Ugandan bishop shares inspirational message
By Doug Carroll
GCU News Bureau
The parable of the widow’s mite from Mark 12 was brought to life in a visit to Grand Canyon University by a Ugandan humanitarian Thursday night.
Bishop Hannington Bahemuka of the Charismatic Episcopal Church of Uganda spoke to a small group at Howerton lecture hall about his leadership of thousands left in refugee camps in 2001 by Allied Democratic Forces rebels opposed to the Ugandan government. His talk was hosted by Dean Jason Hiles and the College of Theology.
A simple campaign to round up blankets for orphans grew into a movement by Bahemuka to teach the principles of Christian stewardship to those living in camps in the Bundibugyo district, near the border between Uganda and the Congo.
The impoverished, war-torn region heard his message of hope and self-reliance — and acted on it.
“We said everything that we have comes from God,” Bahemuka said. “People started helping one another. They helped build houses and churches.”
A disabled woman named Valerio gave her only chicken to the effort, and fellow church members in turn acquired a wheelchair for her and built her a house. In the story from Mark’s Gospel (also found in Luke 21), Jesus tells about a widow who was willing to give her last two coins as an offering.
“That’s an example of how the message sunk into their hearts,” Bahemuka said of Valerio and her church family.
The bishop, 59, has overseen the construction of three high-performing schools serving about 600 students, one-third of them orphans. He serves more than 30 churches and also has been a Wycliffe Bible translator for more than 14 years.
He said giving comes down to four simple points:
- Everything belongs to God.
- God puts everything into the hands of man.
- God has put resources in every place.
- God calls on us to meet the needs of one another.
“Giving touches the heart of God,” Bahemuka said. “God has put everything we need in every locality. If the people raise up, they can meet the needs they have.”
Patrick Young, missions pastor for Community Church of Joy in Glendale, accompanied Bahemuka to campus and said his church goes to western Uganda twice a year to help. He said the church has helped build a well at one of the schools and a dormitory at another, adding that it is trying to raise funds for a medical center and pharmacy.
Bahemuka, who speaks five languages, said he is writing a book with the working title of “Amazed by His Grace.”
“There is no reason to doubt what God will do,” he said. “God is always on the side of the oppressed, the poor and the orphaned.”
Click here to watch a video about the ministry of Bishop Hannington Bahemuka in western Uganda.
Contact Doug Carroll at 639.8011 or [email protected].