The ICOC Mbarara Church planting started in 2010 with a vision borne out of a whole day of planning. It all began with a big idea from a leadership team that wanted to spread God’s message throughout Uganda. They decided to focus on cities first and then move into rural areas. The first step was a Bible Talk event in the city, and it was a significant move forward in their faith journey.

Mbarara City claimed the top spot on their priority list, which came to light during the launch event. Richard and Florence Ahenda, who were leading the Ugandan Church then, shared their testimony regarding the journey of the dream, culminating in its realization on October 30th, 2022. However, in the last two years of the twelve-year gap, a COVID-19 lockdown set in, limiting movement and preventing people from meeting in person.

The Attendance

The day became even more special because not only did many people from Mbarara attend, but disciples from Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda also reunited in Mbarara to serve and participate in the important event. It was encouraging to see sixty-two local visitors from Mbarara respond positively to the invitation. The missionary teams from Kampala had reached out to over seven hundred people during their monthly visits to the city for three months leading up to the successful launch.

The disciples from Kenya were led by the East African Lead Evangelist, William Auki and Richard and Florence Ahenda. Evangelist Auki leads the East African Family of ICOC Churches, while Richard and Florence Ahenda oversee the Nairobi Church Western Bloc and the Great Lakes Family of ICOC Churches, which incorporate the Mbarara Church.

Mr. Auki preached a stirring message titled ‘SEND THE LIGHT,” encouraging the congregants to let that light into their hearts and share it with others.

Evangelist William Auki

 

 

 

From left to right; Johnson and Norah Namei, Hillary and Annete Musinguzi & Richard and Florence Ahenda

 

Mbarara is the second-largest city in Uganda, serving as the main commercial center for the entire southwestern region of the country. With a population exceeding 300,000, this city is experiencing rapid growth. Notably, Mbarara is home to one of the nation’s most prominent educational institutions, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, which attracts students from various parts of Uganda and beyond. The city’s demographic is predominantly youthful, which was evident in the composition of visitors observed during the launch event held at the Oxford Hotel.

Support from Sister Congregations

The journey leading up to the special occasion exemplified a profound expression of faith as the local community and sister congregations in the region enthusiastically embraced the fundraising challenge for the mission. Notably, the Kampala church demonstrated its commitment by organizing monthly fundraisers to support missionaries destined for Mbarara.

Despite the Church’s relatively modest size, its members displayed unwavering dedication, working tirelessly to generate the necessary funds that played a pivotal role in ensuring the success of the ICOC Mbarara launch. Individuals who could not contribute financially demonstrated their support in other ways, such as donating items for auction, including live chickens.

Additionally, some members used cards provided by the Church to seek assistance from their personal networks, reaching out to friends and acquaintances who willingly contributed whatever they could to the cause.

The Nairobi church, particularly the Western Bloc, also took on a similar initiative, providing a timely boost that allowed Mbarara to sustain herself for a few months. As a fledgling Church, Mbarara requires ongoing support and more disciples to continue efforts in evangelism. This support is crucial for Hillary and Annette Musinguzi, who are at the forefront of the mission, working diligently to establish and nurture the Church in Mbarara.

Fruitful Evangelistic Efforts

The Mbarara Church has already borne fruit, with Aaron Isabirye, a second-year university student at Mbarara University of Science and Technology, being the first baptism. He was followed by Joel Bwambale, a business builder from Kasese, as the second baptism. Aaron invited his brother, James, and his friend, Brenda Mutesi, and Joel invited a friend, Denipher.

The momentum leading up to the launch highlights the need for additional support for the Mbarara Church. This assistance is essential for the Church to sustain its efforts in illuminating the southwestern region of Uganda and beyond, positioning itself as a flourishing member of the International Churches of Christ (ICOC) family of Churches.

Written by Richard Arina
Edited by Albert Simiyu

CategoryUganda

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