Redemption // Finding Hope in Jesus Christ

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Header_ImageBy: Emily Arndt, CVT, serving in Uganda

In December I joined the CLIDE team in Uganda, which includes CVM field staff, Dr. Daniel & Rachel Graham, and Waffle & Dr. Valery Lomilo, as well as other foreigners and Ugandans. CLIDE has a ministry focus that is primarily among the Karamojong and Iteso people-groups of northeast Uganda also working with the Sabiny, Batwa, and Acholi of Uganda as well as the Samburu people of Kenya. Our emphasis is on Christ-centered community development, addressing both the physical and spiritual needs of hurting people. God is moving in mighty ways in Uganda and lives are being transformed. One such example of transformation happened in January while we hosted an e3 short-term team.

During their time with us, the short-term team helped as we ministered in the Peace Villages where the church is growing and strengthening. The Lord led us to a certain village that has traditionally been the hotbed of aggression in the tribal warfare of the region. For decades it was used by the warriors as the hide-out and stop-over point on their way to and from their armed raids. Even during the heat of the fighting, the village was able to continue with their normal activity, as there were so many armed warriors there, no one could attack.

As we ministered in this village, we recognized the power of Christ’s church in the community, leading to lives being transformed from aggression and warfare to peace in Christ. This transformation is not because of human effort, but because of the Power of Jesus Christ. It’s that Power that transformed the life of Asiyo Mariko, the commander of the warriors. Over the years he had killed twenty-five people, and led many warriors in raiding and murder campaigns. During the years of fighting, Asiyo Mariko had been shot six times, and to this day still has bullets lodged between his ribs. The short-term team and the CVM field staff were able to share the gospel with him during their time in the village. Within twenty-four hours of opening his heart to Christ he was already heading out to different villages to share the Good News of the God who could forgive him. He has now become the most passionate evangelist of the 200 believers in the village. He was overjoyed to be armed with, as he says, “a new gun, the Bible,” for spiritual battles rather than physical ones.

 

 

Here I am, in Karamoja, a land that many people associate with its traditionally violent inhabitants, but God is moving here. This place is being redeemed through the Power of the Blood of Jesus Christ. Not because of some spectacular human plan or strategy, but rather because God’s people have been willing to be His hands and feet through whatever may come.

One day, traveling back from the end of ministry work in the villages, I was studying the scene outside the window. The stars were out in full force, as they are every night, but there were enough scattered clouds to add some spectacular depth to the moon’s light. As we continued down the bumpy and dusty dirt road, a tune drifted from my iPod and added to my contemplation and prayer. Matthew West’s song, “Family Tree,” (listen) is a song that at first glance could seem depressing for some, but it offers so much more.

 

“You didn’t ask for this – Nobody ever would – Caught in the middle of this dysfunction – It’s your sad reality – It’s your messed up family tree – And all your left with all these questions – Are you gonna be like your father was and his father was? – Do you have to carry what they’ve handed down? – No, this is not your legacy – This is not your destiny – Yesterday does not define you – No, this is not your legacy – This is not your meant to be – I can break the chains that bind you – I have a dream for you – It’s better than where you’ve been – It’s bigger than your imagination”

 

 What is the yesterday that doesn’t define you? What is my yesterday? What is the yesterday for the Karamojong? Yes, there are obvious differences but in all reality we all share the same yesterday… “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). But praise God it doesn’t stop there! “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

A gift isn’t something to be earned, rather it is to be accepted and received. Have you received that gift and are you a follower of Jesus Christ?If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved (Romans 10:9-13).

And if you are, what are you doing to proclaim His glory to the lost and dying world around you? Whether it is on the African Plains, in your private veterinary practice in America or within the community around you, one location isn’t somehow more prestigious than the other  If it is the place to where God has called you.

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My call is to be here in Africa with others who have been obedient to God’s call on our lives. We are all on a lifelong journey with God as part of His story to share His glory to the nations. As veterinary professionals, we can do amazing things with our God-given skills and save animals’ lives. But ultimately the saved and transformed lives of people are what really matters for eternity. How is God working through you to reach those who do not yet know Him? What is He calling you to do to spread the gospel and help rewrite the stories of those who are lost? Our obedience to God and His continual refining and transforming of our own lives is evidenced by living out His calling in our lives.

 

We invite you to join us in support of CVM field staff like Emily Arndt, so they will have the means to continue to build relationships that lead to transformed lives.

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One comment

  1. Jim Crawford

    Great testimony!

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