Amin.

 Stephen Mun'goma agreed to come at the time he felt God wanted him to. He brought with him the nationally famous church choir that had worked along side him sparking revivals wherever they went. Whether it was in schools, colleges, open air meetings in villages, or towns. It was the opportunity we had longed for for over five years. He came on a Sunday. We had done the best we could to advertise the meeting and had asked the other Christians to join in prayer and fasting.

 When the choir arrived earlier in the day it was a typical bright sunny day. They came earlier so as to engage in serious spiritual warfare, over the school before the pastor spoke that afternoon. By the afternoon dark clouds started to build up. When the meeting started, there was a ferocious thunderstorm and strong winds. This weather helped us by forcing most of the other students, who might not have come because of outdoor activities, to come along. At least 500 students attended that meeting at the end of which 12 students gave their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ.  After that the Heavens were opened!

 The heavy down pour of rain also symbolised what the Holy Spirit was beginning to do in the school. At last a revival had hit the place! Praise God! From then on I kept getting daily reports of students getting saved as their friends shared with them the gospel. At that time I was a year 12 student facing the HSC public examinations. The pressure was again on, but this time there was great joy on one side at least.  The obedience, to the Holy Spirit's command to go back to school had paid-off more than handsomely. The spiritual atmosphere had dramatically changed. There was no more persecution of the fellowship by the school administration.  There was a fresh excitement about being a Christian again! With the Holy Spirit directing me I was not a failure after all!

 The following Sunday afternoon at the normal time that we held our fellowship I was expecting to see maybe about 50-60 people because of those who had got saved from the previous Sunday. To my shock I found myself leading a fellowship of about 300 students!!  That is half the entire student body! What has happened, Lord? This is incredible, beyond my wildest dreams! Moreover, there were also a number of teachers who started to attend the fellowship! God had chosen them to provide the necessary staff support to the fellowship. One of the female staff became the deputy Principle in later years and also the patron of the fellowship. This ensured that the fellowship had the highest authorities protecting it!  Now, that is God protecting His interests!

This open Heaven also meant that we were given opportunities, to attend Pentecostal conferences where more students, got saved. The fellowship continued to grow and be strengthened with complete freedom in a once staunchly Anglican and conservative school. Even the academic performance started to improve again and the reputation of the school was restored over subsequent years.

 

CHAPTER 11

ESCAPE FROM THE SHADOW OF DEATH

The political situation in Uganda had been deteriorating continuously, since the military regime came to power in 1971. The country had lost its international credibility, and therefore unable to secure the needed finance for development. Being land locked with limited resources made the life of its inhabitants a misery. While her neighbours were on a steady growth path, Uganda was shrinking economically. The continued political policy of genocide isolated the nation. Unfortunately for her hapless citizens the world had grown weary of hearing about the regime's atrocities. Some of these seemed so bizarre, that most foreign press would not publish them because they wanted to report what seemed credible to their readers in their countries.

It seemed that the only time the international community would consider the plight of the citizens was if the dictator threatened some country, or killed a foreigner or an important government official. On 16th February 1977 one such person was brutally murdered and that triggered the final demise of the regime.

 I remember, when the Anglican Arch-Bishop, the late Janani Luwum, confirmed my youngest sister Brenda, who had not been confirmed according to Anglican traditions in January of 1977. It was a very wonderful day for us.  After the service, the Arch-Bishop came to our home for the celebrations. Being a distant relative made it all the more a family affair. It was one of the very few times that I got to meet him personally. He was a very gently spoken person.  He seemed to be, however, somewhat weighed down with a burden. Understandably so, when one knew that he had been forced many times to rescue innocent people from the murder squads of the regime. Often risking his life and personally pleading their case with the dictator, Idi Amin. Walking the tight rope of church-state relations was more precarious under such a regime than a civilian one.

It was a happy enough occasion for the rest of us, and the Arch-Bishop was even able to laugh a few times from the light hearted environment.  The tragic reality unbeknownst to us, however, was that it would be the last time we were to see him. I remember the shock and utter devastation that swept the nation when it was reported that the Arch-Bishop and three other cabinet ministers had been killed in "a car accident". No-one believed a word of the lie.  He had been the last stalwart for the Christians having shown great courage in confronting the dictator on many occasions. No one really believed Idi Amin would dare touch a man of such high moral integrity and international re-known. To do such a thing would definitely mean a total isolation of the country by the whole world community, and the possibility of a religious war.

 I remember that day. There were students on campus, where we were living, weeping openly and walking or standing around dazed from the shock. People wept in the streets and all the churches of all denominations were rocked to their foundations. If a man of such stature could be murdered so easily what hope have they got? It was the weeping and cries of despair that fell upon that seemingly God forsaken nation.  For days after his death the nation was in anguish and bewilderment. What will this man do next? Would this mean a major assault on Christians by this Moslem dictator? Was this Islam on the rise? How would the Christians cope under intense persecution from Muslims? Would the country be forcibly declared a Moslem nation, although only about 11% percent of the population were Moslem?

When my parents heard the news, I remember, they had this blank look on their faces.  Dad had a tortured look on his face. He was heart broken. Mum could only weep helplessly. There was, however, a greater worry on her mind. If the Arch-bishop could not be spared what chance did her husband have? What would be the fate of the eight children! Something had, to be done, and done quickly. Dad had to leave the country as quickly as possible before a new spate of killings begun. The regime had done this many times before, and everybody knew there were people on their hit list. It was only a matter of time and convenience before they struck. The question was how should Dad's escape be organised?

 The regime had a brutal policy of holding a person's family hostage if the man they were after managed to escape. In some cases the family was massacred. This meant they had to organise the escape in such a way that as soon as Dad had left we would all follow before the secret police knew about it. This would not have been a difficult exercise if my parents were unknowns in the country.  His prominence as an internationally eminent Professor of Surgery and President of the Medical Association of East Africa, however, meant that no margin of error could be afforded. Everything had to be in total secrecy. The stress was enormous on my mother who would have to carry the burden for the rest of her life if it failed or she did not act while there was an opportunity to do so.

 She applied the greatest possible pressure on a rather reluctant Dad to leave the country.  Dad, a man of great courage, but sometimes seemingly foolish I should think saw the wisdom in making the move.  To start a new life in another country without adequate finance for such a large family when you are almost retiring even given the risks of staying, will try even the best minds in any country. That was the main quandary, Dad was in. He hated the prospect of leading the family into an unknown and uncertain future at such a critical stage of his children's growth. Four were at University, three were in high school and one was in primary school at the time.

 Financially it would be impossible to support continued education at such levels in a new country when starting from scratch. We all, however, rallied around him and comforted him. We convinced him we would manage by the Grace of God some how. The most important thing now was to stay alive. We did not mind being refugees and suffering hardship so long as he remained alive and we were all together. He was now ready to go in spite of the uncertainty. The question now was how?

 The grace of God abounded towards us so that my Dad was able to obtain official permission to go for "a conference" in Nairobi. This enabled him to leave without any suspicions. It also gave mum breathing space to finalise escape plans. Since males were regarded as the greatest threat by the regime it was therefore necessary for the three sons to leave first. This occurred, before my Dad could leave. My oldest brother, Walter left first dressed like a simple country person. I then followed with a cousin, whose brother had been murdered on the orders of Idi Amin. Lastly, my older brother Charles at the time in medical school. He had to wait till he had finished his examinations for the academic term. During each of these dangerous escapes a constant prayer vigil was maintained until news was received, from a coded telephone call to indicate safe passage across the border. Dad then followed driving across the border into Kenya without any problems.

 This left only the females in the family. Mum, who showed incredible courage and wisdom, under this horrendous situation took charge.  With the help of a few trusted relatives and life long friends she proceeded to systematically disperse all the household belongings which would have fallen into the hands of the secret police. She was determined not to give them that pleasure if she could help it.

 One of the few humorous sides to the hasty departure plans related to how to get rid of all the chickens at the back of the house. To help cope with the expensive life that resulted from a rapidly depreciating currency, Mum decided to keep a few chickens. She would sell the eggs, being an exotic layer breed, it was modestly profitable. She would also use some of the eggs to bake cakes and muffins that were also sold.   

When it was decided to leave the country, without drawing too much attention, getting rid of some fifty to sixty chickens in such a short space of time was no easy task. One solution was to give them away to close friends and relatives who would not spread the word about Mum’s impending departure. This they did. The other solution was to have a continuos feast of chicken! Unfortunately all the big eating males of the household were already gone. My sisters recounted that they ate so much chicken those last few remaining days to last them a long time!

 The house was soon totally emptied, the household staff were then dismissed with best wishes although with much sorrow.  My sisters recounted those last few days as very tense. There were only females left now and that added to a sense of insecurity.  They had a lot of sleepless nights worried that the secret police would arrive any day or night. They were not even able to share their fears with close friends and neighbours unless they were among those who were in on the arrangements.

 As the house was emptied of all its contents accumulated, over nearly thirty years, the pain of watching them get taken away, even though by dear relatives and friends, was still hard to bear.  Long cherished

items were parted with as if they were not worth anything! That, however, had to be the price for securing the family's life.  Even though we had lost virtually everything except the basic necessities in one suitcase per person, we had each other. There was to be nothing greater than that. We would be able to pull together by the kindness of God and start again in a new country.

 It was to be a time of humbling for us. Having enjoyed the best that the nation could give a family we now had to totally re-evaluate the worth of material possessions, and social status. We were well and truly refugees without a nation, without a significant standing in the new society we were entering into. We had to struggle like everyone else to survive.  It was then that the wisdom of being well educated hit us, the children, really hard. My parent's constant admonitions, to study hard and secure internationally recognised qualifications came back ringing loudly in our ears.  Those years of resenting the pressures from our parents to study suddenly became the memories for greatest appreciation.  At least we had a fighting chance given the opportunity we could adjust anywhere in the world. The big question was Where?

 With all the rapid transfer of things and goings to and fro however secretive it was not completely, possible to contain things for too long. We just had too many things to get rid off and living on campus

with all the students constantly passing by was really a miracle the plans were not discovered sooner. Nevertheless, the secret police who frequently roamed the campus some even being "University students" began to get wind of what was happening. The Grace of God was truly with Mum because she was warned of the increased risk since the news had gone to the authorities that Dad had fled the country.  The public revelation of his departure sent shockwaves among intellectuals throughout the country. This led to a mass exodus of many intellectuals and a near collapse of the only medical school in the country.

 Mum had to bring forward the departure date. Leaving one of my sisters behind in the care of a trusted friend, she drove to the Ugandan- Kenyan border. With the help of Walter and the mercy of God they were able to get across the border. The sister, Judith, who was left behind had to finish her teaching practice in Gayaza High School. It was agreed that there would be no revelation about her where about should anyone inquire. As a result she was able to complete her B.A. Dip. Ed. Degree without disruption before leaving the country.

CHAPTER 11

 ESCAPE FROM THE SHADOW OF DEATH

 The political situation in Uganda had been deteriorating continuously, since the military regime came to power in 1971. The country had lost its international credibility, and therefore unable to secure the needed finance for development. Being land locked with limited resources made the life of its inhabitants a misery. While her neighbours were on a steady growth path, Uganda was shrinking economically. The continued political policy of genocide isolated the nation. Unfortunately for her hapless citizens the world had grown weary of hearing about the regime's atrocities. Some of these seemed so bizarre, that most foreign press would not publish them because they wanted to report what seemed credible to their readers in their countries.

 It seemed that the only time the international community would consider the plight of the citizens was if the dictator threatened some country, or killed a foreigner or an important government official. On 16th February 1977 one such person was brutally murdered and that triggered the final demise of the regime.

 I remember, when the Anglican Arch-Bishop, the late Janani Luwum, confirmed my youngest sister Brenda, who had not been confirmed according to Anglican traditions in January of 1977. It was a very wonderful day for us.  After the service, the Arch-Bishop came to our home for the celebrations. Being a distant relative made it all the more a family affair. It was one of the very few times that I got to meet him personally. He was a very gently spoken person.  He seemed to be, however, somewhat weighed down with a burden. Understandably so, when one knew that he had been forced many times to rescue innocent people from the murder squads of the regime. Often risking his life and personally pleading their case with the dictator, Idi Amin. Walking the tight rope of church-state relations was more precarious under such a regime than a civilian one.

 It was a happy enough occasion for the rest of us, and the Arch-Bishop was even able to laugh a few times from the light hearted environment.  The tragic reality unbeknownst to us, however, was that it would be the last time we were to see him. I remember the shock and utter devastation that swept the nation when it was reported that the Arch-Bishop and three other cabinet ministers had been killed in "a car accident". No-one believed a word of the lie.  He had been the last stalwart for the Christians having shown great courage in confronting the dictator on many occasions. No one really believed Idi Amin would dare touch a man of such high moral integrity and international re-known. To do such a thing would definitely mean a total isolation of the country by the whole world community, and the possibility of a religious war.

 I remember that day. There were students on campus, where we were living, weeping openly and walking or standing around dazed from the shock. People wept in the streets and all the churches of all denominations were rocked to their foundations. If a man of such stature could be murdered so easily what hope have they got? It was the weeping and cries of despair that fell upon that seemingly God forsaken nation.  For days after his death the nation was in anguish and bewilderment. What will this man do next? Would this mean a major assault on Christians by this Moslem dictator? Was this Islam on the rise? How would the Christians cope under intense persecution from Muslims? Would the country be forcibly declared a Moslem nation, although only about 11% percent of the population were Moslem?

 When my parents heard the news, I remember, they had this blank look on their faces.  Dad had a tortured look on his face. He was heart broken. Mum could only weep helplessly. There was, however, a greater worry on her mind. If the Arch-bishop could not be spared what chance did her husband have? What would be the fate of the eight children! Something had, to be done, and done quickly. Dad had to leave the country as quickly as possible before a new spate of killings begun. The regime had done this many times before, and everybody knew there were people on their hit list. It was only a matter of time and convenience before they struck. The question was how should Dad's escape be organised?

 The regime had a brutal policy of holding a person's family hostage if the man they were after managed to escape. In some cases the family was massacred. This meant they had to organise the escape in such a way that as soon as Dad had left we would all follow before the secret police knew about it. This would not have been a difficult exercise if my parents were unknowns in the country.  His prominence as an internationally eminent Professor of Surgery and President of the Medical Association of East Africa, however, meant that no margin of error could be afforded. Everything had to be in total secrecy. The stress was enormous on my mother who would have to carry the burden for the rest of her life if it failed or she did not act while there was an opportunity to do so.

 She applied the greatest possible pressure on a rather reluctant Dad to leave the country.  Dad, a man of great courage, but sometimes seemingly foolish I should think saw the wisdom in making the move.  To start a new life in another country without adequate finance for such a large family when you are almost retiring even given the risks of staying, will try even the best minds in any country. That was the main quandary, Dad was in. He hated the prospect of leading the family into an unknown and uncertain future at such a critical stage of his children's growth. Four were at University, three were in high school and one was in primary school at the time.

 Financially it would be impossible to support continued education at such levels in a new country when starting from scratch. We all, however, rallied around him and comforted him. We convinced him we would manage by the Grace of God some how. The most important thing now was to stay alive. We did not mind being refugees and suffering hardship so long as he remained alive and we were all together. He was now ready to go in spite of the uncertainty. The question now was how?

 The grace of God abounded towards us so that my Dad was able to obtain official permission to go for "a conference" in Nairobi. This enabled him to leave without any suspicions. It also gave mum breathing space to finalise escape plans. Since males were regarded as the greatest threat by the regime it was therefore necessary for the three sons to leave first. This occurred, before my Dad could leave. My oldest brother, Walter left first dressed like a simple country person. I then followed with a cousin, whose brother had been murdered on the orders of Idi Amin. Lastly, my older brother Charles at the time in medical school. He had to wait till he had finished his examinations for the academic term. During each of these dangerous escapes a constant prayer vigil was maintained until news was received, from a coded telephone call to indicate safe passage across the border. Dad then followed driving across the border into Kenya without any problems.

 This left only the females in the family. Mum, who showed incredible courage and wisdom, under this horrendous situation took charge.  With the help of a few trusted relatives and life long friends she proceeded to systematically disperse all the household belongings which would have fallen into the hands of the secret police. She was determined not to give them that pleasure if she could help it.

 One of the few humorous sides to the hasty departure plans related to how to get rid of all the chickens at the back of the house. To help cope with the expensive life that resulted from a rapidly depreciating currency, Mum decided to keep a few chickens. She would sell the eggs, being an exotic layer breed, it was modestly profitable. She would also use some of the eggs to bake cakes and muffins that were also sold. 

 When it was decided to leave the country, without drawing too much attention, getting rid of some fifty to sixty chickens in such a short space of time was no easy task. One solution was to give them away to close friends and relatives who would not spread the word about Mum’s impending departure. This they did. The other solution was to have a continuos feast of chicken! Unfortunately all the big eating males of the household were already gone. My sisters recounted that they ate so much chicken those last few remaining days to last them a long time!

 The house was soon totally emptied, the household staff were then dismissed with best wishes although with much sorrow.  My sisters recounted those last few days as very tense. There were only females left now and that added to a sense of insecurity.  They had a lot of sleepless nights worried that the secret police would arrive any day or night. They were not even able to share their fears with close friends and neighbours unless they were among those who were in on the arrangements.

 As the house was emptied of all its contents accumulated, over nearly thirty years, the pain of watching them get taken away, even though by dear relatives and friends, was still hard to bear.  Long cherished

items were parted with as if they were not worth anything! That, however, had to be the price for securing the family's life.  Even though we had lost virtually everything except the basic necessities in one suitcase per person, we had each other. There was to be nothing greater than that. We would be able to pull together by the kindness of God and start again in a new country.

 It was to be a time of humbling for us. Having enjoyed the best that the nation could give a family we now had to totally re-evaluate the worth of material possessions, and social status. We were well and truly refugees without a nation, without a significant standing in the new society we were entering into. We had to struggle like everyone else to survive.  It was then that the wisdom of being well educated hit us, the children, really hard. My parent's constant admonitions, to study hard and secure internationally recognised qualifications came back ringing loudly in our ears.  Those years of resenting the pressures from our parents to study suddenly became the memories for greatest appreciation.  At least we had a fighting chance given the opportunity we could adjust anywhere in the world. The big question was Where?

 With all the rapid transfer of things and goings to and fro however secretive it was not completely, possible to contain things for too long. We just had too many things to get rid off and living on campus

with all the students constantly passing by was really a miracle the plans were not discovered sooner. Nevertheless, the secret police who frequently roamed the campus some even being "University students" began to get wind of what was happening. The Grace of God was truly with Mum because she was warned of the increased risk since the news had gone to the authorities that Dad had fled the country.  The public revelation of his departure sent shockwaves among intellectuals throughout the country. This led to a mass exodus of many intellectuals and a near collapse of the only medical school in the country.

 Mum had to bring forward the departure date. Leaving one of my sisters behind in the care of a trusted friend, she drove to the Ugandan- Kenyan border. With the help of Walter and the mercy of God they were able to get across the border. The sister, Judith, who was left behind had to finish her teaching practice in Gayaza High School. It was agreed that there would be no revelation about her where abouts should anyone inquire. As a result she was able to complete her B.A. Dip. Ed. Degree without disruption before leaving the country.

  

CHAPTER 12

WARFARE AND TRAVAILING OVER SCHOOLS IN KENYA

 Arriving in Nairobi, Kenya, in country where you could move about freely at night was quite a change. Being able to sleep all night without hearing any gunfire and strolling the streets so freely was a culture shock.  In Uganda, most sensible people stayed at home after 7.00pm. There were very few activities after that time in the capital, Kampala. Only in the countryside could you move about more freely. In sharp contrast, Nairobi social life was just beginning at 7.00pm. A city bustling with activity day and night.  Suddenly, the full realisation of the extent of the bondage of fear we had grown up under hit me. It was to take me a number of years to come out of this inner insecurity. Although I soon got used to moving about at night in Nairobi, nevertheless, there was always a niggling fear of sudden, terror befalling me.

 I soon started to attend the Nairobi Pentecostal Church on Valley road.  This provided fellowship especially with the youth group. It was a good way to spend time while trying to work out what to do with my life. There were no opportunities to do any kind of work because there were already strains in the Kenyan economy with citizens also needing work.

 Sometime in the middle of that year of 1977, I was auditioned to sing with the Youth For Christ quartet team. This four person team was headed by a most energetic, Kenyan Christian worker called David Ndegwa.  He seemed not to know what the phrase "rest and relaxation" meant. Many times he missed his meals because he just had to get something done! He had such a commitment to see the gospel spread to all the schools in Kenya. It was an inspiration to work with him because he was always positive about life and exercised much faith although life was very tough going for him.  

David was also a very good tenor harmoniser, and played the guitar. He would preach the gospel and coordinate all the teams efforts with the head office. I was recruited to replace a Kenyan bass singer who was unable to join the team in that year's program. This was meant to be an all Kenyan Youth For Christ team. The other team members were at that time, called Mary Ondeng (suprano/alto) and Lorna Olang (Alto).

 I soon recognised that although there was a commitment to see the gospel proclaimed there was, however, no knowledge about the power of spiritual warfare. Except for myself, all the other team members had never been taught the importance of engaging the evil one in the heavenly places effectively.  Mary Ondeng was the only other team member who attended a Pentecostal, church. The other two attended evangelical churches where such things were unheard of.  The challenge was, therefore, left to me to do virtually all the spiritual warfare before we went to various schools.

I used all I had learnt from school about setting the captives free and binding the influences and control of the enemy.  I also found myself engaging, in travailing with deep sighs and groans by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26). As a result we had a great harvest of salvations every where we went.

 While I was busy involved in this, God began to open doors for me and the rest of my family.  Not only us, but for those many Ugandans who were languishing in Kenya.  Through the Grace of God, there was a worldwide reaction to the murder of the Ugandan Anglican Arch-Bishop.  Assisted by the tireless efforts of the, Late Anglican Bishop Festo Kivengere, who had himself escaped narrowly, the world began to fully appreciate the true plight of many Ugandans. Financial assistance started to come through the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees, and The African Evangelist Enterprise. Soon there were numerous scholarships to study in many countries being offered to the stranded students like myself.

 Before long the situation had completely reversed for the better for me. From being completely stranded without a future I found myself with three University admissions in three different countries- Hamburg  University in Germany, Washington State University in Washington State, USA; and Macquarie University in Australia! The question now became where to go since they were all financed!

 I went into urgent prayer, about what God's choice would be. My own personal, preference was the USA. This was the most attractive for two reasons. The first was because that was where the most future opportunities seemed to be. The second reason was that I was in the middle of the Youth For Christ blitz on schools with plans for tours into the neighbouring country of Tanzania. Having never been in Tanzania before it was a chance of a lifetime. Besides, as far as I was concerned I was fulfilling my call to extend the Kingdom. The results of the preaching campaign into schools were clear evidence that God was with us. To abandon this prematurely was, to me, like opting for the lesser temporal things.

 The enrolment time of April-May into Washington State University would have suited these plans perfectly.  This was not to be, however.  I went to the Lord in urgent prayer for clear guidance in this rather tricky situation. In a dream, I saw myself flying past a dark grey court-hanger shaped bridge on a clear day. I also saw, in another dream the same night, myself travelling along a city street with a certain type of lighting. I did not have a clue as to what these dreams meant having never seen pictures of any such city before. My knowledge of world geography strongly suggested it might be Australia. I had never seen a picture of Sydney before so had no idea whether it even had a bridge like that. All I knew was that it was on the coast. I knew that neither Hamburg University nor the city of Hamburg had those features. Washington State University, in the city of Seattle, was inland.

As it turned out, on 20th March, 1978, through a string of miracles I ended up in Sydney, Australia. As we headed towards the airport we flew past the Sydney Harbour Bridge exactly on the same side that I had seen in the dream late the previous year!  Much later on, one night I was travelling through the streets of Sydney in a Taxi that I noticed the same arrangement of street lights that I had seen in the dream!  So God had brought me to where He wanted me to be because I was willing to go His way although that meant cutting short my tour program with Youth For Christ. The Lord was able to provide the group with a substitute singer at short notice so that their tour into Tanzania would not be cancelled.

This was also a fulfilment of the prophetic dream I had when I saw myself following the Lord into a foreign city some 6 years before!

  

 

CHAPTER 13

 WARFARE AND TRAVAILING OVER THE RESIDENTIAL COLLEGE

 It was a grey, wet and windy early Autumn's day, 20th March 1978, in Sydney when we arrived after a gruelling, and best forgotten journey over two days. Having never travelled this far before plus the change in the time zone meant I was well and truly disoriented.  There were five of us who came to study in Sydney. Four of us were to study in Macquarie and the other was to study at New South Wales University.  Our accommodation was to be at Robert Menzies College. The Anglican Diocese of Sydney runs this. 

 The co-educational residential college, situated within the University campus, provides residence for some 200 students. Next to it is another residential college, Dunmore Lang which is run by the Presbyterian church. The students in these colleges were mainly from the country or interstate. There were a few from overseas. The fact that we were all in unfamiliar territory made everyone more understanding at the difficulty of adjusting to a new environment.  Students went out of their way to help each other in the daily routines.

 There were also Anglican services held for the students every Sunday morning at 10.00 a.m. in the residence of the Master (Principle) of the college. These were typical Anglican services such as I used to attend in high school or with my parents. The only consoling aspect of these service was that the then Master of the College, the late Rev. Alan Cole was a very funny man.  He was a missionary to China for 20 years and had endless “war” stories from which he drew skilful biblical principles and illustrations.  He also had a great sense of understanding for the varied needs of the international and country students under his care.  He faithfully taught from the Anglican traditions until his departure from the College.  Unfortunately for him, many students who not of Anglican traditions did not attend the services and since no invitations for salvations were ever given, at least that I am aware of while I was there, many students missed out of the saving Grace of Christ.

These traditional services began to bear on my spirit heavily as I saw lost opportunities Sunday after Sunday. It was not too long before I began to tire of these services. I yearned for the real worship service where there was greater expression in songs and fellowship. Having tasted that type of Christianity in Uganda made it very difficult to appreciate the dry, predictable format of the hymn book. It was as if God was not really a Person Who could be interacted with. The whole exercise, for that is what it seemed to me, meant that one could not be joyful about worshipping the Giver of life and hope. Something had to give. There had to be change, change, change my heart was crying out in frustration!

 The big question as always is - How to bring about this change? The fact that I was an overseas student with no influence, in the natural, did not help. I started to pray in earnest intercessory prayer for a Devine intervention. As it turned out the Holy Spirit led me to meet a rather passionate Pentecostal, Australian student called Graham. He was one of those who was prepared to bring a revolution if he could.  Most of the students who knew him kept well away because he was seen to be eccentric and extreme in his views about Christianity. They were used to and only knew the traditional religious practices normally found in the conservative country towns.

 I was at least glad to find a bone fide Pentecostal who was excited about his relationship with the Lord Jesus and wanted to see others get saved.  He also fellowshipped with another two girls who were themselves viewed as eccentric. I soon began to share with them my experiences in Uganda and Kenya on the power of prayer and spiritual warfare.  The student called Graham, was all for it and willing to take up the challenge.  He had tried in vain to convince other students before I came, so he was glad to have someone who could relate. Admittedly, I always tactfully avoided his extreme approaches because they appeared to be a "boots and all" method of sharing the gospel.

 Graham and co. had been praying for about three years to see change in the Christianity promoted and conducted at the college. There were neither conversions to Christ during these Anglican services nor were there any attempts to evangelise the residents who were almost all not born again. The sermons were never geared to bring people to a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  It was a spiritually dead place, and I felt it as soon as I arrived and started attending the services! We had to intensify our prayers with regular fasting for the spiritual change to eventuate.

 Throughout 1978 and 1979, we prayed and fasted as frequently as we could.  I committed myself to fasting on Saturdays because it was most convenient. During these times, I would engage in spiritual warfare against the religious traditions that held that place in bondage.  On many occasions, in the privacy of my room, a deep groaning in my spirit for the college overwhelmed me. The Holy Spirit would lead me to travail for the college residents.  They needed to get saved and not their ears filled with the traditions of men.  I cried out in anguish, sometimes even doubling up in pain as the intense pain of travail would come upon me.  I cried, out to God to please save these students. It was the best opportunity for them not only to get saved, but also to get follow up before they left for the workforce.

 In 1979, it was announced, that the current Master of the college was leaving and that a new one was coming. Not knowing anything about the coming new Master gave me no comfort. I wanted change, change and nothing less! If God could do it in Uganda, He can just as easily do it in Australia. We only had to persevere in prayer till we broke through. It was only a matter of time before the victory was made physically apparent.

 The new Master of the college, Dr Paul Barnett, we soon found out was less of a traditionalist and more evangelical. This meant he believed in getting people saved! What a breakthrough! He had been recruited all the way from Adelaide, South Australia! For the first time since the college's inception some five years before, the gospel of salvation could be heard.  Soon invitations to a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus were being made to the students. The responses were so encouraging that the lounge room, where the Sunday at 10.00 a.m. services, were held became too small.

With the fellowship in his residence growing very quickly soon there was no more room but to move to a new location.  While the Paul and his small leadership team negotiated with available halls around, I continued with earnest intercessory prayer travailing before The Lord God to see the growth of this ministry.  The fellowship was also encouraged by Paul to continue to pray for this break through.  In my case, it was a relentless inward urging for which there was no rest day and night; I would be in prayer as in previous intercessory times past.  From time to time as I prayed and fasted I would get such a powerful sense of making breakthroughs in the spiritual realm.  I was therefore encouraged to preserve until this victory became a physical reality.  It also provided me the basis for encouraging the young Christians to believe. 

 One day we had the good news that we had secured the Sunday evening starting 6.30 p.m. to about 8.00pm timeslot at the Baptist Theological College, Morling Chapel.  It was only about 100 metres from Robert Menzies College. This was the time when the Chapel was not being used by the Theological College because all their services were day services. This Chapel sat up to 200-250 people on pews.  We rejoiced that the Baptists would agree for an Anglican minister to use their chapel for a non-denominational service. 

 The emphasis on the non-denominational character of the service reflected Rev. Paul Barnett’s on conviction that it was the appropriate format for the highly diverse religious background of University students he was responsible to minister to.  This also provided a platform for some flexibility in the services.  The most important was the omission of the Anglican prayer book and ceremonies which I always regarded as stumbling block to enjoying worship in God’s Presence. 

 While the services were at Rev. Paul Barnett’s residence, there was no music instrument used during the singing.  However, in the chapel there was a piano.  Soon we had someone who able to play the songs from the traditional hymns but not from contemporary Christian worship music.  I was very challenged to learn to play the guitar.  I soon found a very able teacher through one of the regular attendees, Harvey Dillon.  Harvey was a fan of the banjo and played brilliantly. He instructed me on the structure of the guitar layout and how you could workout the relevant notes.  During one Christmas holiday I was privileged to stay with them being an overseas student they asked me to spend the Christmas holidays with them.  By the time University started again, I had great mastery of the acoustic guitar and I used it to learn the contemporary songs.

 Armed with this knowledge, between Harvey, myself and the pianist we brought the church services to the more modern evangelical worship songs.  The introduction of the guitar and banjo accompanied by relentless intercessory prayer and great preaching by a minister who was determined to see as many students born-again as is possible saw a rapid increase in salvations.  Soon new bible study groups mushroomed at Robert Menzies’ college as well as in the homes of non-University attendees.  Being involve in selecting and leading the praise and worship component of the service enabled me to present each service before The Lord and get assurance that He would bless our worship.  These were wonderful times as numbers grew until the chapel was virtually full as people from different denominations came to worship in a contemporary setting and hear a vibrant, relevant and challenging gospel under the leadership of Rev. Paul Barnett.

 

CHAPTER 14

TRAVAILING FOR MY BROTHER'S LIFE

 I arrived back in Uganda in December 1984 having completed a Masters Degree in Economics. By a combination of prophetic revelations and the miracle working power of God I had been able to secure a further scholarship for a Masters Degree.

 It became abundantly clear to me that God wanted me to appreciate His mighty power working in me. From a background of feeling severely inadequate in most areas, especially academically. He made me complete a Masters Degree against my wishes. It seems that He just wanted to prove to me that as along as I let Him be Lord of my life then all things are possible.

 Since I had fled the country in 1977 a lot had happened. In 1979, Idi Amin was deposed in a civil war against rebels. There was a subsequent election in 1980 of a civilian government headed by Milton Obote, who had been deposed by Idi Amin some 9 years before in 1971. The country had by then been severely devastated by a combination of steady economic decline under Idi Amin and the civil war.  By the time I arrived in 1984, there were political troubles brewing again. This time, as in times past, the ugly head of inter-tribal and ethnic rivalry began to rear itself up again.  This led to another military coup detat in late July 1986 again deposing Milton Obote.

As in times past, such political instability merely encouraged the strengthening of rebels hands. The country began to slide back into chaos as the number of political murders increased. There was also increase in violent crimes and it was no longer safe to be outside after 6.00pm. During the civilian days under Obote it was safe again to travel at night and lot activities were restored. Soon civil war broke out in the western part of the country. It was to lead to the deposing of the military regime and the installation of another military regime that still rules today, June 1992, at time of writing this book.

 My oldest brother, who had the typical stubborn traits of his ancestors, would not allow himself to listen to wisdom to stay home after 6.00pm. Whenever he so chose he would drive off returning at whatever time he wanted. At the time I was living with his family in an apartment, right in the city centre.

 One night, when my brother was at home, I was awakened by the sound of a short burst of automatic gunfire. It was about 2.00am in the morning. This was a frequent occurrence, at nights during that time as the country steadily slid into civil war. I would normally be awaken, if at all, for a short moment and then go back to sleep. This time, however, I sat straight up on my bed wide awake aware of something tragic.  I was so strongly impressed by the Holy Spirit that it was not a literal sound of gunfire at the time, but rather the sound of gunfire that was to take place in the future! It was to be the assassin's gunfire at my brother! He made it very clear to me that I must intercede for his life otherwise he would be lost for eternity because, he was not saved.

 Immediately, I began to be in anguish for his life as the spirit of intercession came upon me very strongly. I wept and travailed before God helped by the Holy Spirit till I was soaked, in sweat in my bed. After a period of time of this intense travailing a tremendous peace came upon me. An assurance that God would spare his life. I then went back to sleep knowing that all would be well. I did not tell him of my experience knowing that he would not listen being a non-Christian and very stubborn in all his ways at the time.

 One night, about two weeks after that travailing, my brother was out again after 6.00pm.   I was watching the Television at about 10.00pm. and he was not yet back.  Then we heard in the corridor the sound of a number of voices talking and coming close to our apartment. It always made the hairs on one's neck straighten out.   I wasn't sure whether it was some soldiers coming to terrorise us or not. Then there was a knock and for a moment my heart skipped a beat but they assured us it was safe.

 Being the only adult male in the house, the night patrol soldiers addressed me and told me the sad news that my brother had been ambushed in the city centre and critically wounded. This had occurred at about 8.30pm and he was in hospital in the Emergency ward.  At that news, his wife went justifiably hysterical. I knew from my spirit that everything would be all right because I had been prophetically warned and had prayed through.  Nevertheless, I was also warned at that moment by the Holy Spirit that I had to see him immediately because the hospital was very ill equipped and he would not survive unless some unusual action was taken.

 I convinced the soldiers to drive me under armed escort to the hospital immediately which they reluctantly agreed to do.  My sister-in-law and I sat in the back of this army Land-rover with soldiers  machine-guns all on the ready to fight their way through if necessary. I was very conscious, then that I was going through, the valley of the shadow of death and I might not make it to my brother. As we sat out at top speed through the city on that three-kilometre journey I prayed to God and committed my spirit into His Hands.  We arrived at the hospital without any incident, Praise God for that!

 I took one look at my brother and the Emergency ward surrounds, and I understood immediately why the Holy Spirit had told me to go there. There were no basic medical essentials such as bed sheets or blankets! He was lying on the bare mattress, without any covering! There was a very cold draught coming in from the broken glass windows!  All he had was a drip, and there were no doctors because they were all too scared to work at night. There were only three brave night duty staff who looked on helpless knowing that he would not make it till morning, under those appalling conditions. They had seen many like my brother before and they had not survived to the next day.

 I was almost in tears fully realising the seriousness of the situation. What was I to do? O Lord help me, please! I don't want to lose my brother because he is not even saved, and I would never ever see him again for eternity! I was heartbroken and desperate feeling helpless unless something, urgent, could be done. My mind began to race trying to find a solution. Then the Holy Spirit spoke to my spirit!

 The Holy Spirit was, however, in charge of the whole situation. All I had to do was to obey His command. He drew my attention to the need for immediate surgery and better care. The only person who could ensure that was my Dad, being a Surgeon who was assigned to that hospital.  He was at home about two kilometres, away and that meant driving there as soon as possible. There were no publicly accessible working telephones in the hospital! Again I had to convince these soldiers to risk their lives and drive us to my parent’s home. They agreed reluctantly and we sped off arriving without incident.

 On communicating the seriousness of the condition to my parents, they steeled themselves for the worst.  By that time I was in tears try as hard as I could to keep my composure and relate the situation accurately.  Mum again showed that courage that only the love of a mother could and did not panic at all. She quickly organised bed sheets, blankets and other essentials for an all night vigil by Walter's side.  I was left to look after the home with two sisters. Again, we had to convince the soldiers to give armed escort for Dad in his car back to the hospital. We were really stretching their kindness, but the Grace of God was on our side and they again obliged!

 As soon as my parents left for the hospital, I got my two sisters praying and interceding with me.  The situation seemed very indeterminate. Walter had been shot at point blank range with the bullet entering from the left side of his stomach and out the right side leaving a sizeable, hole. He had lost a lot of blood.

 Dad, on arriving at the hospital, had to go and literally scrounge around the badly furnished operating theatres to get the basic necessities for the operation. Next, he had to find doctors and medical staff to assist with the operation. This required him to go to the home of a colleague. This doctor was initially terrified to hear a car arrive at his home unannounced.  To make matters worse his home had, not so long before, been robbed by armed men.  He was consoled, however, when he heard Dad's familiar voice although baffled at this dangerous late night visit.

 It was around, 3.00a.m. in the morning before the operation took place, some seven hours after the ambush! It was recognised to have been a miracle that my brother did not even go into a coma, considering the blood loss and extent of the wound! God had supernaturally sustained him while all the arrangements were taking place. 

 The real miracle began when he was ambushed. He later told me one day what happened. Driving through the main street of the capital on the way home at about 8.30pm he came to an unexpected road block. He was told to get out of the car.   There was an argument that ensued with those at the road block.  It appeared this was an illegal road block. This was commonly done by armed robbers, and political rebels alike. Being the stubborn type he challenged them and one of the men panicked and opened fire at point blank range.  Only one bullet hit him on the side. We saw later the bullet riddled car at the police station. It was the first miracle that only one bullet from an automatic machine gun was able to hit him!

 He said at the first sound of gunfire he fell and rolled away by reflex. The gunfire immediately alerted the night patrol who started in that direction. This made those at the ambush panic and run away. He said as he rolled away suddenly he saw himself looking at his physical body! He found himself being drawn towards a dark hole. It seemed to suck him in irresistibly, hard as he would try to fight not to go down further as it grew darker and darker. He knew that he was going to hell! Just as suddenly as it had appeared he found himself back in his physical body again.  I believe it was that travailing prayer two weeks before that saved him from eternal damnation. He had actually died and his spirit had left his body and was headed straight for hell. The Grace of God woke me up that night, two weeks before, and strongly moved me to plead for his life. He was restored back to life! And God answered my, Holy Spirit, inspired intercession! Praise God!

 Regaining consciousness, he got up and holding his sides he ran some  200 metres to the central police station and collapsed on the steps! He was then rushed to the hospital. There is nothing worse than running when you have two gaping holes on you sides including massive internal injuries! It was a miracle that in spite of such massive blood loss he did not even once faint. God supernaturally sustained him in response to the travailing prayers that had gone up for him. Praise God! He is so merciful and long suffering, towards us.

  

CHAPTER 15

  THE TANGIBLE ANOINTING THAT REMAINS PERMANENTLY

 Most Pentecostals would have experienced what is called "the Anointing". This is commonly experienced, for example, when a person first gets baptised in the Holy Spirit. For some it is a very warm feeling on the inside that seems to flow right through the body. Others feel a tingling sensation much like an electrical current of varying degrees of intensity all over their body or on certain parts like the hands, feet, lips or stomach. Other people experience the anointing when they are receiving healings for their bodies or when they are worshipping and praising God.

 Some preachers, especially those in the healing ministries, are well documented as having experienced the anointing when they are on stage preaching or praying for the congregation. This anointing, they say, comes upon them during such times until the ministry is over and then it goes away.  These tangible anointing are, however, not always there whenever they are ministering. They, nevertheless, act by faith knowing that God will always back His word if preached, and signs will follow those who believe.

 When we look at the life of Jesus' ministry we get a different picture in contrast to the common experiences of ministers today. 

"And John bore witness, saying, "I saw the Spirit descending from Heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him." (John 1:32) 

“Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until, an opportune time. Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region." (Luke 4:13-14)

This news was a result of the miracles. " Now Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues,, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, and healing all kinds of diseases among the people......"  (Matthew 4:23 -24).

 In the story of the woman with the flow of blood, when she touched the hem of his robe believing for a healing Jesus immediately felt power flow out of Him. He said to those around him,"Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me." (Luke 8:43-48). 

(Also read, Luke 4:31-36; 5:17)-!

 These passages clearly illustrate that Jesus had a constant awareness of the tangible power of God on Him. It wasn't only on some occasions, or when he was directing His attention to healings specifically. The

big searching question that has always bothered me is that How come this is not the experience  of Christians today, especially those who have the healing ministries? Moreover Jesus promised in the gospel of

John 14:12 that Christians who believed would do greater works than He did! I have never had a satisfactory explanation from anyone. 

My own personal experience at the time of being baptised in the Holy Spirit has already been described in an earlier chapter. In subsequent years this experience has only been sporadic to say the least. Sometimes I felt this anointing at conferences I was attending, sometimes during worship time at a service. Sometimes when I was on my own and going through some special supernatural experience of the awareness of God's Presence with me. Basically, there was no consistency and most of these experiences were very short-lived lasting maybe half an hour to an hour.

 Sometime in 1983, about 11 years after my conversion, one day the anointing just came on my hands. I wondered why, but having got used to it coming and going when it wanted I thought it would soon go away within the hour. It did not! It not only lasted more than an hour, but more like a week! This totally baffled me because I had been taught all along that this anointing only came on a person for a specific ministry purpose. I tried praying for the sick and so on, but nothing that spectacular happened yet the anointing remained. Just as suddenly as it came it also went. What did it all mean?

 A few months later the same thing happened again for a period of about two weeks, and then left just as suddenly? This continued for over the year 1983 until one day when it left I never experienced it seemingly like never, again. Not for another four years did I experience anything like it.  I had no satisfactory explanation even after reading numerous books I could lay my hands on, and listening to numerous preachers.

In May, 1988 not long after the anniversary day of my conversion, 17th May, the anointing returned. This time it remained for longer than two weeks or so that I had got used to. A month passed and the anointing remained on me. Then two months, three months! Day and night, week after week the anointing remained!  This continued non-stop through 1988, then 1989, 1990, and in late 1991 it started to increase in intensity! Not only did I feel the tangible anointing on my hands and arms, but also on my feet and legs, my mouth, face and chest area!  What does it all mean?

I got desperate, for some explanation and talked to some senior leaders in the church who turned out to be more baffled than I was! It is now over four years that the anointing has been tangibly upon me and gradually increasing in intensity!

 I have throughout this time learnt that the gifts and callings of God are without repentance. This means that I must live the Christian lifestyle just like everyone else. Just because I have the tangible evidence of the anointing of God does not mean I am exempt from the demands of righteous, living expected of all Christians.  This insight has helped me enormously to have a correct attitude towards the supernatural events that God is slowly releasing in my life. It seems, to me that this experience has been given without the external, manifestations of the anointing until I have adequately grasped how to cope with such supernatural signs and wonders.

When the time comes for this anointing to be outwardly made manifested for the Glory of God and the furtherance of the Kingdom I should be in a position to direct it with the maximum effect for the gospel.  There are obviously numerous things that the church does not have a clue about regarding the supernatural. Praise God, we are finally being let into it and by the Grace of God the whole body of Christ will be able to live and exercise the authority that Christ wants His body to.

 

CHAPTER 16

 

“Go and Talk to them”

 

One Sunday evening as I lead worship facing the congregation, The Holy Spirit, impressed upon me to notice two new faces in the congregation.  Every Sunday there are usually a few new faces in most case I do not get a chance to talk to any of them because I am usually occupied with organizational matters at the end of the Service.  This particular Sunday, however, there was a strong urge to go and talk to these two girls in their early twenties.  There was nothing special about them because they blended in like all other University students. Initially, I was reluctant not knowing what to say except maybe the normal courtesy greetings for all visitors.  However, as I continued with leading the music, I accepted The Holy Spirit’s command to go an talk to the girls.  I committed the whole encounter to Him who would provide me with the words to speak.  I had the assurance that all would work OK. 

 At the end of the service, I made my way towards them as the congregation was moving outside.   I introduced myself and the two girls responded introducing themselves as Donna Quinn and Karina Kluckmann.  I was obviously curious as to why the came to our church. As it turned out, they were not even students but were looking for a church having become Christians on about a 1-2 months before in Byron bay where they were part of the alternative culture reknown in that area.  Since becoming Christians and returning to Sydney where they both lived with their families they had been warned off Pentecostal churches.  Whoever, had led to Christ considered Pentecostal churches and speaking in tongues as being of the devil!

 As they shared their plight I listened with private amusement at what they had been told.  It was surely, The Holy Spirit, Who had spoken to me to approach them.  They had no idea that they were speaking to someone, who was not only a Pentecostal but believed ever so fervently in the need for all Christians to be baptized in the Holy Spirit speaking in tongues.  I was and still am very deeply convicted about the need for this experience; however, I am not a mindless fanatic.  The Lord Jesus never forced any one to get saved even though He knew and told them they would headed for eternal damnation.  It was their choice.

 Using common sense and wisdom, I took them aside and told them, I was in fact one of those Pentecostal people they had been warned about.  They were shocked initially because I was leading a non-denominational praise and work and seemed not troubled by this.  I knew at that moment that I needed to reassure them that what they had been told was not of Divine origin but rather of religious ignorance and prejudice. We made an appointment to meet up again at a different location during which time I would give them a detailed account of how I got saved and how with great power The Holy Spirit had done mighty things through me for the glory of God and the expansion of His Kingdom.

At our next meeting, I was also introduced to a friend of theirs called Michael Cowley who was a University student.  Three asked me endless questions about the Christian faith, Pentecostal experiences both in Australian and in Uganda.  They changed their views on Pentecostals and we had great fellowship together over several months.  However, unlike Karina who had a job at the local shopping centre, Donna did not have a job and was unable to find one for sometime.  Eventually, she got a job on a race horse farm in a place call Karajong, North West of Sydney. 

 She was apprehensive about the atmosphere in the place. It was a haunt for media celebrity who also used the farm for ungodly recreational activities.  Having engaged in similar activities before becoming a Christian meant a time of trial not to fall back into that lifestyle.  As she shared her concern, I felt a burden for her rest upon my heart.  We prayed with Donna before she left and promised we would come to visit her as frequently as was possible.  We would also ring her regularly to see how she was going.  But as is often the case, it is easy for good friends eventually move apart due to distance and activities of life.  I was still very much involved with activities with my church as well as University studies where I was doing my Masters in Economics.

 The Holy Spirit, however, did not want me to let Donna Quinn go out of my mind.  There was a deep sense of foreboding that she need serious and persistent intercession.  Although I shared this with both Michael and Karina, I was well aware that they lacked the required knowledge and anointing for intercession.  I therefore made a commitment to The Holy Spirit to intercede even as the burden for Donna persisted.  From time to time I would fast and anguish in prayer for Donna’s spiritual protection and growth. Although, I did not have a prophetic revelation about the details of how God was going to use her in the future, I nevertheless prayed that be protected for The Lord’s future purpose.  The Holy Spirit would lead me from time to time ring and encourage her until the opportunity came for us to visit with her. These intercessions continued until I left for Uganda in 1984 when I finished my Masters Degree program. It was, however, not to be the end of my involvement in Donna Quinn’s life.

 While I was in Africa going through a very trying period with the tumultuous politics of the continent a Pentecostal church, called Christian Life Centre had already started in The Hills District of North Western Sydney. It was led by Pastor Brian Huston whose father, the late Frank Huston, led Christian Life Centre at Waterloo in Sydney. By the time I returned to Sydney in 1987 as an immigrant, Donna Quinn had joined the Church and was actively involved in assisting with the youth ministry but only not in a leadership role.

 When I returned to Australia, I went back to Robert Menzies College as a Tutor.  The Christians there through the kindness of my friends, Michael Cowley, Karina Kluckmann and Donna Quinn were able to raise enough money for my plane ticket to Australia from Zimbabwe where I was eagerly waiting to emigrate after fleeing Uganda’s civil war of 1985/86.  In 1988, I began to feel a sense to leave the University environment and the church at Robert Menzies College.  I had visited the Hills Christian Life Centre and it seemed The Holy Spirit wanted me to get involved there with the youth ministry.  At that time the Hills area had a bad reputation with a lot of young people in trouble with police and community.  There was a real opportunity for ministry there and Hills CLC through the efforts of a young Pastor Darko were making some inroads. 

 I informed Rev. Paul Barnett that I was leaving to go and contribute to the wider community.  He gave me the blessing agreeing it was a good idea for me to move on. I had already secured a job in the finance industry and so I left college and rented a townhouse with another friend, Michael Healey whom I had met at Robert Menzies Chapel. This was a new building completed before I returned to Australia as an answer to prayer.

 On joining Hill CLC, I attended the main services but there was also a Friday night youth only service with a varied program to cater for the specific needs of young people.  For a while I attended and observed what was going on but did not sense the need for any deeper involvement with the activities.  Before I joined the youth Pastor Darko resigned from his role and left the church to start a new church elsewhere.  Pastor Brian sought for a new Youth Pastor and as he meditating and wondering who the best candidate was; He says The Holy Spirit said that Donna Quinn was the “man” for the job.  Although there had been no female Pastor before in his church nor in his father’s church, he nevertheless appointed Donna Quinn to be the Youth Pastor.

 Donna, who had no formal training in theology or youth ministry, was therefore thrown into the deep end.  She used everything she had learned and inherited and was determined to succeed in this God given opportunity.  When I joined the church and started attending the youth service, I noticed that the ministry was struggling especially among the young men.  With a female leader, a number of the young men stopped attending when Darko left.  As a result the youth meetings had predominantly females 60-70% and the leadership was all females.  There were a couple of older Christian males but they were of no significant influence and this did not help Donna who could see this problem.  Darko had a significant influence in establishing this ministry and it seemed there was an impossible hole for Donna to fill. 

Donna was glad to see me attend the meetings, but she was not entirely sure what the way to go was.  She sought my support in assisting with the males, sharing with them the need to not abandon their contributions to the youth ministry just because they had a female pastor.  I, for one understood that The Holy Spirit, had answered my intercessions of the past and He had purposed to raise Donna to be a Pastor. It was His will for me to intercede for her and therefore I was fully committed to see her ministry succeed. This meant rallying the young men who were willing to engage in intercessory prayer.

Over the years I had notice a consistent pattern that seemed to occur when new fellowships or churches were established. There usually was initially a good response, especially if the church has good music and an original style of services, programs and so on. If these are not backed up with a persistent, fervent warfare prayer habit exemplified by the leaders than a decline is inevitable overtime.  Some may take several years others may be short lived but spiritual life is lost and only the human effort aided by programs will become the life. This is a recipe for the kind of shallowness in people's relationship with God that is so typical of churches run by programs and not the power of the Holy Spirit.

I, therefore, encouraged the boisterous youth to take up the challenge and begin to warfare for their fellowship and their unsaved friends. The Holy Spirit stirred up the young people, but as is well illustrated in the Scriptures, only few ever really respond to the true battle cry. These were "a motley crew" indeed, but they were willing to endure the battle.

 One of the young people, called Michael Paag, helped me organise the use of an Anglican Church hall in the Blue Mountains. This church is some 90 kms west of Sydney, and very cold in winter by Sydney's standards.  We would go up on a Friday evening, once a month, at about 8.30-9.00pm and engage in spiritual warfare till 5.00 am in the morning!  Then we would return the following morning all fired up for the youth meeting on the Saturday, night. It was rough going for the young people, numbering about 12-15 on average out of some 150 or more males in the youth fellowship. 

 They soon realised the value of these spiritual warfare when the Holy Spirit started to supernaturally reveal to us what was going to be preached at the fellowship. Young people also started to frequently respond to the gospel and got saved, something that had not happened for a long time. The fellowship started to grow again from a point of stagnation. There was a new wave of fresh moves of the Holy Spirit during the worship time.  These young people had successfully engaged in intercessory spiritual warfare and were on the permanent winning formula for their youth group.

 My experience over the years has shown to me that any Christian program that is not backed up by persistent intercessory spiritual warfare will degenerate ever so slowly and imperceptibly into nothing more than a human effort. There will eventually be a decline in the depth and quality of the worship. The signs of such occurring are when there are more programs, ideas, human creativity, but not much depth and intensity in the worship. Since the Holy Spirit is the author of true and meaningful worship it is not possible to produce it even with the best of music. It will only be emotional hype that will become obvious as the new song is sung to death.

 The leadership must be the ones setting the example in the spiritual warfare for it to take a firm hold in the lifestyle of the group. Half hearted attempts by leadership will soon be reflected by the rest of the fellowship. 

Over this period of spiritual warfare through most of 1988-90, the Holy Spirit started to strongly impress upon me the need to urgently intercede for the prophetic ministry. He indicated that we had to engage in spiritual warfare so that churches would begin to recognise the prophetic ministry and encourage it.  Most churches were and are still very much oblivious to this very important ministry available to the church.

 Many times over the subsequent years I would engage in spiritual warfare at home as well as intercede in the Holy Spirit for the restoration of the prophetic ministry.  It seemed a lonely task because most people could not relate to where the Holy Spirit was moving. There is contentment among most Christians, even leaders, with what is known rather than a pursuit of what the Holy Spirit is wanting to birth on the earth. This continued, persistent warfare was to be a blessing for me because the Lord brought me, in September 1991, to a church that was flowing with what the Holy Spirit was on about in the 1990s! 

As the Youth ministry under the leadership of Donna Quinn exploded in growth so did its influence in the community and nationally.  Soon local and international churches started coming to the church to find out how the youth ministry had become so successful.   This growth continued with enormous impact on the whole church since a majority of the congregation was under 30 years old.  I knew then my task was completed and it was up to the Donna and her ministry team to run with what The Holy Spirit had started. The Holy Spirit forbade me to be more involved than I was already.  It is not about ownership or accolades it is about faithfulness to His command.  The task of the prophet was completed and the next opportunity awaited me.

Out of the subsequent rapid growth of the Youth ministry came Youth Alive! That put Hills CLC on the world map.  Pastor Donna Crouch (maiden name is Quinn) is now a well known minister within HillSongChurch.  I am glad I was obedient to The Holy Spirit’s instruction but I cannot but give God the glory for achieving in Donna Crouch far more than I could have imagined through the work and ministries of the body of Christ.

 

CHAPTER 17

A MEETING IN THE WILDERNESS

During 1990, I was as involved in church life as anyone could be, participating, in some five different activities.  I have always believed in full participation, because it makes you appreciate better what God is doing with His people. I was, therefore, given a shock at what was said when I found myself face to face with His Majesty, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Such encounters have been rare and far between for me so far, but I believe it will get more frequent as I draw closer to Him. In a dream, I found myself in the desert on my hands and knees crawling towards a tent-like structure. I had white robes on. Sitting, on what appeared like a wooden bench in the shade of that tent, was His Majesty! He was dressed in brilliant white robes that radiated light.

My eyes were fixed on Him. I was filled with great joy - thrilled! as I crawled towards His Majesty with a worshipful reverence for Him. It was the only right thing to do. The thought of getting up to my feet and walking rather than crawling on the rocky desert never once crossed my mind.  He looked at me with a smile. I was overwhelmed with joy to see Him, face to face. When I had come close enough to Him, looking me straight in the eyes, He said to me in a gentle but firm voice

 " Get ready to bear witness! Be ready!".

I clearly understood what He meant. I reflected on the difficulty I had experienced with always ever being ready to preach the gospel, in season and out of season. It is easy to be a joyful, active Christian within the church environment. The real challenge is to be prepared to give, outside of the church, an account of the extent of the reality of your relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  It would seem I needed to psych myself up everyday in readiness for any unexpected opportunity to share the Gospel. This is emotionally distressing over a period of time, especially when people tend to be rude or very defensive in response. The instinctive response over time is to slowly shy away from sharing the Gospel. This in turn would lead to a more laxed attitude to ever being prepared to be a witness to the Gospel. The Lord Jesus Christ was not going to accept this shying away from His commission given in the Gospels. So in frustration I hastily replied:

"It is so hard to get ready!"

It was partly a complaint, partly an excuse for failure to accept the command. It was as if I wanted to avoid the necessary hardship that I had to go through in the process of getting ready.

His Majesty replied in that firm uncompromising baritone Voice:

"Don't give Me any excuses!". "Get ready! Be ready!"

 The location of our meeting place, in the wilderness, was a clear confirmation of what I had known for sometime. Since December 1984, when I returned to Uganda on completing my postgraduate studies, it had been a wilderness experience. Both in the natural and spiritually nothing really seemed to be working out for me. There were significant delays before getting a job; then there was the military coup followed by the civil war. Having to flee the country again with all the attendant problems of being a refugee a second time. Having to be stranded in Zimbabwe without a job for over a year while waiting to immigrate to Australia.

 Although I was soon working on arriving in Australia I was still in a spiritual wilderness. Getting fully involved in church life, however exciting, did not take away that spiritual wilderness. The Lord Jesus, it seems, had pitched tent there in the wilderness and was awaiting my arrival. I am a sojourner in the wilderness in preparation until the appointed time for the commissioning to fulfil the call. It was clearly the guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead me into this wilderness where I would meet the Lord and get the admonition to remain committed. He was watching me, even in the wilderness, to ensure that I continued doing His Will with zeal.

 For the Lord Jesus Christ to have had to pitch a tent meant He knew it was going to be a long time before I finally arrived and/or would have to stay at the designated location. Sitting under cover at the entrance to His tent, while waiting for me, clearly indicated it was a hot place! This was no oasis in the desert it was just dry, dusty, and rugged desert. Undesirable, though it may be, yet that was the Will of God for me until His Sovereign purposes are completed in my life. Excuses, so that I could lower the standards on account of the fiery trials, were not acceptable. Faithfulness to the commission, especially in adversity, was an absolute must that is why the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, was revealed to emphasise its importance to me directly.

 This encounter sent me into a spin because I realised that it meant I had to drop ALL my existing church involvement, except of course, attending the services and fellowships. I had to give up all positions of responsibility that required time and commitment.  I could not give any excuses having been commanded not to. I also realised that all these involvements were not going to assist me in being ready for the task that the Lord Jesus Christ had for me. I now had to concentrate all the available time on praying in the Spirit knowing the Scriptures, and developing a hunger for the things of, and a closer relationship with the Holy Spirit.

 I had to concentrate on getting the power of the blood of Jesus Christ to deal with sins that I was still struggling with.  In the early half of 1991, I would go once a month to the Blue Mountains by myself, rent a motel room and pray and fast all weekend. It was rough going, but there was no excuse to give because the Holy Spirit had instructed me to do it.  I began to experience real and major victories, and the anointing increased on me. Totally unknown to me, this was to be the beginning of a new level of spiritual growth and intimacy with the Holy Spirit as well as the introduction to a church with the prophetic ministry operating!

Reflecting on it in hindsight, it would have been more difficult for me to accept where the Holy Spirit was leading if I was totally pre-occupied with so many activities. He had to get me alone, uncommitted, to anything except seeking His will. This was again a lonely endeavour, since most leaders thought it rather unspiritual for me to abandon all those commitments.  Nevertheless, no one in their right mind would disobey the Lord Jesus Christ irrespective of what the rest of Christendom thought about them. It is obedience to the Head of The Church - Jesus Christ that is the bottom-line, for me.

  

                                                                   -To be continued-

 

Published 2005

 

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