Monday, June 27, 2011

From the Source of the Nile--by Dennis Singini


Baamu Moses, Dennis Singini and Michael Christensen at the Source of the Nile


Uganda Mission Report 
by Dennis Singini

It was a vision unfolding with my ”Paul” (my missionary partner Michael Christensen) and my "Moses" (our host and community leader in Uganda). I was excited to see and learn all I could from Communities of Shalom trainings there as compared to the Mzuzu Shalom trainings conducted a week before in Malawi. When we arrived in Uganda, Pastor Baamu Moses welcomed us at Entebbe International airport with love and kind heart. I was very grateful for his generosity.  We spent a night in Kampala, the capital city, before driving to Jinja, at the Source of the Nile the following morning.
Dr. Christensen conducting Shalom Training
Communities of Shalom Trainings
Every training session was exciting and brought new lessons for community development, a better life and healthier living.  As presentations and discussion went on each day, it was like seals being broken on our eyes, and we were able to read and see what we could not see before. All 118 participants were so inquisitive to hearing what Dr. Michael was saying as he made everybody fully participate in the training by giving them chance to contribute accordingly.

Truly every community is rich with resources, but these communities in Eastern Uganda lack recognition of such precious resources to develop their communities. Many African countries are very poor indeed, but I discovered that we lack bringing things we have together to use them wisely for our own good. Religion in many cases is a weapon of mass destruction which breaks our fellowship with others who don’t fall in our line of faith.  Religion also is an agent of good in bringing people together.
Pastor Moses, Pastor Paul, and Imam
Pastor Moses (left), who is both a religious and a political leader in his area, organized the communities of shalom training by inviting the Muslims and others from many different Christian denominations, and placed them into leadership positions. This was a great lesson for me and real empowerment for the communities portraying Shalom, as stated in Jeremiah 29:7—“Seek the Shalom of the City where I have sent you…”




Muslim, Christian and Jewish Coffee Farmers and Shalom



In Malawi there is a big gap between Christians and Muslims. WHY?  Christians fear that their members might be converted to Muslim, and in many cases they are suspected to be violent. Yet there are many ways to bring various worshipers together and to respect one another. Communities of Shalom is an excellent approach to being multicultural and multifaith, but also working together to transform our communities.

“Who made the boundaries? asked Dr. Michael during one of his presentations? It was a great lesson to me…..Humans make boundaries with their political powers, but it’s high time to cross boundaries, build communities, weave unity, and “transform the world one community at a time.”  This saying is true. While in Uganda we visited the source of the longest river in Africa, the River Nile (4,000 km), but at the source there are only springs gushing out water and flowing down to Egypt. The springs at the source of river Nile weave their unity and build up the Nile River.

The Mission trip in Uganda broadened my understanding of communities of shalom and how our daily endeavors are carried out. We need to be shalom minister to help those in need with all passion so that they have hope in these difficult times of HIV and AIDS and poverty.
  

Visit to the Jewish Synagogue
Br. Julias leds Shalom Training Session
As a Christian it was my first time to meet Jews in Africa and to worship with them. It was a great experience being amidst them and it really made me feel it was worthy for me to go to Uganda. I remember asking the Jewish Cantor at the Synagogue, commonly known as "JJ of Mbale", if he believed in resurrection and life after death. But he asked me if I had asked Elohim to create me? I answered that I did not ask him…. JJ said not to be troubled about that, for God knows what he will do for us as his children in life and in death. The Cantor made me feel wanting when he said that Christians like to talk a lot about Jesus but do not do all that he said to do.   Like worship on the Sabbath, pay your tithe, and be circumcised on the 8th day.  It’s true, since we know much about the Bible but doing what the Bible says in many cases is a big problem. It’s my prayer to God to help me live what I preach and not just talk about it.


Dennis and Julias plant Shalom Tree
Muslim girl at Shalom Training--future of Uganda



Uganda Shalom Mission Team:  Gaius Charles, Pastor Paul, Dennis Singini and Michadel Christensen