Saturday, July 14, 2012
A Heart to ‘Lead like Jesus’ Leads to Ministry in The Heart of Africa
By Michael Ireland
Senior International Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
MINNEAPOLIS, MN (ANS) -- Tabitha Kyambadde displays a tremendous faith in God, but admits that she struggled with His plans for her life.
Kyambadde was born and raised in Kenya, to a Christ-confessing mother and father to whom Christianity was an important part of their lives.
Kyambadde leads a ministry that seeks to bring both spiritual and material help to the peoples of East Africa, whom she believes God has called her to reach with Gospel and love of Jesus.
“I believe God prepared my heart [for ministry] when I was very small, again because of what I learned from my parents. Both were compassionate people sharing every little thing, not only with us, but also with the neighbors, and part of what I learned from that is being a believer is not simply living in isolation and aim at Heaven’s entrance alone but relationship with other people is also vital, how you treat and care about others regardless of their background,” Kyambadde said.
Rightaway, Kyambadde realized that she was not in this land of plenty just for herself, but for many in Africa.
“However, it has taken a whole ten years, wrestling with God, asking Him for to find another person, not me,” she said of her inner struggle.
“I had come to the point of simply quitting the idea of ministry, getting my education, packing up, going home, settling down and leading a good life. But God could not let me do that either, He kept my heart restless until I attended the first class of Lead Like Jesus, conducted by Rich and Barbara Meiss [of Ridgewood Church in Minnetonka, Minnesota].
“At the end of the session, I was fully convinced that such was the package I needed to deliver back to my people before doing anything else and, as soon as that happened, the Lord begun to open many windows of opportunity for me to reach out to the very poor and the destitute that I had wanted to reach out and touch for a long time,” Kyambadde said.
“So, with the help of Lead Like Jesus, we have taught thousands, and through African Missions Outreach Organization, we are reaching the disadvantaged and changing lives of women who have been devastated and exploited by the sex trade.”
“As you already know how poorly the pastors are equipped and poorly trained, yet Africa has the fastest-growing church of our day,” she said.
“As a result, we first concentrated on just training church leadership, but we soon realized that we are dealing with a church that is thriving in the midst of extreme poverty -- plus many other problems -- such as the high orphanage population and others. For that reason, it was decided that we employ a holistic approach in our way of ministering. Consequently, our organization, the African Mission Outreach, is composed of a couple of components, such as teaching, compassion, human development and others.”
“Once the adults die off, the children or orphans fall prey to all sorts of contending dooms, such as sex exploitation. So, as we continue to train the church leadership we also reach out to the destitute, especially the sex enslaved children. We rescue the children or young women and their children, shelter them, rehabilitate them, equip them with education and skills so as turn them into productive individuals.”
“So, we are working and seeking the Lord, to help us set the church in Uganda on a solid spiritual foundation through training. Second, the majority of Ugandan population is young, plus millions of orphans, and if the young generation loses track, Uganda has no future,” she said.
“Part of our effort is geared towards the young, the orphaned and the destitute and as I said, our approach is holistic in the sense that when you preach the gospel to starving people, they may hear but not perceive. Therefore a holistic approach helps to reach people from a variety of means. Today, we are asking for financial support to accomplish our goals, but we do not want to be dependent on donations forever.
“Every effort is being made to make the projects self-sustaining by way of creating income-generating ventures around what we are doing. “
Last year, Kyambadde went back to Uganda with the Meiss’s to teach ‘Lead Like Jesus.’ How did God work?
“Briefly, Rich and the entire Lead Like Jesus did a tremendous job. Sessions were not only attended by church congregations, but Government officials as well. By the end of the campaign that was termed: ‘Transforming a nation through leadership training,’ more than a thousand people had been transformed and since we came back, phone as well as emails have been pouring in asking us to go back and continue training,” she said.
Actually, by the time the team landed in Uganda, there were already three groups of leadership trainers that had been scheduled to arrive in the country and teach leadership. However, Lead Like Jesus turned out to be so unique in a sense that it was the first team to inject the Person of Jesus as the best example of leadership.
“As a result,” she said, “we left such an impact that is still vibrating throughout the Central as well as the Eastern Region of Uganda.”
“Yes indeed, we are going back this coming August and the plan this time to take the message to an area that has been neglected in all aspects for the last twenty six years, and again expect to reach thousands of people,” she said.
“Preparations have already begun on the ground; we are going to the Northern region of Uganda. Both, Lead Like Jesus and African Mission teams are ready and excited, but as always God is never obligated to tell us what He is about to do, but my prayer will continue to be ‘let not this be just a hit and run expedition’ but a permanent mission that will continue to feed and nurture the church for years to come”
“God leads, but leads only the willing and the obedient ones. Putting the future in His hands, I see a bright future, and as I have said, God is never obligated to give us a hint of what He has for us in store. Even Joseph who came out of prison to be Prime Minister had no idea that he was about to head an entire pagan culture. So, all I know is that God is going to do it, will compassionately touch the Church,” Kymabadde said.
“We have been asking God to give us a permanent station on the continent and I believe He is in the process of doing so. We need a permanent spiritual resource center that will work as a spring well for all denominations. If you realize that Uganda does not have even a single Christian Library where a Christian or Pastor can go and read in the process of preparing a sermon, we have a lot of challenges to overcome, but God will take us one step at time.”
“Well, all missions, big and small thrive and depend on prayer; let me ask everyone to pray for us. Pray that we do just what God is expected of us, not less. Pray for protection, and pray that He goes with us so as to work through us, for it is never our mission, but His mission. However, it is always a balancing act; you put too much emphasis on material support you leave spiritually empty, and too much emphasis on the spiritual aspect you may not work to the field and for that reason, as you fall to your knees to pray for me and the entire team, remember that we also need your material support this year, we are aiming at more people than those we reached last year and therefore, please stand with us both ways.”
Tabitha Kyambadde may be reached by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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