By Emmanuel Many
I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord at the age of 18. That’s when worship began to make sense. The first year of my salvation was messed up. I was a good boy about half-way. The other half I remained the old person I was before accepting Jesus in December 1995. It was at the end of 1996 that I started evaluating myself. I was so sorry that I had wasted my entire year. I repented afresh and have kept my declaration to-date.
If I was giving this testimony before revival elders and friends, they would have burst into singing at this point.
It was in 1996 that I got more involved in youth programs. I became very active in weekly fellowship meetings and the fiery outreaches we often held. A village hill that was once known as a center of prostitution was gradually becoming a restoration center.
Our fellowship meetings then were very different from all those I have attended recently. Before I continue, I need to help you with a bit of background to this revival. The fire was started by ordinary, simple people. The youth of a sister Church near the mountain (Mt. Muhabura) were more persistently praying and fasting together. They were studying God’s word devotedly and listening to the Holy Spirit. Individually, people would refer to the key leaders of that revival as ‘Yarabonekewe’ – a Rufumbira word meaning ‘God revealed Himself to them’. People would use this term to mean a unique, strong and dependable believer. Their pastor was very supportive. My Dad, who was also my pastor, gave us the greatest support we needed. He kept inviting these young leaders to preach to us in regular Church conferences that would take up-to 3 days.
Those youth were really on fire. If you don’t want to get burned, don’t get near fire! We loved them and they set us on fire, too. Those were the days when dancing was more common in Church. Clapping was not enough. We sang loudly and meant every word we sang. We learned new songs and taught those we knew to others. The hymns themselves were so special to us. We never thought of replacing them with our ‘youth-owned’ chorus worship-songs. We freely carried our Bibles and hymn books on our outreaches. We only didn’t carry the prayer book for outreaches. We weren’t using that in our fellowship meetings either.
In those days many drunkards returned to God, prostitutes repented. People were coming to Christ, young and old. Others received their healing. I still remember an old man in his 70s who was ill and his relatives feared he was going to die. When I looked at his eyes, I was not surprised that they had that fear. We prayed for him and the man lived! Glory to God! Many people started coming to our Church, even walking long distances.
A neighboring sister Church didn’t have the chance of receiving the kind of ministries we had. Their members started coming to our Church and one of their leaders complained. By the that time the Holy Spirit was more in control. We overlooked the complaint and continued our mission.
Do we still have such fellowships today? If you have one like that, keep up the fire. If you don’t have one, may be don’t run away. Do what the other Church did, praying, fasting and studying God’s word devotedly. Don’t do it alone. You need at least one like-minded partner.
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