Monthly Archives: October 2016

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.

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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.
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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.
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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.

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    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.
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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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.
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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.

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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

 

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Growing disciples in Zambia with Dignity

Since 2008 Dignity Worldwide have been using Rooted in Jesus in their work with communities across rural Zambia, combining Christian discipleship with agricultural training to help people develop a sustainable lifestyle within their communities. Jo Kimball reports that from a tiny beginning nine years ago there are now over 350 Life! Groups meeting in 8 regions in Zambia and Namibia, supported by 18 experienced local trainers. The Life! Groups use Rooted in Jesus as part of their programme.

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Getting to grips with Rooted in Jesus in Mulashi

On their website Dignity explain:

Life! Groups are community based groups and work with churches of all denominations. We are seeing great things happen as a result of Life! Groups meeting: unity between churches, people becoming Christians, lives being turned around for the better, families being reunited, orphans being cared for, elderly people being looked after and many other local grass root projects. People who thought they could do nothing are transforming their communities as they discover freedom and hope in Jesus and start to work together in community. Some of the different things we’ve witnessed are:

  • Unity growing between churches previously divided
  • People becoming Christians and lives being turned around for the better
  • Villagers planting fields to pay for a school and teacher
  • Families adopting orphan children
  • Elderly people being cared for; some being provided with blankets, some prayed with or even some having their roof mended
  • Life! Groups in neighbouring villages working together to repair a bridge
  • Life! Groups from different areas working together to help a recovered alcholic man return to his family

Dignity works through local Impact Teams

It is encouraging to hear news of Ven Cornelius Chalwe, formerly the Rooted in Jesus coordinator in the Diocese of Luapula, now working closely with Dignity as an Impact Team member and trainer. Cornelius has recently moved to a new area, where he has already established 18 Life Groups, with some members finding faith for the first time.

At the other end of the country, in Mwinilunga, team member Dorothy has seen so much change in people’s lives that she and the team have begun to work over the border in DR Congo. Meanwhile team member Bernard writes from Mulashi: “This is one of the times in my life that gives me peace, joy and happiness; when I see people from different church denominations come together and learning.” And team members Moses and Boysen have returned to Makanga, Namibia, where they planted a number of Life Groups, to see how they are getting on and give them Rooted in Jesus Book 2.

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Team members Cornelius, Justin, Bernard and Dignity founder Jon Witt

Rooted in Jesus in the UK

In a new development, Dignity have begun to use Rooted in Jesus with refugees at Ivy Church in Manchester – people who come from a troubled country where it is illegal to be a Christian. Jo Kimball writes: ‘They are amongst us for a while and then many have to move on, some are able to settle and many hope to return home one day. We have a unique window of opportunity to equip these people with some skills and tools that they will be able to use to introduce Jesus to others in their communities and even back in their home country.’

Learning and growing

What do we learn from Dignity’s experience? That where Rooted in Jesus is adopted in rural communities, and properly supported by appropriately trained local coordinators, it brings enormous change and growth to people’s lives. It takes time for a tree to grow roots, but as the psalmist reminds us, strong roots produce a healthy and resilient tree. Everywhere Rooted in Jesus is used, this is the challenge: how best to support and empower local leaders to bring change to their communities. Dignity are doing a great job, and it is a privilege to be in partnership with them.

To read more stories and watch video interviews visit Dignity’s website here.

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Posted October 2016