I was born in 1984 and I received Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour when I was in Primary seven (about the age of 14-15), in Primary Six preachers used to come to our school but I never took it serious until Primary Seven. One of the main reasons why I received Jesus is that the more I heard the gospel the more I felt destitute. Both our parents at this stage had died long time ago and there was seemingly no help for us (me and Simon). We did not have people who were so close to us that they could encourage us, thus hearing the gospel that Jesus could comfort us and be there for us and that He has good plans for me now and forever it really meant a lot to me.
As far as I can remember, I did not have much parental love as I should have, being promised that Jesus could comfort me and be in charge of my entire life was a life opening words that I have never had in the entire life. I kept thinking about these words and before the end of the year of Primary Seven, I confessed Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. This was a life transforming statement both spiritually and physically. This statement marked my first time encounter to read the bible, in all my life I had never read the bible (Some of you, your children have read the bible right from childhood), to me it was not the case.
I had to wash clothes for someone to be able to use her bible because I had discovered that this person was not a bible reader and yet I could use it. So, I worked for it (Good News Bible).
Time came when life became very tough, school fees to continue studies was hardly seen, after Primary Seven, time came when none of us could spend a day without falling sick. Our immune systems weakened to the point that one could fall sick, no medication, no enough for, no good clothing hence our lives deteriorated each day. One day I saw my brother Simon very sick to the point that I thought he would pass a way. I was very scared, I lived in tears. There was a woman who used to come and visit us, she found Simon laying on ground with his eyes turning to a strange colour and all she could say was “where are your parents, where do you come from?” When I remember some of these stories, tears roll in my eyes. One when I was in high school I remember suffering from malaria for almost a week, this lady in our village church comes to our ramshackle mud-covered house we lived in with a plate of cooked cassava and beans. She was like a God sent angel that day and indeed God had sent her.
When one of us got some strength, we worked in a stone quarry to be able to get food of the day and also to raise school fees (though some church members stood with us). To recover from sickness was the mercy of God. There was nothing like balanced diet. This hard life happened approximately for four years.
Now, where was my Good News Bible in all this? From the time I got it, I had read it from cover to cover. Through God’s divine sovereignty, I had learnt how to pray and fast. I woke up in the nights to pray for my brother when he was too sick to pray. He read for me scripture when I could not raise my head. In the first two years of my work with God, I felt He did not hear me, I felt He was very far from me. This caused me to hunger for the truth through reading and praying. After these two years, in the midst of hard trials, I felt and fully convinced that God was with us and that at a right time He would remember us (one of the scriptures that encouraged me was Luke 18:1-6, Psalm 23, 121). Up to now we are very much convinced that if we did not have this conviction of God, we would have died. To this time I have kept this bible just to help me always remember how God has been with us. I read it for 5 years, covers grew old and replaced them with cement cover until 2008 when we met the Graingers who gave me a new NASB bible (New American Standard Bible).
We think that one of the diseases that greatly weakened our immune systems is malaria and water-borne diseases. These diseases are very easy to treat but millions of Africans today die due to lack of treatment or medication which only can cost 6 Dollars.
To end the long testimony short, in 2008 we met the Graingers through Shannon while we were working on SOS land in Luwero. On this land SOS gave us 30, 000 sh. Per month both of us. At this moment, when we fell sick at least we were sure that SOS could offer treatment at a right time.
We were so happy to meet the Graingers, we did not know or even believe that they could ever think of living in the village with us. I used to hear Uncle Dean say that they are coming to live there and sometimes kept asking, “are you sure your coming to live in Luwero?”. I thought they were joking. I thought they could not manage living in a house where there is no power and not city water. But time proved when they came and we lived seven of us in a smaller house and later Daniel Rogers joined us. They welcomed us, shared with us their food and took us as part of their family and up to now we have continued to enjoy being with them and how God has used them to see us through hard life. They have supported us through high school and theological college and now we have a bachelor in theology.
Through them we were able to see the Nile for the first time and also being on a boat ride: which was very scaring for me. I will not forget the times when they took us to Mukono on weekends and we took a drink of Soda during dinner. For us to have a drink of Soda was for Christmas seasons.
Conclusively; most people in Uganda are still living like the way we lived. I and Simon we are very sure that God has called us to instill hope in many Ugandans just as it was done to us. There are thousands of our people who can’t afford able just like the way I was, these people God has a second chance for them to live. And we know that we are the beneficiaries to bring this hope through the gospel. Just like the way we realized that God is with us through daily studying His Word, there are thousands of our people who can still live by encouraging them that God loves them and He has a future plan for them.
And as you hear or read this testimony, pray for me that God will make every way possible that I can share the gospel in our society where witchcraft and human dependence have gained root instead of the grace of God. It is my vision to see church in Uganda fully equipped with truth which our people want so that we all live an obedient life. To the Lord God all might be the glory for now and forever.
Simon Tumukwasibwe -My testimony:
I was born in 1989, by Angelo and Enid, my father was a senior four leaver working in a hotel but I am not sure of the particular job he was doing there. My mother was a house wife with no education. I am a third born of both parents but unfortunately we were told that the first born died during birth.
We are two boys from our late mother as the first wife to our late father. Both my parents died when I was a round age nine. My parents out of our research we came to know that they died of Aids. My mother died first and after two years my dad followed.
Being that we never stayed with our father much we never felt the effect of his death and I didn’t attend the burial, unlike our mother who pained us so much because she was everything to us and when she died we began to face the world on a different side of life, filled with lack, hunger, pain and grief.
I began to move from family to family. First we lived with our step mother and up to now I still bear the scars of torture on my body that she inflicted on me. Then my uncle in Mbarara western Uganda offered to help and sent us to school for the first time and his efforts came to an ended when I got to primary three.
It was time as this when life had hit the rock bottom that my uncle from Kampala accepted to take us on to help us continue with school. It was at this time that I had my first foot into the city and having shoes on my feet. unfortunately My first pair never fitted and I took it normal because I never knew how the fitting shoes felt. This good life did not last but it only took five years.
While at my uncle’s home with his ten children I used to work with my untie at her retail shop. It was here that I got the opportunity to go to church because she loved going to church. It was at this church that I got the opportunity to hear the gospel and I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart.
It was one day that I was hit by a night mare when I was told by my uncle in Kampala one morning that he could not continue paying my school fees because money had become less. And he said that we should get out of his house and from that day we were made homeless for three months. In these three months we got casual jobs that enabled us to save money for small house materials (mattress, plastic cups and a basin) and little money to pay for third term for our senior two and enough to rent a five by five mud house in the village. In Mukono district.
It was in these three month that I began to take my relationship with the Lord seriously, it got me deeper into prayer and trusting upon the Lord alone for my future. It was at this point that the Lord called me to serve Him the rest of the life that I am to have. I said yes but I did not know the cost and since then I have not seized to see God’s grace upon my life even when I have gone through challenges.
During this time I looked for support from different orphanages including watoto and UWSO but they did not take me on because I was old compared to the age they were taking on children. Some times I wished to be older because of responsibilities and some times I wished to be younger to deny them. In all this wind and time of lack paying my own school fees and church members coming in to help I was able to finish my O-level certificate in 2007.
I started renting as early as senior two, I went to six schools in my entire O-level because of lacking school fees. But by God’s grace every time I sat for exams or sat down to read for tests I passed them and I was permitted to go to the next class.
It was after O-level that I was connected to a certain organization in Mukono that we struck a deal with them to work for them for one year and they pay for me High school. It was after few months in the jungle of Luwero working on the organization land that we got to meet the Graingers. We worked together as if we were one family and treated us so kindly and got to know us so well and about our past. we used to stay in the same poor mad house in the jungle on the land we were working on. At one point we had to argue for the entire week trying to prove them how they cannot manage jungle life but they proved us wrong. This made our relationship with them even better because I was a nurse for each one of them that got jiggers. As if jiggers were not enough but mosquito bites also followed and then malaria also and we went through all this together.
Our relationship grew that our prayer was answered through them when God used them to commit to help pay for our school fees for our entire high school in a very good school in Mukono. Their kindness did not end there but it included even all our life expenses indeed they took us on as their real children in “African” and even up to this moment when I am a graduate with a bachelors in theology we have related as families. The Graingers have supported us since we met them and until this moment we still rely and live on their support. We have learnt how to be responsible men because of being part of their family even now we continue to seek guidance and advice on some things from them. Every good thing that we have or known about managing a family we have learnt it from them.
Being that God called us, all our life we have been serving Him. Since senior two I have been doing evangelism (door to door), bible studies and others where ever I have got opportunities. After my high school the Lord called me to do theological studies so as to enable me serve with clarity and knowledge of the Bible. I learnt new things and my view of ministry was sharpened, now I can stand with boldness and preach to God’s people talking about the Christ I know. My theological studies have helped me even to serve as a missionary staff in Proclaim-Africa for the past two years.
Now I know that I can serve God well where ever He puts me and I believe that I will use all this knowledge and experience I have got to serve God in an independent ministry that God is calling us to up country in Uganda. All I have done, it is God who has used me and he is still using me to reach out to his people in this country through the education He gave me and the experience he enabled me go through. Isaiah 25:12.