This last weekend, the SU team went up into the bush on outreach. We trained a whole bunch of young leaders and had a large inter-school meeting as well, showing a few films both nights. And then Sunday morning we drove further towards the Tanzanian border to my old friend Pastor Juvenal’s church. I was last there six years ago, and in place of the mud-brick structure from back then, there was now an almost completed strongly-built church that could fit 1,500 people. Not that I get overly excited by buildings, but it did represent the fact that Juvenal is an exceptional leader and that God is doing great things in the area.
I thought I’d share with you just a small part of Juvenal’s story:
He oversees 120 churches, and is the father of twelve kids, but two of those have died. Back in the war, the rebels came to his church to recruit all the young men. Juvenal refused to allow his guys to join the rebellion (which was a legitimate rebellion by the way). He told them that shedding blood wasn’t the way to go about things. Consequently, the rebel commander sent umpteen death squads to kill him. Each time he managed to hide somehow, such that when the war ended and the rebels were integrated into the official army, that same rebel commander came to see him and said:
“Truly you are a man of God! We tried to kill you so many times that it had to be God who protected you.”
He then invited Juvenal into the demobilisation camp to preach to those ex-rebels who’d been sent to kill him. They couldn’t believe that he was still alive. He proceeded to preach and a significant number of them gave their lives to Christ.
Good story, eh?! Here’s to many more Juvenals standing fearlessly in the name of the Prince of Peace!