The images were a bit fractured and fuzzy, but the voices were loud and crisp. It is pretty phenomenal that with a simple press of a button I can talk live with another human being 8,000 miles away. Scott and the Kamara family were gathered around Scott’s laptop and Vivian and I were able to chat with them “face to face” for several minutes. Sometimes I get irritated with technology, but today it was my buddy.
It was late in Uganda, and the family had just returned from the crusade grounds. My talks with Scott have been brief, so I haven’t been able to get any detailed reports on the crusade (apart from the fact that Scott “murdered” the generator….it blew a fuse tonight.)
Please be in prayer that the Lord would use our efforts during the crusade to free many lost souls to life in Christ. There are so many people in Uganda trapped in bondage to darkness. They are slaves to addictions, corruption and evil spirits. Evil spirits may seem like a thing of fairy tales to some readers, but I must say, it is a very powerful and widespread reality in Africa.
As a part of the crusade, the children perform a special dramatic skit. It tells the story of a witch doctor that operates a shrine dedicated to his god: “Agoogoo.” Agoogoo is a demonic presence that speaks to the witch doctor. The witch doctor offers to use Agoogoo’s power to solve problems and give guidance to his “clients” once they pay his required “fee.” It could be money, jewelry, animals or in one actresses’ case-six jerry cans of water!
This may sound like serious content for a children’s play, but the skit is actually quite comical. Several of the gods are stuffed animals. The children giggle at Maurice’s flamboyant performance as the witch doctor and Kenneth’s ridiculous “Agoogoo” voice.
The skit is also funny because it is true. Truth is always funny. This skit portrays nothing these children have not seen in their daily lives. Visiting a witch doctor and seeking advice from spirits is like going to a psychiatrist or stopping in at Walgreens for a bottle of asprin.
And before you think “well they should know better,” consider that shrines, witch doctors and idols aren’t just things for primitive natives or ignorant villagers. The wealthy, powerful and intelligent elite of the city are known to frequently employ them. Sarah and Theophilus first met in a shrine. (I will save the details of that story for another day.) At the time, Theophilus had a master’s degree from a major university.
These beliefs and rituals do not stem out of illiteracy or low IQ. They are deeply embedded in Ugandan life and culture. Don’t judge. The devil has his claws just as deep in the enlightenment, Wall Street, and the American dream.
Thankfully, just like Sarah and Theophilus’ story, the skit has a redeemed ending. The evangelism ministry of a local church leads many of Agoogoo’s patrons out of their bondage to the false god and into the light of Jesus. Ultimately, the witch doctor himself is saved, and eventually becomes a pastor. This may seem farfetched or ridiculous, but it happens every day in Uganda. Before he was converted, one of the deacons at Mutungo Community Presbyterian Church once tried to assassinate Pastor Sam. One of the church ushers grew up in a family that sacrificed animals to demons. Every day God is ushering His children out of futile idolatry by the thousands. The gospel does have power to save, and it is evidenced in the Pearl of Africa by a booming and boisterous church that testifies to His grace.
We pray the Ranch on Jesus crusade is a tool used to usher in peace and truth to many households.
On an additional note…In my few brief conversations with Scott, I have been able to glean some crucial information. There is an urgent need for finances. The last term of the Ugandan school year begins next week. Ranch on Jesus is in need of $5,000 by the end of the week to cover tuition and begin September. The money simply isn’t in the bank. There is some money…but not $5,000. Honestly, $5,000 is the minimum amount needed.
I hate…I mean hate talking about money. I am proud or embarrassed or something. I have got to get over this because the reality is that I need to talk about it because there is a need. We’ve made cutbacks in nearly every quarter, and Sarah and Theophilus have donated large amounts of personal funds to meet the needs of the orphans. We are in the midst of launching some large fundraisers and campaigns, but in the mean time, we are in need of funds to see us through the next few weeks.
I would like to humbly extend an opportunity for God’s people to invest into the least of these in Uganda and the future of the church. Every dollar…every quarter… given makes an impact on a Ranch on Jesus child. If you would like to be the hands and feet of Christ to the children of Ranch on Jesus at this time, please consider making a donation to the Ranch on Jesus Scholarship Fund. http://ranchedonjesus.blogspot.com/search/label/Scholarship%20Fund
Donations can be mailed to: P.O. Box 610537, Birmingham AL 35261.