Leland Shores III
July 1962 - June 2011
“I believe that discipleship is God’s plan for spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I believe that Uganda is positioned to cause great revival throughout the world. Charis Bible College of Uganda is going to effect a change in this nation that will flow like rivers of living water into the surrounding nations of East Africa.” — Leland Shores
In February of 2005, Leland heard the Lord say, “I am preparing you to go to Africa.” Nine months later, he was living in Uganda, following a specific call and direction from the Lord to make disciples. The Lord had taken this successful businessman from the fast-paced, glamorous life of Dallas, Texas, to the obscure, remote villages of Uganda.
Leland’s journey began four years earlier when he nearly choked to death on a roast beef sandwich. As he lay dying, alone on the floor of a hotel convention center in Dallas, it all became so clear. He realized that his life of rampant materialism amounted to nothing. Miraculously, he recovered, but in that moment, he made the decision to change his life. He would dispose of his possessions and dedicate the rest of his life in service to God.
Leland’s mother had been watching the Gospel Truth on television. When she heard of his plans, she suggested that he check out Charis Bible College. And that’s how he came to us as a student in 2002. For two years, he listened as Andrew and other teachers spoke about the unconditional love and grace of God. He was gradually being prepared by the Lord for the call that would soon come.
All second-year students are required to take part in a missions trip somewhere in the world. Leland’s mission trip took him to Uganda, where the seeds for a future call of God were planted in his heart. Perhaps it was on this trip that he first understood what Andrew was talking about when he said God has called believers to make disciples, not converts.
After graduation, Leland worked in the AWM Television Department for a year before receiving the all-consuming call to return to Uganda. From that day forward, he never looked back. By the winter of 2005, he was living in Uganda and ministering to the people he would come to know as his brothers and sisters in Christ. He later said, “Uganda is my home. I intend to live out my life serving the wonderful people of this country.”
Leland began his work by teaching the discipleship program developed by Andrew Wommack and Don Krow. Every week, he would travel over pothole-ridden roads, sometimes by leaky boats, and often on foot to distant towns and villages, teaching pastors lessons from the Discipleship Evangelism course. They, in turn, would return to their villages and teach that message to their small congregations.
By the end of the second year, he was teaching hundreds of pastors on a weekly basis who were reaching tens of thousands throughout the nation. Today the third and fourth generations of disciples are reaching hundreds of thousands in Uganda. Discipleship was the method that the Lord directed the disciples to use in teaching the Gospel to the known world at that time, and Leland was applying that same method in Uganda.
In time, Leland knew he would have to centralize the ministry and chose to do so in Kampala. There he opened the doors of the AWM bookstore on the busiest street corner of the city in 2009. People were free to browse and read, but they were always greeted by a friendly face, a person prepared to lead them to Jesus or tell them more about the good news. Leland launched Charis Bible College of Uganda in February 2010 with over 80 students, and in 2011, over 130 were in attendance.
In the midst of all these responsibilities, Leland coordinated Gospel Truth Seminars, pastors events, introductions to national officials, andtrips to the outlying villages with Andrew and his team from America.
Leland’s heart was linked to the people of Uganda in an even deeper way when he married Carole, the daughter of a prominent family from Entebbe. Together they planned to forge a great work in East Africa. But who could have foreseen that he would finish his course on June 23, 2011?
It was on Sunday, June 19, when he was having trouble breathing, that he was taken to a doctor. The doctor said his lungs were perfectly clear, so they assumed it was malaria. On June 20, he got worse, checked into a hospital, and was diagnosed with pneumonia. The doctors suspected he also had tuberculosis and malaria, but they needed to run more tests. While in the hospital, his condition continued to worsen until he went home to be with Jesus on Thursday, June 23.
He leaves behind his lovely wife, Carole; and her family; his mother, Drena; his father, Leland Shores, Jr.; his younger brother, Buddy John; his sister, Gaytha; the student body of Charis Bible College; a host of African pastors tutored in the Discipleship Evangelism course…and countless changed lives.
Leland accomplished more for the kingdom of God in that short time than most ever do in a lifetime. His wife, Carole, and many others are determined to carry on with the work he began just six short years ago. The deposit of his life in the hearts and minds of the Ugandan people will yield a harvest for years to come.
This story is just beginning…
Jamie and I are saddened by the loss of our friend and co-laborer in the Gospel, Leland Shores. But what the Enemy meant for evil, God will use for good. We are more determined than ever to reach the people of Uganda and East Africa. The good work that Leland began will not fade, but continue to grow and become a tribute to his sacrifice and selflessness.
There are many other graduates of Charis Bible College serving around the world with the same kind of commitment, determination, and sacrifice that Leland so obviously demonstrated in Uganda. They are the true heroes of our day. They lay their lives on the line every day so that others might know the goodness of God. How can we do any less! If you would like to help us continue the work in Uganda and other parts of the world, then I encourage you to become a World Outreach Partner.
We love you,
Andrew and Jamie