Year by year, I am thrilled to watch how God expands his outreach into new villages where no one has ever heard of Jesus. On more than one occasion, I have received the answer, “None,” when I had asked one of our church planters, “How many Christian were in that place when you first went to share the gospel?” The faithfulness of indigenous pastors traveling into the remote villages and mountain towns to bring the Good News to people is astounding. To pray for such faithful servants of the Lord is a tremendous privilege.
I am also encouraged by the astonishing achievements of our partners here that support the ministry so that these pastors can work full-time serving the most deprived and the poorest people in their communities. Hundreds of individuals and dozens of churches join together in support of the national pastors in our ministry. Our consistent supporters giving their monthly donations are the foundation of our regular salary support to the hard-working pastors to sustain their families. At the same time, they expend their energies reaching the lost.
There are times, however, when some exceptional achievements happen that astound me. Now is a time to humbly give praise to God as we observe how he moves in people’s hearts so that God fulfills his intended purposes. The glory goes to God because he is the one that coordinates all the needs with the generous givers that supply for the needs.
The Radio Ministry in Uganda
In March 2020, I shared a strategy to cross a bridge with the gospel outreach that had become our agreed next step with our Ugandan pastors. Since that time, God has provided for many necessary accomplishments to move us toward our ability to cross that bridge. The radio ministry in Rukungiri is one of those milestones.
Pastor Onesimus has hosted a half-hour radio show in the town of Rukungiri for many years. During the early years, the show was available whenever someone would provide for a few weeks of airtime. A few years ago, our partners became aware of the show, and we began to receive consistent financial support. We selected a minister in Uganda with experience to organize recording Onesimus’ sermons to air on the radio and to develop a follow-up phone ministry answering people who call after the show to receive Christ.
There has been a tremendous response from listeners who want to receive Christ. You may be wondering how that impacts crossing the bridge. This year, a church in the US decided to raise funds to support the radio broadcast in Rukungiri. They set a goal that would provide for the entire year of airtime for the Rukungiri station. God moved in the hearts of the church members so that there was double their goal when the offering came in. The offering was twice as much as was needed for the current radio station, so we have launched the broadcast onto another station that will cover the entire region across the bridge. The radio broadcast has spread out into the areas that had no evangelical churches.
Now the gospel is broadcast into the region that desperately needs to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. Our phone ministry will answer their questions and lead them to a relationship with Jesus. A local Bible Study has begun for the newest believers, and some of those people are walking many miles to reach our closest church in Garuka.
Expanding Across the Bridge Fits a Broader Plan
How did all this begin, and how did God prepare for this expansion? It all started a few years ago; the people in this region were starving due to a drought. People were dying daily. White Fields partners had supported the establishment of several churches near our main church in Katobo. The leadership of those churches rose to the devastation of this crisis by delivering food and the gospel. Over seventy church members joined in this relief effort. God used this generosity to open many hearts to receive the gospel. Then a church was established in Kikarara.
Other generous partners saw the need of Pastor Bryan and his wife Elizabeth living so far from the fellowship of our other churches, and they donated to build them a house right in the village they were trying to reach. Another partner church saw their home and contributed to constructing a water tank providing water for everyone in the community and saving Elizabeth and Brighton a two-hour walk each day to carry water. Little by little, the church was growing. Pastor Able saw the need in the next village, and he couldn’t wait to get there and start proclaiming the gospel. One of our partners provided a motorbike, so Pastor Able did not have to walk two hours each way to reach the village.
The Roof in Garuka
God has used many individuals to provide for bringing the gospel to these lost and hopeless people.
- We had short-term teams visit and make house calls to pray and share the gospel with all the community members.
- The pastoral teams from Rukungiri made trips to hold crusades and call on everyone to repent and turn to God.
- Partners provide funds to buy the property and supply transportation for the pastor.
- Poverty Solutions ministry provided support to begin farming more effectively and began raising drought-tolerant crops.
Each of these steps has brought new believers to the church in Garuka.
The church in Garuka needed a roof. In December, we received a donation to get this project started. We analyzed the size and cost of the project and began to make plans. Some other partners from a supporting church wanted to expand the project and provide more extensive coverage, including a water tank to harvest rainfall off the new roof. This would provide all the members of the community with clean water.
God’s plan was moving forward at his timing. When we were ready to get the construction started, Pastor Onesimus planned to visit the church and let them know that we would provide a solid metal roof with a concrete floor.
The Sunday that he went to visit Garuka, he heard the people lamenting that the Bishop from another religious church visited their community to conduct a funeral. Pastor Onesimus had not yet shared the news about the roof. The people said that the Bishop told all the people at the funeral not to attend a church with a tarp roof because it showed that their god is poor. He denigrated the Garuka church as inferior with a poor god. The people began fervently praying that God would not let their neighbors think that he is poor. He is the God who provided a free gift of salvation by faith in Jesus. They prayed that God would provide a roof so the neighbors would not think he is poor.
The False Teaching These Believers Had Left
The teaching of this other religious group states that you must make quarterly payments to their church if you want to go to heaven. In addition to these regular fees, you must also make payments to have your children baptized and for the leaders to conduct any other required religious events. They require large sums of money for priests or bishops to visit your home and pray for you when you are sick. If you want to guarantee your way to heaven, you must pay an exceptionally high price for the Bishop to attend your funeral and place his staff on your casket.
The Garuka church members have rejected that method of salvation. They have placed their faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for their redemption. The church members grieved, thinking their neighbors might believe that their faith was inadequate because God is poor. Their prayers for a roof were to protect God’s integrity and to show the gospel to be true.
Onesimus expressed that there was great joy and exuberant celebration when he announced that God had provided the funds for building a solid roof with a concrete floor. God had already answered their prayers.
God started provided for that answer to prayer months before the people began to pray. I can enthusiastically praise him for how he fulfills every detail of every step on the path to spread the gospel into needy places. The Garuka church is a fifteen-minute walk from the bridge. The radio broadcast will extend into the new region across the bridge. The Roof and permanent structure at Garuka will provide an excellent place to gather the new believers until God provides for a new pastor at a new location across the bridge.
Praise God for His provision and continued support for taking the gospel across the bridge.