50 Years of Ministry

Ms Dora Rubombora

Ms Dora Rubombora

I was born in a Christian family and I am the first born of seven children. My parents were active members in the church and we grew up in that kind of environment. My father was the treasurer for our local church and my mother was at one time a Mothers’ Union worker.  I therefore grew up knowing about God, reading the Bible, praying and attending Sunday services regularly.

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I used to believe that I was a good girl since I was morally upright and well behaved. However, while at Trinity College Nabbingo for my A-Levels, I began to feel an emptiness in my life. I did not know what to attribute it to. When I joined Makerere University in 1969, I did Biology and I really enjoyed it. It was the phase of my education that I enjoyed the most. Yet that feeling of emptiness still lingered. I used to attend Christian Union (CU) meetings on campus and fellowship with “fellow” Christians. One time, I attended a CU fellowship and the preacher challenged those who were not born again to invite Christ into their lives. I did not move forward but his words kept echoing in my head until the next day, when I went to attend another CU fellowship. The preacher that day was a pastor from Kenya and after his sharing, he also gave an opportunity to people to pray and receive Christ. I said to myself, “Maybe this is what I am lacking in my life”. I then took a step of faith and invited Jesus Christ into my life. It was on 10th July 1971. Immediately, I felt like a missing piece just landed in my life. I used to wonder what life was all about. But when I received Jesus, those questions were answered. I began to understand that God had a purpose and reason for my existence.

A friend later connected me to Mrs. Kathy Hurlburt and she played a big role in nurturing me in my faith. She and the husband Winston (Win) were Baptist missionaries in Uganda. She showed me how to use the Four Spiritual Laws booklet in sharing the gospel and I often went with her to witness on campus. One day, Kathy invited me to her house for tea. She had also invited a visiting couple, Sam and Lynn Owen who were staff of Campus Crusade for Christ. The Owens challenged me to join the organization as a staff. I was not so sure about making such a decision and hence I hesitated to give them any response. They later invited me for a training in Nairobi in April 1972. It was the basic NLTC (New Life Training Curriculum) training. It was during that training that God clearly showed me what He wanted me to do. He wanted me to serve Him the way I was (a single) with this organization. I shared with my parents about my decision to join fulltime Christian work and they gave their consent. One of the major highlights of that time was Explo 72 conference. It took place in Dallas Texas and I attended with other delegates from Uganda. The conference aimed at equipping participants (about 80,000 people) with skills of evangelism and discipleship. It launched us into the ministry work we would soon be doing. I was later interviewed to come on staff in August 1972. At that time, we were a very small staff team that included Sam and Lynn Owen, Lazarus Seruyange, Gary and Alice Fredricks, Peggy McCracken and myself. I used to live with Peggy who was also my trainer. At that time, Great Commission Training (GCT) lasted for 2 years. We would have class sessions in the morning and then go to Makerere University for field practice in the afternoon.

Seemingly, ministry was beginning to take root but things took a drastic turn in 1973 because of Idi Amin’s paranoia for Christianity. He abolished some Christian organizations and unfortunately, Campus Crusade for Christ was one of them. As an organization, we went under the protection of the Church of Uganda and also changed the name to LIFE Ministry Uganda. The training was shifted to Nairobi. I moved to Kenya with Peggy, Sam and Lynn and I finished my training in 1974. Those turbulent years were bad and it provoked a lot of anxiety but also a lot of prayer. The Great Commission Training Centre in Kenya later started and Gary Fredricks was the Director. When Peggy went back to the US for home leave, I was asked to help as a trainer. It came as a surprise when I was asked to remain in Kenya after my training but God spoke to me through Mathew 9:37-39 and I accepted to stay. I appreciated the fact that He was the Lord of the harvest, and I am a mere servant of God. From that time I was ready to be used by Him and be sent wherever He wanted me to go. Win and Kathy later moved to Kenya and they influenced the next step I took in my life. Win was born of missionary parents who served the Lord in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC or Zaire). He had a passion for the country and he desired to begin the Ministry there. He challenged me to go and help train staff in Kinshasa. Plans to begin a training Centre to train staff for the Francophone area were underway. However, I did not know French at that time. I already had a desire to learn the language and when the idea of me going to Zaire came, I decided to enrol for French lessons. By then, I was serving in the department for Materials (Materials development). We used to translate materials from English into Kiswahili. We also recorded materials on cassette tapes for non-readers and produced picture booklets for them. As I continued to pray about moving to Zaire, God spoke to me through Habakkuk 3:19. I was convinced that God wanted me to move to Zaire, learn a new culture and new things as I trained others in the process. The leadership in Nairobi asked me to raise support for the move and God provided over and above what I could imagine.

When I moved to Kinshasa in 1980, the Great Commission Training Centre was established for the Francophone region. Many staff of CCC in the region were trained from Kinshasa. My greatest joy came from seeing God raise staff for different countries and I was privileged to be part of their story. Another highlight happened in 1985. During Explo 85, I was asked to be one of the translators to French since the conference was in English. I was fluent in French by then to the extent that people thought a local was the one translating. It was a very beautiful experience of God’s enabling!

In 1986, I moved back to Nairobi for further studies. I joined Nairobi International School of Theology (NIST) and did a Master in Christian Ministry until 1988. I then went to Mali from 1988 to 1998. I was still involved in some training of staff, but mainly focused on materials development for the Francophone region. In 1999, I moved to Zimbabwe and served as the Personal Assistant (P.A) for Dr. Bekele Shanko. He was the Area Director for Southern and Eastern Africa. I also did ministry on campus at the University of Zimbabwe. The Lord spoke to me about my next destination in 2003. I was very excited because it was not a transfer to any another country but home. I returned to Uganda in June 2004 and was very glad to be back home. When I settled in, I began doing ministry with single women. I also trained staff in GCTC for some time.

From October 2009 to 2017, I devoted myself to looking after my parents who were now elderly and frail. This was a gift to my parents and myself. They had handed me over to the Lord and I left them for over 30 years then God gave me an opportunity to return and take care of them. Dad passed on in 2012 and Mum followed in 2017. Thereafter, I gradually began to return to field ministry. In May 2018, we had a basic training for Anglican Church leaders (Church of Uganda in Rwenzori Diocese) at Bishop Balya Bible College in Fort Portal. It slowly launched me back into active field ministry as part of the Global Church Movement (GCM) department of LIFE Ministry, in 2019.

What can I say after 49 years on staff? The Lord has been faithful. He brought me to Himself in 1971 when I committed my life to Jesus and He has never left me alone or forsaken me. He called me as a young single lady to serve Him in 1972 and as I look back, what is unquestionable about God is His faithfulness. In challenging times, He has been with me and seen me through them all. He has provided for all my needs beyond my wildest imagination.

I must say that the harvest is still plentiful and God is still looking for labourers to send into His harvest. Therefore, if the call to ministry comes, remember this: God is faithful. He who has done it for me and countless other staff will surely do it for you. He is the same God who is enough. He is also the same God who desires our submission and total obedience. He knows the plans He has for us that will bring Him glory. Therefore, stand up when God calls you and be counted among the labourers in the King’s harvest field.

Dora Christina Rubombora

Missionary Staff- LIFE Ministry Uganda

Dr Lazarus and Mrs Lois Seruyange

Dr Lazarus and Mrs Lois Seruyange

The genesis of Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC) was in 1951 with Bill and Vonette Bright, a young business couple who were eager to serve the Lord. God led them to forsake their business, wealth and personal ambitions to begin an evangelist and discipleship ministry at the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). 

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Their ministry kept growing, built tenets of a simple sharing of the gospel, teaching basic truths of the Christian life and training believers in how to do the same. In the late 1970s, a certain member of staff, Mr. Swede Anderson was the National Director for the USA and he challenged many American staff to go and help start ministries overseas. Bud and Shirley Hinkson moved to London to start the Ministry in England and Africa, why that Geographical combination, I don't know. Young men like Stuart Dow, Dale Newton and Charlie Powell were some of Bud's staff in England. Bud made some trips to Kenya and Uganda and met with key Christian leaders like the late John Wilson, late Archbishop Eric Sabiiti and others. Key figures in getting contacts in Uganda were Rev. Winston Hurlburt (who led me to the Lord through a Christian film in June 1967) and his wife, Kathy. Rev. Winston Hurlburt was a missionary with the conservative Baptist mission, but before, he had been on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ in the USA. He connected Bud Hinkson with John Wilson (Ugandan) who was a Sales manager with Caltex Oil Company at that time. John Wilson visited Arrowhead Springs, the headquarters of Campus Crusade for Christ at that time and also attended a training conference in Wales in the UK. It was at the training conference in the UK, that he met Sam and Lynn Owen whom he encouraged to help begin ministry in Uganda. Mid July 1970, Charlie Powell came to Uganda and did a short training at Makerere University for the Christian Union members and I was one of the few students who attended that training. I had joined Makerere University a year earlier in July 1969. We were trained in how to share the gospel using the Four Spiritual Laws' booklet and how to use the Holy Spirit booklet. Towards the end of 1971, Sam and Lynn Owen came to Uganda, Sam was a young man who knew people and how to get along with them. Somehow, he quickly adjusted to our culture, ate our food (including enswa, white ants) and tried to learn Luganda. His wife Lynn was of the opposite personality, quiet and reserved but commanding respect and trust. My wife who has a gift of understanding people later became very close to Lynn and she valued her friendship. Sam and Lynn attended the East African Revival Fellowship meetings at Namirembe and got to know many of the leading brethren. It is probably through these meetings that they got to meet Methuselah & Victoria Bugimbi who were later to lead the Ministry in Uganda and East Africa. Sam & Lynn were very lovable people, they respected our culture and worked together as a team though they were of such different personalities.

In 1972, I joined the ministry through a very difficult decision which I cannot recount in detail at this occasion. I was graduating with a B.Sc Degree in Physics and Mathematics. I had my own ambitions and ideas of serving the Lord but the Lord had a different plan for my life. I tried to resist God's call to ministry and God had to literally take me by the “collar". Through that struggle with God, I came to learn two things which want I young people and all of us to learn and be sure about. First, if you resist God and refuse to do what He wants you to do, you are the ultimate loser. Second, if you obey God's call and do what He wants you to do, you are never a loser. You will never regret it. God is good for He did not let me resist him too long. When I met Sam Owen, he challenged me to work with him and I did. Kathy and Win had introduced another student, Dora Rubombora to the Owens in November 1971 and they challenged her to join the Ministry. They met at Kathy and Win’s home. She had given her life to Christ in July 1971. In April 1972, she was taken by Sam Owen to Nairobi Kenya for New Life Training Curriculum (NLTC). It was during that training that she committed to join Campus Crusade for Christ- Uganda. In August 1972, she was interviewed to come on staff and she later began her staff training. Sam Owen had challenged Peggy McCracken to come to Uganda from USA and she complied. She was Dora’s trainer and they used to live together. They would have class sessions in the morning and go for field ministry on Campus in the afternoon. On my side, in March 1972, I graduated from Makerere University. My struggle with the will of God was so great that I missed my own graduation ceremony. I was in a bush praying. After graduation, I was jobless for three months as I waited on God for His next marching orders. It was during this time that I translated the four spiritual laws into Luganda.

 

Il. EXPLO' 72 CONFERENCE. AMERICA, AS WE SAW IT.

 

In June 1972, a number of us went to attend Explo72, a mammoth conference that was held in the U.S. and attracted between 80,000 to 100,000 people. They were mostly young people from the US and other parts of the world. The delegation from Uganda included: Methuselah Bugimbi, Richard & Edith Kabazzi, Dora Rubombora, Sam & Lynn Owen and myself. Also in our delegation was Dr Israel Katooke, a University lecturer from Tanzania. Other African delegates to this historic conference included Yemi & Sue Ladipo from Nigeria (Founders of Great Commission Nigeria). The ministry had begun in Nigeria in 1969. During this conference, we were trained how to share our faith in simple terms and the basic truths of Christian life. The U.S was impressive in a number of ways. First, there was so much heat like we had never experienced in our lives before. Temperatures were about 110 F. such that even shades were hot for us, Africans. Secondly, people were so rich that even beggars on streets had big radios. And thirdly, everything was big: Churches, cats, people etc. Lastly and most importantly, there was so much enthusiasm for the Lord. At the end of Explo 72, Dora and I travelled a bit in the U.S. among Sam & Lynn's friends. Later in August, we went to Linz, Austria for the European staff training conference. The same conference was attended by a beautiful Ugandan lady nurse, who was later to become my wife.

On returning to Uganda, I joined Campus Crusade for Christ Uganda. I teamed with Sam Owen and Gary Fredricks and the other members on ground to do ministry. Gary and Alice Fredricks came to Uganda in September 1972 and stayed for only three months. They were really planning to go and work in Ethiopia and came to Uganda only for cross-cultural orientation for there was no Agape International Training (AIT) at that time. However, at their stop over at Addis Ababa airport, they met many missionaries and learned that they could not really work there due to the growing hostility of the Communist Revolution against Christianity. Sam Owen, Gary Fredricks, Dora Rubombora, Peggy McCracken and I worked in three areas. First, Makerere University campus, Gary and I shared the gospel with the university students. Dora and Peggy were also on campus. Gary told me that one of the things he learned at that time was how to knock on doors the African way-with a gentle knock as opposed to the loud America knock. Second, training. Sam and I trained mainly Anglican pastors and other church leaders in Kampala. Thirdly, public relations (PR). Sam Owen continued with his PR work with the Church of Uganda leadership. He believed that for the ministry to be strong, it needed to have strong church backing. He established a strong relationship with Archbishop Eric Sabiiti and other bishops. This was later to pay off in 1973 when Idi Amin became hostile to evangelical Christian churches and organizations and banned many, including LIFE Ministry (Campus Crusade for Christ at that time).

 

III. MINISTRY BLOOMS AS TROUBLE BREWS IN 1973

In 1973, the Ministry took roots and more training conferences were going on. It was strange to many to use a small booklet to explain the gospel instead of confusing people with many words. People were responding to the simple presentation of the gospel and many were getting saved. Some of the members of the East African Revival, the Balokole who knew very little about others preaching the message of salvation were amazed. Some responded well to the new strategies of gospel presentation, but they were also those who despised LIFE Ministry and also discouraged us from working with it!

The translations of materials went on. The Luganda Four spiritual laws translation was perfected with the help of linguist, Dr. Thomas Brewster and his wife Sue. For the first time in my life, I saw a disabled person with a lot of influence in society, (he was a paraplegic person confined to wheelchair, but he could use his hands). Translations Into other East African languages also went on, following Dr. Brewster's translation skills.

However, persecution against Christianity started brewing with Idi Amin's paranoia about the West, his fascination about immense political power he had, and the Arab manipulation and pressure on him to make Uganda a Muslim state. There was hatred of Jews to the extent that he did not even want the mention of the name Israel. One time, a person from the Church of Uganda was reading a Scripture on a radio program in which the name Israel was mentioned. President Amin called Archbishop Eric Sabiiti to his office and reprimanded him about it. However, Archbishop Sabiiti replied to him boldly, "That's what the Bible says: as Christians, we cannot speak or act contrary to Scripture even if it means shedding blood. If you want to see blood, you will certainly see it." Did President Amin learn his lesson? NO! That was just the beginning of toughening of our skins against Muslim pressure, to learn the value of our salvation and preaching the gospel even if it meant death.

About June 1973, President Amin banned a number of evangelical Christian organizations, including Campus Crusade for Christ, Navigators, Child Evangelism and others. He said that they were subversive organizations. Now, the name Campus Crusade for Christ had a stigma about it. Moslems from historical collections marked Crusades as very bad. They associated them with Christians fighting against Muslims. Therefore, when the organization was banned, we needed to stop using the name and get a safer name. Back in America, they had a program (training) called LIFE (Lay Institution For Evangelism). It seemed easy and safe to talk about it in Uganda. Sam Owen therefore decided to change the name to LIFE Ministry and it was later to be used by most ministries in Southern and Eastern Africa. LIFE was to stand for Lay Involvement For Evangelism but also the vitality to live. That is how LIFE Ministry Uganda was formed. I remember going through a bad experience of burning all materials that bared the word “CRUSADE”. Those were indeed turbulent days! Many white missionaries left Uganda, including our friends Sam and Lynn, and Peggy. Dora also left with them. They went to Kenya and they worked with Bert Banzalf and the Fredricks who had left Uganda earlier. I was left behind because I was preparing to get married. But also, someone needed to remain at the station.

Now, what would become of the ministry after all these pronouncements? Would it continue or die? Archbishop Eric Sabiiti was not happy to lose Christian organizations and he wisely decided to offer umbrella protection over all the banned Christian Organizations under the Church of Uganda. He argued that the Church still needed them but it did not have to control them. They would be placed under the department of missions. Some organizations refused this suggestions fearing possible control and also probably were uncomfortable about theological differences between them and the Church of Uganda. LIFE Ministry agreed to this arrangement. We were put under Kampala Diocese and we had an office at All Saints Cathedral Nakasero. I continued on staff, just hanging on my sheer call to ministry, I was young, hardly trained, with nobody to work with and with very little ministry experience. I just hang in there! I was tempted to quit but God's call to ministry made me stay on with the ministry. More so, I also feared quitting this ministry at that time because I thought it would be a great discouragement to the Bugimbi's who were about to join the staff team. Rev. Bugimbi was an intelligent and very gifted man and Victoria would be a great asset to the ministry. My leaving would surely discourage them. I feared having the ministry crumble on me because of my cowardice. I also feared quitting and then dying by some "silly" death, say by a car accident. It was better to die in the ministry than in such silly way. I hang on by faith because quitting would be disastrous.

 

IV. STRANGE EXPRESSIONS OF FAITH

I did all kinds of strange things to express my faith with respect to the Ministry. For example, I remember running around Makerere seven times like Joshua and the Israelites ran around the wall of Jericho. I ran around following the major roads surrounding Makerere. I ran along the road to Nakulabye, then to the road to Bwaise. Then to the one to Wandegeya. Quite some distance! I think I did this every day for six days but I am not sure if I ran around seven times on the seventh day. I was trusting the Lord to bring down the walls of unbelief at Uganda's foremost institution of learning. So I believed and so I acted! After getting married in 1973, Lois and I went to Kenya in April 1974 for Great Commission Training and we completed it in August 1974. We returned to Uganda with the Bugimbis and we continued with the Ministry. He was the first local National Director. We moved to different parts of the country, preaching the Word of God and conducting trainings. We also continued to do ministry on campus. Sam Kimbowa later joined the Ministry. I and my wife later left Uganda and went to Kenya in 1979. After some time, Sam Kimbowa become the National Director. I must mention that when the threat against Christian organizations subsidized, LIFE Ministry no longer needed the protection of the Church of Uganda and we resumed to operate in the country freely. This happened after ousting Idi Amin from power in 1979. The Organization continued to grow and expand, more staff were recruited, more strategies got introduced and here we are now, celebrating 50 years of our existence.

Eng Emmanuel Tumweboneire

Eng Emmanuel Tumweboneire

My name is Emmanuel Tumweboneire and my involvement with LIFE Ministry Uganda (LMU) started in 1999 when I had just joined the university as a fresher man and new convert. One day, I was delighted to meet a gentleman who was interested in my wellbeing. He mentioned that he was working with LIFE Ministry Uganda. I did not know him or LMU but he was willing to pray with me and help me walk the journey of salvation irrespective of my denomination.

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 This was a great relief for me since I did not know much about the Bible and how to grow in my relationship with God. It felt like he was taking me as a baby and nursing me until maturity. This made LMU unique; an organization that is not only interested in the salvation of an individual but also walking the journey of faith with the new believer.

 I met challenges after salvation and I would have fallen had it not been for their help. Jesus said that “take up your cross, and follow me” (Mat 16:24) and finding someone to lighten my journey was relieving and encouraging.

My desire to start giving towards the Ministry developed years back. It became clear to me that the devil is using his own people to finance his work around the world. For example, when Uganda refused to pass the Homosexuality Bill, foreign countries cut their aid to our country. This is a clear indication that whoever is not willing to dance to the music of the devil might not be financed. Therefore, Christian organizations like LMU that may depend on resources that are generated from foreign countries can suffer such consequences especially if their own people do nothing. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” by Edmund Burke. I therefore decided to start supporting LIFE Ministry Uganda and individual staff in order to partner with people who are at the forefront fighting against the evil one. 

Through the years, I have also apprehended that the work done by LMU is not for the organization itself but God. More so, the resources that I “have” are not mine but God’s; after all I came from my mother’s womb with nothing and nothing will I take from this world. Therefore, putting these resources at work for God would be fulfilling His Will on earth. Giving for the work of God is also for my own good and blessing (Luke 6:38). In other words, we attract blessings to ourselves when we give and everyone would want that. 

Furthermore, it is an honor for the King of kings to find me as a vessel of honor to be used in His Kingdom because God can choose to use any other means to advance His gospel. Therefore, to use our resources to serve God is an honor and privilege that none of us should miss. It serves to strengthen and give us more benefits on earth as we wait for our crowns in heaven (2 Tim 4:8).

I encourage all readers, especially those in business and employment that might not give them enough time to do ministry, to serve God in this way. The need for Christ is still immense and we must do something for the transformation of our country. I exhort you to consider giving your LIFE (Leadership, Influence, Finance and Expertise) for the fulfilment of the Great Commission in Uganda and the whole world. 

Eng. Emmanuel Tumweboneire

Ministry Partner

        Our ministries

Student-Led Movement

Student-Led Movement

SLM is a strategy that reaches students on university campuses and high-schools. We strongly believe in and emphasize the priority of proclamation of the gospel. Over the years, we have used many tools and resources for evangelism, the most famous of which is "The Four Spiritual Laws" booklet. We train students to share the gospel with their colleagues as a life style. Our goal is to reach every student in Uganda with a clear presentation of the gospel, and raise leaders on every campus who will be trained to run with the vision of win, build, and send.  

Digital Strategy

Digital Strategy

Digital Strategies (DS) seeks to know, engage and empower likeminded believers in Uganda through digital tools for evangelism and discipleship. With programs such as Indigitous, Hackathon and Social Media outreach, DS brings together digital practitioners and other interested stakeholders to come up with software applications to help in fulfilling the Great Commission. It provides an innovative and unique opportunity to get involved in the intersection of technology, faith and the common good.

The Jesus Film

The Jesus Film

Jesus Film project is a Jesus- centric media resource ministry dedicated to reaching everyone in the world with the message of Christ Jesus. We believe in the story of the gospel and the power of sharing this story through the media. It started in1979, with the creation of the Jesus Film as a way to tell people about Christ through the media of our day. This film has been translated into more than 32 languages in Uganda. More culturally relevant resources have been produced including Walking with Jesus, Rivka, and Magdalena. The desire is to reach the least, the last and the lost in their heart language in this nation.

Leader Impact

Leader Impact

Leader Impact challenges leaders to grow in their personal, professional and spiritual lives through inspiring events, genuine discipleship - minded peer groups and industry leading training opportunities. 

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By providing opportunities, facilitating relationships that matter and introducing the opportunity for life change. Leader Impact exists to help influential professionals and executives to fulfill their God-given purpose in the marketplace. As the movement of impacted leaders grows, the end result is a transformed society in Uganda.

Family Life

Family Life

Home is meant to be a sanctuary of safety, encouragement, and support. Families are the fabric of society therefore the strength of any nation lies in families. Family life ministry is therefore committed to helping people find biblical help for marriages and family relationships to restore hope for couples and transform their lives.

Global Church Movement

Global Church Movement

Global Church Movement aims at equipping churches. GCM’s core contribution is to inspire vision within the body of Christ, train & develop church multiplying leaders, promote strategic partnerships, initiate and support church multiplication movements through Jesus film partnerships.

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