Richard is the first church-planter to be sent out by Reconciliation Baptist Church and Pastor Bill Issa in Kampala, Uganda. He is planting a church in another area just outside Kampala.
Testimony of Conversion
I was born as an Anglican and was devoted to my religion based on the devotion that my parents had. As a young man growing up, I was totally selfish, seeking to live the best life I could for the near future. I would go to church because my father was there, but life had no meaning. All I wanted was to fulfil all that my flesh desired, since in my conscience I did not know how sinful I was.
Special meetings were held in the church that I attended, and the preacher preached the gospel about the Savior who had come from Nazareth, whom the prophets had prophesied about (John 1:46). The preacher first explained the reason for Christ’s coming, to bring salvation to sinners, of which I was one. He also exposed the sinfulness of man regardless of age, financial status, and where one comes from. When he explained who sinners are and what they deserve, something burned inside my heart. I felt by the help of the Holy Spirit that I was among sinners going to hell which, without doubt, I deserved. Knowing that I could not save myself and seeing that the remedy for my sins is Christ alone, by the help of the Holy Spirit, I repented and believed the gospel.
My life changed in a way that my salvation is no longer depending on religious acts or beliefs, as was formerly my way of life. In addition, the life I live now is for Christ, serving Him and Him alone, compared to the selfish life I lived that was focused on my selfish desires. Moreover, my time for God’s word and prayer is totally different because, before I got saved, I depended on others for my spiritual life.
Call to Ministry
There are many things in my life that have served to indicate my call for ministry right from the time I was young. After primary school, I was entrusted with the responsibility of teaching Sunday-school children, leading the youth, leading the school fellowships and representing Scripture Union within the school. All these opportunities gave me ample time to meet many people from different backgrounds, hence raising in me more passion for ministry.
At the completion of secondary school, my heart could not contain the desire that I had for ministry. This desire drove me up to the Diocese of the Anglican Church, where I approached the leaders in charge so that I would be considered for theological training. Though I was disappointed by their response, this did not quench the compulsion I had for ministry.
In addition to the deep longing that weighed down my heart, there was always a daily burden that kept haunting me that I was not in the right place while working in Kampala city. I tried to avoid it by seeking to accumulate whatever I could in terms of money, but there was an inner voice about ministry that could not be avoided. Charles Spurgeon’s words became a reality that “If there is anything else that you can do, do it. But if ministry is the only option that will satisfy you then consider it.” I felt no peace and the only thing to do was look for how to attain what my heart desired, and that was ministry.
It is also important to note that when I left the Anglican church for some doctrinal reasons, I was appointed to serve as an associate pastor within the church that I joined. This did not satisfy the desire of my heart because I was not happy with how things were done, especially the way the Bible was handled. Deep inside me was an inner longing that always needed a biblical church for me to learn from in regard to ministry.
God opened the door for me to study for a certificate in biblical preaching at Kampala Evangelical School of Theology, a Bachelor of Theology at Uganda Baptist Seminary, then a Masters in Theological Studies (MTS) that is soon to be finished at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. I considered all these trainings to be of no use if am not in the right position of ministry that God has trained me for.
The desire for ministry did not leave me alone. In my ignorance on how biblical churches are planted, I launched a church plant in the community where I am. This can also be traced as an indicator that God had called me into ministry though I did not know how to go about it. I had an unquenchable zeal but was in need of a biblical church to help me know how to do things.
Biblically, when one is called into ministry, the church is the place to confirm that person’s calling. It was not until I met Pastor Bill Issa and he invited me to the African Pastors Conferences that God opened my eyes to see my call to ministry. I will not forget one of the conferences that was specifically on the biblical pastor – his character, his family, and his role as shepherd in caring for the sheep. Last but not least, my confirmation for ministry was apparent after my inauguration as a member of Reconciliation Baptist Church, where I was later ordained as an elder and commissioned as the first missionary of Reconciliation Baptist Church. My prayer for many years about a biblical church to nurture me seemed to be a dream but it was finally a reality. I got the right church that I needed long ago, and the church, by the help of the Holy Spirit, was able to confirm God’s call in my life.