Plight and flight in South Sudan

Last year we were privileged to be able to send a Rooted in Jesus team to the Diocese of Kajo-Keji in South Sudan. Long in the planning, the conferences had been delayed due to the political instabilities which had made travel dangerous for team and participants alike. But by 2016 things were more settled, and in October two hundred and sixteen clergy and lay leaders were trained to run Rooted in Jesus groups.

blog1

The conference last October (read the blog entry)

HOWEVER since then the security situation has grown much worse, and 90% of those living in the Diocese have now been forced by renewed conflict and famine to flee to refugee camps in Uganda. We are watching yet another human tragedy unfold before our eyes.

Bishop Emmanuel released a report in March:

The political situation in many parts of South Sudan has drastically deteriorated since the 2016 Juba conflict. Although the greater Kajo-keji region experienced relative political stability and calm for the rest of 2016, the situation suddenly took a turn for the worst following clashes between the government soldiers and the SPLM/IO in the Mondikolok and Mere Bomas of Kajo-keji County … The entire Kajo-Keji region now faces severe humanitarian crisis with at least 97% of the population fleeing their homes and villages. At the beginning of the crisis, the church provided shelter for at least 50% of the population, most of whom eventually fled to refugee camps in the Moyo and Adjumani districts of Uganda as the conflict escalated. Only about 3% have now remained in the villages or fled to Internally Displaced People’s camps such as Ajiyo, Kerwa and Logo, where they face severe hunger, water shortage, disease, post conflict trauma, and many more. In the refugee camps of Moyo district where most of our people have settled, the humanitarian crisis is even worse. Severe hunger, water shortage, lack of shelter, poor or no health care, poor or no educational facilities have been cited; as well as high levels of tribal animosity and psychosocial stress. Recent reports state that over 200,000 refugees mostly from Kajo-keji County have settled in the refugee camps of Moyo district, and an even bigger number have settled in refugee camps of Arua, Adjumani and Yumbe districts. With the continued conflict in South Sudan, refugees continue to flock into Uganda. Travels to and from Kajo-Keji remain very unsafe.

KajoKeji 0317 report.3

“We left our home in Lainya at the height of the fighting there, we witnessed many civilians killed, women raped, homes burnt and property looted. My husband is not with us and we do not know where he is. I just hope he is alive.”

 

Despite the obvious dangers, Bishop Emmanuel and his colleagues are doing all they can to alleviate the suffering of the people of Kajo-Keji. They have set up a new office in Moyo, in Uganda, and are visiting the refugee camps and appealing for help with food, water, shelter and medical care. Aware of the crippling mental and emotional burdens borne by many of those in the camps, they also want to provide emotional and spiritual support through the following peace building and reconciliation activities:

Peace building workshops involving the entire refugee community
Evangelism and discipleship
Music Dance and Drama (MDD)
Peace-building crusades
Games and Sports Activities

A request for help

Bishop Emmanuel has asked us to help with the second of these, evangelism and discipleship. He writes:

“The believers need Rooted in Jesus at this time of distress and spiritual need. Rooted in Jesus is the only tool and way forward to nourish the Christians and make the newly born Christian grow… We went and met the people in one of the camps in Palorinya. The meeting was attended by 37 council members and heads of department.  Among the council members, 10 were trained Rooted in Jesus group leaders. They reported that they had been busy erecting their tent but now as they are almost settling they will be ready to start the groups. The other challenges they raised was that, the group members they have started in Kajo-Keji got scattered into different refugee camps, can they start new groups? I encouraged them that they can start new groups and this is the time where people need the word of God seriously and deeply rooted in Jesus Christ. The mission and evangelism coordinator is ready to move in the camps to supervise those who are going to start new groups.”

He has appointed a coordinator, Nelson Saya, to work with Pianilee Samuel, the Diocesan Mission Coordinator, in providing support and encouragement for the Rooted in Jesus group leaders within the camps. But he points out that the group leaders are stationed in different camps, and the distances between the camps are great.

We would like to be able to help the Diocese in its desire to minister to the people of Kajo-Keji. When we first went there, South Sudan was the youngest country in the world, full of joy and optimism. Now its refugee crisis has been described by the UN as the most worrying in the world. We cannot influence the political situation or do much to alleviate the physical needs of those in the camps. But we can pray, and we can do something to help with the emotional and spiritual needs of these suffering people – both those who know Christ, and those who have yet to meet him.

KajoKeji 0317 report 2

“We met a family during the bishop’s official visit to Morobi refugee camps  that was mourning the loss of a relative who burnt herself to death as a result of psychosocial stress, and is survived by five orphans and a husband who is an alcoholic.”

One of the most powerful memory verses in Rooted in Jesus is James 4.1:  My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance;  and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. It’s a verse I was embarrassed to share with group leaders in Tanzania during a time of famine there, aware that it was so easy for me to say, so hard perhaps for them to hear. And yet one of them said that learning this verse had changed her life – as she struggled to feed her children, she had found complete peace.

What can we do?

We have no magic wands for the situation in South Sudan; but we want to provide whatever support we can. Nobel prize winner Alexis Carrell once said that ‘prayer is the most powerful form of energy we can generate.’ Please pray, particularly for Bishop Emmanuel, for Samuel Pianilee and for Nelson Saya as they risk their lives to help their people. And if you would like to help us to help them in tangible ways – they ask particularly for assistance with travel costs as they move between the camps – you can make a donation either by sending a cheque payable to The Mathetes Trust to the address below, or online via the Support page of our website. We hope to make a bank transfer to the Diocese’s Ugandan account soon.

rinjlogor

And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him. 1 John 5.15.

Posted by Alison Morgan, 9th May 2017

To read the diocesan report in full click here.
To read more about Rooted in Jesus visit www.rootedinjesus.net.
Rooted in Jesus is supported by The Mathetes Trust, a UK registered charity.
Postal address: The Mathetes Trust, 10 Dairy Close, Wells, Somerset BA5 2ND.

 

 

 

Rooted in Jesus Annual Report 2016

A major part of the work of The Mathetes Trust is to support the Rooted in Jesus discipleship programme for Africa, which Roger and Alison Morgan first founded back in 2002 along with Stanley Hotay, and which is now in use in 80 dioceses or denominations in 16 countries. Rooted in Jesus is a discipleship course written for use in rural Africa, where nothing else of its kind is available. We estimate that between 70,000 and 100,000 people have done this course so far, and we know that the impact on the lives of ordinary Christians has been enormous. Every year we send out teams from the UK both to new dioceses and to places we have been before.

Jethro starting off the group

This is the time of year when we compile an Annual Report based on feedback from the previous year, and it is available for download here; it includes many testimonies from those whose lives have been changed. We have also posted a new blog entry with news from South Africa, where they use both Rooted in Jesus and our companion discipleship programme The God Who is There – both now endorsed for use across the Anglican Communion. If you would like to receive regular updates you can sign up to receive an email notification on the blog itself.

We have been particularly moved by recent messages from two places : Uganda, where they are experiencing great growth, and South Sudan, where they are experiencing great hardship.

  • Canon John Musaasizi writes from the Diocese of Mityana: “We give glory to the Lord our God for providing the Rooted in Jesus program as a means of fulfilling the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus. We are excited to see the involvement of Rooted in Jesus members in growing their fellow members into Christ likeness and at the same time preparing themselves to start new groups in their local settings. With the availability of this program, the church ceases to be an auditorium in which the audiences passively watch what is done by a few people on the stage for years. The program makes it clear that the church in which we are members is on the move where growth and multiplication of believers moves  on like fire, catching every area of human location without discrimination. Members discover not only  who they are in Christ, but also the Spirit given gifts that they can  employ in building up one another and the Church at large.  The Spirit is teaching us a lot.”
  • Bishop Emmanuel Modi writes from the more challenging situation of the Diocese of Kajo-Keji: “Three quarters of the population are in the refugee camps and others are internally displaced. We are going to make new strategies among the refugees. I am going to establish the churches and find out those Christians who were trained in Rooted in Jesus so that they will start their groups. The believers need Rooted in Jesus at this time of distress and spiritual need. Rooted in Jesus is the only tool and way forward to nourish the Christians and make the newly born Christians grow.”

Both of them ask for our prayers as they pour their energies into the task that the Lord has given them.

This year so far we have invitations to send teams to seven dioceses, and requests to support the work as it expands in many more. We have put together a new prayer diary, and if you would like to pray regularly for Rooted in Jesus you can download that here. If you would like to support Rooted in Jesus financially you can do so here, and if you would be interested in joining a team please do let us know!

RinJ Annual Report 2016_Page_1Prayer Diary 27_Page_1rinj-book-1-cover-2017_page_1

Click on the images to download the Annual Report, the Prayer Diary or to read more recent news.

Posted 22 March 2017

Growing Disciples in South Africa

In the Province of Southern Africa Rooted in Jesus is directed by Revd Trevor Pearce and overseen by Growing the Church. National Coordinators Estelle Adams and Nicole Curtis have sent us some faith-filled testimonies from group members.

rinj-jr-leaders-2016-copy

Small group leaders in the Diocese of False Bay

Valencia Ruiters and Chante Pepino, group members in the church of Christ the Redeemer in the Diocese of False Bay, have just moved on to book 3 with their group. They write:

“I thank God for allowing us to go on this RinJ Journey with awesome people who not only touched me but welcomed me from the very beginning. It all started with a whatsapp message from a friend. This point in my life was full of disarray and hurt mixed with anger and pain. She invited me to come and join her at a gathering that I knew nothing of or in fact not even knowing that she was saved, this was the turning point in my life where I would not only discover what I have lost as a child of God but what was about to change my life dramatically. Like Brad (RinJ Trainer) says, ‘when the scales come off your eyes’. My first impressions walking into the church was people welcoming me with open arms as if they were expecting me, like you would feel when you have a family gathering and not feel all awkward, but little did I know that the spirit in me would fire up and I would walk out of there with tremendous peace.

The session started off with a prayer, I closed my eyes and felt so warm, they even prayed for me and my presence that I felt so welcomed. The facilitator that night was uncle Edwin and they did a repeat of what was discussed a few weeks prior to me being there, but I listened and try to catch up, still not knowing what the night entailed. James 4:7 submit yourself to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you. I did not know what this verse was about but little did I know that the weekend ahead was the awakening of my spirit. After doing the memory verse we went to into groups and everyone had a chance to talk about what was bothering them and we all had to join hands and pray about what was said, this was the ultimate change for me as I felt the spirit firing up in me as if I was sent to this place for a reason.

I have since started reading the bible every chance I get, having empathy for people, trying to be better as a parent, I can say that this journey has made it easy to identify when the enemy is present and wanting to steal my Joy, I have relied on scriptures to guide me in my life with wisdom up until now.  No question to God is unanswered, no trial and tribulation that I find myself in was not resolved.”

“I have learned that we should not judge people and always forgive as God has mercy on all. If we ask for forgiveness how can we expect him to have Mercy on us if we can’t show mercy on others. I am trying to change my mind set to a more spiritual understanding than the understanding of our human nature. I have discovered that I can pray not only when I go down on my knees but have that conversation.

Trusting in God and allowing my thoughts to be pure and not filled with anger, irritation, and all those things that don’t come from God. All the memory verses up until the last had a big impact on my life and have steered me in the right direction. I am convinced now that this journey has not started on that Friday night alone, it has been coming on a long time ago and will continue to grow. Thank you Regan and all the people that made RINJ possible, I believe that it was only through the grace of God that I am writing this today and thank God for saving me! I pray that you will continue the good work and hope that many more lost souls like me is awaken, I ask this in Jesus name, Amen.”

Meanwhile Brad Sitzer reports on a new work with children in Church of the Redeemer in Mitchell’s Plain, Cape Town:

“Salty ministry team is a group of late twenties- to early sixty-somethings who meet every Friday night. We have gone through Alpha twice, RinJ senior Book One a few times and other short courses. Our ambition is to do life together more and more and to integrate with existing family lives.
We have had a babysitter for the participants’ children, and she has enjoyed looking after the kids. We then felt compelled to take the opportunity to disciple the kids in some way. Messy Church, Rinj Junior and Godly Play were the options. We recognise all three to be quality programmes. Yet due to the ease of implementation and low resource requirements, we decided that Rinj Junior would be the best place to start. Hence we have begun our Rinj Junior journey! The kids have been enjoying the first few sessions. Three of the kids are not baptised and are actually Muslim; but their mom has recently decided to follow Jesus, so she enjoys her kids being a part of this journey.”
bradsitzerjunior-group-cape-town-2016

Children from the new group in Mitchell’s Plain

Looking ahead

Following the major report Intentional Disciplship and Disciple-Making, a Decade of Discipleship has been launched across the Anglican Communion, and this will be the major focus for Growing the Church from now on. The report endorses Rooted in Jesus, Rooted in Jesus Junior and The God Who is There for use in discipleship and disciple-making. RinJ has already been introduced in 17 of the 28 dioceses in the Province, and Estelle Adams reports that the formation of small groups in parishes will be a key element in discipleship training across the Province; “Rooted in Jesus and The God Who is There will be the tools used for training Small Group leaders who will then run small groups in their dioceses”.

gtc-board-archbishop

Growing the Church – board members with Archbishop Thabo Makgoba

Posted 27 February 2017

Life, death and faith in the Diocese of Mityana

Canon John Musaasizi writes from the Diocese of Mityana in Uganda: “What we are seeing with our own eyes as far as Rooted in Jesus is concerned is an apparent manifestation of God’s answers to your prayers and prayers of other God loving people spread widely. We thank you very much.” The Diocese plans to host a second Rooted in Jesus conference later in the year. Here is some of John’s recent news:

Bukanaga and the oldest member

bukanaga0217

Bukanaga Rooted in Jesus Group has been encompassed by God’s joy,  peace and encouraging openness of members in a variety of ways. The building process of members growing into Christ likeness has been a reality. The sense of belonging among members is growing up. The oldest member we have in this group has clicked ninety one years. Her name is Teddy. She loves the Lord deeply.  We are challenged by her commitment to the Lordship of Jesus.

Death brings new life in Lubumba

The Lord had clearly convinced us that following up old groups was as good as starting new ones. So Jethro and I decided to visit Lubumba Rooted in Jesus  group thriving under the leadership of Marjorie. Jesero the vicar of Lubumba Parish Church had not only invited us to spread Rooted in Jesus Ministry in his entire Parish, but had also allowed us to use his house for Rooted in Jesus meetings. This meant that the church services could be run with Rooted in Jesus meetings simultaneously.

marjorine-comissioned-as-leader

Marjorie was commissioned as group leader last year

Similarly, today when we visited Lubumba Church, members of Rooted in Jesus Group flocked into the vicar’s house. When we had began enjoying the treasures of our assembly, we came to know that one of our members went to live with the Lord. Jane Esther had been one of the active members of our group. She opened her life to the Lordship of Jesus  on the 30th September  2016 in the presence of Rooted in Jesus members.  We rejoiced over receiving the newly born child of God. On the other hand Jane had a devastating relationship with her husband John. Several cruel activities had been exercised on her by her husband John.  One day John put up a war meant to crash Jane inside their house, fortunately Jane narrowly slipped out of the house in darkness and found security of her life  under the bush in her neighborhood, and this is just to cite but one among many incidents of this kind inflicted on her by John. It is said that her death was partly caused by that perpetual and rough relationship right in the very core of their marriage. We will miss Jane but we have the confidence that Jane went to live with the Lord Jesus forever.

As we were moving on with Rooted in Jesus program, information was passed over to us that John the husband of the late Jane had come to worship in Lubumba chuch where we were. Hearing this great news, we wasted no time to invite him in our group although he was not a member.  As someone went to call him for us, we prayed to the Lord to save John today. When John entered our fellowship he found tears we could not resist flowing from my and Jethro’s  eyes. We consoled him over the loss of his wife Jane.  We witnessed to him that Jane received Jesus Christ in our presence on the 30th September 2016. We shared the Gospel with him and later asked him whether he would like to receive Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Lord. He said yes. We immediately sang the revival song TUKUTENDERZA YESU… He knelt down and prayed to receive Jesus Christ as Lord of his life. PRAISE AND GLORY BE TO HIS NAME. He requested us to invite his three children to come to our fellowship and hear the Good News he had received. They too came and accepted our Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour and Lord. So the death of Jane has brought four members of her family to Christ. Praise Jesus!

Putting down roots in Bishop Lutaaya Theological College

theolcollegerinjgroups0217

Jethro and and I fell into great ecstasy and Rooted in Jesus program safely landed at Bishop LUTAAYA Theological college, which is Mityana Diocesan Theological College. In this place we are dealing with men and women who will be of great influence for the Lord in their communities. The availability of plural languages in this college just brought back to us the great transforming impetus the first Pentecostal experience of the Early Church laid upon  her audience. The College has Runyankole speakers, Kinyarwanda speakers, Luganda speakers and this is just to mention but three languages. So the College students will be studying Rooted in Jesus program in their own mother languages, since we have now the printed books covering the languages.

We discoverd that they have several advantages over other Rooted in Jesus groups spread in the Diocese. Let me cite a few of them:

  1. The groups can meet anytime they wish apart from classroom time.
  2. Since they live in the same place, they get to know one another better and this develops their relationships, which they will use in future to spread Discipleship Ministry.
  3. Jethro and I meet them once a week to monitor the progress they have made.Distant groups cannot experience this from us.
  4. They still have sharp memories that capture instantly and store to memory Bible verses.
  5. They too are helping us to know better what we are sharing with them. Every time the students expect confident and knowledgeable presenters.

We are thankful to the Lord Jesus for the opportunity He has given to participate in the Disciple making program entitled Rooted in Jesus.

To find out more visit rootedinjesus.net

rinjlogor

 

News from the Diocese of Lango

Rooted in Jesus was introduced to the Diocese of Lango, Uganda, in February 2016. Coordinator Ronald Eguny has been visiting some of the groups to see how they have been doing, and has sent us this report:

lango

“Receive our warm greeting from the Diocese of Lango. RinJ in the Diocese is taking root in the parishes. We have 48 parishes with RinJ. Christians with whom I came into personal contact were very happy about the lessons they had learned in RinJ,  and there are a lot of testimonies as you read below:

  • Bosco at All Saints Boroboro said he can now read the Bible and understand it; he is able to share the word of God with a friends without fear.
  • Dan said RinJ has given him courage to speak before Christians and bigger congregations.
  • Docus Adonyo said RinJ has made her able to read the Bible clearly, and she can now open books in the Bible without any problem.
  • Betty Owiny, St Jaanani Okole, said RinJ has enabled her to pray for the sick.
  • Kevin Okeng said RinJ has opened her understanding; she can now respect her husband and make her home clean.
  • Betty Owino said RinJ has help her to humble herself to her husband.
  • In Okole Judth Ongar, Caroline Odongo and many others are preparing to wed because RinJ has challenge their life.
  • Betty from Angwetanwet said RinJ has helped her to teach her children and pray together as a family.
  • Denis Boroboro said RinJ has helped him to read the word of God which he used not to do.
  • Obonyo Bosco said RinJ has helped him to speak the truth without fear.
  • Opito B said RinJ has made him learn a lot of new words which he used not to understand but now he can understand them very clearly.
  • Bible study has brought unity to members in Adyaka.
  • Odongo George, St Jaanani Okole, said he is able to pray, to welcome visitors at home, and also he can lead praise and worship with the teams.
  • RinJ has led to prayer teams in Angwetangwet church and many people are getting healed.
  • In Cura Parish RinJ members have stood with their friend who lost a close relative.
  • In Cura a RinJ member has made drama which has teaches others how to read the Bible
  • In Adyel a RinJ member has preached in all the services in the  first week which challenged those who havenot yet joined.
  • Opio David has learnt how to preach the word of God.
  • Tonny is now happy because he can preach and lead services without any fear.
  • In Ngetta Parish the RinJ members have weeded the beans of the parish priest showing solidarity in the ministry.
  • In Amach Parish, Betty said RinJ has touched her to forgive her friend who had done bad to her.
  • In Adyel Parish RinJ members have door outreaches to Christians and pray for the sick.
  • Rev Tonny Olet said, RinJ is the power of the church to strengthen our Christians”.
  • Betty said, RinJ has helped her to grow spiritually and she can has a heart for reading the Bible.
  • Abongo Hosbert said it is through RinJ that he got saveed and joined in holy marriage.
  • In Ngetta the RinJ members are visiting sick Christians in hospital with little support to help them.”

Rooted in Jesus has now been introduced to seven Anglican dioceses and a Pentecostal network within Uganda, and we look forward to continuing to support this movement for discipleship throughout the Province in the years to come!

rinjlogor

‘Come, Let us Rebuild’ – Rooted in Jesus goes to the Diocese of Kajo-Keji, South Sudan

At the invitation of the Bishop, Antony Poggo, two mission conferences were planned and held in the Cathedral. The Kajo-Keji Diocesan RinJ Coordinator is the Dean of the Cathedral, Very Rev Canon Pianilee Samuel. He is to be assisted by the 8 Archdeacons who will coordinate RinJ in their areas.

bp-anthony-poggo-kk

Bishop Anthony Poggo

Canon Samuel Pianilee writes:

“It was a blessed time to have the RinJ team during the conference. It was very very  refreshing and spirit-filled conference marked with a revived worship, praise and dance that renewed the lives of those who attended the conference including the RinJ team.  The morning devotions and the evening sessions were great awakning moments where the participants came closer to Jesus Christ, and through repentance and prayer were renewed in their faith and ministry. Number of participants shared their spiritual and physical problems as they came forward for prayer and healing  especially at the evening sessions which were done in an open space at the diocesan mission compound, and some were reconciled, healed, revived and gained strength for the Lord’s ministry. The teaching sessions were dramatically marked with fun, illustrations, active participation and attentive listening. This enabled everybody to learn how to help others get rooted in Jesus. I appreciate the RinJ team for their skillful teaching. I would like to say the program and the approach is very good and it fitted well with our diocesan strategy basd on 2 Timothy 2:2, ‘train people who will train others also.'”

blog5
The team consisted of Mike Cotterell (team leader), Mike Langworth and Antony Quarrel (UK), together with Ven. John Barnes and Canon Gill Varcoe from Australia, and RinJ Diocesan Coordinator Revd Leonard Giligwa from Victoria Nyanza Diocese in Tanzania.

Team leader Revd Mike Cotterell writes:

“The Diocese had planned well and thoroughly for the Conferences and arrangements went according to plan.106 people attended each conference and about 215 were awarded certificates. The Conferences followed the standard four-day pattern and started on time. The level of engagement, enthusiasm and hunger for God together with the Course material and teaching on Renewal in the Holy Spirit – were highly exceptional! There was a good mixture of laity and clergy at both conferences; the women were about 25% of the total.

On the last morning of both conferences we held a Testimony Session and a Q and A session. The Testimony session over ran both times but was so encouraging to everyone! At the end of the first Conference many reported a very peaceful sleep often the first in a very long time. 14 reported physical healing, nearly half the conference testified to inner healing, and there was one conversion.

During the second Conference there seem to have been up to 5 conversions; two gave testimony. At the testimony time everyone stood as those who had been encouraged and refreshed by the Conference. Those with new hope and energy from God – all stood. Ready to start small RinJ group – approx 90% stood. Those who had received physical healing – about 13 stood. Received inner healing – about 40. Felt the power of the HS on them in some way – 30-35 stood.

blog7

There were several testimonies in one form or another during the Conferences. One man’s mother was seriously ill in hospital, was likely to die, he left the Conference but was back the next day, saying that his mother had said ‘whether I live or die you go back to the Conference’; we continued to pray for her and improvements were reported.

A female Pastor who had become afraid to preach and take services said she was no longer afraid. Many reported good nights sleep after general prayer ministry sessions, and this was often related to fear and traumatic experiences. We prayed several times against Fear, and this was significant. One elderly man was jumping who could hardly walk before. A young lady had been orphaned as a child, her wealthy extended family had refused to help her and her brother, and later when she was the top student and ready to attend university they again refused help – she had come to the point of forgiving them.

The Team give thanks for this opportunity to see God at work; for so many praying for us and the Conferences and for the good health and protection we enjoyed. ‘..this is the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our eyes..’”

blog6

A new partnership:

It was a particular joy to have two senior clergy from the Australian Diocese of Canberra & Goulburn on the team – this is the first time we have worked in partnership with an Australian diocese, and we look forward to deepening this in the future. As always, John and Gill returned home feeling that they had received far more from their brothers and sisters in Kajo Keji than they had given:

  • “I have been profoundly shaken by the experience. It was and continues to be a humbling one. My overwhelming thought is how do people who have experienced so much trauma and dislocation in their lives still have a faith in God? This was reinforced time and time again when being involved in the prayer ministry after the ministry sessions. The issues and life glimpses so outside my usual frame of reference and yet we saw God at work in his wonderful transformative way. To say the opportunity has been a priviledge does not convey my feelings and emotions. Thank you and Thank God!!” Ven John Barnes
  • “Life-changing. My church was praying all the time for us, and is very much in mission and growth mode so the effect locally has been to add buoyancy and hope” – Canon Gill Varcoe


Finally…

This conference had been two years in the planning. All the RinJ leader’s booklets had been painstakingly translated into Bari, and detailed preparations made by Bishop Anthony Poggo and his colleagues. In fact this conference was Bishop Anthony’s parting gift to the Diocese, as he left for London to take up his new post as Adviser for Anglican Communion Affairs. Bishop Anthony is an inspiring leader – his book on Nehemiah. ‘Come, Let us Rebuild’ bears witness to his passion for the Gospel. Our prayers go with him as he embarks on his new ministry. He will be succeeded by Bishop Elect Emmanuel Murye, who writes: “Regarding Rooted in Jesus, I strongly embrace it as a way forward to nurture the believers and reaching out the gospel to others.” We pray that he will know the Lord’s blessing as he prepares for his new role.

And last but not least, we give thanks for all those who prayed for the Diocese, the team and the conferences, for surely your prayers were answered!

www.rootedinjesus.net

A year in the life of a RinJ Coordinator

Rooted in Jesus was introduced to the Diocese of Mityana, Uganda exactly one year ago now, at the invitation of Bishop Stephen Kaziimba. A joint Uganda-UK team led by James Tumwesigye ran two training conferences attended by 141 leaders. Canon John Musaasizi was appointed Diocesan Coordinator. It has been an enormous privilege to follow John’s progress over the last year, and in this blog we share some of what he has shared with us.

mityana-2015-74b

Rooted in Jesus conference at Mityana

Immediately after the RinJ training conferences, John responded: “I am very thankful to be involved in the Discipleship program of Rooted in Jesus. I completely buy into statements made by other people, whose conviction and experience led them to say that, “Rooted in Jesus Program is the best on the African Continent.” It starts where you are and progresses you joyfully into the adventures of growing into Christlikeness. Mityana Diocese is privileged to have such a program at a time when multitudes of people have subjected themselves under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.”

Since the conferences, John and his colleague Jethro have travelled tirelessly round the furthest reaches of the diocese, visiting groups and providing encouragement and support to the leaders. John has sent many inspiring reports of these visits and of his plans for the development of Christian discipleship within the diocese. The task of a Rooted in Jesus Coordinator is far from easy: keeping touch with people scattered over a wide area with limited resources is challenging; providing support to 141 inexperienced leaders is a huge undertaking; doing all this alongside existing full time ministry responsibilities is daunting. And yet John and Jethro have poured their lives into this task. Their testimony is that everywhere they have been they have seen the Lord at work, and that they have experienced his protection and blessing as they have sought to fulfil his commission to make disciples.

NOVEMBER 2015

  • I was  greatly thrilled upon receiving into my office a number of people who participated in the most recent R in J Conference. They were eager to receive the books in order to return and start small groups in their local churches.  I am looking forward to following up the already established groups. I will be sending you messages of great accomplishments by the Lord within our midst.

DECEMBER 2015

  • I have been in contact with several brothers and sisters in Christ who participated in Rooted in Jesus Conference. I am glad to report that almost everyone who went through the conference has started identifying members who will constitute the groups. Already 13 groups are taking shape with a total number of 145.
kalezi-0416_edited-1

Jethro leads a group in Kalezi

JANUARY 2016

  • Today we have had a senior staff meeting composed of Archdeacons. The Chairman of this meeting is always our bishop the Rt. Revd Dr Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu. When all the archdeaconry reports had been presented, I was called upon to present a Mission Report. At this time I had prepared a Rooted in Jesus report. And some of its contents were:The Lord has created enthusiasm among group leaders. Groups are mushrooming up in various churches of the Diocese of Mityana.I have so far contacted 100 group leaders whose total number of those being made disciples is 367. The number would have been bigger than what I have presented if I had also contacted the 41 other group leaders. A thing I will start doing tomorrow.The entire meeting was invaded by great ecstasy that led us to sing TUKUTENDEREZA YESU, the East African Revival Song. As if that was not enough, the Bishop made it crystal clear that during his pastoral ministry, he has been introduced to big numbers of disciples in the making resulting from Rooted in Jesus training.
  • Jethro and his wife Loi together with me, decided to train a group of born again members, the ones we had led to Christ, using the Rooted in Jesus books. This group is found in one of the most distant churches in Mityana Diocese. This parish church is called KITONZI. We have been to this group four times, and we are greatly thrilled with what God is doing in the lives of the members. We are determined to disciple this group until everyone in the group is ready to lead another group elsewhere within KITONZI Parish.

FEBRUARY 2016

  • The Rooted in Jesus Meeting at Kiweesa has been exciting and life touching to all members. Meetings are held in a widow’s home by the name Beatrice. They have been dealing with Module 1 Lesson 4. Twelve members attended, being led by Harriet a great lover of Scripture and a Bible teacher.
  • Proscovia the Rooted in Jesus group leader at KASIINIINA received us with great joy. Apart from a small group of Rooted in Jesus, Proscovia handles, the majority of church members are born again. Therefore there is need to teach the whole congregation the Rooted in Jesus program.
  • Discovering that KIRUNGI church never had a representative in our last year’s Rooted in Jesus conference, Jethro and I were guided to train Emmanuel the lay reader of that Church; so that in turn he may start training members of his church who have expressed their desire to receive training by show of hands. Emmanuel loves the Lord immensely and he will enjoy the training ministry. KIRUNGI is one of the distant churches in the Diocese of Mityana.
kirungi-0216-2b

RinJ at Kirungi church

MARCH 2016

  • It was along journey to GENZI; one of the furthest churches in Mityana Diocese. It is true I had not gone to this church before. Rooted in Jesus Program takes us to the furthest ends of the Earth in partial fulfillment of the Great Commission. The Rooted in Jesus group composed of 20 people accorded us with warm welcome. We immediately felt at home with all members and the exhaustion of the long journey evaporated.
  • Jethro and I enjoyed traveling on a paved road leading to KIRIKOYA parish.We entered the church where the group of rooted in Jesus was sitting, rejoicing in the Lord and singing the Revival song Tukutendereza with great oomph. We indeed felt the presence of Jesus among us. He was already there with the group before we arrived. It was a group of 35 members. It was one of the biggest groups we had met. Rev. ERIYA was the group leader full of zeal to grow his group into Christ likeness. At the end of sharing all what the Lord had prepared for us, we provided room for personal commitment to the Lordship of Jesus. Ten of the members gave their lives to Lord Jesus. Among those who gave their lives to Jesus was Nathan who had come with his wife Florence. He loudly announced his birth experience, moved fast towards his wife. Upon reaching her he knelt down and  wept. He sought forgiveness from his wife for having been a drunkard. The experience led a number of members to tears. The Holy Spirit was moving among us transforming everybody saved and unsaved. As Jethro, I and a few other members had laid our hands on Nathan praying, my legs began shaking and I prayed silently for myself so that the Lord may prevent me from falling on the floor while praying for Nathan. He did. Glory be to His Name.

    kitotolo

    Jethro encourages a young group leader

APRIL 2016

  • It was great to visit KALEZI Church found in BUWEKULA Archdeaconry. This Church is led by a young man named Friday who went through Rooted in Jesus Training led by UK Team. Kalezi was not an easy church to reach. We had to take the longest rout to get there, since it had rained cuts and dogs. Upon reaching Kalezi, we found great lovers of our Lord Jesus Christ who swallowed every word we shared with them. It was surprising to find a very big church building in the context of a bushy area.The church was built from cassava sells. And we found a lorry in the church compound packing cassava.  More than 50 members studying book 1 were there.
  • This message comes to inform you that one group  has completed Book 1. We were delighted to meet this group of BINIKIRA church under the leadership of Mark positioned second from right. The lay reader named John, first from right, has been hands in grooves with Mark the group leader.Their oneness has brought forth admirable fruits among those trained.
rooted-in-jusus-group-complete-book-one-2

Binikira RinJ group completes Book 1

MAY 2016

  • Like today we had set out to reach Kasozi one of the hard to reach places. Our phone communication failed, network presence was scarce.  We intended to reach and cerebrate the completion of Book 1 by Ephraim’s  group whose membership numbered 15 . Apart from the long distance which we had determined to overcome, the protruded stones in the way intensely resisted our journey continuation. We parked the car on the side of the road and began sharing the Gospel with by passers. As soon as we finished sharing the Gospel with a group of 4 people who sincerely committed their lives to the Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit led us back to a parish church we had passed by called Madudu. In this church the Lord performed salvation miracles.

JUNE 2016

  • On Sunday I visited KASIMO Church for two purposes. One was to meet Jackson, the group leader of Rooted in Jesus group in that small Church. I wanted to know how the group was progressing as well as leading other people to Christ. Jackson arrived soon after my arrival. He came riding his motorcycle. He is a young man who loves the Lord and the people he has been called to serve. Jackson’s group is composed of his three grown up children, and three other members from KASIMO Church. Now Jackson has planned to start another Rooted in Jesus group. The composition of the second group will come from members who gave their lives to to the Lord on Sunday. These were six in number.

    jackson-and-family

    Revd Jackson and his family

  • We praise the Lord for making it possible for us to travel to WUMMULA Church. It has been an exciting fellowship focused not only on hearing God’s Word, but also seeking to apply it in daily life experience. We have been wonderfully blessed. The presence of the Lord with us has been a reality to all of us. The major purposes of visiting Wummula Church were threefold. One was to encourage members in Rooted in Jesus group to continue in their fellowship. This purpose was achieved. The first group of eleven members finished book one, and they are ready for the second one. We have also suggested that because of the great number of people getting born again in that church, some of these members who have trained can start their own groups in their homes and take on new members through book one as they themselves study book two under the leadership of  James their group leader. Another purpose was to lead others who had not had the opportunity of freely handing over their lives to the Lord Jesus, to do it. We were all overwhelmed with joy when about 30 members flocked into the front place as a result of having given their lives to the Lord Jesus. We sung and rejoiced with great thrill. Glory be to God. We gave each person some two minutes to share what the Lord Jesus had accomplished in their lives. People had much to share that led us to praise God more. Among those who received Christ today was Gloria and Edward who had been married for five years. Both were invaded by the joy of the Lord and matched from the front of the church to the back with great enthusiasm. The whole Church could not help burst into joy.

    born-again-members-raise-their-hands

    Born again members raise their hands at Wumumula

  • Our ministry today targeted BINIKIRA church. Prior to our going to BINIKIRA, Jethro and I decided that we partly attend the church service and after that we move out with Rooted in Jesus group to classroom setting where we can examine the trained group, under the leadership of Mark. Mark is third from left. We had a wonderful time with the group, who not only related accurately what they had learned to their daily life experiences, but also had banked all the required.  Scripture verses into their hearts. We all together celebrated the success attained. Also,the group exhibited crystal clear readiness to start their own groups in the villages where they come from using Book 1 they had completed. That exercise will start while the group is being started on  in Book 2.After our group examination, all of us returned to the church service which we had partly left. We shared the success of the group and we thanked the congregation for holding hands with this group which had done so well. We requested the congregation to receive gladly the group members in their villages as they start new groups. We have ranked BINIKIRA group to be the best group so far in Mityana Diocese.

JULY 2016

  • Yesterday Jethro and I decided to proceed to Kabule Parish Church. The major reason for visiting was to pray for Lamech the group leader so that he may take on the responsibility of leading Rooted in Jesus group in that church. Trained as Lamech was, he was not very sure that that he would lead the group. This is the reason why Jethro and I decided to take on the leadership of the group two times as a demonstration to Lamech that he could also do it. The photo shows Lamech being prayed for so that the Spirit of God may strengthen him to lead the Rooted in Jesus group to the end. Some members from the congregation encircled him and prayed. On the other hand John took the children out side the church building to share with them the goodness of our Lord Jesus at their level. They ended up returning their lives to the Lord Jesus and claiming from Him the gift of Salvation. Praise and glory be to the Lord’s Name.

    lamech-receives-prayer

    Praying for Lamech

AUGUST 2016

  • We thank Him greatly for enabling Jethro and I travel to BINIKIRA Church where a group of 10 members successfully studied Book 1. This group under the able leadership of Mark, is not only ready for each member to begin a Rooted in Jesus group, but also eagerly look forward  to begining studying Book 2. Certificates have been given to the group and the entire church fellowship has prayed for the group as well. We look forward in future when we will be visiting BINIKIRA villages for purpose of encouraging and praying for newly created Rooted in Jesus groups.
  • Today we were destined to reach KAMUSEENENE Parish church. This one of the most distant parish church in MAKONZI archdeaconry. The parish is located in the very area where gold is excavated, consequently the plurality of this society is enlarging. The search for new money is taking the central focus of many people in this parish. Therefore being Rooted in Jesus calls for greater emphasis in this area. The group leader started a Rooted in Jesus group which never picked up despite the born again members in her church. Just like we have done in some parishes, Jethro and I have decided to hold hands with her. We have registered a new group of Rooted in Jesus in that church. The membership is over 20 people. This new group has shown much enthusiasm to keep moving, and we will move with it until it is able to stand on its own.

    rinj-group-lusolo-0216b

    A RinJ group studies the Word of God

OCTOBER 2016

  • Today we visited BINIKIRA Church. The number of Rooted in Jesus members is expanding. Those who have trained and ready to start their own groups are taking God’s Word very seriously. Required memory verses at every stage are perfectly glued in their memory chambers ready to be applied at the demand of various circumstances. We have encouraged the members of Rooted in Jesus groups to become intercessors as well. We will offer more training in that area to Rooted in Jesus groups. It has been a wonderfully blessed day.
  • This morning we went to LWEBITUUTI church located in Makonzi Archdeaconry. This church is led by Samuel, a very handsome young man whose love for the Lord can even be read from his face. Time and again he had persuaded church members to join Rooted in Jesus program but he had not received a positive response. But now, we are very thankful to the Lord. He has saved 22 members who have committed themselves to growing into Christlikeness through Rooted in Jesus program. Jethro and I have promised to return to this church as soon as the group begins.
samuel-lay-reader-and-his-mother-2_edited-1

Samuel, Lay Reader at Lwebituuti, and his mother

John’s most recent message concludes: “It has been wonderful getting to know all that you have shared with us. Your ministry experience, coupled with experiences of our ministry colleagues located in different parts of the world, has added more impetus to my incessant desire to reach God’s people for Christ through Rooted in Jesus program.”

John’s dedication and commitment offer an inspiring example of what the Lord is able to do through those who give their lives to his service.

john-musaasizi

John Musaasizi

The original team was led by Ven Capt James Tumwesigye and Revd William Musisi from the Dioceses of East and South Rwenzori, with Revd Ian and Mrs Sue Smale and Mrs Dorothy Spencer and Mr Peter Silverwood from the Deanery of Overton, UK.

Posted October 2016