This is Africa

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.” Isaiah 9:2

It seems as though I have been waiting to go to Africa my entire life, and now that I am here, I can honestly say that the wait has been worth it. When I first heard Pastor Gary Kusunoki share his heart about the tremendous needs in East Africa in 1999, I had been a Christian for just one year. But, something touched my heart that day, and that “something” has been with me ever since.

Over the years, Steve and I have partnered with various ministries serving in Sudan and Uganda, including Safe Harbor, Calvary Chapel San Juan Capistrano, Promise Child, and Anchored International Relief. We have seen the Lord raise up and anoint men to be spiritual leaders and anchors in their communities—sharing the gospel, teaching the Word, and meeting the physical and emotional needs of tens of thousands through their churches, feeding centers, outreaches, hospitals, and clinics. Attending the East Africa Senior Pastors and Wives Conference this year, we spent time with those whom the Lord used to start this work in the 1990’s, and we met the many whom God has added since that time, with over 70 Calvary Chapel churches represented at the Conference.

During the weeks before and after the Conference, we spent time with Pastor Majok and his wife Laura in Naluko, Uganda. Pastor Majok planted a Calvary Chapel in this village about five years ago. When he first got to the village, it was primarily Muslim. There was a proliferation of alcoholism, witch doctors, gambling, and unwed teenagers with children. The Lord has used Pastor Majok and Laura mightily in this village, and we were able to witness firsthand the fruit of their labor.

Laura and I hosted a women’s conference attended by 40 ladies, where we taught the story of Mary and Martha. It was so sweet to see the ladies, most of them many years older than Laura, look up to her lovingly as she summarized my teaching and exhorted them to make time with the Lord a priority in their lives.

Steve and I also conducted a marriage conference with Pastor Majok and Laura which was attended by 50 couples. We were told that at past marriage conferences, the women outnumbered men 2 or 3 to 1–but not this time! Many of the couples came together and sat together too.

We also joined in two of the several cell groups which meet weekly throughout the village to listen to the Word of God. One of Pastor Majok’s earliest converts and disciples, James, took us to the widows’ cell group and the young married’s cell group. There was so much joy in these two fellowships as they worshipped, heard the Word, and prayed with one another. Although these Christians live in extreme poverty, with severe food insecurities and a multitude of untreated health issues, the love and ministry that they have received from Calvary Chapel Naluko’s faithful servants, including James, have them looking up to Jesus instead of looking for handouts and looking forward to heaven instead of focusing on their lack in this world. The church is growing both in numbers and in maturity as the Word of God is faithfully taught and the church body is being discipled. It was a tremendous blessing to spend time with Pastor Majok and Laura and to watch them love and serve their church body and the village of Naluko.

Kathy Bailey

Young Married’s Cell Group
Widows’ Cell Group

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