We have just received a report from Team Leader Ben Beecroft on the recent conferences held in the Dioceses of East Ruwenzori and South Rwenzori in Uganda. Uganda was particularly badly affected by the Covid restrictions, which remained in force for many months and prevented churches from meeting together – so it was particularly good to be able to hold refresher conferences in both dioceses.
A workshop in East Ruwenzori, against the backdrop of the Ruwenzori mountains
The Diocese of East Ruwenzori
The team was composed of members from the UK, Uganda and Kenya. They travelled first to East Ruwenzori, where Rooted in Jesus was introduced in 2019. Over 170 leaders were trained then, and groups had been established – until the pandemic hit.
The conference was held in a local school and attended by 80 leaders, mostly new to the programme.
Ben reports that the hospitality shown to the team was outstanding, and that the teaching was very well received. One team member wrote that for him the most memorable part of the visit was ‘the attentive/appreciative look in the eyes of most participants.’ Another team member particularly valued the change to talk and pray with a pastor whose experience very closely matched his own – ‘ I think God clearly brought us together.’ The prayer times were characterised by healing and deliverance. One man who had been suffering from an ulcerated digestive tract for fourteen years found that by the following day all the pain had gone, and he was able to eat and drink freely. Many others received healing, insight into the issues which had been troubling them, and anointing from the Holy Spirit.
All those attending were given books in the local language of Runyankore. The conference closed on a high note, with participants singing the East Africa revival song at the final commissioning.
The Diocese of South Rwenzori
Rooted in Jesus has been running in South Rwenzori since 2008, with both the adult and the Junior programmes in regular use there. But Bishop Nason Baluku is new to the diocese and places a high emphasis on discipleship, and Coordinator William Musisi has recently returned home after several years away for theological training. The time seemed right to inject fresh impetus into both the adult and the children’s groups – not least to enable the programme to reach out into those areas which are experiencing rapid population growth.
The Rooted in Jesus Junior conference in South Rwenzori
Two conferences were held, running alongside one another, each supported by three team members. Attendance was impressive, with a mix of existing leaders coming for refreshment and new leaders coming for the first time. The adult conference was attended by 99 pastors and lay leaders, and the Junior conference by 78 Sunday School teachers. All those attending were given books in the local language of Lhukonzo.
As always, team members felt that they received far more than they gave. Team leader Ben wrote that although they had begun as strangers, ‘they all gelled together quickly, a testament to God’s grace, answered prayer and their Christian maturity.’ Team members themselves reflected:
- For me it very much felt I was part of the body of Christ doing discipleship together, supported by the intercessors at home. I received more from the trip than I gave, even though I gave as much as I could.
- I personally had a tremendous spiritual uplift and blessing, something that had been missing in the past few years, and I want to thank God, the team and the participants for that
- The visit was amazing. It exceeded our expectations and we felt that God had planned this mission for us with specific moments over the last 30 years. In some ways it was the culmination of a lifetime’s calling.
- I felt so challenged seeing what the training does in the lives of the individuals – beginning with me! I left with one main challenge, to use the skills I obtained through the leadership, team spirit, humility and love of each member.
The team and coordinators with Bishop George Turyasingura in East Ruwenzori
The team came home with a great sense of optimism for the future in both dioceses, under the leadership of their bishops George and Nason, and with the commitment of coordinators James, Philip and William. An early encouragement came from Byesembu parish in South Rwenzori, where the Sunday School immediately started following Rooted in Jesus Junior. They sent this photo of the children, who are enjoying the programme and have already completed the third lesson.
The Rooted in Jesus Junior class in Byesembu
We are hugely grateful as always to all those who prayed for the team, participants and dioceses before, during and following the two conferences. Both dioceses ask us to continue to support them in prayer, with Bishop Nason requesting: ‘I pledge to do my best in ensuring that both the implementation and sustainability of the groups are registering growth in South Rwenzori Diocese. Kindly join us in prayer that many more people will be trained to reach out to the increasing population.’
Rooted in Jesus is published and supported by The Mathetes Trust.