Revival Breaks In by Dr. Stephen Noll

David Virtue DVirtue236 at AOL.COM
Wed May 9 01:01:30 EDT 2001


Revival Breaks In

By Dr. Stephen F. Noll

(Dr. Noll reports from Uganda where he is Vice-Chancellor of the
University of Uganda in Kampala.)

Today (Sunday) concludes a week-long mission at the University titled
"Come, let us rebuild..." (Nehemiah 2:17). I was not so sure that this
was a fetching theme. After all, we have just started building here at
UCU in one sense. But by the end of the week, I can see that God knew
better what we needed.

There have been two services every day, the evening one outdoors on the
lawn (Agape Square). Each one has concluded with an invitation to
commit one's life to Christ. The first night (last Sunday), two people
responded, and we rejoiced. Every day thereafter one or two came
forward.

Then on Friday, the dam broke and grace overflowed. It began in the
most remarkable way: the appointed preacher cancelled out at the last
moment. Our chaplain John Senyonyi was quite distressed. But he went
down Mukono hill and asked an old retired canon, named the Rev. Joash
Senoba, to come and preach. The speaker looked unprepossessing
outwardly, but when this old man of God began to preach in Luganda,
with John translating, one saw the kind of power that made Uganda a
Christian nation.

He took a few simple words Tugende, Tuzimbe - "Come let us build..."
and moved from their to describe his own rebuilt life. He was converted
while a student at Bishop Tucker College Mukono in 1948. He described
coming down from the balcony and coming up to the chapel altar. "I
received my B.A. then and there," he said. I was born again, and I have
been preaching the Gospel wherever I go since that day."

When he finished, he called the young people standing around to come
and repent. As the old man stood, arms opened expectantly, two girls
came forward across the lawn, then three more, and suddenly they were
coming from all over the square. They were met by their joyful friends
and led up to the front. I would estimate about 30 students accepted
Christ.

The next night, Saturday, the speaker was Dr. Edward Muhima, Team
Leader of African Evangelist Enterprise. Dr. Muhima himself had been
deepened in his walk while a student at Bishop Tucker and later a
teacher there. It was also Dr. Muhima that graciously let John Senyonyi
go to join our staff.

He is a contemporary Amos. Repeatedly in his three sermons this weeks
he has called not just individuals but the nation to repentance.
"Uganda is a broken nation, a sick nation," he cried, and gave examples
of moral corruption. While his message was sobering, it had a hopeful
side. He believes that a revival of faith can lead to a national
revival. It is not enough, he is saying, for individuals to come to
Christ, but rather the whole nation has a divine calling. As has been
said of the United States, Uganda, he was saying, is a nation with the
soul of a church. The response Saturday was  again strong, with about
20 folks coming forward, including one soccer player who had just come
across from the adjacent playing field.

Sunday morning another assigned speaker cancelled. No problem, because
John Senyonyi himself took to the floor.  The main hall was packed with
overflow outside under an awning. The power was out, but a generator
chugged away for a sound system which was hardly needed for John's
stentorian voice. He preached for forty minutes on Finishing the Work,
from Nehemiah 6:15-7:3. He called the students to expect opposition and
to be single-minded in their calling. Finally, he pointed out that the
University would not be "rebuilt" with externals, with physical
structures, but only from within, from students who had a new heart and
a ready will to serve.

The Mission closed with a glorious Eucharist out on the lawn Sunday
evening. By the time it was over, darkness had fallen but 15 more
people had come to Christ and we had served Communion to over 400.

Last year when I urged John Senyonyi to join us here, I put it in his
job description the goal to see that every student should have an
opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. With over 1000 students
at UCU, the task is not yet fulfilled, but we took a major step this
week. One Burundian priest who has been here since 1993 said he had
never seen such a "harvest" at the campus before. Well, we have a
larger field to harvest, but God was good in encouraging us to continue
on.

The students wrote a little chorus that said "Come let us  rebuild the
walls of Jerusalem" and then substituted "the walls of Uganda"; and
then "the walls of UCU" - the last not being the best musical fit but
just the right spiritual fit. As we enter into a week of "follow-up," I
would ask your prayers that the work begun here may be brought to its
proper end, to God's glory.

END




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