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.
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'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 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 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 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 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 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 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!
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.