I got involved in Hands of Love Uganda when I met Pastor Elijah at the ATDC Grace@Work Bible study I was hosting. One of the attendees brought him to the meeting so he could meet Americans. That was 12 years ago.
Elijah had a smile and presence which transformed the room. You could feel the love of God emanate from his very being. I asked him to sit at the head of the table and speak to us. There were 12 of us in the room that morning.
He said, “I am Pastor Elijah Sebuchu. I bring you greetings from Uganda and from my wife Ruth and our children.” His warmth was all-embracing.
“I was given a vision by God while fasting to create Hands of Love in Uganda. I was charged by God to provide a safe place for the children who had no parents or relatives because of the AIDS epidemic in Uganda. God told me to feed, house, and clothe them. To educate them. To introduce them to Jesus Christ and teach them his commands. All so these children will grow up and be the next generation of leaders in our nation,” he explained.
The vision captured me.
When I heard this, I was drawn in. I knew I needed to be a part of this ministry. This man, whom I had just met, was called to change his nation. I wanted to be a part of this vision. I wanted to change a nation.
For six years, Pastor Elijah continued to invite me to Uganda. One evening, on one of his visits to the United States, he told Kathy and me about the Youth Ablaze Conference. He said, “We started this conference to speak into the lives of the children of Uganda. To give them hope and encouragement. To show them a way out of the multi-generational poverty they are experiencing. We are teaching them to become Kingdom Minded Entrepreneurs to change their lives and to change their nation.”
Then he asked as he had for five previous years, “Will you come and speak to our people?”
Once again I remained silent, hoping the moment would pass. Then Kathy said, “We would love to come to Uganda.”
And that’s how it happened.
That’s how we became the keynote speakers at the Youth Ablaze Conference. That’s how I became a missionary. Who would have thought this would ever happen. That God would use Kathy and me in this way. I’d never gone on a mission trip in my whole life. Now I was going to Africa. I was going to Uganda to speak to people I knew nothing about. To try to help them without understanding them or their culture.
Fast forward six years to today.
This is our sixth year speaking at Youth Ablaze. I’ve learned raising money is part of being a missionary. We raised money again this year to support this ever-growing conference. I am told there will be close to 20,000 delegates who will attend this year. This is an incredible opportunity to influence the youth of the nation to be the leaders God intended them to be. To lead their families, their businesses, and their nation. This is the heart of Youth Ablaze. And it is working.
- Businesses are being created.
- Families are leaving poverty.
- God is being exalted.
Thank you for making all this possible. This year the fundraising goal was $135,000. When Pastor Elijah told me this, I thought, “It may as well be a million.” That is my faith. But God said, “Ask one person at a time. Watch me.” And so I did.
The results are in.
Together we beat the goal. I am overwhelmed and humbled by the generosity of my friends and colleagues. Yes, truly humbled, even overwhelmed. God is the one who moved each of us to help the poor of Uganda. He is including us in His plan for these people, this nation.
Thank you. Thank you for your love for Kathy, me, and the next generation of leaders of Uganda. Thank you for your generosity and your commitment to the vision of nation transformation—one young person at a time. We are serving the poor and transforming lives together.
We are in this together. And together we will do God’s will.
Now we move from fundraising to prayer and preparation. Please join us in this next step on the journey. Please pray for the delegates, the organizers, and the speakers, including Kathy and me.
Now we are all missionaries!