by Dr. Gregory Bartha
September 14, 2016
In the spring of 2016, the medical outreach team was returning from a mission outreach to Karamoja. One of the vehicles in which they were traveling overturned in Wera, a town 20 miles east of Soroti. Fortunately, no one was injured. People who assisted at the accident said that many accidents had occurred at this very place and that there have been several fatalities. Pastor Simon Peter termed this area “a black spot.” He found out there were few churches here and decided that planting a church would be an appropriate response. So, in June, a team of pastors gathered in Wera to have night crusades and do heart-to-heart evangelism during the day. The Cross Emergency Medical Clinic team conducted a medical outreach. Hundreds lined up for treatment. Most of the participants thought that more serious conditions were present in Wera than in the Karamoja region. The next day, we all participated in heart-to-heart evangelism.
In many homes, people were preparing millet for fermentation. Millet is used to produce local beer. They needed the money from these activities for their families, but felt that their work in the alcohol trade will be a barrier to church activity. We actually went into a local bar and spoke to the people. Most were playing cards and listening to music, but they were attentive to our message. One man brought up a point that Jesus made wine at a wedding in Canna. I answered him saying that alcohol itself may not be evil, but excessive use and dependence on it would be a serious problem.
On Sunday, the building rented for the new church was packed. There was much praise music and prayers. The new pastor, Erasa Moses, was there to be installed. Pastor Moses was very poor. He was unable to afford for his parents to attend the service. Pastor Moses appeared wearing sandals. He had no socks, no coat and only a T-shirt. Pastor Simon Peter prepared to conduct the installation service. He proceeded to take off his shoes and socks and gave them to pastor Moses. They fit him very well. Members of the congregation offered him a shirt, tie and coat. Now appropriately dressed, Erasa Moses was installed as pastor. The sermon stressed the importance of the church and encouraged people to use it as a resource to strengthen their faith and advance in discipleship.
The service lasted five hours, but all were enthusiastic and engaged the entire time. The plan is to continue to assist this church and the pastor.