“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
The story of Pastor Gary Kusunoki and Dr. Emuku Juventine reminds me of the story of Peter and Cornelius. Both were devout men of God seeking the Lord’s will when the Lord directed them to one another for a new work that He wanted to do in Uganda.
In 1998, a cholera epidemic had erupted in the remote village of Midigo, in northwestern Uganda. This is an area near South Sudan where many Sudanese refugees were seeking shelter from the war. At the time, the village had a small clinic, but no medicine and no doctor. Through Safe Harbor, Pastor Gary Kusunoki and others responded in Midigo and hired Dr. Juventine, who left a lucrative practice in Kampala to serve the local people in Midigo and to minister the love and gospel of Jesus Christ. Charles Jjagwe joined them in this ministry in 2001. Together, these three men committed themselves to ministries that would preach the gospel, teach the whole counsel of the Word of God, make disciples, and care for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of their communities. So much of the Lord’s work in East Africa that we celebrate and rejoice in today was started with these men being faithful to God’s call on their lives.
After 15 years of faithful service in Midigo as both a doctor and senior pastor, Dr. Juventine was faithful once again to answer the Lord’s call to leave Midigo and begin a new work in Soroti. Calvary Chapel Soroti began on August 4th, 2013 as a small non-denominational church of about 5 members. Now after 5 years, Soroti Calvary Chapel is home to some 200 adults and over 350 children. Dr. Juventine is also the Director of Bethesda Hospital Soroti.
On May 13, 2023, I had the privilege of teaching at a women’s conference hosted by Calvary Chapel Soroti. Dr. Juventine’s wife, Elizabeth (who is also a doctor, senior pastor’s wife, and the leader of the women’s ministry) and I selected the theme of “Growing in Grace.” Calvary Chapel Soroti women’s ministry then planned a full day of worship, prayer, fellowship, tea service, lunch service, 3 teachings, and a Q&A panel. Dr. Juventine and Dr. Elizabeth reached out to the other Christian churches in the area and invited their women to attend CC Soroti’s women’s conference.
Over 110 women from 12 churches attended the women’s conference, yet, we worshipped, prayed, studied the Word, and enjoyed sweet fellowship together as one body. Although teaching through a translator can be tedious, the ladies were quite attentive to the Word as it was taught throughout the day. They also eagerly sought to know more about how to grow in their knowledge of the Word and in their personal relationship with Jesus. Several ladies committed or re-committed their lives to the Lord. Others prayed for the power to forgive as Jesus has forgiven them.
As much as I enjoyed teaching the Word of God at this conference, and I did enjoy it, the highlight of the conference for me was listening to Dr. Elizabeth as as she taught and exhorted and shared her wisdom with all of us. Her love for the Lord and Her passion for His Word lifted us all onto higher ground. Elizabeth’s daughters Diana and Jemimah were a part of the conference too.
In December 2020, God led Pastor Charles and his wife Levenia to leave Midigo and to begin a new Bible teaching church in Buwama. This area is predominantly Catholic, with witchcraft, sorcery, drug abuse, and a high crime rate. Since Calvary Chapel Buwama was first started just over two years ago, God has saved many souls for His kingdom through the different evangelism, discipleship, church worship, and teaching programs offered at the church. Steve and I are looking forward to spending time with Pastor Charles and Levenia in Buwama at the end of this week. CC Buwama is hosting a marriage conference and they have invited us to teach through the Word on topics such as Commitment, Companionship, God’s Call for Husband and Wife, and Conflict Resolution.
On this trip to Uganda, we have been reminded again of God’s faithfulness—to His Word and to His people—and we have seen just how much fruit comes forth from the faithfulness of men and women who have counted the cost and answered God’s call on their lives. As our time in Uganda is drawing to a close, we are confident that He who began this good work in Uganda will be faithful to complete it.