How did it come about that a married man in his forties with 3 children under 10 years of age would go to Uganda for 18 days to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
In 1989, in Perth Western Australia, I drove up into the hills behind the city to seek God without any distractions around me. I spent 3 days fasting and praying and reading scripture, seeking the Lord to show me what He had called me to do. On the third night, at about eight in the evening, I was in my orange Datsun 1600, parked down a gravel track in the John Forrest National Park. I was asking the Lord one question…
”What have you called me to do Father?”
I clearly heard inwardly a voice, saying over and over, “To preach good news to the poor, the acceptable year of the Lord. To preach good news to the poor, the acceptable year of the Lord.”
I was only a few months old in the Lord, having given my life to Jesus during the breakdown of my marriage that year. I did not realise that it would be 19 years before I would begin to do what He had called me to do. Of course after this time of seeking His will I came back in the power of the Spirit preaching, healing, delivering….etc etc….ahhhh, actually no! I came back in the power of the flesh! Never mind. I was single, by way of a painful separation and later divorce. I had a 3 year old daughter from this first marriage that I wanted to keep in contact with. I worked in the Fisheries
Department for the Western Australian Government. This job took me out to sea on patrol boats up and down the Western Australian coastline.
During these trips away, which were 10 days in duration, I took every chance I got to get alone with the God and pray in the S/spirit…in the engine room, on the top-deck, on a lonely beach after we had anchored the boat, or tied her to the jetty. I was often witnessing to the deckhand or driving the skipper nuts with my Jesus talk all the time…..not much wisdom!!
Finally he had had enough and got me transferred to Geraldton, 465km north of the city of Perth, to another patrol boat and crew. After many adventures with Jesus during the next 18 months I had had enough of the sea farers life and resigned from the Department. One story comes to my mind from those days….
I had to go onto one of the Abrolhos Islands, 80km off Geraldton in the Indian Ocean to check a professional Cray fisherman’s licence. I went ashore in our dinghy on my own, while the deckhand and skipper stayed on the Patrol boat. The fisherman greeted me on his little, rickety timber jetty, only wide enough for 1 man to walk upon and about 10 metres long. I followed him to the door of his fishing shack that all the fisherman use for the “Abrolhos Season” which only lasts for about 4 months of the year. These islands are protected and the only people allowed on them are these fisherman..(as I write this Dec 08– this is being changed). As we got to his hut he opened the door for me and what greeted us as he did surprised me.
There hanging on the wall opposite the now open front door was a full size Balinese Hindu Barong mask which are supposed to be gods that protect the temples and villages. It is such an fearsome and ugly looking thing, it made me angry inside my spirit. While the fisherman left me inside the hut with his wife as he went to get his papers from in his boat, I asked her what she thought of the thing. She told me quietely that she hated it, but her husband brought it back from Bali and will not get rid of it. So, after he came back inside and I had done my business with him I left to go through the door. After taking a few steps outside I turned and seeing that the man and woman had gone back into the living room, leaving the door wide open, I faced the mask which was about 6 feet tall if you measured the horses hair hanging down from it’s ugly face. I said, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I rebuke you!” I turned on my heel and went to my dinghy. By the time I started the motor, I had a massive migraine headache coming on!
I never got headaches, rarely if ever. By the time I got to the patrol boat, 100 metres off the island I was feeling like throwing up from the pain in my head! I climbed slowly up onto the
bigger boat (65 feet) and went straight to my cabin and lay down. I could not believe the pain. I thought..”What is going on Lord? I rebuked it in Your name….and it has overcome me!?” The Lord in His gentle way convicted me that I had rebuked the spirit behind the mask out of fear and the flesh, that it had not been His guidance to do such a thing and so I had not been in His protection. I repented straight away…amazing how quickly we do this when we are suffering!…and the pain immediately left me!
So many stories could be told of the lessons I learned from the Holy Spirit over the years as indeed all of us could.
So back to 2008, and Uganda.
The story above illustrates to me that it is the Gospel that is the power of God unto salvation to those who believe….not rebuking spirits. During those years back in the early 90’s I had been caught up with people who loved to pray against the powers of darkness, but who never preached the Gospel of Jesus! This trip to Uganda demonstrated to me so clearly that yes, we must pray, being led by the Holy Spirit, but also we need to preach Christ and Him crucified and risen. When this is done the Lord Himself rebukes the powers of darkness to flee and vacate their possessions – namely people!! I had booked a return ticket through directflights to Entebbe Airport Uganda via Bangkok and Addis Ababa. I would be arriving on the Sunday 22nd of November and leaving on the 10th of December.
I had transferred $2000US to my host in Uganda for the costs involved to do the crusade for a week and had $370US in my wallet for when I arrived. I gave this to Henry on the second day there saying that it is for the house or whatever since you are looking after me. So that was it, I had no money at all to use until I left. Previous to leaving I had resigned my job and had sold our house, moving the family into a rental house in the same town. I had been busy packing and moving for about 3 weeks before I left for Uganda. I had had little time in the Bible or in “prayer.”I was stepping out to see what the Lord would do. I had phoned the brother in Uganda, a pastor and church planter, that I was happy to sit in the congregation and learn while I was there. Boy was I in for a shock.
My flight from Perth to Bangkok(via Phuket) was interesting as I sat next to a Catholic Indian on her way home for a holiday. She genuflected? At take off and landing whichamused and saddened me. Then after waiting for 10 hours in Bangkok, I flew to Addis Ababa seated next to a Nigerian who wanted to know how I could help him get rich in Australia! Then another 6 hours waiting in Ethiopia and I was on my way to Uganda 2 hours further south. I think I had about 2 hours napping out of the 35 hours travelling!! There was a lot of turbulence as we came in over Lake Victoria to land at Entebbe Airport, which caused the plane to lurch sideways as we touched down. Most people let out a cry and then spontaneously broke into applause when they realised we were out of danger and on the ground!
I had paid for yellow fever immunisation back home but the immigration did not even ask to see the booklet! The Yellow fever had made me quite ill too! Oh well. I handed over $50US for the visa and walked through to the baggage claim area. Then out to a crowd of black African faces, some with signs up. I recognised Henry before I saw the sign with my name on it above his head. Big smile with a 5mm gap between his front teeth. I had met this humble man on the internet back in April when he had sent me an email expressing his desire to know more about me. He had read some of my website pages and thought..”This man must have a powerful and big ministry!” I assured him over those first replies that I was just a brother who liked to write down what the Lord was giving to me.
But right at that time when his email came, actually the day before it arrived in my inbox, my wife and I had been asking God, “Where do you want us to sow some money sacrificially?” We had made the decision to sow a large amount of money into the Gospel. We felt that the Lord was not wanting us to sow it into a rich brother’s ministry, already established, but into a poor brother’s church instead. So when Henry Zaake emailed me I was thinking straight away is this the guy? I telephoned him the next day and established who he is and whether he was a scammer or not. We prayed together, the acid test as to whether he was a false believer or not! My wife was not sure at first, but I was convinced and excited that God had quickly answered our prayers!
So over the next 6-7 months we had kept in contact almost daily and had fasted and prayed together even though we were on opposite sides of the Indian ocean. Those months were the most trying days of my life! During those months I experienced attacks upon my mind to give up what we were being led to do. I even despaired of life at one stage, preferring to die like Elijah! But somehow God gave me grace to continue to keep stepping forward in faith…without any visible signs or confirmations of being in His will. So when I arrived in Uganda I was exhausted and flattened by the last few months of warfare! We drove the 32 km back to Henry’s house in Namasuba, which is 3 km from Kampala, the capital of Uganda. Entebbe road is a bitumen, single lane highway from Kampala to the only Airport in Uganda. So it is a very busy road, with many small shops along each side. The banana palm is a constant sight on both sides of the road, whether in fields or in small back yards it is everywhere. They call it Matokee, it is one of the main food sources every meal. They cook green bananas and serve beef with gravy on top of the banana. The banana tastes more like potato when done like this. They mash it and heat it up like mashed potato as well.
We turned off Entebbe road onto a smaller, skinnier road, then onto a smaller gravel road. Henry pointed out a large green banner flying above the shops where we turned into this road.
I briefly caught a glimpse of my name spelt wrongly under the title Miracle Gospel Crusade!!! My heart skipped a beat!
“What did that say?” I said incredulously..
“Yes brother, you are preaching in our crusade all week! They are expecting you. I have been telling them for weeks now that the Man of God is coming from Australia and he believes in miracles.” Henry said this with a chuckle.
The car bounced and leaned from one side to another as we slowly crept along the washed out road to Henry’s house at the bottom of a steep little hill. Henry and I got out of the hired car, Henry taking my bags even though I protested. The driver took the car back to the hire company. It had cost 40,000Ugandan Schillings. 1 Aus dollar = 1,300 UGX and 1990 schillings = $1 US. So about $30 aus to hire the car for half a day. I was to learn that people only earn about $20US per month but most things are charged at western prices. For instances, Unleaded fuel costs $2.45 Aus per litre! The house is made of clay bricks which are made locally. They are of the same quality as bricks in Australia. Terracotta tiles on a gable style roof…which we later found was infested with hundreds of small bats! The doors are all solid hardwood and would cost a fortune back home.
The house is on a concrete slab and the tenant has to supply their own floor coverings and curtains, the house is totally bare when moved into. They are trusting God to be able to pay $250 US per month for the house, which has 6 rooms in all on about 400m2 of land. The house is surrounded by a 6 foot high brick wall with broken pieces of glass embedded into the top as testimony to the dangers of living in such a big house, compared to most other people in the area.
Namasuba is so named because it was the name of a powerful Witch doctor who operated in the area. It means “confusion”. It is populated by about 6,000 muslims and Catholics in
an area of about 2 square kilometres! Namasuba has about 8 “Shrines” that Witchdoctors sacrifice blood sacrifices to Satan upon 24 hours a day. It also has many Mosques, with the Muslim call to prayer sounding at 4 am and 5am every day. If that doesn’t wake you up, the roosters will! Or the bats in the roof as they return from their nights work! One morning I was awakened by someone banging on the iron gate at the front entry in the wall. They kept knocking and knocking until finally Agnes woke up and went out to see who it was. There are many demonised people around the area. In fact, the house is about 50 metres from a Shrine where some witchdoctors do their wicked trade.
So I slept that first afternoon and night very heavily after having virtually no sleep on the trip from Australia.The new day brought new experiences for me…food! Agnes and Henry were intent on fattening me up. I am not a big eater but they were trying to change that! Breakfast consisted of 2 big pieces of toasted bread with 2 big bananas and margarine…I thought that was great and was ready to leave the breakfast table after my cup of Nescafe instant coffee when Agnes brought out the main course!! Boiled white rice with beef and gravy and other condiments to go with it..I protested and battled bravely, but to no avail, they won, I ate and felt digustingly bloated. That was okay, because the next day I contracted a stomach bug that was to be with me for the whole trip and beyond. Diaorhia every day for a month was not much fun but at least all the food they gave me did not bloat me again!! I spent the afternoon in prayer for the first night of the Crusade that had my name on it!
The Lord laid on my heart the familiar verses from all those years ago in my orange Datsun 1600. Isaiah 61 and Luke 4. “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,
With this passage comes the declaration from the Lord Jesus that a prophet is not without honour except in his own town or country. I felt very special that afternoon as I was realising a dream that had all but died in my heart. God was doing what I could never do on my own!
As we walked to the crusade grounds that evening I felt like I was walking to my death. I felt like I would never be the same person again after stepping up to the pulpit that night. Fear of man would be dealt a death blow. Doubting my calling would be dealt a death blow. The devil had tried his best to stop this day from ever coming to pass and he had failed praise God!!
As we walked through the narrow gravel tracks to the crusade grounds young children would stare at the mazoogu or white man walking with the mazoogo or pastor and the other black brother carrying my Bible and water bottle. When we got to the main gravel street that the grounds fronted onto, people everywhere were looking at me. There were many people walking along this street and riding bikes, scooters, motorbikes and driving cars slowly. There was a herd of about 10 cows being herded along this street just as we arrived. They squeezed past Henry, Isaac and I, actually brushing against us as they passed. The herder apologised profusely.
Turning to the stage set up on the 1 acre of land opposite where we stood on the edge of the road our ears were filled with the very loud music and singing being pumped out of huge speakers on either side of the stage. Above the stage was flying another one of those green banners they had made with my name on it and other people involved including Henry Zaake my friend. To the right Henry pointed to some buildings. He took me over to these buildings and told how they had purchased one of them through a miracle of God’s provision. God had touched the heart of someone to give the money needed to buy one of the buildings next to this 1 acre of land that we were holding the crusade on. We prayed there in the yard of the building that in about 4 months would be the site of their new church building.
About a year previous to this night, Henry and his wife and children were renting a room off a Muslim landlord when his bank sent a team to demolish the house they were in because the Landlord was not paying his loan payments. That night Henry and his family were thrown out on the street, their belongings were stolen by others who were also evicted from the same house. They had nowhere to go and no money. Henry had just come back from preaching a crusade in Kenya where he saw the Lord save many people and heal many people miraculously….and now he was in the street! The rains came down on them….the local people passed by mocking him…”Where is your God preacher, where is your God!?” That’s another story …. Suffice to say, that as we stood together praying and giving thanks to God for providing the money to buy the building in the very same place, we were overcome by the faithfulness of the Father!
That night I preached what I thought was a very weak gospel message and handed the microphone over to Henry. He gave an altar call in the local language and about 20 souls converted to Jesus Christ out of the probably 100 in attendance!! Praise be to God!!
Over the next week we saw about 120-150 souls make public decisions for Christ and many people were thrown on the ground by demons, screaming and shrieking, lashing out violently as the Holy Spirit delivered them. When this would happen, Henry had his team members trained to help the tormented ones. The brothers and the sisters would hold the victim down as much as possible while others including myself would command the spirits to leave them in Jesus name. It was amazing to see and to work with the Lord in setting the prisoners free. One time I got a bit too close to a demonised lady and she lashed out scratching my face drawing blood. All the time the demon was crying out saying in Lugandan, “I am going to kill him, I am going to kill him!”
As the week went on the Lord taught me to wait upon him for the reason why a demon would not come out straight away. They have been in these poor people for most of their lives and are not willing to give up their host easily. Usually, when I would tell the demon that every contract that the person had made, knowingly or unknowingly with Satan, is now cancelled by the Blood of Jesus Christ! It would come out of the person violently shaking them. Most nights I would end up with dust on my trousers as we helped to set the captives free. If we did not do this ministry then and there for those who get converted by faith, they would be unable to go any further. To see them so filled with joy and peace and thankfulness after these battles was life changing for me.
I told Henry after the first night that I had never cast out demons like that before…He just chuckled. Then began the Diarrhea on the second night. My own battles began. I had such peace within, but my body was not feeling to good. Every night I was weakened in my flesh and empty yet God moved powerfully to save the lost through my weak preaching. On the second night I shared on the love of God by way of some testimonies which the Holy Spirit helped me apply to the crowd. A man down on the street was selling bags of peanuts from a basket he carried on his shoulder. He said later that he was held to the spot as he heard my testimony. He came up from the street to give his life to Christ! We went into Kampala in a 12 seat Toyota the next day to go to the post office. No one has a letter box at their house, all have po boxes in the city. Kampala is a small city by western standards. Dusty, hilly, beggars, heaps of buses, push bikes, motorbikes, police, hardly any whites, rifles at the ready, shops selling western stuff for modern living and a large Coles type supermarket!! We went in to buy a few things. That’s where I did see some white people, in the supermarket. While Henry was at the checkout I had a look at some adds on the notice board.
Work wanted as maid.
Have had experience
with whites .
Henry said there are a lot of whites here and Indians and Chinese, They all live in rich suburbs which are heavily guarded day and night. I felt very priveleged to be staying with Henry in the poor side of town! Henry wanted me to stay with him so we could get to know one another and so he could protect me from his people. He said often, “I know my African people.” What he meant was and which he explained to me was; They are always out to rip you westerners off, they think you are all very rich, living in mansions, having huge bank accounts etc etc.
On this first trip into Kampala we passed a young boy of about 10 years of age preaching the gospel on the sidewalk. He was dressed in dark trousers, black shoes, white shirt and a tie. He had an open bible in his hand and he preached with a loud penetrating voice like all the preachers I heard there. He is well known in Kampala. In fact I had read about him on the internet before I went. I was so glad to see him for myself. As we walked by, my hairs on my arms stood on end. I asked Henry what he was preaching… “If you do not have Jesus you have nothing at all!” was his reply. People were just walking by him seemingly unmoved, but me thinks otherwise!!
The third night, Thursday was powerful in that the Lord taught me new things. As I waited on Him in the afternoon for what He wanted to do that night I asked if there was anyone He wanted to heal in the crowd that night. Straight away he began to give me words of knowledge about different conditions for different people that would be there in the meeting. I wrote them all down one by one in my address book which I took to the meeting. On the way to the crusade, I was asking in my heart if this is all of You God show me!? He said that a man in a red shirt would be there leaning against a post. When we got within view of the grounds, there was the man!! Now I was nervous. God had answered my fleece!Now I must keep my part and read out the words of knowledge He had given me in bold faith. I knew that to read them out weakly and timidly would not activate faith in the hearers. So God graced me to preach with such boldness that night and then to read out the words of knowledge. Every person came forward for prayer. I was thinking I would go down off the platform(about5 feet high) and pray individually for each one…10 of them….but then sensed in my spirit that the Lord just wanted to do the work Himself!! I spoke in a loud voice as the Spirit moved me saying to the people assembled before the stage, “Receive NOW!! in Jesus Name!!” The power of God hit them. Some swayed and stayed upright but some fell heavily down and began screaming piercingly loud as demons struggled to not be cast out!! Hallelujah Jesus lives!! After handing over to Henry, he made the altar call and all those 10 and many others gave their heart to Jesus Christ!!
After the meeting I went out from the platform to a woman who had tried to tell me her problems on the first night, but could not make herself to be heard cos of the music. She spoke of being tormented by a demon that would come upon her at night causing her to chew her tongue so it bled. I prayed in faith, commanding in Jesus Name the demon to leave her and declaring that she is sealed by the blood of the lamb.(she is a believer) I reminded the devil that every curse was put upon Jesus Christ so that this woman is free from every curse of the law. I told him he is trespassing and cannot come back!! It was 4 nights later on the Monday when she came around to Pastor Henry’s to see us and to tell us what happened. She was from a church where the pastor and all the people do not believe in the gifts for today. She was desperate and had been the first person at the crusade on the Monday. She was a widow having lost her husband in 2002 and just that week losing her only son! Now all alone in the world and being in torments from a demon (through her ignorance of her authority in Christ) she was sleeping in her Church building with a bottle of poison. She was planning on killing herself in the Church! How Satan would have loved that! But when I prayed for her the demon left and she has been fine ever since! She told her pastor and he told her, “You must go to their Church now for God has used that man to help you.” So here she was in the living room sharing with tears of joy!! Henry gave her some money to be able to travel the 300km to where her son’s body is so she can bury him etc. We prayed for her and spoke blessing and encouragement to her heart in Jesus Name. Twice God had gotten me to say from the pulpit,
“God has sent me here…and If I have come to Uganda for just one person that is enough.”
Here was that one. The rest of the crusade and the 6 days of preaching in a conference were just the same. People continued to get delivered from the very real powers of darkness by a very real Jesus! God encouraged the believers mightily through the preaching in the conference. My body continued to be attacked by the tummy bug and my voice got more and more croaky from preaching. On the Saturday in between the crusade and the conference we hired two 12 seater buses and took some new converts to Lake Victoria, about 20 minutes drive away, to be baptised.
That was such a thrill, as the rain bucketed down having held off until after the outdoor crusade, now it fell in torrents with thunder and lightning just to make it more exciting…..thoughts of being hit by it did cross my mind as I stood 10 metres out from the shore baptising these dear African saints. All the way back to Namasuba they sang wonderful melodies to Yesu. I suppose that really is a good place to finish this little memoir. It was a life changing trip for me. I will never be the same again. All the Bible schools in the world could not compare with the training provided by doing the work in the field. Jesus became so real, so relevant, so powerful, so merciful, so angry at devils…He is more my hero now than before I went.
Now I know that in His name all must bow the knee. I know now that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation..(sozo)…the power of God unto wholeness now not just heaven!
More things happened on the way home to Australia as well….I missed my plane through no fault of ours. But that meant that the next day in Ethiopia I was able to lead a lady on her way home to Belgium from Rwanda ,to Jesus. She gave her heart to Him!! That seemed like icing on my cake , for while I was away from home , my only son had had his 8th birthday, I had had my 47th and my wife had celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary without me. God is so wonderful, so faithful!! Glory to Jesus Christ for all that was accomplished!
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