In December 2013, a friend invited me to a place, which, turned out later as my best church environment. I was searching for an out-of-the- box church because i was tired of the noise and manipulation out there. Deep inside, I knew so well that I needed a church that would make me understand God better.
So, earlier that year, i had decided to and did comb the entire Naalya and Kiwatule ( Kampala City suburbs) neighbourhood and had reached this place but did not enter!, even when I felt an urge to. Until that year’s Christmas eve! Previously, I had belonged to a predominantly Rwandan speaking church. In there, I served in the church choir as a “Public relations, Lead tenor and worshiper”, satisfactorily for a year, I think.
Usually, the sermon was translated to English or Luganda so as to communicate to the other part of the congregation. ( Generally it is the order in many “Pentecostal” churches”). I loved to worship, i served but with a half heart, because I did not feel so much at home, i wasn’t experiencing the much desired growth. My decision to leave was from within for I had thought through thoroughly.
My friend, had told me heaven and earth about this incredible place. I could only imagine! Well, I was all set and ready for the D-day.
First, it was a warm welcome from a beautiful stranger at the entrance. It was unusual and I felt uneasy, I wasn’t used to this! Fortunately, I had identified another friend already and I quickly went to them, so the “uneasiness” was quite minimal.
Secondly, this – my friend, was standing next to a funny guy who I had watched walk in a certain way, more over “bongaring” (greeting) everyon with slungs (modern English), to whom he introduced me! Strange again as it may sound, this guy was the pastor! I was shocked to the bone. (yeah, such shocks are unusual). Not to mention, he played the keyboard that night, the Pastor was part of the church choir too! Wonderful !
I just couldn’t easily imagine what i was seeing, versus what I was used to, neither I being part of this kind of people.
Fast forward, the evening was awesome! The place was warm and lit with lots of happy, young and funky and “unserious” looking people ( people dressed in jeans and untucked shirts). The singing was excellent, i sensed the touch of perfection the singers attached to their voices, it had been long since i had listened to hymns that intently and the many new nice songs i had never heard of.
I made a few new friends. Really, i had fun, much fun as you can imagine. It was beyond my expectations. Surely, i went home with a story. I had found the church in my dreams. I couldn’t thank my friend enough.
Later on, I was invited for a Sunday service.
And my shock continued, this time immense!
The hugs! The “ushers”smiled like we were longtime friends.
This pastor guy was dressed in Jeans and sneakers, Oh My God! The choir was on point, young and full of energy. The ambience, cool!
It was time for the sermon, imagine the pastor just walked to the pulpit, without a translator waiting for him, neither a special worship song sang for him by the praise and worship team. I said to my self, “it is wrong, this must be a cult!” Also The pastor hasn’t chased any demons! I noticed another thing, neither did the pastor and his team have special chairs, nor were there any colourful backdrops at the pulpit!
Yiiyii..!( wondering), this is Unbelievable, I exclaimed!!!
Also, it didn’t feel like a Sunday, judging from the fact that the majority of the congregation wore casual stuff, ( jeans, shirts and sneakers)!! There were no suits and “gomesis and mishananas” ( Central and western Uganda formal dress code for women respectively.). Every thing was different!
Fast forward, the sermon was about “The Grace” I can’t recall clearly which series it was at that time, but later i understood that it was the usual order of the word at Worship Harvest Ministries.
The message was so surprising!
It was unbelievable what great love God has for me individually! All I had known was to “fast and look for God in the mountains. That the more i tithed, sowed, fasted and “repented” ( to mean Lord, i repent of my sins and those of my great grandparents, please forgive me), the more I “fought demons”, more I would become righteous, and God would be pleased, and thus, he would look down from Heaven and answer my prayer and perhaps love me, for i would have proved worthy of his attention, etc.. in that line.
Imagine what “pastor” Mosze preached!
“You’re doing too much to complicate God’s work… None of your works make you righteous. It’s only by Jesus. You’re the righteousness of God through Christ. ..He who spared not his only son… , You have all things that pertain to life…. There is no amount of good works or sins that will surprise God”.., you have no business attending to the devil, instead turn your focus to Christ!! So, you if you can possibly imagine, you can see that I was glued through out the entire session, with many cold bu-things running down my spine! It was as though the pastor was speaking to me directly.
At that moment i turned my focus away from the Jeans and sneakers. That was my “Kairos moment”!
I was both excited and confused, I desired to be friends with the pastor. Now, i did not even know how, but I tried and gathered my self, with the few words I had and approached him.
Later on, i understood that he had noticed. My bad!!
He directed me to a one “Deno” who would place me in a “G12” (the now MCs (Missional Communities) ).
I came from a really negative space to join church, I was a street hustler who was chased away from his foster home. I was always alone. I didn’t know how to love or be loved. I didn’t know how to deal with people, so i was an object to so many, my family inclusive. I didn’t know how to accept free things -I knew that person would be belittling me or they meant that I had to pay for it later. I was sceptical to nice people -like these people at Worship Harvest, i knew they were up to something! I had a low self esteem! I was “positively negative!” If that exists! I lost my mother to HIV later on in 2014, and my life worsened in a series of negative events that followed. I felt betrayed because I had always prayed and trusted God for her health. God knows the questions I asked Him. I reminded Him of how, even Jesus has never been an orphan! Yes, I had just become one ! BUT, the people in the Cross hairs MC – led by Deno, LOVED me, in all the tangible ways possible. It was my first church family. They took me in as their own, they shared with and taught me how to belong, they SHOWED me God.
Those random “wonderful calls” from Worship Harvest, spoke to me really, I was RESTORED!
It was the first time people celebrated my birthday and brought me a gift right where i was! The truth is, i wasn’t sure what my birthday was! I suffered such a high inferiority complex, I never thought i matter at all !
I recited the Church begins on Monday.., LEGIT, We are dedicated to resourcing people… words a million and one times! Until they stuck. I kept my Harvest posts ( Laugh out loud), I went for the Discipleship Membership Class (The now Next steps) so as to belong to this space, and quickly, I became a member. I joined the Projection team, later on the Music team – led by Lynnet then. The rest is story for another day.
In a nut shell, I am 4 years old and counting in this incredible church. I’m thankful for growth and knowledge that the Church leadership has availed through the many learning spaces they have created. “GANG” and the others. I have learnt quite a lot overtime.
I found incredible love that I never could have imagined i could find else where, out there. Love is a place of change, (Kairos) and it’s has transformed me, one step at a time.