Joy in Nansana

November 26 2008 / ShareHim in Uganda B, Oct. 24 - Nov. 7 '08 #336
by H. Eugene Miller

Campaign Site Narrative from Nansana-Namusera, Nansana in Uganda B. The speaker assigned to this site was Eugene Miller.

After three years of wishing, I finally was able to go on a ShareHim evangelistic event. I was originally scheduled to go to India. Because of the recent uprising there against Christians, that event was cancelled and we were rescheduled for Uganda. That change made no difference to me. Maybe someday I will get to India.

With the short-time notice of less than two months the conference, staff, pastors, and church members in Uganda did a great job of preparing for us. Three of our six speakers went to churches in one district and three to another. Each district pastor has 20 churches to care for! The six churches we spoke in were all in the northwestern part of Kampala. This capitol city of Uganda has a population of 13,000,000. We were told that about 50% of the population is Catholic, 20% is Muslem, and the other 30% is divided among various Christian denominations plus those who are ‘un-churched’ or who belong to other non-Christian organizations.

The Nansana community where “my” church was located has a population of 300,000. This church happened to be the preaching site furthest from our hotel, six miles. And what a ride those six miles were! Nissan vans used as taxis nearly filled the road. Added to this were some other cars, trucks (including occasional 18-wheelers), motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians, and occasional cattle or goats. Even the motorcycles and bicycles were used as taxis or freight carriers. I quickly realized that these people were the absolute masters of very small spaces.

As we traveled down the road, there were times that, if I had wanted to, I could have put the car window down to shake hands with folk in the vehicles on either side of ours! The passing of other vehicles and cutting in were all more intense than driving in America. Yes, more than my experiences driving in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, New York, or Washington, D.C. It reminded me a bit of a license plate frame I used to occasionally see. It read, “get in, sit down, shut up, and hold on.” And that is what I did traveling between the hotel and the church site. Several times as we traveled back to the hotel at night I could see oncoming headlights as we passed. My driver ducked in front of the vehicle we passed just in time to avoid an accident. On one occasion, we came so close to a bicyclist that our outside mirror brushed against the handlebar of his bicycle.

The Tick Hotel was a clean, western-style facility. My room was small but adequate, with two exceptions. First, the space between the front of the toilet and the wall did not leave room enough for my legs, and I’m not tall. I had to turn a bit sideways. Second, there was a shower with a 3' square enameled shower pan. It was enclosed by walls on 3 sides. There was no shower curtain or a place to hang one. The shower-head was not mounted on the wall but was on a flexible hose. By aiming it a bit carefully I could shower without getting the entire bathroom wet. I had to run the water anywhere from 15-30 minutes for it to get warm. The bed was okay and they did provide a mosquito net. I almost never used it because the mosquitoes decided I was too sour for them and they never bothered me. The pillows felt like they were filled with chopped foam. There were only two coat hangers in the closet. I bought a package of 10. I gave them to church members just before I packed to leave.

The church members were warm and friendly. The language barrier did make it a bit difficult for free communication. Their local languages are Lugandan and Swahili. Many spoke some English and that helped. The children are all learning English in school so one day the country will be more dominantly English speaking.

Our evening meetings were held outside in the church front yard. There was no grass, just bare dirt. The dirt is red and has some clay in it. So, when it rains the yard is slick mud. On the opening Friday night, I got there early enough to get all the equipment set up and ready to use before many people had come. I heard the clucking of a chicken. When I saw her, she had about a dozen chicks around her. They walked across the front between the seats and the front porch platform area, clucking and peeping as they went. I saw her and the chicks each evening for a few days. Later it was just three of the chicks. They sure grew fast!

It was hard for me to gage attendance because there was not enough light in the areas away from the platform for me to see the people well after dark. I’m guessing we started with about 300 people. Even on the first Sabbath morning we had a full church with probably 300 in attendance. After a few meetings I suggested to John, my translator, that we could meet before or after meeting with people who wanted to talk. We had several both before and after meeting on several evenings who wanted to share their concerns and ask for prayer. They hurt just as we hurt. They have personal and family problems just as we do. They, too, desire God’s leading in finding a solution to their concerns.

The Thursday before our baptism we met together with the pastors in the morning in our hotel meeting room. There we learned that we would have over 100 baptisms. Pastor Joseph, who was the pastor for the district I worked in, said that he would need help with the baptisms. Bob Folkenberg, Jr., our coordinator, said he could help. Then he asked if I would choose to help. I told him, “yes.” Then Pastor Joseph said that this could cause a problem. When Bob asked what that might be he said, “All the people will want to line up with the white pastor.” We all had a good laugh over that one.

We made careful scheduling plans for Sabbath morning so we could leave our own meeting sites and meet at the Maganjo church together. This church is the only one out of our six sites that had a baptistery. And it was almost at the other end of the area of our churches from mine. The baptistery is outside behind the church. It is under a gazebo. It is the largest pool built as a baptistery I have ever seen. The water was unheated tap water. However, their climate is rather mild year-round so their tap water is not nearly as cold as some we have had in America. After I got in the baptistery, I realized that the tank was somewhat fuller than I was used to using. We only had to duck the heads of some shorter individuals! Some were very much afraid of the water. We tried to help them as best we could. A lady helper was very good and calming them down.

In spite of our careful planning, we did not all get there at the same time. After I arrived, I learned that Pastor Joseph was the only indigenous pastor who was ordained. That’s why he asked for help! Since I happed to arrive and get changed before Pastor Joseph arrived they told me to go ahead and begin. I was so filled with emotion that I had a bit of a time speaking before the first baptism. After that first one, things went smoother for me. I had baptized several before Pastor Joseph arrived and was in with me. Sometimes he would speak and sometimes he had me speak before we would both baptize whoever was in front of us. Later Bob said there were only about 50 people left and he thought it might be well for me to get out. I had been fighting a cold and he did not want me to get sick again. He got in and, with Pastor Joseph, completed the 176 baptisms!

After I changed, my Nansana people were ready to return to our church. After we arrived, Lillian had food ready for us. Then the church family had a welcoming service for the 38 at Nansana. Near the close of that service they invited all of them to the front where we welcomed them with a handshake. Then they asked church members to come up and each one who came to take a new member back to the seat with them. Those church members are to be their mentors. I really appreciated this part of their service.

I became acquainted with Lillian. Each evening she faithfully helped the children and watched over the equipment until we could get it put away after the meeting. Since coming home, she and I have been emailing. I sent her some spiritual encouragement for the new members. She said they really appreciated it. She told me how the members were visiting and the meetings they were holding to continue helping these new believers. She said the problem is that they do not have Bibles. They are carefully saving to get them. Then I sent her a brief commentary on each phrase of the Lord’s Prayer. I know her grammar and spelling are different than what we are used to but notice her reply:

Praise God Pastor,

Hope all is well with you plus the family members. I was really happy for the message you sent me this Sabbath, and in fact, it gave me courage to preach it to all members of the church when welcoming the Sabbath this Friday. It really changed my life, and I think God, my father, will also help His Lillian to explore Him more.

Continue sending me some simple sermons so that I can learn how to preach. May the Good Lord bless you. About the bibles, tomorrow we are going to fast and pray so that God can provide ways of doing it.


The beauty of Lillian’s trust, willingness and faith, the faithfulness of the Nansana church family, the joy of their love for Jesus and His salvation makes it all worth while. Yes, the costs of the trip, the things I bought beforehand for the trip, and the money I spent while there totaled more than I had anticipated. In fact, if I had known how much I would spend, I might not have felt clear in going. But I do not regret any of the cost. When you see these results, it makes those dollars far less significant. Yes, I want to go again. I’ll have to depend on God to show me the way financially.

I want to help those people get their Lugandan Bibles. There they cost only $7.00 each. I also want to help John be able to go to Bugema University to finish his ministerial training. That will cost about $1800. Then the conference will sponsor him for the last 1 ½ years of his training. After coming home, we completed our commitment on a $5,000 family obligation. Just as those believers in Nansana are looking to God for their Bibles, I am looking to Him for ways to help them.

Just one more point. If you have never gone on a ShareHim trip, I encourage you to go. It can be close to your home or far away. That part does not matter. Just do it! You, too, will be a different person. You, too, will be praising God for what He has given you the privilege of experiencing. You, too, will have many more reasons to look forward to Jesus soon return.
Can we improve this page?  Yes  No