Thursday, June 12, 2008

My Uganda Trip - Part 4

Sunday morning we had the opportunity to worship in the church service which takes place in the Hurley's home. Following a time of worship and taking communion, Shannon preached a message he has titled, "The Kingly Reign of God." After demonstrating from Scripture God's right to reign, he asked the question, how can God rule over our lives today? One of the key answers to this question was of course meditating on the Word of God day and night. He also made a point that reading and studying Christian books is not the same as meditating and studying the Bible. While books are a great tool for understanding the Bible and for gaining new knowledge, if we truly believe the promises of 2 Timothy 3.16-17, then our emphasis needs to be on knowing the Bible.

Monday was our final day in Uganda, waking up to an awesome thunderstorm. In the morning, we visited the International Justice Mission in Kampala. The Uganda  director, Ali McKinney, and one of their lawyers, Daniel Kajubi, had been speakers at the UCU conference. IJM is a Christian organization that advocates on behalf of widows, orphans, and other victims of injustice who either have been denied legal recourse, or are unaware of how they have been wronged. Ali shared with us that the main focus of IJM in Uganda right now is property-grabbing from widows. While property owned by a couple should go to the wife upon the death of her husband, often the husband's family or another relative will come in and make a claim on the property, including the use of forged documents, etc. IJM has a team of investigators, one of whom is a retired 17 year veteran of the Ugandan Police, who look into these crimes and then work alongside the police in helping the investigation. IJM's lawyers, all of whom are Ugandan, then assist in the court-related issues. I learned that the cooperation between IJM and the police has worked so well that many of the stations have even put in an IJM desk for the investigators when they are there working.

The day rounded out with a trip to the Bugandan Palace. Buganda is the largest of the Ugandan tribes and the king's palace is located in Kampala. On the palace grounds is a tunnel that was used by Idi Amin as a prison chamber. The tunnel had rooms off to the side and then would be filled with water once prisoners were inside. Electrical wires would then be placed in the water and should any of the prisoners try to escape, they could be electrocuted. Some of Amin's prisoners would have included Christians and potential political opposition.

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