Lord’s Day Schedule‚Ä°

  • Sabbath School—9:45 a.m.
  • Morning Worship—10:45 a.m.
  • Afternoon Worship—2:00 p.m.
  • ‡ Regular schedule temporarily suspended.

Proctor Passages: 2009 Year in Review

“…and on this rock I will build my church”

The promise of Christ Jesus, that on the rock of Peter’s declaration of faith His church would be built, has proved faithful for the last 2,000 years. This gracious promise has proved faithful here in Mbale, Uganda, in the year 2009 as well. It has been a wonderful privilege and blessing to be a small part of God’s purpose of glorifying His name amongst every tongue, tribe, and nation.

The mission field seems to be a place of stark contrasts — great advances accompanied by great discouragements. The common denominator seems to be that God is doing something great! This has been our experience this past year. The Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Uganda (OPCU) began in 2003 with 12 congregations gathered together with a wide variety of goals and motives for having separated from the PCU. Some were pursuing a mature, Reformed and Presbyterian Ugandan church, whilst some were pursuing material advancement through their associations with Western missionaries. These differing motivations have been at the heart of the struggle for the OPCU to form a unified vision since its formation, and the struggles came to a head in 2009.

The leaders of three congregations determined to take over the OPCU, declaring themselves the “Executive Board” and informing the General Assembly that it was not permitted to meet without their permission. It was encouraging to sit in the General Assembly and hear Livingstone Mafabi, a Ruling Elder in his 70’s, say through a translator that as Jesus Christ is the only King and Head of the church, the OPCU did not have the right to betray Him and turn the leadership over to a group of self-appointed men. The Ugandans understanding issues and defending the cause of Christ is what we have laboured towards and prayed fervently for, and is an enormous sign of Christ’s blessings upon His people! Meanwhile, the group of three leaders have entered a lawsuit against me in the civil court, trying to harass me into leaving the country. There have been hurtful personal betrayals, false charges lodged with both government and court officials, and a great temptation to despondency throughout the year. In the midst of this, I am reminded that the promise of my Lord is that the disciple is not more worthy than his Master, and I pray for the grace to be honestly joyful that I am counted worthy to bear reproach for His dear name’s sake.

Meanwhile, another group of 4 congregations determined in January to force the mission to stop preaching in its pulpits and training its leadership until we had provided buildings and congregational micro-enterprise projects. Whilst we have a desire to help the congregations become financially self-sustaining, this cannot take a “front seat” to the primary ministry of the Gospel, and the mission was forced to announce its intention to stop working with this group of churches. This process occurred during dozens of meetings attempting reconciliation, and over a period of 6 months, which certainly was a great discouragement to me, and to the other members of the mission who worked through this process. If you’re doing the math, it means that from 12 churches in 2003, we are now working with 5. Four of the seven churches that left have closed their doors, whilst the leaders are still claiming to be the pastoral representatives. The thing that truly breaks my heart is the sheep that have been scattered and the opportunities for the much needed Gospel squandered. What about the promise of Christ to build His church? This is such a dark and sinful land, and here we are seeing the church collapse around us. This coming year (2010) is a “Kidodi” year — the year of Bagisu circumcision which is a time of great wickedness, murder, and debauchery. As we head into this stark confrontation with the forces of darkness, the OPCU would appear to be in complete disarray. Has Christ’s promise failed? Is the problem with the mission, is it with me? This latter question has been much on my mind and in my prayers this year.

In the midst of the cacophony, the quiet, sweet, pure music of Christ’s church being built is heard.

  • One of the five remaining churches started a church plant in September in Kama, a heavily Muslim area. Eid-el-Fitr, the feast day which closes the Muslim month of Ramadan, fell on a Sunday — the first time we visited the new church plant. What a blessing to see this new group of believers gathered for worship in the midst of a lost and dying community! Eid-el-Fitr is the day that Muslims forgive each other for the sins of the past year and supposedly begin the new year with a clean slate. On this day, of all days, what a testimony that this little group of believers is demonstrating that forgiveness and newness of life is only found in the gracious gift of salvation through Jesus Christ!
  • Knox Theological College has continued in its training programme and a sterling young man, Paul Wangoda, is scheduled to graduate this May. This would make the third man that God has allowed us to prepare for ministry in the OPCU since the inception of Knox Theological College in 2004. Another excellent candidate, Hagada, is in his next-to-last year and looks to be on track to graduate in 2011. Through Thomas Mayville’s labours (RCUS missionary), Knox Theological College has been able to expand its ministry into Kenya, and one of our 2010 graduates will be Barton Osoro, a student from Kenya. What a privilege to be a part of preparing under-shepherds for the work of the church!
  • Charles Magala, 2007 KTC graduate and current pastor of Mazi Masa OPCU, has started a radio ministry. On Sunday afternoons at 5:00pm he preaches the sermon that he preached that morning in Mazi Masa. The radio broadcast is heard for many miles around, and the OPCU is starting to get more recognition as people are actually scheduling time to sit and listen to the Gospel being clearly proclaimed. In June of 2009, one of our OPC congregation in North Carolina sent a number of books for us to use as study groups in the Mbale OPCU congregation. Meredith and I have been leading a study on parenting utilizing Tedd Tripp’s “Shepherding a Child’s Heart.” One of our participants is Rachel, Charles’ wife. Rachel has started taking the second half of the radio hour and presenting material from our study group, which has been extremely well received by the listeners.

Whilst there are often discouragements to our desires for the ministry, the Lord is doing His work, and we rest in the knowledge that He will build His church!

Please pray that:

  • The five congregations we are working with will be strengthened and unified in the sufficiency of Christ and His glorious gospel.
  • The new church plant in Kama will grow into a thriving congregation and will be a vibrant testimony in that area.
  • The radio ministry will bear fruit by bringing people into OPCU congregations and provide opportunities for new church plants.
  • Knox Theological College will receive new students who will have a passion for being faithful pastors.
  • Broken relationships, both within the OPCU and between the disaffected congregations and missionaries, may be healed and that the world may see that we serve a living Christ who has made us one body in Him.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support for the work here in Uganda. It is by God’s grace that we press on, looking joyfully to Christ, the author and finisher of our salvation!

In Christ,
Phil Proctor

Rev. Philip T. Proctor
OPC missionary/evangelist to Uganda

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.