In remote Dagala, Uganda there was a celebration that continued for days. The pastors and leaders from that Nakasongola district had completed their studies, their exams, and now their graduation. These leaders had studied for three years and pushed to complete everything even though Covid had disrupted their classes.
There were 25 graduates in the two classes from that district, most of them were pastors or church leaders. When one of them was called for their certificate, their whole family came up with them and the community shouted and cheered. The children of these families made their own presentation by reciting the remembering the Exodus story and singing about the defeat of Pharaoh. It was a wonderful, joyful, colorful, celebratory day. These graduates committed themselves to take this training of God’s Word into further remote areas of Uganda as their teacher had done.
Yes, one teacher, Makka Steven, some of you might remember his story two months ago. Steven traveled by boat for three hours to reach the first class and then he taught for three days in a month. Next, he traveled by taxi and motorcycle to reach the second class and taught there for two more days before taking the long journey home. Steven spent an entire week every month to teach these classes. Now there are 25 more disciples who are ready to take God’s Word even farther to make more disciples and every changed life will have an eternity to celebrate what God has done.
I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” Revelation 7:9-10
“Very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb… You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here.’” Mark 16:2,6
The message that Ida had suddenly died in her sleep seemed impossible to believe. She was a healthy vibrant teacher. The class she had taught the day before would graduate the following day. She, along with her sisters, Ann and Rose, had become pillars of the ministry in Uganda. Rose was the chairperson and Ida was the treasurer for their zone. Yet, the inconceivable was true.
Over 1000 people attended her funeral and her former students spoke of the strong influence this unassuming woman had on their lives. She had taught at St. John’s school for years and she was respected for the compassion she had for her students. When the Orality Institute was given a chance to speak, the large crowd heard that Ida, the teacher, had become a student three years previously. At age 65, she had started to memorize the stories of the Bible. She studied for two years and memorized 2200 verses or 84 different stories from the Bible.
After getting her certificate, she started teaching those same stories that she had previously studied and her first set of students were now ready to graduate with their certificate. Now, all of those stories that pointed to the Messiah, Savior, Redeemer, and those that told of Jesus became Ida’s real living experience in heaven. The Bible memorization lives on in the hearts and minds of her students so that they can continue sharing the hope of Jesus. We praise the Lord for the promises that Ida is now experiencing and for the power of God that transforms lives.
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