Sunday, October 22, 2017

Uganda Update: My Heart Got Convicted

October 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Going Global, Monthly Articles

I pray you will be blessed as you read Saphan Muhanguzi’s testimony, written in his own words (with light editing).

Saphan is the Director of Prison Ministries for Heart of God East Africa. It has been a tremendous blessing getting to know Saphan and his precious wife, Alex. They are a tremendous example of committed Christians in Uganda as they respond to God’s call to minister to incarcerated women in the prison system. As he shares his story, you will learn of his compassionate heart and his determination to serve the Lord no matter the cost.

Without further delay, please allow me to introduce Saphan to you … I pray you will be blessed and challenged to further commitment to the Kingdom of God as you read his testimony.

Testimony of
Saphan Muhanguzi

Praise the Lord, brethren! I want to take this opportunity to share with you how God found me when I was far away in sin and lifted me to be His servant.

The year was 1997 in December; I was helping a friend who had a garment shop. This lady gave me a book titled “Delivered From the Power of Darkness” by Emmanuel Eni. At first, I didn’t want to read the book; however, in the third day, the market was bad so I decided to read it through. As I turned page after page, my heart was getting arrested. I read the book several times that day. The writer was speaking to me directly. My heart got convicted. I carried the book to my wife, Alex, and she read several times and, after a few days, she got converted and born again. The Lord continued to do a good work in me. I began to ask myself whether what I was doing was profiting me or was making me to lose. The latter was the answer. To cut the story, I got born again at the end of 1997. We had 2 boys by then as toddlers, Alvin and Elvis.

Life became almost impossible after losing my job as a policeman at the Airport because I was born again and being persecuted by those I worked with. We were chased from one house to another because there was no money to pay rent. Later after six years, we got a girl, Hannah, and after one and a half years, we got Bernice (RIP).

Bernice was a wonderful child for the little time we spent with her. Because of her, we learned to love for people showed us love; we learned to help because we were helped. Seven months after she was born, we discovered that she had a tumor. We went to the hospital up until the end of her life (3.2 years). Our life continued to be bad since we had spent almost everything we had accumulated. We soon became destitutes to our community. I had to make a tough decision even if it meant losing my life. God was preparing me for a great assignment. I made a decision of going to Iraq to work with coalition forces; l left for Iraq in September 2007. During my stay there, I learned a lot of things. But God was teaching me how I can trust Him. While I was there, Bernice’s condition worsened but I couldn’t come back because my contract was for a year. When I came back for vacation the next December 2008, I found when she was in a bad condition. I was to leave her again to go and work since all the money that could come in was spent in the hospital. I left for Iraq for the second year on 9 January 2009. As I was still in transit, I found that Verda Reeves had made connections for Bernice to be taken to one of the best hospitals in Uganda. I got the message when I had reached Tikrit. I called my wife and gave her the news; she immediately went to that hospital. She was there up to when Bernice left for her eternal home on 6 February 2009. I couldn’t come back for burial, but friends were there for me; they did everything. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of those who stood with me during that time; may God bless you so much.

Because of the problems with Bernice, I came to know a lot of people, including Denise Matthews. Through Denise, I have got a big family in Heart of God International and other friends both local and foreign. After the death of Bernice, the Base (Summerall FOB), where I was working, was closed and I was transferred to another bigger Base (Anaconda-Balad). While I was there, I had two dreams, one telling me that I was left behind in the rapture, and another one that I was being shot at by an Arab and he was telling me to go home if I did not want to die. When I shared my dreams with some brethren, I was advised to leave for Uganda. While on my way home on the night of 27 May 2009, I asked God what all was about. He told me that I had gone away from His business because of Bernice, but now that Bernice has gone home, I should return to my duty post. I obeyed immediately.

When I reached home, I found the Church that I was pastoring had lost most of the people. I took time to ask for forgiveness from God. And at the beginning of 2010, The Lord told me to separate myself, for another assignment. I fasted and prayed for three days and on the third day, in the morning, I was told that all that happened, the sickness of my daughter and all the suffering, and the people giving me help, was a lesson to prepare me for the ministry of ministering to those who are not my own.

I asked God, how I would serve Him in this aspect, He gave me verses in Mathew 25: “…For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me…Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me…” (KJV)

Then I understood where God was sending me. I, my wife and another brother shared about this assignment and prayed about it until we were given the direction. We went to prisons administration and asked for permission to start ministering to prisoners, and we were welcomed. But again there was an area that was not clear…what people should we minister to.

One Sunday we were at home after the service watching television when a program came on about what prisoners go through. One ex-prisoner was giving her testimony when the Lord told me to, “Go and minister to people like her”. So we went and asked for permission to be visiting women section. We were told that this section is mostly asked by women; the officials were curious why I, as a man, was interested. I told them it was not me who was interested but God; I was just a vessel.

Since we began, we have seen God reaching out to people, both in prison and outside prison. In prison, inmates have received miracles such as women who were on death row (like in the case of Mordecai in the book of Esther), are now changed and soon being released. We have seen people outside the prison offering to help. When we started, there were no visitors, but today almost 50% of prisoners have visitors.

God opened a big door when I discussed Life Transforming Prison Ministry with Denise Matthews, Executive Director of Heart of God East Africa. As I write this, the ministry has now become part of Heart of God International. We are privileged to serve God in any capacity we are called to. We visit Luzira Prisons once or twice every week. We minister to the prisoners by compassion and preaching the Word in practical ways.

We give Glory, Power, and Honor to Almighty God for allowing us to be part of His Kingdom and allowing us to perform a service in His Vineyard. (Luke 17:10)

Your brother in Christ,
Saphan Muhanguzi

Conclusion

The prison ministry in Uganda continues to amaze me as I watch God move in the lives of individual women. Literal miracles are taking place … women who have been imprisoned for years without a trial are suddenly being freed; God is supplying needs that one would never expect to see in the prison system. He desperately loves these women and is using Saphan and Alex and the team in Uganda to minister His grace and mercy to them.

I am humbled when I consider all that God is doing through this ministry. Thank you so much for praying with us and supporting us with your encouragement and gifts. Huge doors continue to open as God makes it possible to minister to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of those whose lives are filled with suffering and rejection. Praise the Lord!

It’s no secret that God is moving in Uganda as well as in the lives of the men and women who dared to respond to God’s call to “Go into all the whole and preach the Gospel to every creature.” Consider joining us in 2011 for the next outreach to Uganda. Download your application and send it in now. I hope to have you join us for the 2011 Uganda Outreach.

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