Gabriel pastors three churches in Karamoja, north Uganda.
In Karamoja, most people are traditional cattle-herders. From a young age Gabriel was expected to help look after the family’s livestock. However, one day Gabriel’s cows were stolen and so he decided to go to school, rather than sitting at home alone. Gabriel is the only boy out of his seven siblings who has been to primary school.
At school, Gabriel was shown the Jesus film by the church in town. He was convicted by the message and turned to follow Jesus as Lord. At this time Gabriel was 16 years old. His whole lifestyle had to change – from regularly drinking with the men in his community Gabriel had to cut his ties. He lost many friends but testifies that it was the Holy Spirit who gave him the power to resist the social drinking.
Gabriel began attending the local church, which met under a tree. Before long he was asked to teach the small congregation, as he was one of the few who had been to school and could read. Gabriel then received a bit of training at the local diocesan lay reader school. There are so few Christian men in Karamoja – and even fewer who can read – that the school is never at capacity.
After returning from lay reader training, Gabriel felt called to preach the gospel and pastor his people. He regularly walks 15km on a Sunday morning to lead services for three different congregations. He would love to be better trained for this task, but he is unable to go to bible college because he only has primary education. Thanks to the help of some Christians living nearby, Gabriel has enrolled in the secondary school. It will take him four years to study for O-levels but, after this, it is unclear if he’ll be able to go to bible college. There is no money for training from family or churches – Karamoja is the poorest region in the whole of Uganda. The weekly offering from the three churches he looks after is about £0.75, plus two jugs of grain.
Gabriel’s situation is not unique. In fact, it is the norm. 95% of pastors worldwide are looking after churches having not received theological or ministry training. You can sponsor a pastor to go to bible college.
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