Moved Mountains

Banner - Mt Trio, Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia - (c) 2007

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ugandan Connection

Lyss and I have had a friend from Uganda staying with us for the last week. Alyssa and I met Paul Kiviiri at the Amahoro Gathering in Kigali in May.

For the past 10 years Paul has been working to build bridges across tribal divides and establish new forms of church among southern Uganda's marginalised, nomadic Tutsi tribes people.

The tribal culture prevalent throughout Africa makes this kind of work difficult. It also creates many of the problems we hear about in the west and associate with politics. It is virtually unheard of, even in the Ugandan church, for relationships and ministry to extend beyond the tribal lines.

Paul says it took him 5 years to build the trust of the nomads he is involved with and he still struggles to gain understanding from the other local church leaders for his approaches to church (I can relate to that!).

The churches Paul has been involved in developing following the nomadic people around. They are not fixed to a place and they seek to meet the real day to day needs of those they are formed from. A big part of Paul's work is training up the leaders, many of whom are illiterate, and helping them to impart the way of Jesus to their fellow tribes people. He is also having to tackle issues such as bride-selling, polygamy and traditional spiritual beliefs.

Paul himself knows, as most African's do, what it is to struggle. He was born into a polygamist family during Idi Amin's reign and spent much of his teenage years as a street kid. Even though life was difficult he managed to put himself through school and train as a primary school teacher before becoming a youth pastor in a Kampala church. His heart has always been with the people though and he made the choice to leave the institutionalised church behind in order to pursue a ministry that would break down tribal barriers and share the love of Christ for all African people in meaningful and culturally relevant ways.

It's been a great privilege to have had Paul with us this past week and for him to meet and spend time with the people we are involved with her in the South West.

Paul's story is another example of the way God is working around the globe to revolutionise mission and to move His church into a new era.

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