Africa: Serving in dangerous places

Pastor George Mbonye, saved while working at a bar, now reaches out to his community in Kisoro, Uganda. (IMB Photo / Nicole Clark)

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The most rewarding part of interviewing people for articles is getting to hear stories I might never hear otherwise. For instance, I am in the process of writing an article for a story about a couple who recently served in Uganda. They shared a behind-the-scenes look about why the region has been so dangerous.

leah allenLeah AllenThe area where the couple serves is infamous for gun violence. About a year or two ago, the military took the initiative to confiscate all the firearms from this particular village. What seems to have been like the best thing to do has turned out to be treacherous for the villagers.

They no longer can protect their herds during cattle raids. With no guns, cattle are being stolen right and left by outsiders with guns. The food source, the livelihoods of these Ugandans, is being taken away, and there is nothing they can do about it.

They take out their anger in ways you couldn’t imagine, oftentimes negatively affecting the way they raise their family.

Now, imagine this missionary couple with two young kids, living in this environment with gunshots, poverty, and hunger. Plus, Uganda gets extremely hot.

A heart for the people

But they love it because they have a heart for the people group they serve. They have a heart for seeing Christ change the villagers’ hearts. To do that, they become all things to all people. When I hear their story, I think of these verses:

Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible…To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. (1 Corinthians 9:19, 22-23)

Watching others learn to love

The couple has witnessed men and women become better parents through Christ. They learn to love their family like Christ loves the church. Suddenly, that anger disappears and relationships become more important.

God has protected this missionary family tremendously during threatening times, and God is doing miraculous things in the hearts of the villagers.

Leah Allen, a former communications intern at the Baptist Standard and the Baptist General Convention of Texas, is serving as a semester missionary in Africa with Go Now Missions.

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