by Alli Kennedy
Benjamin House Ministries Summer 2019 Intern
It’s rainy season here in Uganda. When it rains, the water gathers in caramel puddles on the dirt roads, creating small rivers that slice through the dust. That’s when riding boda-bodas gets interesting. Think sailor meets the churning sea, except small motorcycle meets hundreds of potholes. Water decides where it wants to go and no one attempts to correct its course. The rain decides the agenda of the inhabitants of Kampala for the day. There are the few that have money for vans and boda-bodas. But people here walk. For miles and miles. Kilometers and kilometers. To school, to work, to church. Attendance at The House Church dwindles on rainy days because people can’t get to the service.
All the while, there are faithful ones who choose to come and serve.
They walk in the rain from their homes, soaked from head to toe, to show up with a smile and serve out of humility.
Jackson Ssempereza, the Children’s Minister at The House Church, has his work cut out for him. Jackson is a wide-eyed optimist with the heart of a child. His joy and drive are contagious. He cares so deeply for those who cross his path. He loves what he does and sees the Lord working through children of all ages. He has discipled children who are ready to turn around and serve once they reach a certain age.
As The House Church continues to grow and thrive, it means more and more children come as well. For Jackson, this means finding the passionate who are able to serve consistently.
Volunteers are single mothers. Women who walk over an hour from their homes to get to The House Church. Women who love children and want to serve, but life makes it difficult for them to come to The House Church. Their children fall ill. They experience death quite frequently in their families and among their friends. Sometimes they don’t have a husband in the picture to help provide. They work jobs and get paid very little. Too little to afford transportation in the rain or shine. Too little to afford food to even feed themselves sometimes.
Yet, whenever they can, they give their time. They sacrifice so that these children might know Jesus.
And I complain about not finding a parking spot at my home church in the U.S.
And I complain about getting up a few hours early to serve.
What does that say about my heart and my God?
When all they do is sacrifice and serve the best they can with a heart overflowing with love.
Jackson cherishes people like Mama Gertrude, Helen, and Mercy who are women who have been a constant encouragement to him and his ministry. Mama Gertrude has seven children. Helen has two children and teaches school. Mercy has recently experienced the loss of her brother. Yet, they show up and serve happily. Pouring porridge, playing games, teaching lessons, singing songs, leading discipleship classes.
They want to make disciples of these children now so they can change the history of Uganda forever. They know how truly crucial it is to shape the hearts of these children at a young age. That’s what Jackson prays for. He prays for money for their transportation. Prays for more women to step into the roles of teaching. Prays for more men to be godly examples for the boys. Prays for encouragement for his own heart that can be struck with discouragement through these growing pains. Prays for the women who have come alongside him to care for the precious little hearts who are eager to know Jesus.
Through the sacrifice and prayers of these men and women, these children will know how to walk and serve Christ through every storm, both the literal storms and the figurative storms that life throws their way.
Bucky Rogers, Benjamin House staff, and short-term missionaries