Late one evening, about 9 o’clock, Wari came to our house. I call it late because in Kaceri people do not walk around after dark. Due to raiding and insecurity it’s a real risk. Wari sat down and wanted to talk. I assumed it must be serious to warrant a visit at this hour so we pulled some chairs out into the yard. He began to tell me about the persecution he’d been facing for the gospel and for his association with me, the white man.
Lately it had gotten worse, and Wari asked if he can walk the trails alone and preach alone because when he begins to disciple men they want to know when they are going to get paid the way he is.
“Kenneth, I don’t think anyone will believe I am doing this for free until I do it alone. People call me the white man’s dog because I follow you everywhere you go to preach.”
Wari and I have been traveling around the area for about 2 years now preaching, discipling, starting churches, and sharing the gospel. Everywhere we go people ask us for things, everything from medicine, food, and sometimes even the shirt and shoes I’m wearing.
I’m used to it.
Wari’s used to it.
Due to the extreme poverty all around it’s only to be expected. It’s also to be expected that people would believe Wari travels with me because he’s getting those things. However, I’ve never paid Wari to do ministry because I’ve always wanted him to be above reproach.
And so I agreed to stay behind and pray while he makes his journeys.
We, along with our team, continued to pray for the next week and continued to hear the same thing.
After our week of prayer I went to Wari’s house to tell him what we sensed God saying. He invited me into the courtyard and I sat on the log that is understood to be a bench.
“Wari, has God been speaking anything to you lately?” I asked him, starting off as we often did.
“Kenneth, I had a dream last night. In the dream God was telling me that you are my father and that it was time for me to leave my father’s house because I am a grown man now.”
He proceeded to tell me how he could not sleep for the rest of the night because he felt like God was telling him he needed to separate from me. He told me Kaceri was his home, and he did not know where else he might move his family.
I then told Wari what I had come to tell him, “It is not time for you to go but for me. As your father in Christ who showed you the word, it is time for me to go and let you stand as a leader.”
We rejoiced in how God had spoken the same thing to us both but were also sad because we knew what it meant.
Since coming to Karamoja the plan has always been to train up leaders and then walk away and let them lead. I know that it is very hard for people to assume the responsibility of leadership when the original leader is there and present. I felt like this was very early in the process, but we knew that God was speaking. God had also given us a prophetic word about coming back to the states through Elise, our teammate.
Fire devours before them, and behind them a flame burns. The land is like the garden of Eden before them, but behind them a desolate wilderness, and nothing escapes them. Joel 2:3
And so we have left in obedience.
Andrew and Kerri Meador and Elise Heidi stay behind to work in a different area. Jeremy and Katie Spencer and their kids, along with Eileen Dekker, come to join them. We do not know how Wari and the new believers will do.
Will they make it out there? Will they stand or fall?
The questions for now remain unanswered, but I often think of how God put Adam and Eve in the garden with that fruit, with the choice to live or die, to choose obedience or disobedience. I do know that we can pray for a fire to rage in Karamoja, for the gospel to spread like a wildfire in the barren, dry wilderness.
I will go back to check on him a few times a year to provide further training, encouragement and support. I am looking forward to these trips and pray that I will find much fruit among the Karimojong due to the faithfulness of the few like Wari.
For us, Joel 2:3 says fire devours before them…the land is like the garden of Eden before them...In this Eden of the United States God is at work and is calling us to join Him.
Pray with us to see where He is working and how we can join the fire.