Ministering in the face of Islamic persecution

On May 14, 2023, I headed towards Bosuafise on 3-hours journey to join Christ Fellowship Church, a tiny little rural church operating in a woefully underserved community, to celebrate Mother’s Day. My journey was at the invitation of the women in the church. They had invited my wife but she was down with a severe cold and the women, being smart, asked me to bring a message from her! Access to the village church was arduous and time-consuming. Roads leading to the place had been totally destroyed by heavy duty vehicles and washed out by torrential rains, leaving great “manholes” which had turned into various pockets of rivers of all sizes! The roads, however, were a far smaller challenge than what was to happen later!

Carefully avoiding the “manholes” and deep craters and cliffs on the sides of the road, I proceeded cautiously until I finally reached the village. Service was in progress two women came to usher me into the meeting place, which was filled to capacity! Some 70 people were in attendance, including children! Praise and worship was awesome and many lined up to give various testimonies, a clear indication that the Holy Spirit was operating in the midst of this poor church! I delivered the written messages from my wife, including four others that I had organized from leading Women of Faith!

One such message from Chris Wilson in Maryland read: “A virtuous woman is not concerned with what seems right according to the world.  Her main desire is to honor God, because she knows her reward comes only from Him.  The words capable wife is not the best translation.  The Hebrew words “eshet cayil,” are better understood to be “heroic woman” or “woman of valor”.  All went very well and our ministry donated some food items and drinks to everyone in the church. We also donated 30 dresses for the young girls in the church, which was financed by Lynette, a woman of God in Florida. Service ended well, the benediction was said, we had a short leaders meeting and closed for the day with GREAT JOY and thanks giving to God!

Soon after service I set off with the local pastor and two other church members to inspect a plot of land acquired by the Ministry, close to the church, to cultivate cash crops with the involvement of church members. The idea is for the Ministry to buy crops planted and harvested by the church, on ministry land, for free distribution to needy families! This strategy will help provide livelihoods to church members and make available foodstuffs for free distribution to others! It’s a win-win-win plan! Within minutes when we got to the land, I heard the approaching heavy sounds of a convoy of motor cycles! These were Islamic land grabbers and illegal soil merchants who have forcefully grabbed a large plot of land that shares boundaries with the village where the church is located.

As a matter of fact, the stolen land belongs to the family of the local pastor of the church. This family and the church leadership have engaged the police, the military and lawyers to evict the invaders to no avail. There were about a dozen motor bikes, some with three or more pillion riders that came from their “homes” and rode past us where I had parked the Ministry truck! They revved the engines of their motor bikes loudly, some blowing their horns with impunity, making deafening sounds and weaving their bikes past us in a show of power and intimidation! We avoided them and went on with our inspection! Some minutes later, they drove back in the same fashion to announce their presence again! Still, we avoided them! Some of them stopped a short distance away to watch us!

John 10:10 says: “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” What we experienced has been perfectly rendered by this scripture! Jesus came that the church “might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly,” and in come the agents of the devil in a dramatic fashion with intent “to steal, kill and destroy” our GREAT JOY!!! We didn’t allow them! Our joy in the Lord still burns with a perpetual flame in the face of persecution!Would I return again to the church? You bet I would! I’m even planning to set camp there for temporary stays, on and off!

What is it that can separate us from pursuing and exhibiting the love of God? We are “persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

Bill Wilson