Celebrations in Uganda!

Pastor Dave Hino leads a prayer for God's anointing on JHR and those who will live there

By Cindy Akiyama

The community came.

The Joyful House of Refuge (JHR) dedication began with every seat filled and with people standing all around the canopy and chairs we had brought in for the event. Many were from the Bombo Pentecostal Church (BPC) family, many more others were from the community. They had witnessed JHR’s construction and must have been wondering, “what is this place that looks like a shining light on a hill?” 

Pastor Alex Ojera graciously agreed to chair the event. It seems everyone knows, loves, and respects him. And with good reason. I personally have known only two or three other men with the degree of godly wisdom, faithfulness, integrity, peace, humility, and love he possesses. His support has given JHR favor in the community. 

Our best estimate is that about 250 people came, including some local officials and an ever-increasing stream of local children as word spread about the feast the BPC ladies had prepared. Even though we had only planned for 100-150, God stretched the food so no one went away without taking part in the feast.

It was sad to see the many children patiently standing, pressed single file, one into the other at the end of the line, hoping for some bit of food. One of the local officials was seated next to me and called a young child over, offering her what remained on her plate. With her approval, I did the same (the portion served to me was so large that my plate was nearly half-full), the children were so happy to receive the delicious food. 

God is moving in so many ways here. Pastor Alex gave an inspired message based on Jeremiah 29, including an invitation to which 4 people responded. One of those receiving Christ was a Muslim grandmother who wanted prayer for her sick grandson whom she brought forward in her arms. After the event, the grandson went home and insisted to his devout Muslim mother that SHE go to BPC, so she went the following day. After worship service she met with Pastor Alex and gave her life to Christ in a very tearful, heartfelt conversion. 

The next day, we attended both early and late worship services at BPC and so were worshiping from 8 am to 1 pm. Services ran long with both Makinto and Pastor Dave Hino speaking. Although we are on Africa time, BPC has learned to operate like its American partners, starting and finishing on time; but they had grace for us. The church is very alive; the singing was amazing, with loud and beautifully sung choruses of praise and worship. Interspersed between the lyrics slides, the words “JESUS” and “Bombo Pentecostal Church, My Home, My Family” were continually displayed, reminding all of why they were there. Theirs is a very warm fellowship; we and all visitors were welcomed into the family.

I can’t begin to describe the joy that is in JHR. People are constantly expressing thanksgiving to one another and to us, but most of all to God. Their faith and love have deepened so much through this experience.

God is at work here and we are so blessed to be a part of it. Thanks you for praying. We are praising God for what He is doing here!

 Four people come forward to receive Christ at JHR inauguration

Four people come forward to receive Christ at JHR inauguration

 Mukarabe shares words of appreciation to God and the community

Mukarabe shares words of appreciation to God and the community

 Pastor Alex holding anointing oil presented to him by Pastor Dave Hino

Pastor Alex holding anointing oil presented to him by Pastor Dave Hino

 Bombo Pentacostal Church ladies serve the feast they prepared!

Bombo Pentacostal Church ladies serve the feast they prepared!

 God stretched the food so all were served!

God stretched the food so all were served!

 Makinto assisting the choir in leading worship at Bombo Pentecostal Church

Makinto assisting the choir in leading worship at Bombo Pentecostal Church