Missionary Believes Uganda Source of Hope to World

Becky Hill

For centuries, the African country of Uganda held a powerful secret.

Its beautiful countryside blends the savanna into the dense jungle, and its people are warm and friendly.

But most stunning of all, at the country's southeastern border, lies Africa's largest lake. Early explorers to Africa spent generations searching for this great lake, because it held a secret kept for generations.

Lake Victoria is the largest source of the great Nile River, the longest river in the world. But Uganda is also the source for another river, a spiritual river of hope, streaming across Africa and around the world.

Peter Asiimwe, director of Cru in Uganda, wants to see his country as a place from where God sends people to help change the world.

"Like the long river Nile," he says, "we believe God is calling Uganda to send out living water to the nations of the world."

It's a big dream, because Uganda and Africa have been plagued with problems for generations. Government corruption, the AIDS pandemic, and nominal Christianity could have easily blocked the river before it even began, just like Peter's life could have been blocked by his own ambitions.

Early in life, Peter pursued sports, academics and even politics. He got a degree teaching chemistry and was one of the top chess players in all of Uganda. Then he ran for a public office, but lost.

"That got my attention," he remembers. "I began to read the Bible and wondered if God might have a plan for my life."

Not yet a Christian, Peter read one verse in Romans that stayed with him: "Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?" (2:4).

"I thought someone had smuggled that verse into the Bible," Peter says with a laugh, "but really it just convicted me so much."

As he was teaching at a high school, another teacher told him about how he could know God. Peter asked God to forgive him for his sins and began his new life as a follower of Christ.

Peter now lives in the capital city, Kampala, near the shores of Lake Victoria. From there, he directs Cru staff members in Uganda; but like the Nile, they are continually crossing Uganda's borders.

Missionaries from Uganda have gone to countries all over Africa, as well as Russia, Albania and the Philippines. Cru staff member Jonathan Besigomwe left Uganda for Botswana, and now directs the ministry there. Another staff member, Dora Rubombora, has served in many countries in Africa, including Mali, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Bekele Shanko, director of Cru ministries in Southern and Eastern Africa, has known Peter for many years, and believes highly in his vision.

"Peter wants to dedicate his life to seeing God transform the continent of Africa," says Bekele. "I know that Peter will want to be known as a true follower of our Lord Jesus Christ, mentor of younger leaders, and a man of prayer."

Peter has faith that Uganda will continue to be a country that reaches the world. 

If he ever has doubts, he can take a short trip to strengthen his faith. Just 20 miles from his house is the source of the longest river in the world. Peter can't see the Mediterranean Sea, thousands of miles away, but he knows this lake pours into it through the Nile.

Standing on the shores of Lake Victoria, no goal appears out of reach.

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