world report

New District Superintendent and First Board of Trustees Ordained in Uganda

Kigali, Rwanda and Tororo, Uganda
March 15, 2024

A team of three from the Southern and Eastern Africa (SEAR) headquarters visited Rwanda and Uganda last month to assess and assist the progress of our work in those countries. Onias Gumbo, the SEAR District Superintendent, led the team and was accompanied by Boniface Banda, the Zambia District Superintendent, and Newton Jaravani. During the visit, which took place February 21-25, the first Uganda Board of Trustees and a new Uganda District Superintendent were appointed and ordained. In addition, land was identified in Rwanda as a possible campground site.

The team arrived in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, on Wednesday, February 21, and were met by Josephine Okpareke, who would be their guide. She has oversight of the Rwanda work and would shortly be stepping into the role of Uganda District Superintendent.

They traveled to the location of the future headquarters church, about twenty miles outside of Kigali. There, a parcel of land measuring just over 5,000 square feet has been purchased. It is small for what is needed, but there are three adjacent lots for sale. Though the cost is $21,000, it is hoped that these lots can be purchased and combined with the first. The total square footage would be the perfect size for a headquarters and campground location. In addition to these lots, another is available for sale a half-mile away. It was determined that this parcel would be purchased as a primary school site. Also, church services would be held at the school in the off hours until a headquarters church is built.

In the evening, a business meeting was held to discuss registering the Apostolic Faith work in Rwanda. It is imperative that this undertaking be completed quickly. In 2018, a law was passed that prohibits unregistered faith-based groups from gathering. As a result, the government closed nearly 8,000 churches across the country. One of our congregations, meeting in the home of Christianah Yusuf, was among those shut down. In all, there are more than one hundred Apostolic Faith worshipers in Rwanda, and we pray they will be able to gather freely for church services again soon. 

Before leaving Rwanda, the team visited Sister Yusufu, and she introduced them to four people, including a pastor, who are interested in becoming part of the Apostolic Faith work.

On Friday, February 23, the three traveled to Kampala, the capital of Uganda, where Sister Josephine has resided since 2016. She would again be their guide. After they arrived, they were joined by Edouard Nimubona, the District Superintendent of Burundi, and they discussed registering our work in that country.

The next day, all five traveled to Tororo, where the Uganda headquarters church is located. They were met by John Jones, the current pastor and Uganda District Superintendent who is retiring. He gave a tour of the church property, which was purchased by the Western and Central Africa (WECA) headquarters. The land measures about 5,000 square feet and hosts a church building, two houses, and a baptistry. In addition, different areas are set aside for raising chickens and pigs to provide income to run the church. Recently, these endeavors have been hindered by thieves and a lack of funds. Brother Gumbo pointed out that there was enough land on which to build a primary school, which would help the children in the community and generate the much-needed income for the Gospel work.

Following the tour, a meeting was held in which Brother Jones gave a chronological history of the Apostolic Faith work in Uganda. In February 2016, Sister Josephine was sent by WECA as a missionary to the country. Brother Jones and his wife also arrived in 2016, and he became the pastor at Tororo, the first church established in Uganda. In 2017, when the congregation at Tororo numbered just over one hundred, Sister Josephine went to Kampala and started a group there. The church was registered with the government in 2019 and has been growing since. Today, there are also Bible study centers at Nyangole and Kidera.  

Brother Gumbo thanked Brother Jones and his wife for their faithful service of seven years and the great efforts they have made in growing the work. He said future generations will build from the foundation they have laid, should the Lord tarry. 

On Sunday, the team attended services at the Tororo church, beginning with Sunday school for the elementary school children and the elders. Thirty minutes later, classes were held for the remaining age groups.

The devotional service began with an instrumental ensemble playing “Higher Ground” and a vocal trio singing “Faith of Our Fathers.” This was followed by congregational singing and the opening prayer led by Brother Banda. During the announcements, Brother Jones introduced the team from SEAR, and the congregation voiced their appreciation for the visit with a resounding welcome. There were about seventy-five in attendance, including children.     

Alice John sang the last special before the message, and then Brother Gumbo took his text from John 1:22-36. He spoke passionately about Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God. At the conclusion, nearly everyone responded to the altar call, kneeling at their chairs for lack of space, and calling on the Lamb of God.

After the prayer meeting, an ordination service was held for the newly appointed Uganda District Superintendent and Board of Trustees. By the laying on of hands and prayer, the ministry ordained Sister Josephine, Denis Mandali, Dismas Okumu, and Catherine Ssemanda.

The activities of the day concluded with a hearty lunch. The team has returned home reporting that the work in both Rwanda and Uganda is strong but needs prayer and infrastructure support to grow. 

occasion / dates
Southern and Eastern Africa District Superintendent Visit
February 21-25, 2024