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Persecution in Uganda, Story of Kefa Sempangi

Kefa Sempangi (whose story is told in the book A Distant Grief, Regal Books) was a national pastor in Africa and barely escaped with his family from brutal oppression and terror in his home country of Uganda. They made their way to Philadelphia, where a group of Christians began caring for them. One day his wife said, “Tomorrow I am going to go and buy some clothes for the children,” and immediately she and her husband broke into tears. Because of the constant threat of death under which they had so long lived, that was the first time in many years they had dared even speak the word tomorrow.

When pastor Kefa Sempangi, mentioned above, began ministering at his church in Uganda, growth was small but steady. Idi Amin had come into military and political power and the people expected conditions in their country to improve. But soon friends and neighbors, especially those who were Christians, began to disappear. One day pastor Sempangi visited the home of a family and found their young son standing just inside in the doorway with a glazed looked on his face and his arms transfixed in the air. They discovered he had been in that state of rigid shock for days, after being forced to witness the inexpressibly brutal murder and dismembering of everyone else in his family.

Faced with a totally unexpected and horrible danger, pastor Sempangi’s church immediately realized that life as they had known it was at an end, and that the very existence of the Lord’s people and the Lord’s work in their land was threatened with extinction. They began continuous vigils of prayer, taking turns praying for long hours at a time. When they were not praying they were witnessing to their neighbors and friends, urging them to receive Christ and be saved. The church stands today and it has not died. In many ways it is stronger than ever. Its lampstand is still very much in place and shining brightly for the Lord, because His people made the most of the time, did not succumb to the evil days in which they lived. They gave their time to kingdom work, and God continues to bless.

From a sermon by Matthew Kratz, Give Time, 11/2/2009

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