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P.O. Box 10262, Kampala Plot 22B Tagore Crescent, Kamwokya, Kampala, Uganda

SEVENTY-seven years later: Hundreds are healed and delivered as thousands of Worshippers from the two neighbouring countries converged on the good-looking St. Matthew’s Cathedral Kyamate (Ntungamo District) (August 3-5, 2012) in a powerpacked revival prayer that is bound to strengthen the East African Community (EAC) for years to come as it did in 1935. (Below: Rwanda, EAC and Uganda flags)

Below from left: Bishop Nathan Ahimbisibwe (Kyamate Diocese), Bishop Emmanuel Ntazanda (Kibungo Diocese-Rwanda), Rev. Dr. Medad Birungi (WSM-Uganda), Bishop Nathan Kamusiime Gasatura (Butare Diocese-Rwanda) were the main leaders in the ground-breaking conference whose testimonies inspired thousands into salvation.

Thank you God for this phenomenal revival convention! This report captures the details of the Greater Ankole-Kigezi Revival Mission. It is the 5th Annual Conference. The theme was moulded from Isaiah 61:2 “Proclaim the Favour of the Lord”. (Below: St. Matthew’s Cathedral, Kyamate)

The East African Revival broke out in 1935 at Gahini in Rwanda. It spread to Kigezi in the south-west, the rest of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Africa, Europe and America. It has impacted on the Church and life generally in East Africa and the world over extraordinarily. Key names in the renewal movement are Semyon Nsibambi, Dr. Joe Church, Blasio Kigozi, William Nagenda, Yosiya Kinuka and Bishop Festo Kivengere among others. Its staying power is attributed to several factors that have been part of its characteristics. It is my prayer that whoever reads this report gets their own revival fire rekindled and be provoked to pray for revival in other people’s lives. I must testify here that I have never seen anything like this in my entire life. Here are a few images to illustrate the power of God over evil forces. It was absolutely awesome. (Below: Demons are cast out by the might of prayer)


Conviction: Revival meant and means rebirth. When people are born again they receive the Holy Spirit, who then dwells in them. The experience of welcoming the Holy Spirit into our lives is called baptism in the Holy Spirit. He is the Comforter, He teaches. He convicts people of sin, righteousness and judgement. Conviction about sin, right and wrong, true and false, good and bad was and should be very strong among the believers. This leads to repentance. (Below: Demons are cast out by the might of prayer)

Repentance: Revival, as we have noted, came with repentance. But what exactly is repentance? Repentance is an about-turn in a person’s way of life. It consists of turning away from sin to righteousness. It is a feeling of sorry for the things you have done which you know have displeased God, Who is holy and expects us to be holy. Repentance went and goes beyond the barriers of age, colour, gender, education and culture. It brings salvation, healing, reconciliation, holiness, self control and victory over sin. By extension, that meant and means that absence of repentance in one’s life produced spiritual dryness. Forgiveness: Revival filled and fills people’s hearts with a spirit of forgiveness. Brethren received forgiveness from God and from one another, and it became a key foundation of the Christian life. After knowing the joy of forgiveness, people are also empowered to forgive others. Forgiveness is vital because God commands Christians to forgive (Mark 6:14, 18:21).

(Above: They cried out for salvation. Below: before and after)

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Restitution: Putting things right with people and returning the things one had stolen or obtained through unchristian ways was a common and should be a feature of the Revival. It was based on Matthew 18:15-21. Testimony: Revival emphasised and should stress the bold sharing of one’s personal testimony-individuals telling others how they had been before Jesus saved them, how they met the Lord and when, how Jesus changed them and the joy of salvation they are enjoying (Revelation 12:11). Confession of sin: It is in Revival. It leads to salvation (Romans 10:10, Acts 19:18-20) It is a sign of victory over the confessed sin as well as a preventive measure. (Below: Prayer at work, the pulpit was full of children)

Brokeness: Brokeness was highly valued in the Revival. Accepting error and advice was emphasised. Brokeness, humility and meekness go together. The killing of self and enthroning Jesus instead of self in one’s heart is an important teaching. God hates stiff-necked people (Proverbs 29:11).God hates arrogance (1 Peter 5:6) and He will humble the arrogant. Jesus made himself:

a) The simple lamb with no schemes or plans to help itself. It exists in helpless
and simplicity. Jesus made Himself into nothing but just depended on God (Philippians 2:9-11) b) The submissive, silent lamb that was willing to be shorn of its wool. Jesus was willing to ne shorn of His divine rights, His reputation, His home and liberty. He neither resisted arrest nor fought for His rights. He also never said a word to His killers. c) The spotless lamb because He was without blemish and sin. d) The substitute lamb given as a sacrifice for our sins.

Honesty: Speaking the truth, trustworthiness, honesty and integrity should be emphasised by revivalists. Shun corruption. (Below: The band in attendance)

(Below: Even children are under demonic attacks?)

Fellowship: Revival emphasises fellowship as one of the most important elements of Christian life. Born-again Christians are encouraged to attend fellowship meetings to learn about discipleship. As a result of the 1935 Revival, fellowship groups were set up in many churches throughout East Africa. All of these have proved to be incalculable blessing to many. Perseverance: Revival also emphases perseverance as part of the Christian journey. It is not a smooth path. Suffering and persecution are part of the package of salvation. All brethen have to endure and to press on in difficult times, with their eyes fixed on Jesus Christ. All fellowships should be love-centred. They should emphasise that creation itself and the Old Testament began in love and so did the New Testament. “For God so loved the world …” (John 3:16). The church was born out of love and centred on love (Acts 4:32). Love was a key to church growth. 1 Corinthinas 13 and John’s letters are all about love. (Below: The faithful from near and far take in the Word)

(Below: The faithful from near and far take in the Word)

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Prayerfulness: Prayer is at the heart of Revival spirituality. It is emphasised at personal and corporate levels. It is impossible to know God and the things of God without prayer. The prayer ministry is a key priority of the Revival. Walking in the light: ‘Walking in the light’ is a key characteristic of the Revival. Christians are encouraged to be open with one another and share their plans, programmes, failures and victories. Consultation is an important feature of the revival. Walking in the light helps the brethren to make good and wise decisions. Holiness and dedication: The Revival movement has produced men and women of outstanding dedication and holiness. The fear of the Lord and awareness of His omnipresence, the dread of sin and the fear of God’s judgement and brining His name to ridicule-these are very much emphasised in the Revival. The link between holiness in life and dedication and power in Christian ministry has been manifest in many lives, for example that of Erica Sabiti, the first native Archbishop of the Province of Uganda who was a burning and shining light.

(Below: The Shepherds faithfully tending their flock)

Clockwise: Born in 1922 & received salvation in 1942, Canon Enoch Mubazanwa Lugimbirwa lives in Mbarara. Eva Bashabire (Kashenyi Parish), a single parent living with the HIV for the last 20 years without using ARVs, a section of worshippers (including Mzee Rwandare from Kamwezi-in glasses) some of whom witnessed the 1935 Revival. Registering the participants at the Revival Convention is Francis Bamunoba.

(Below: Glorifying God through dance)

Expectancy: The East African Revival can also be distinguished by its emphasis on “expectancy”. This expectancy leads people into trusting God to protect them from the troubles and dangers of everyday life and to provide for their needs. • Generous giving: Generous giving is a defining feature of the Revival. Many synod reports of the old Kigezi-Ankole Diocese point out that there had been “an almost astronomical rise in giving since the revival movment began in hat church in the 1930s.” • Every-member-ministry: Involvement of the laity in ministry is at the heart of the Revival. The vision of Paul in Ephesians 4:15-16 is the vision the brethren. (Below: the young and the elderly are all mesmerised)

(Below: The ladies and the gentlemen of the collar)

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Contentment: Godliness with contement (1Timothy 6:6) is emphasised. Materialism is discourgaed and greed for gain and wealth is seen as sin. Ecclesiology: Revival also had an impact on the eccesiology of the Church of Uganda. The old parish model changed drastically. The church-building-centred spirituality is changing and people are Christians both in and out of church. Joyfulness: Revival stresses the need to discover and cherish Christian joy and express it in speech and song. Missionary zeal: Revival stresses strong emphasis on evangelism. Revivalists have been very instrumental in evangelism and church planting since 1935. The boldness of Acts 4:13, 31 is much in evidence in Revival circles.

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New focus on Christ: Revivalists often believe themselves to make a total commitment of their lives to Jesus Christ. This focus on Christ is expressed in the common conviction that Jesus is the Baptiser in the Holy Spirit (John 1:27). Revival brings victory over sin. Defeatism is discouraged in Christian life. Revival brethren have a heightened awareness of the presence of evil, the Devil (Satan), and the powers of darkness. Engage in spiritual warfare. Put on the amour in the way that Paul urges in his letter to the Ephesians.

Generous giving: In the offertory was a loaf of bread. Bishop Ahimbisibwe auctioned it. A generous worshipper paid Ushs20, 000/= for it.

Centrality of Scripture: The Revival movement has from the 1950s affirmed the centrality of Scripture in the life of Christians. This was a positive development in the movement because theology and Scripture were not emphasised in the earlier years. Revival-Renewal spirituality: The renewal that has in more recent years occurred in evangelical spirituality has, at least in East Africa, greatly benefited from the East African Revival because the Revival has been a dominantly evangelical movement. Women ministry: Revival also broke the pattern of marginalising women in the Anglican Church. Before 1935 women’s ministry to the Church was restricted to participation in women’s meeting, teaching Sunday school, provision of refreshments, cleaning of the church and arranging flowers, the role of preaching or leading a congregation was reserved for men. Jesus did not have problems with women. Revival and social concern: Revival has emphasised social action against AIDS and other problems. Bishop Festo Kivengere stressed: “The Spirit-filled heart is sensitised into compassion when it sees or hears of human need. Spirit-filled people are much thinner-skinned than they were before. They weep easily.” (Below: A ‘Mexican’ wave for God)

Integrity: Revival teaches the virtue of personal integrity in thought, word and deed. This means there is no double-mindedness or duplicity in one’s character. It is being true to one’s convictions, regardless of the circumstances (Titus 2:7-8, Job 1:12). It means doing what is right regardless of personal cost (Job 1:1-10, Daniel 6:1-30). Even when no one is watching (Job 1:5-12). Psalms 101:2 says: “I

will walk within my house with a perfect heart.” It is reliability (James 5:12…let your ‘Yes’, be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’, be ‘No’, lest you fall into judgement.” It is also accountability. The East African Revival brought a fundamental change in the culture of giving names to human beings. The pessimistic nales were abandoned and replaced by names inspired by the Christian Gospel. These were characterised by thankfulness, praise, blessing, prayer, giving, love, seeing (sight), trust (faith), following (discipleship), rest and increase. The study of personal names (anthroponyms) has todate not found adequate attention among linguists, anthropologists or scholars of religion. The East African Revival enhanced trans-ethnic integration by enabling people of different ethnic tribes to unite as brothers and sisters in Christ. The Balokole repented tribal prejudices that used to divide them and they greatly treasured their new relationships. Consciousness of the imminence of Christ’s Return: Revival rekindled and rekindles the believers’ faith in the Second Coming of Jesus and produced/produces a renewed longing for its consummation. Neither Christ’s actual return (the Parousia) which shall come like a thief in the night, nor death which can come suddenly, should find us unready. (Below: And more prayer)

Worshippers in St Matthew’s Cathedral were touched by the WSM Executive Director’s life story. Here is a review of the book in which his testimony is enshrined: Title: “Tombstones and Banana Trees: A true Story of Revolutionary Forgiveness” Authors: Medad Birungi with Craig Borlase Pages: 207 Publishers: David C. Cook in Colorado (USA) Published: 2011 Price: US$14.99 (USHS40, 000) Reviewer: Alfred Wasike

More than 2000 years since God sent his only son, Jesus Christ to save us from peccadillo and death; we still live in a very turbulent world. Abound are the stories of bloody clashes between individuals, communities, nations over wealth and other material resources. Rare are the stories of reconciliation and forgiveness. What’s FORGIVENESS? The words that spring to my mind are pardon, clemency, pity, mercy, absolution, amnesty, exoneration and exculpation, among others. Some of the direct antonyms are BLAME, ACCUSE, POINT FINGERS AT, CONDEMN. It is a very touching book on forgiveness. FLASHBACK: The intense and moving story is set in a village called Rwanjogori (meaning maggots) in South-western Uganda in the early 1960s. Born in a large polygamous family headed by a cruel and drunken father, Birungi recalls, “My story changed beyond all recognition. Everything that was made ugly by pain and anger was turned to beauty by one simple yet unbelievably revolutionary thing: forgiveness.” (Below: The faithful captivated by the testimony)

In the book, he says that he does not think he would ever experience such sorrow and despair as the day his father beat him down from the pick up trucks and abandoned “us – my mother, my

sisters, my brothers, and me – by the side of the road at Kashumuruzi. We had no food, no possessions, and no hope of a future. All we had was the smell of diesel from the aging pickup trucks loaded with possessions, retreating down the road – possessions that, just minutes previously, had been our own.” At another tragic point of his hard-growing-up years, one of his sisters was killed: “I was not alone as I looked down on the rocks at the bottom of the waterfall. A woman I knew had approached me. Aidah Mary Tasiime Entungwaruhanga was an old friend of my mother. She had been there when I was born in the banana plantation. In fact, she was the one who named me Birungi. She used to carry me on her back whenever she visited my mother when I was a small boy. She was an amazing Christian and loved me very dearly. She taught me Christian songs for children and many Bible stories. She had seen me approaching the falls and called out to me above the noise of the water hurling itself down onto the rocks below. She had obviously heard about Peninah. “Your mother is in grief, your father is gone, and your sister is dead. What are you doing?” “I did not answer; we both knew why I was there. She spoke again. “Your mother lost every relative in Rwanda. She has the horror of trying to live without family around to support her, and she was with her husband who mistreated her and abandoned her. But she stuck to you children. How will she feel when she finds out what you have done? You are her only hope, her eyes. What will she feel when she learns of your body on the rocks below?” He is consumed by revenge: “But I also knew that I would not kill my self. I did not want to hurt my mother any more. I did not want to go to hell like Judas. I wanted others to take my place in death. I would return as a murderer, a killer, an angry man, with hatred in my heart. At that point I think I must have become a killer in my heart, like so many men who had stood there and smiled at death.” Medad relents: “It was agony to do so, but I abandoned my plan of suicide. In its place I made a vow to live until I took revenge and killed those who had plotted Peninah’s death.”He walked away from the “suicide” point with a “civil war” raging in him. At the time of writing this book he reflects: “I understand today that bitterness is food for demons, and I can see from that point on I felt a different person, incapable of controlling myself.” He acknowledges that bitterness is one of the most crushing mental problems in a person’s life. It is a deadly poison that needs to be brought to light and addressed urgently. His self esteem was completely crushed. He felt hated and rejected. “It caused me to drink heavily, but whenever I was sober I could see that the problems were just the same.” The devastating pain in their family continued. Some of his sisters were raped. He was “enraged yet powerless”. “They used my sisters as toilet paper but I could do nothing to stop it” He describes the “Stone Age” aspects of his community: “The Bakiga (my tribe) was a male dominated society, fiercely patriarchal. The cultural laws favour and defend men while supporting the oppression of women. Women are treated as second class, and because dowry is paid before marriage, many are treated like property… and beasts of burden…domestic violence against women is so deep – even in Christian homes – there is no political will to stop it. We would need another book to talk about that as well.” He recalls that it was such a hard year in his life and it set in motion the habits of a destructive lifestyle: being angry, shouting at people not greeting them, killing people in his heart, seeing death all around, spending energy he had in him on vowing to kill. Life continued to be hard. His sisters even “prostituted themselves…You cannot fight the sort of shame or humiliation that comes from prostitution…I will never forget the sacrifices they made for my education”. On a happier note he recalls that within a year his they had raised enough money to send him to school. He recalls, rather fondly that when he first walked to school very many kilometers away: Makobore High School in Rukungiri, his mum went with him. He had no mattress, no bed sheets, no shoes, no trousers, just a spare set of clothes and provisions but he was happy. He made a

grass mattress using a shawl his mother gave him. He recalls his mum’s warning: “Do not do anything to bring further shame on our family.” He said yes to his mother’s warning but did not honour it. At school he developed a double life that he kept hidden from his teachers and family. He joined alcohol drinking and chaos-causing gangs due to peer pressure. (Below: The faithful captivated by the testimony)

Scripture Union in Mbarara High School
Addressing hundreds of members of the Scripture Union at Mbarara High School Bishop Ahimbisibwe and Rev Birungi urged young people to review their lives for the best. There was an impromptu Scripture reciting competition that earned the sharp students books. The students were urged to “Change the channel” and “Do not dwell on the past”. Scores gave their lives to Christ. More than 200 students from 15 schools in western Uganda participated in the prayerful event.

Meeting Young Scripture Union in Mbarara High School
(Below): Jesus said, “I will never leave you”. This is one of the life-long divine assurances that the children learnt from Rev. Dr. Birungi. To commit this promise to their young memories, they practised while counting their fingers. This fascinated them. There were 72 of them aged between 3 to 15 years from several schools.

To their amusement. (Below): Using a child-like car driven with the sound from his mouth, Bishop Ahimbisibwe taught the children about trusting Jesus. “Please trust Jesus. Don’t sit with your burden on your heads like this lady next to me.” The lady (Loy) later put her heavy bag on one of the “car seats” to the applause and relief from all.

The Young Scripture Union has children with special challenges including albinism and blindness. These children need special care. Albino’s lack melanin. Albinos are persecuted because witchcraft demands that they are killed and sacrificed for ‘believers’ in search of wealth. They urgently need protection.


An International Convenant at the end of an International Revival Convention: That handshake and the two hugs ‘sealed the pact’ between Rwanda and Uganda to rekindle the Revival throughout East Africa and beyond. (From left: Bishop Nathan Kamusiime Gasatura with Alfred Wasike – WSM Communications Consultant, Rev. Dr.Birungi – WSM Executive Director and with Reuben Kuribakanya – WSM Missions Coordinator:

Below: The bull by its horns: Two old boys walk down their memory lane at Mbarara High School nicknamed ‘Chappa’ after talking to members of the Scripture Union.

Left: “God be with you till we meet again…” Right: Bishop to me. A Bible for Revival….

Lovely hosts in Rwentobo…

Time to go: from dusty road repairs to a smooth tarmac highway:

Participants were very excited that this convention has re-kindled the fire triggered in 1935. A cross section of the participants felt that the features and standards which have kept the revival alive since 1935 are getting eroded, the emphasis being put narrowly on the outward marks of charismatic renewal. Proverbs 22:28 says that we should not uproot the landmarks that were planted by our forefathers. They felt that the church is in danger of uprooting these Revival landmarks. They warned that if this continues we shall lose our rights as the first borns of this great Revival, much like Esau who never received his birthright even when he sought for it in tears. We must pray for an unending revival – the Lord will surely grant it. They declared Kyamate the focal point in the furtherance of the revival in East Africa. Bishop Gasatura repeatedly said that sharing the word of God in a fresh way will go a long way in helping foster the unity of the East African Community. Gasatura, who was born in Ntungamo, spent his childhood in Uganda, worked here where he received salvation in the 1970s said: “In this region, historically we have been interconnected for ages. But we have had political problems that brought boundaries which split us. Even within the boundaries we have had divisions, civil wars, bondage, exiles etc.” The prelate said that these cross-border missions are useful because they rekindle and enrich our historical heritage. Preaching against tribalism and other forms of sectarianism triggered by selfish politicians, he recalled that in the early 1980s the then President Obote’s regime decided to expel Ugandans of so-called Rwandese origin including him plus family. “Many people were hurt. They were forced to abandon the property they had acquired for generations. Let us forgive one another. We are all God’s children.” A commissioner for Rwandan Diaspora in charge of Supervision Emmanuel Ndaruhutse who is studying in Uganda said, “God is using the Gospel to traverse political boundaries which are mere lines. The East African Revival can strength before the East Africa Community.” It was a worthy conference. God Bless U all. ALFRED WASIKE WSM COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT