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Entries in Karamoja Project (3)


Karamoja—An Opportunity for the Gospel

Reception committee of Karamojong children with real bows and arrows used for hunting (Click to enlarge)After years of visiting Uganda and preaching in their churches, the Lord began stirring Andrew’s heart for more. Andrew asked one of his contacts there to take him to a place he’d never been, a place where the people had never heard of the Gospel. Soon he was flying into another world—the world of the Karamojong.

The first time Andrew visited Karamoja, he was not only astounded by the abject poverty of its people but frustrated with his inability to adequately share the Gospel with them. “How do you tell a people about the wonder of God’s goodness when they’ve never heard of Jesus? They don’t know what the crucifixion is, they’ve never heard of Israel or the Law, they know nothing outside of their village. I remember leaving that place thinking, God have we accomplished anything good here? Although half of them prayed to receive Christ, I don’t know if they knew what they were doing,” Andrew recalls.

Confiding in his friend and contact there, Andrew said, “Francis, you’ve got to help me. This is not making disciples.” But as promised, the Lord had gone before Andrew (Is. 45:2), preparing hearts, developing plans, and working out details. Francis replied, “God has already spoken to me. I’ve resigned from my church, and I’m ready to start traveling throughout Uganda with Discipleship Evangelism. If you want, I’ll come to Karamoja too.”

Mark Rowe preaching with the Jesus film (Click to enlarge)Partnering with Andrew Wommack Ministries in Uganda, Pastor Francis Tumusiime began traveling to remote villages around Karamoja with the Jesus movie and Discipleship Evangelism tools. The movie gave his audiences a reference point for the Gospel, while Discipleship Evangelism gives them step-by-step instruction in the Word. To date, thousands of people are being discipled all over Karamoja. Even though most cannot read or write, Francis and his team don’t allow that to stop the spread of hope and truth—they share the Gospel in the oral tradition of the Old Testament. With this kind of growth, in two years 1.2 million people will have been discipled!

“Forty-three years ago, the Lord spoke to my heart to start making disciples. That’s why I became a teacher. Second Timothy became my mantra—”

Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. [2] And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

2 Timothy 2:1-2

A typical Karamojong village (Click to enlarge)“Now we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reach a basically unreached people with the Gospel,” Andrew shares. “But not only are we preaching the Gospel in a way these people can understand; we are teaching their churches how to prosper and care for the people. We are bringing aid and resources they would otherwise never receive. We’re providing water filters and medicines, developing plans to drill wells, working to introduce them to aquaponics or other sustainable farming techniques, as well as teaching them simple business skills and supplying them with micro loans.”

Mark Rowe shaking hands with Pastor Moses at one of the intended project sites for well drilling (Click to enlarge)Mark Rowe, our director of International Operations said, “Watching what God is accomplishing in Karamoja is simply amazing. Because they are a communal people, we are able to go in and disciple an entire village at one time. We want to use that attitude to prosper the whole community so they can provide their own schools, their own hospitals, and their own businesses—all on the principles they are learning in the Word of God. Then we can take that model and translate it into any country in the world!”

This really is a wonderful opportunity to see multiple nations changed for the glory of God. Join us today!


Times of Refreshing for Karamoja

Village life in the Karamoja region of Uganda. (Click to enlarge)“No water” is heard far too often across the land of Karamoja. A spine of extinct volcanoes makes up this subregion of Uganda—an area lacking basic necessities that most people will never have to go without. Any existing water is often undrinkable and accounts for half of all deaths. Years of war and rebellion have divided the people into two groups: those who have chosen to settle in the growing towns, and the more traditional tribesmen, who seek to maintain a lifestyle where cattle are the main currency.

A day in the life of a Karamojong woman is more difficult than most can even imagine. She’s up at sunrise, kisses her sleeping children, and starts out to begin the tedious job of collecting as many sticks as she can carry. As the heat soaks into her skin, she wipes the sweat from her brow, bundles the sticks together, and carries them on her head to the nearest market. A decision must now be made. Karamojong women, hauling bundles of sticks to market. (Click to enlarge)Does she use the sticks as firewood to boil and sanitize water for her family, or does she sell the sticks to buy food instead? Visions of her children start to appear in her tired mind, and she does what she knows will keep her family alive one more day.

Two years ago, Andrew traveled to a church in the city of Moroto, Uganda, where he was touched by the shocking reality of the Karamojong people, by far the poorest of the poor. He determined then that he wanted to do something to help change things for the people in these areas. Before Jesus left earth, He commanded His followers to go and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19-20 [New King James Version], see also Mark 16:15-20). Andrew has taken this command to heart in that he desires to reach as far and as deep as possible with the Gospel. No geographical area or people group is excluded from Jesus’ command.

Today hundreds of people are being discipled in Karamoja through the Discipleship Evangelism course—primarily in larger towns but it’s steadily moving out to reach the more traditional tribes. Mark Rowe, the director of international operations for Andrew Wommack Ministries (AWM), has been boots-on-the-ground and was charged with the task of evaluating the effectiveness of the discipleship training (L-R) Mark Rowe, the International Director of AWM, and his traveling companion, CBC Business School graduate, Travis VanMater, visit with Pastor Francis Tumusiime in Uganda. (Click to enlarge)programs. He also researched ways the AWM team could dig even deeper to help turn things around in one of the world’s most impoverished regions. Arid, inhospitable, hard to reach, and void of sufficient water are just a few words that describe the harsh realities facing the Karamojong people every day.

The people of Karamoja are soon to experience times of refreshing, there can be no doubt about that. That includes more than just water. Mark and his team are ambassadors for God so the Karamojong might drink of the living water—Jesus—so they’ll never thirst again. This is only the beginning; the best is yet to come.


New Resources for the Karamoja Project

The Elder (red) of a village in the Karamoja region welcomes Andrew and Pastor Francis (pink shirt). (Click to enlarge)In a story we posted last summer about Andrew's 2012 trip to Uganda, we shared a glimpse of how a remote region of the nation impacted him and how it has affected the course of his ministry going forward. The poverty, both spiritual and physical, made such an impression that Andrew knew God had called him to action in the Karamoja region. Andrew's focused efforts in the area, since his visit, have become known as the Karamoja Project.

Rudi and Kam Van Tonder, Directors of Andrew Wommack Ministries in South Africa.
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Through the connections Andrew has made in Uganda, he has been able to equip pastors, including the leader of AWM's efforts in Karamoja, Pastor Francis Tumusiime, with evangelistic materials. Andrew's teaching resources and the ministry's Discipleship Evangelism program are now being used to reach the primitive villages of the area.

Recently, creative new outreach resources have been brought to Karamoja by Rudi Van Tonder and a pair of traveling companions. Rudi and his wife, Kam, are the Co-Directors of the offices of Andrew Wommack Ministries in Tygervalley, Cape Town, South Africa (AWMSA). In March, Rudi completed a 20-day, 7800 kilometer road trip through four countries; the purpose of which was to deliver a one-of-a-kind, mobile movie theater to Francis. The custom truck and trailer will be used in crusades to reach the most under-evangelized people groups in Africa.

Rudi sitting on the custom-made movie trailer, created for the ministry by AWMSA partner, Philip Botha. (Click to enlarge) Rudi's excursion began shortly after hearing about Andrew's desire to reach the communities in rural Uganda. The topic had come to the Van Tonder's attention when David Hardesty, the former COO of Andrew Wommack Ministries, visited South Africa in 2013. During their conversations with David, the Van Tonders shared the story of Philip and Hanna Botha, who are partners of AWMSA. Philip had a vision to build a custom trailer that he could haul all over South Africa, showing the Jesus Film as an outreach. Rudi and Kam thought such a trailer would be quite beneficial for use in Uganda as well. After hearing Rudi and Kam's excitement about Philip's vision, David expressed interest in the idea and agreed the trailer would be a great way to evangelize the outer The investment for the complete package, including the Toyota 4x4, trailer, generator, A/V equipment, camping gear for three, totaled just over $36,000 US.
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reaches of Uganda. He asked the Van Tonders to find out more about Philip's project for him. Both Rudi and Kam agreed to seize the opportunity for their branch of the ministry to sow into Andrew's Karamoja Project by purchasing everything that was required to outfit Philip's trailer and outreach vehicle.

After much hard work, the Bothas and the Van Tonders finished equipping the vehicles in February. Before heading North to Uganda, Rudi and Philip held a trial crusade in Heidelberg to make sure everything was in working order. "They managed to secure a football field in the center of town for the crusade. CBC South Africa students came to help Rudi as well as minister after the altar call at the (L-R) Rudi, one of Rudi's traveling team, Francois Pieterse, and Philip, setting up the new system for the trial run in Heildelberg, SA. (Click to enlarge)conclusion of the film. Approx 100-120 people attended the crusade. Others sat and watched the Jesus Film from the stoops of their houses. All-in-all it was a great success and really got Rudi fired up, even more so, for Uganda," Kam said.

After the test run in Heidelberg, Rudi made final preparations for the trip to Uganda. Part of the prep included connecting with his traveling companions, a Malawian man named, Allan and a CBC-SA graduate named, Francois. Allan brought a much needed skill set to the team in that he was familiar with border crossing procedures in Zimbabwe and Tanzania, where accurate paperwork was the team's least concern. While Allan was fluent in the regional languages Rudi and Philip making final preparations for the long journey. (Click to enlarge)and well acquainted with gaining safe passage into the foreign countries, he was unable to participate in the physical driving of the vehicle—that's where Francois was needed. Rudi and Francois took turns sharing the wheel as the trio covered the distance from Cape Town to Zimbabwe and through Zambia, Tanzania and Uganda.

While the trip's overall purpose was to bring the new evangelism tools and equipment to Francis in Uganda, the journey was also very valuable to Rudi on a personal level. He reached a whole new place in trusting God for his protection and provision, and he witnessed, firsthand, His awesome faithfulness. The trip Setting up the theater, after the long journey to Karamoja. (Click to enlarge)was not without struggle and complications, but God always made a way, even when there didn't seem to be a way. Rudi said God used this journey to show him things to come—especially through the opportunities he was given to minister in the classroom setting in front of CBC students in Harare, Zimbabwe and Kampala, Uganda.

While there were many who responded to the outreach efforts made by Rudi and his team as they traveled across Africa, there is no real way to gauge the overall impact the trip has made. Rudi and Kam are comfortable not knowing, this side of heaven, how many lives have been and will be impacted by Rudi's Rudi and his team training Francis and his team as they set up for the first crusade in Uganda. (Click to enlarge) journey, and through using the equipment Philip created and the ministry provided. "The highlight for me was the crusade we held in a small town called Kotido, Uganda before leaving for Cape Town," said Rudi, "God left the best 'til last. There were in excess of 1000 people watching the Jesus Film intently. But what was really touching was that every time Jesus’ face would appear on screen, from the moment Mary gave birth, right up to when He ascended into heaven, the crowd would applaud and cheer Him on. They gave Jesus a standing ovation."

After the long excursion was made and As dusk approaches, the team makes final checks. (Click to enlarge)the delivery of the new equipment was completed, Rudi and his team flew back to South Africa. While their journey is finished, the mission is really just beginning... The Karamoja region is the least evangelized area in all of Africa. Pastor Francis, who is now in possession of the vehicle and movie trailer, has been implementing Andrew’s DE course for some time through approximately 16 church congregations. Just picture the additional impact. Imagine the looks on the faces of the people when they see this vehicle roll into their village and they view a movie for the first time—and it's about Jesus. Glory!

Curiosity began to build before the movie presentation. (Click to enlarge)Rudi and Kam saw an opportunity to be part of Andrew's Karamoja Project and they helped meet a need. "Andrew wanted a way of reaching the unreached in Uganda, and we, through the faithful giving of AWM's partners here in South Africa, simply provided him a means to be able to do this," said Kam.

Be sure to check this blog for future updates regarding the Karamoja Project. For more details, see our Inside Story post, In the Backcountry of Uganda. In the post we share an interview with Andrew as well as pictures and video from his 2012 trip.

Jesus time in Karamoja!
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Rudi enjoying the first movie event in Uganda.
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Rudi handing the mic to Francis for the altar call.
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Hands going up to receive Jesus!
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