By Mark Ellis
A Sunni Muslim sheikh, trained in Islamic proselytization, went to a church service in December to kill a Ugandan bishop. Like Saul of Tarsus persecuting the earliest Christians, God had other plans for his life.
In Amuria, about 170 miles northeast of Kampala, Bishop George Edweu of the Pentecostal Upright Church, was preaching December 4th about hearing and understanding the voice of God, according to a report by Morning Star News (MSN).
The 24-year-old sheikh had filtered into the congregation with murderous intent and was sitting calmly among the congregation of 200 people. But as he listened to the bishop’s message, the power of the Gospel began to convict him of sin.
The Word and the Spirit broke through the stony places in the sheikh’s heart, causing him to rush up to the podium and fall headlong at the bishop’s feet.
Bishop Edweu’s eyes widened when he saw the young man approach, he stopped preaching and began to question him.
“I was sent to come and attack, to kill you and destroy the church,” he told the shocked bishop, as tears rolled down the sheikh’s face.
He repented of his sins as the shaken congregation looked on and Bishop Edweu prayed for him.
Then the would-be assassin put his faith in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and was born again.
News of the former sheikh’s conversion from Islam to Christianity spread swiftly, and the young sheikh knew he had to go into hiding because of death threats. He, his wife and two children, ages 2 and 4, took refuge with him at an undisclosed location.
Loudspeakers from the local mosque began to announce on Fridays that the sheikh “needs to die for forsaking
On January 2nd, when Bishop Edweu was on his way to his church at 5 a.m. for a morning devotion, he saw a young man on the ground, apparently in trouble. As a Good Samaritan, he got out of his car to attend to him, he recounted to MSN.
As he approached, six masked men suddenly appeared and grabbed Bishop Edweu, demanding that he reveal the whereabouts of the sheikh. Some of the men began slapping and kicking the bishop; others hit him with sticks.
“As I fell down, a vehicle with bright lights flashed, which scared them away, and they disappeared into the nearby bush,” Bishop Edweu told MSN. “The vehicle arrived and took me into the church compound. Inside the church building we found a letter with a threatening message: ‘We are going to destroy your church unless you show us where [name withheld] is.’”
The bishop and his congregation fear more persecution could be imminent.
The incident was the latest in a series of anti-Christian attacks in eastern Uganda.
Muslim relatives of a young woman in eastern Uganda who put her faith in Christ at a Christmas service coerced her into taking poison at a New Year’s celebration, she said. Sandra Summaya, 24, of Bugayi village, told MSN she had converted to Christianity at a worship service on Christmas Day.
On Christmas Day Muslims in eastern Uganda beat Christians at a worship service and wrecked the home of a single mother on Christmas Eve, sources said.
On Dec. 8, relatives of a former Islamic teacher attacked his 60-year-old mother for becoming a Christian, wounding her head and breaking her hand, sources said. Aimuna Namutongi sustained a deep cut on her forehead.
She and her son, 30-year-old Malik Higenyi, were trying to gather cassava at 10 a.m. on the homestead he had been forced to abandon after Muslim relatives threatened to kill him if he returned.
Higenyi, whom Muslim relatives had beaten unconscious on Nov. 13 after he publically confessed having embraced Christianity, managed to escape the wrath of those who arrived at his farm.
About 85 percent of the people in Uganda are Christian and 11 percent Muslim, with some eastern areas having large Muslim populations. The country’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another, but Christians in eastern Uganda are suffering continual attacks by non-state figures.
If you would like to know more about persecuted Christians, visit Morning Star News.