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I Love Idi Amin

Bishop Festo Kivengere(Photograph: Korirk01)

Within the time and reign of Idi Amin in Uganda (1971 – 1979), the challenges to Bishop Festo Kivengere (African Enterprise East African Group Chief and Co-Chief with Michael Cassidy) and the Anglican Church’s different bishops have been immense and horrifying.

Amin grew to become one of the crucial brutal dictators of the twentieth century and an estimated 400,000 individuals have been slaughtered throughout his reign.

He began out trying like a benevolent dictator and Festo and the opposite bishops form of tolerated him, however progressively he grew to become increasingly brutal and he made life cheaper and cheaper.

Those that opposed him have been ruthlessly assassinated and multitudes “have been disappeared”, as locals put it. So the foremost requirement in Festo, different bishops and the Church as an entire was braveness in dealing with the dictator’s menace.

All of this raised very acutely the numerous points referring to Church and State, and the way lengthy and the way far the Church may proceed per Romans 13:1, to “undergo the powers that be”.

Clearly Festo couldn’t sanction revolution or try to see the dictator overthrown violently, however clearly he and the opposite bishops had to determine at what level the Church may now not sanction submission to state brutality.

Festo and his colleagues knew that Jesus had mentioned “render to Caesar the issues which are Caesars and to God the issues which are God’s” (Mark 12:17). The problem for Festo and others was to discern at what level Caesar was asking individuals to render to himself the issues that have been God’s.

In early 1980, Archbishop Janani Luwum (who was additionally AE’s Ugandan chairman), Festo and the opposite Anglican bishops drew up a really daring doc difficult Amin about his behaviour and the place he was taking the nation.

This infuriated Amin and he ordered the assassination of Luwum in chilly blood. It was clear that Festo had now grow to be no 1 on Amin’s hit listing and all of the native Christian brethren urged Festo and his spouse Mera to flee directly.

This they did via forest tracks resulting in the bottom of the mountains separating Uganda from Rwanda. Festo and Mera courageously trekked up the mountainsides throughout the night time till lastly they crossed the border into Rwanda the place they obtained an enormous welcome.

Cries for assist

Festo and Mera then went via to our workplace in Nairobi which they discovered flooded with Ugandan exiles and cries for assist. The brand new problem now was to Festo’s coronary heart and conscience as to what his response could be to those exiles. As a result of Festo was so well-known and so properly cherished these exiles turned to him and to AE moderately than to main assist companies.

There after which successfully, Festo and AE Kenya/Uganda launched RETURN (Aid, Schooling and Coaching for Ugandan Refugees Now). In the long run this programme ran for a number of years and AE funded over 300 worldwide college scholarships for the refugees who certified. Some later ended up in new governments in Uganda and felt they owed a lot to AE.

Festo and Mera then travelled on through London to AE’s workplace in California. However in London, Festo confronted an superior religious problem by way of his perspective as a Christian to Idi Amin who had terrorised his nation, sought to kill him personally, and pushed him and his spouse into exile.

In a Good Friday service at John Stott’s London church, All Souls Church, Langham Place, Festo and Mera attended a Good Friday service. Festo’s coronary heart was crammed with bitterness, virtually hatred, in the direction of Idi Amin however within the sermon Festo heard Jesus’s phrases from the cross: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

The voice of the Lord

Festo then heard the voice of the Lord saying to him: “My son, if Amin had been in that circle of troopers crucifying me, would I’ve mentioned ‘Father, forgive all of them, besides this large Ugandan under me.” Festo’s response grew to become determinative for the remainder of his life as he responded to Jesus saying, “Lord, I’m right here and now forgiving Idi Amin.” Instantly he felt an enormous launch in his soul and he was flooded with the enjoyment and peace of the Lord.

For the remainder of Festo’s days, the message of forgiveness and reconciliation grew to become much more central to his entire life and being and ministry. His new posture even led him into writing a small e-book referred to as I Love Idi Amin.

A reporter in a press convention requested him how on earth he may write a e-book with this title. Replied Festo: “I’ll not like Idi Amin but when I’m a Christian believer I’m obliged to forgive him, love him with Christ’s love, and need the best and greatest for his life.”

One other reporter requested: “In the event you have been standing head to head with Amin, and somebody gave you a revolver, what would you do?”

“Nicely,” replied Festo, “I’d hand the revolver again and say this isn’t my weapon. My weapon is love.”

The following large problem Festo confronted along side our USA board was to be sensible and lift huge sums of cash for the ever-developing wants in Uganda. Warwick Olson proceeded to launch an AE workplace first in Australia after which within the UK via which these Ugandan monies may very well be channelled to the wants again in that nation.

Mission journey

By these years of Festo’s exile from Uganda, Michael travelled with him in lots of locations starting from the USA and Canada via to Australia, a number of international locations of Latin America, Egypt, Liberia in West Africa, and South Africa.

Festo’s message of affection and forgiveness melted hearts all over the place and Michael felt ever after the immensity of the privilege he had had of ministering world wide with this nice brother.

Festo died from leukaemia in 1988 and he and Michael had a really poignant time collectively of their final assembly in a Nairobi hospital. Michael and a lot of the different group leaders and board chairs travelled in a chartered airplane with Festo’s coffin again to Uganda for the funeral in Namirembe Cathedral the place Michael was one of many essential audio system.

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