In spite of the challenges we faced on the way, God prospered us. God’s word, the Psalms, is now being put into music in Kambuga Bible Church.
The journey to Kambuga (14 – 17th Aug, 2014) was a frustrating one. The frustration was first caused by the Bus. Patrick Apadel and Migisho Gady, PPA’s team in company of Robert Kalenzi, a member of the RSO family, had hoped to arrive in kambuga By Friday 15th in the morning. In order for that to happen, they needed to travel Thursday overnight. Thus, they bought tickets on a bus, Muhabura, with the promise that they would leave Kampala by 10:30. However, at 12:30am the office says “we’re not leaving til 5am next day.” After quick thinking and hustling with the bus operators (who refused to refund the money), it was decided that the team should board another bus to take them at least half way, Mbarara. From there they would then take another bus hopefully to arrive in Kambuga before the scheduled time. After 9hours on the road through mountains and swamps and some scary corners on top of high mountains, the team finally made it one hour before schedule, thanks to a special hire taxis.
Friday afternoon, the team met fifteen singers who had been eagerly looking forward to meeting the Psalm project team. After two hours of interaction about Music, African music genres and history, Christian music, Music in the Bible, Contemporary music,… and the Psalms as a musical heritage for Christians, the team was divided into two groups who were assigned to chose which psalms they were to put into music the next day. Psalms 31 and 126 were picked and the team was dismissed for the evening.
On Saturday morning, it was surprising to hear from Pastor Samuel Akiiki, the leading pastor and church planter at Kambuga Bible Church, that no one had come to the church yet. it was 9 am. All the singers had gone to their farms. Since August is their main rain season, all farmers were busy planting their crops. In such cases, you wait. And that’s what the PPA team did. As the afternoon slowly rolled in, the singers appeared, and so the workshop began. Both teams sat and listened to Patrick and Gady explaining the exercise that involved interpretation, poetry, writing, music composition, and music instruments. shortly enough, the teams were back in action trying to come up with the best melodies they could. by evening time both teams had written a song each and practiced them for Sunday.
Sunday morning was quite exciting. Unlike the previous day, it was warm and bright; and so were the faces of the men and women and children who had come to fellowship and worship God. After wonderful congregational singing and prayers, the PPA team was introduced to lead the choir in the singing. What a blessing it was to watch people learn and sing along with the choir. Most encouraging, moreover, was the fact that a number of people were able to sing while reading the songs straight from the Bible. All the songs had been written word for word as they appear in the Lukiga Bible. a few days later, the choir was able to write three more songs from the Psalms and to sing them in the congregation.
According to the pastor, the work has just begun. Pastor Samuel Akiiki, a graduate of Westminster theological College and Seminary, Uganda, is leading the first Presbyterian congregation in Kambuga. “I had a plan to be here only one year, to train someone,” he said. “Instead, God cut [off from me] all the learned people. God gave me drunkards needing rehabilitation, broken hearts needing mending.” We pray that God will bless Kambuga Bible Church as they raise funds to build their church. May the Spirit of God continue to use Pastor Sam and his team as they care of his sheep. He hopes that by the end of this year, his choir and the church will invite other churches and choirs in the area for a musical concert featuring Psalm project Africa. This, he believes, could be a good way to spread the fire in the area.
Robert Kalenzi, the third member of the group, who at least spoke some Lukiga, had been our interpreter during the workshops. He concluded the worship service with a sermon that included the singing of the Psalms and Spiritual songs as a mark of believers (“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” Col 3:1-16)
Returning to Kampala was another hustle. The bus was already full by the time it picked the team. Unfortunately, they had no choice but to be added to the standing passengers. The bus stopped to add some more people even though passengers were already standing in the door. The conductor was literally hanging outside the bus for some time as it rushed through the cold night, climbing mountains. What a frightening experience! In spite of the discomfort, God brought the team safely back to Kampala.
Psalm Project Africa is thankful to God for his protection from the start to the end of the mission. PPA is also thankful to you for your prayers and moral support. Please continue to pray and to partner with PPA. The work is only beginning. We believe that this is a timely idea. If the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ must spread its roots deeper in the African church, then the singing of the Psalms and doctrinal songs is paramount for this generation of African believers. May God’s blessings be upon you as you listen and enjoy our music.