It all began shortly before Alan Lee's article in the "Harvester" of April or May 1987, entitled 'Dramatic Change Among Middle Class in Fort Portal'. I took Jesus as Lord and Savior of my life on the 13th March, 1987. Hardly, did I know then that a great change had started in my life - great changes, in my way of living, thinking and even change of jobs from my highly placed job which I valued very much and was proud of to full time service for God. Yet never have I regretted any moment for the changes, but greatly praise and thank God every moment for the wonderful privilege of His calling to me to declare the wonderful glories of His saving power. As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news." I thank God for making me a co-worker with Christ and giving me more time to spend in full time ministry.
Born on May 16, 1957, I was the second to last child in a family of nine, six girls and three boys. My parents were Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel Kikonygo Kasule. My father is a peasant of Luwero District in Uganda. In Uganda, by then there was only one State University, taking only one thousand five hundred students a year. It was very difficult as it still is now, for one to find entry in the only highest institution of learning, and indeed the best at that time in the whole of East Africa. I was lucky to be the only child in the family and the third boy who had gone through my village school since its inception, to enter the University. I graduated in 1982, with an Honors degree in Social Work and Social Administration.
Soon after my graduation, I joined the Government Civil Service and was posted to Fort Portal in Western Uganda as a Probation/Welfare Officer, in charge of two Districts, Kabarole and Bundibugyo As part of my work as a Social Worker, I did family counseling, court work in relation to adult first offenders and all juvenile offenders, difficult children in. families, orphaned children and distribution of Government relief to needy families. Such responsibilities at an early age brought allot of respect to me in the two Districts and made me become very proud. I thought I knew a lot and had achieved much in regard to social status. Whenever I could hear the Gospel, I regarded it as a last resort where people who are illiterate, very poor, criminals and least regarded in Society could, run for consolation and comfort.
I praise God, that on May 13, 1987, at 10:00 p.m. at night in my house, God showed me that I was a more desperate man than I had ever thought of myself to be, and I urgently needed a Savior who would give me eternal forgiveness and hope. On that very night I got peace, joy and hope more than I had ever known before. My life changed and I learned that I didn't need to trust any more my flesh and what I had achieved, but I needed to trust in only God. All I used to value was rubbish compared to what God had given to me and was promising to me.
My wife, Zoe, had taken Christ as her Lord six months before me. God started blessing our home. We started enjoying real peace and joy as a family, our love for each other and our children was renewed, and our home became a meeting place of many Christians. The love God had shown His acceptance, taught us to be more hospitable and us then we had ever been. I was equally blessed on my job and my performance improved. Three years after getting salvation, I was promoted to the rank of a Regional Officer in-charge of five districts. One year after, yet another promotion came for me to go and head the only Approved School, an institution where juvenile offenders and needy boys go for moral training and trades/skill training. This meant leaving Fort Portal to go and work near the capita) city and near my home district It carried more status, increased earning, more privileges and more contacts with officials in high circles of Government, and non-Government Agencies. It equa1Jy meant being near my parents and more prospects of making developments for my family.
Shortly before the news about my promotion, some brothers in the church had, approached me and pointed out to me that they were seeing spiritual gifts in me for God's ministry and calling, and that if I also felt the calling they would want me to consider leaving Government work to go into full time ministry. By now, I was already an ordained elder in the church. We agreed to give it time and pray for God's guidance. Then the promotion came and both Zoo and I were at a dilemma between choosing to remain or go for the new better job with more prospects. The brothers in the church wanted us to stay and many were stunned when we chose to go. In the first week of July 1991, we left to take up the new assignment.
The new assignment was very challenging. I had to be in charge of over sixty workers of all levels of education and fields. There were the very difficult boys, criminals beyond parental control as well as needy and orphaned boys from allover the country. Being a residential institution I had to ensure that the boys and staff had food and all other necessities had the training programs in place, yet the place had been vastly devastated by the war as well as the bad administration I had replaced. However, God's blessing was with me. After one year, there was a lot of change for the better. Every evening I would meet with the boys as well as some staff, read the Bible share God's Word, sing songs of praise and pray with them. Many of the boys as well as some staff members came to the Lord through this ministry. My wife started a program for wives of staff and neighbors to help them in handcraft, cooking, and other things. She would open with reading from the Bible. Some of the women came to the Lord and eventually it became both a ladies fellowship and club. I contacted various departments and non-governmental organizations about the plight of the institution. Soon a team from Switzerland and England of volunteers came twice to help with the renovation of the school's devastated and dilapidated buildings. Training facilities were put in place, the farm restocked, and the place started shinning.
Twice I hosted the wife of the President who is also a Christian and committed to the cause of desperate and needy children. Once she invited the team of volunteers from Britain to the State House and I had the honour of leading the delegation to the State House. Zoe and I continued witnessing for Christ and soon we started a fellowship in our big "Official Mansion". Jesus continued transforming many lives of both the boys in the institution, staff, as well as, neighbors; and indeed ourselves. The promotion had had allot of blessings. God gave us the opportunity to witness to many of our close relatives, four of whom soon died of Aids after committing their lives to Christ. It was not all easy sailing though. We had to care for these sick relatives and their families and on their death we had to take care of their eight orphaned children all of school going age; on top of our own eight children. However, amidst all these tribulations, God was always near and continued providing, at times in even unexpected ways for which we are ever grateful to our God of unfailing love and faithfulness.
During all this time, however, our hearts were burdened for God's work in Fort Portal and as days went on, we felt the call to go and serve more pronounced than ever. We continued seeking God's guidance and wisdom. We continued receiving letters and personal visits from the brothers in Fort Portal Church. The message was always the same pointing to the fact that God wanted us back in Fort Portal. Much as we were witnessing for a1rist in this new place, we continued feeling that we needed to give in more time than we were doing here on top of the many other assignments I had to do. A decision had to be made, and a decision geared towards the fulfillment of God's will in our lives other than what we wanted. More prayers were offered in this respect. My relatives and parents dismissed the idea when I shared it with them as a wild one. My friends wondered as to whether I was not getting crazy when I shared the idea with them. They were puzzled why could I leave my job after all the achievements, privileges and future prospects? And my going back to Fort Portal far away from my home district; all these could not make sense to them.
The Government had finished laying off non-performers to remain with a little workforce, which would be motivated with more pay. My bosses could not just let me go, though I had served for over ten years, which is the mandatory period one could opt out of Government work. When I shared the idea with them, all they said was that if I continued nursing that idea they would never approve payment of my gratuity and retirement benefits, as well as other benefits attached there of. There is no doubt however that the crown awaiting me in Heaven far outweighs the retirement benefit and all attached benefits. Nothing therefore would stand in my way and stop me from answering God s call. I was saying "Here I am, send me."
On September 29, 1993, having stayed away from Fort Portal for two years and three months, we packed all our belongings and left to go to Fort Portal to serve God. The staff members, boys of the institution as well as the neighbors could not believe their eyes as we finally drove out of Kampiringisa, leaving behind all that an earthly man would value most and hate to part with. The first months at Fort Portal were not easy. We had to answer various questions from our children. They could not understand why we had to come here where there is no electricity, piped water, and what do we do with our television set, why are there no good houses in the neighborhood, and so on, they continued to ask. The only answer we could give is that," this is where God wants us to be." We had to adjust to many changes. Start revising Rutoro language and culture, looking for new places in school for our children and the orphaned dependants, moreover in the middle of the last term of the academic year. Buying food for the big family which we had not been used to as we left behind many gardens was also a problem. All looked like impossibilities yet God's blessings; presence-and sustainability helped us all through this difficult time. There is no doubt that with more prayers and trust in His unfailing love and providence, He will see us through. Since our arrival, God has done great things in our lives and in many lives of other people, for the glory of His mighty name. We greatly thank and praise Him. He has helped us to hear His call and respond to it. Our prayer is that His will be done in our lives and that He will use us for the glory of His name in Fort Portal and beyond.
In all, I will ever praise and thank God for all He has done and is still doing in my life and the family at large. I happily say with a big smile together with Paul, "Whatever was to my profit; I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What IS more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ my Lord."
Kabuye - Sam Kasule New Life Presbyterian Church, Fort Portal Uganda, East Africa, March 7, 1994.