Miracles of Love and Grace On the River Nile – by Rebecca Gonzalez
May 2, 2016 1876
On the 17th of January 2016 my friend Amy Adcock and I embarked on one of the biggest adventures of our lives: a medical and Gospel mission in Uganda. We had no idea what to expect, nor of the blessings that God would have for us during the month that we spent in ministry there.
After travelling for what seemed like days, we were met in Kampala by Pr David Kayumba, Pr Bonifresh Muhollo and Moses Lukwago. They took us to Jinja, where the Nile River begins, and our home for the next month. There were three main components to our stay in Uganda: midwifery, evangelism and a Christian Youth Conference.
Amy and I are both studying towards a Bachelor of Midwifery at university and we were thrilled to have the opportunity to combine our passions for midwifery and the Gospel. One very important woman who facilitated this was Christine, a rural Ugandan midwife whom we met there. She has an absolutely amazing testimony and her clinic is an example of what it means to shine God’s light in the world.
Christine’s midwifery centre is in a village named Maligita where she runs antenatal clinics, postnatal check-ups and also cares for women in labour. Her only assistance comes from volunteers; but she uses all her limited resources to make sure women are getting the care they need to stay safe and healthy. Women flock to her antenatal clinic for care, and Amy and I would see around 70 women every two hours when we were there.
The language barrier was difficult to overcome at times, but we know that God was working every second that we were there. Whilst monitoring foetal hearts, measuring fundal heights and taking blood pressures, we were also sharing the gospel with these women, both with our words and with our actions. We learnt so much working with Christine, and I believe that God worked through Amy and I to share the Gospel and the hope to which we are all called.
I so much appreciate the gift of going to Uganda. As Christine (the midwife in Maligita) told us, “God uses people.” He used many to donate funds to enable Rebecca and I to go. He used our team to speak his truth in Uganda. He used the people of Uganda to touch and change our lives forever. And he continues to use the stories we brought home to inspire and mobilise his people across the world. All the glory be to God. Thank you for being part of his global work.
Amy and I also had the opportunity to work in Kangulumira Hospital. For many women, Kangulumira is the closest town with a hospital so people would travel from near and far to be treated. Although it was a hospital, there was no running water at the time we were there, no ambulances and no working operating theatre; so things were very different for us to what we were used to. We were able to run antenatal clinics, HIV clinics, vaccination clinics, post-natal clinics and also care for women during labour or illness. Because of the volatile political situation, we could not share the Gospel verbally in the hospital itself, but I love the words attributed to Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel, and if necessary use words.” God was working in Kangulumira hospital too.
Another aspect of the trip was our door-to-door evangelism and drop-in clinics working alongside Spring of Hope Uganda (SOHug). Bonifresh, Moses, Amy and I would all go with the SOHug physiotherapist and visit families with disabled children who needed care. While the physio cared for the children, we would speak to their families about the Gospel and about the victory they have in Christ. We always offered prayer and would even sing with them at times!
It was absolutely amazing to see the faith and perseverance of people who have had to overcome more than I could ever imagine. At times we had to be wary because one of the SOHug centres was next to a mosque and many patients were Islamic, but they were still eager to hear about Jesus. I also had the opportunity to preach in a church made up of Congolese refugees. They met outdoors, because they had nowhere else!
Good News Unlimited partnered with SOHug to convene a conference for the youth in that region of Uganda. I can’t say it was all butterflies and rainbows, because there were many obstacles that had to be overcome, but it was all worth it. Bonifresh and I were to be the main speakers but on the very first day Bonifresh fell very ill and had to be in hospital for the duration of the conference, leaving me to do all the speaking!
This was not something that I had done before and I felt very unqualified but I knew that God would use whatever I would give, however little it may be. The very first night of the conference there were around 35 people and we were feeling discouraged, but I went home and prayed that God would bring more people who needed to hear the gospel, and sure enough the numbers swelled to 150-200 people from that day forward.
The theme I had selected was ‘On the Road’ and my talks followed Jesus’ journeys in the Gospels and the way people’s lives were changed as a result of encountering him along their journey through life. I loved being able to watch people follow along with the stories and identify themselves in them. I watched people realise that they are incredibly loved even when they feel alone, overwhelmingly forgiven despite their failings, and always having a hope, not just for not just the future, but for right now. This was an unimaginable blessing. When I asked people to stand if they wanted to accept Jesus and his gift of grace, around 200 people stood up.
Young People Born Again by the River Nile!
When I asked for people who wanted to be baptised, over 22 people came. That very day we all got in cars and trucks and went to the River Nile, where they were baptised and then prayed for. They sang together, cried together and prayed together. Even though I had faith that God would work, his grace and love still amaze me. There really is no way that we can ever escape his love, is there? One young lady passed this note to me at the end of one of the meetings:
Thanks for the great Word of God that you have preached to us! Thanks for the youth conference. The Word of God that you have preached to me – I want to assure to you that it has changed my mind and life. I am promising you that I will always walk in the road of Jesus and that I will be strong in him because I know that he will never leave me alone.
I want to thank Bonifresh, Moses and David especially for taking such good care of Amy and me. They really were amazing! To everyone who donated or who prayed for our journey, thank you so much. You have no idea how much strength it gave us knowing we were being supported every step of the way. I will be writing stories and posting photos of the trip over the next few weeks because I believe that these beautiful people whom we met will also be a blessing to you. I am also still raising the funds to cover the costs of my airfares so if you would like to donate there is still opportunity! Thank you.
Rebecca lives on the Gold Coast in Australia with her family. After completing school at Emmanuel College, she is currently studying a Bachelor of Midwifery at the University of Queensland. Rebecca manages GNU’s social media alongside Ella Rodionoff as well as regularly speaking. In January 2016 she went to Uganda with the support of GNU to combine her passions for midwifery and sharing the Gospel.