2016 WMR Life Testimony by Steven Sebbale (Uganda)

BY GRACE THAT YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED

Ephesians 2:4-5 ‘’But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when were dead in our transgressions - it is by grace that you have been saved”

PART ONE: LOST AND FOUND

Hello, my name is Steven Sebbale from Uganda. I am humbled to share Africa World Mission Report with the precious servants of God gathered here. My life journey began on March 3, 1977. I am the fourth born of eight children. My childhood is filled with memories of a large extended family where relatives came and went and of frequent visits to my grandparents in the countryside. My parents were not necessarily religious but we often went to church since our home was adjacent to one of the biggest cathedrals in the capital city, Kampala. My sweet family environment was broken when my parents started struggling. When I was 13 years I joined high school. At that time, my dad decided to change my name. My siblings made fun of me. This was very painful for me but I was powerless to change anything. Because of this powerlessness, I decided to become stubborn and difficult. In my second year in high school, I got sent home several times for wrong behaviour including destroying the school fence. Thankfully, inspite of this behaviour, I managed to enter the national university on full sponsorship. While at the university, my behaviour became worse. In my first year at the university, I got a part time job as a dealer in a Casino. This being a night job, I spent my daytime sleeping whilst working hard all night. In the lecture room, I dozed and had to be woken when the lecture was over.

My grades suffered tremendously although this didn’t bother me. I felt I didn’t have to study hard to please anyone. It was my life and my future and I could do as I pleased. I also hired a sort of private secretary who did my course work and class reports in case my casino work schedule couldn’t allow. I had no dream, no hope and no purpose. In 1997, one shepherd came to my room and invited me for bible study. My shepherd loved me so much like no one had done before. After studying Genesis with him for one year, I accepted Gods love for me. I received Gen. 1:12b “And God saw that it was good”.  I could see myself from Gods point of view. Instead of a man of many weaknesses and failures and a source of fun within my family, God saw that it was good! I also had John’s gospel bible study from where I received Gods personal calling in John 21:15, “Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” At that time, I accepted Gods calling as a campus shepherd.  When I finished the university, I visited London, UK. I instantly forgot my life as a campus shepherd. I lived the life of a big city boy. I worked on different jobs in London trying hard to restart my life. On December 2003, I got married to S. Margaret. When she joined me London, I thought that this was truly Gods answer. However, my life was still without purpose.

After four years in London, God led me to Hebrews 11.24-26 which says: "By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward." God had called me for campus ministry and his purpose for me in Uganda was not yet complete inspite of myself. By faith, I suddenly dropped my promising life in London. It was an overnight decision. Although I had accumulated many material things, I left everything. The God of London had refined my faith. God helped me re-join campus ministry and provided self-supporting work. At that time we attended 2011 Easter Conference and received Mark 16:15 “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” Through this conference my eyes were opened to God's world salvation plan. I could see Gods wider ministry, not from my point of view but from Gods point of view. 

PART TWO: SHEPHERDING IN AFRICA

Africa is the largest Christian continent and is set to experience the fastest overall population growth over the next 40 years. With 200 million people aged between 15 and 24, Africa has the youngest population in the world. The African UBF ministry begun in 1989 with the arrival of M. Jackie Yoon from Chongro UBF in Nairobi, Kenya. Since then, the ministry has progressively grown and matured into a vibrant and active campus ministry. Although it was initially difficult, slowly many students are getting to understand the importance of bible study and its relevance and application in daily life. Inspite of this, Africa still faces three main problems.  

First, the rapid growth of Islam and Africa traditional religion. According to pewforum.org, the Muslim population in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow at a faster rate than the Christian population, to about 670 million by 2050 representing 35% of the total population share. This has affected campus ministry and pioneering work. In some Islamic countries, co-workers have experienced severe persecution with one missionary family being expelled from Sudan. Africa is vulnerable to Islam’s propagation owing in part to the high level of unemployment. The African Development Bank has noted that ‘African youth unemployment is a ticking time bomb, which now appears to be perilously close to exploding’. With widespread unemployment, many young Africans are converting to Islam to gain some economic benefit. Also, other African countries like Swaziland still suffer from traditional beliefs that are resistant to the gospel. Large numbers of African students have dual-spirituality with many actively participating in Christian life yet also believing in witchcraft, evil spirits and other elements of traditional African religion.  Because of this, many are fatalistic at a young age. Many universities in Africa and South Africa have had student strikes which reflect the spiritual tiredness of many students. We need to help them with the word of God to overcome this world view.

Second, war and conflict. Several countries still suffer from war and terrorism. In 2014, S. Peter Angelo from Juba UBF was martyred during the war in South Sudan. Terrorists now target universities directly. On 2 April 2015, gunmen stormed the Garissa University College in Garissa, Kenya, killing 148 people. Because of terrorism, we have to register our ministry in the university. Last year, I was arrested by university security at UCU when I was found talking to students in the dining hall. I was not aware that the university rules had been changed. We need to pray for God to change the spiritual environment on campus.

Third, dependence spirit. Many students seek material support from shepherds and missionaries. As such, African students need to be helped to accept Jesus’ word: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” However, inspite of this, we do not lose hope. In March 2016, Kyambogo native leaders with support from other co-workers built bible centre with their own hands. The attitude of African leaders is slowly maturing with native leaders growing as faithful stewards of campus mission.  God has loved Africa so much. God moved the hearts of many servants to come to Africa to raise disciples. Over the last six years, Dr. Joseph and Esther Chung have been fruitful silver missionaries who faithfully served many students; Msn Daniel and Miso Rhee served both leaders and students in South Africa while Dr. Samuel Lee served students in Zimbabwe. Their influential lives have helped many students, native leaders and missionaries to make decisions of faith for campus evangelism. We pray that we can all learn from spiritual legacy of these ancestors.   In Uganda, I was chosen by the grace of God to co-work with Dr. Livingstone Kang as deputy director. Like Elisha, I want to learn how to lead African sheep with the shepherd heart of Jesus Christ. In Kyambogo Chapter, Sh. Julius took over from Msn. Samuel Yoo while in Nigeria; many shepherds have pioneered new chapters.

After over twenty years of training, UBF missionaries to Africa now understand spiritual condition of African students. With the love of Jesus, instead of simply correcting and fixing those problems, they accept their unique God-given characteristics through promoting their unique God-given talents and even embracing their weaknesses. Missionaries and native leaders now freely share, laugh together and cooperate in campus ministry. We pray for even stronger co-working between missionaries and native leaders for prosperity of the African ministry. May the Lord help both shepherds and missionaries to grow until they agree with each other with humility and create one vessel to serve the Lord together! When we fixed our eyes on Jesus, we could struggle to see African ministry from Gods point of view. Currently, only………… countries in Africa have a stable UBF ministry. We continue to pray for 55 African countries continuously. We now pray for the visiting ministry in Rwanda (Butare) and Lesotho (NUL).

Praise be to God who opened a clear door this year for Ethiopian ministry through Dr. Yoo. Unfortunately, pioneering work in Africa mission has mostly been done by Korean UBF missionaries. African shepherds still struggle from strong family attachment syndrome which infects their decision of faith for Gods pioneering work. This problem is also common for in-country pioneering ministry. In my culture, an heir has to take full responsibility of the family in everything. Personally, I am the heir to my father. Because of this, I have many cultural expectations. As an heir, its my inherent charge to take care of my mother. My mum depends on me 100%. This strong family bond has made me weak to make decision for world mission. Every Sunday, we pray to send missionary family to Rwanda. I know this has to be done by native shepherd. Msn. David Lu struggles to raise Rwanda students every month. I want to share with him in this burden of serving Rwanda sheep. I will actively join Rwanda pioneering work. Our prayer is for African native leaders to learn the practical meaning of living as witnesses of Jesus and to participate in pioneering 55 African countries from their hearts through practical sacrifices and obedience. We pray that the words of God may work mightily in many native leaders to make a decision to live as self-supporting missionaries.

PART THREE:        SHEPHERDING IN UGANDA

In 2012, I accepted Acts 1:8, “You will be my witnesses”.at the African Northern –Eastern Africa Regional Bible Conference. I renewed my call as a shepherd of Gods flock. I had become too comfortable and enjoyed a sweet-home lifestyle. We were challenged to start a new ministry in Uganda Christian University (UCU). In UCU, many students undertake compulsory theological courses which often make them get theological knowledge. Many times when I had bible study with one sheep, he never gave me chance to speak. Instead of teaching him, he taught me many things about his spiritual philosophy. It is not uncommon in Uganda for bible student to teach the bible teacher! However, by the grace of God, we served two brothers and one sister for two years with Genesis and Romans bible study. They had great potential and received Gods word zealously. We frequently prayed for them to be Abraham and Sarah of faith for UCU. We thank God who has raised many committed young people who serve his word with dedication. I have been serving different groups of young leaders whom we call ‘apostles’. They are the future of campus ministry in Uganda. Many young leaders have been raised as responsible shepherds and bible teachers. God has also worked in the heart of Br. Jonas. He is an ambitious young man. May God raise him as a shepherd who can feed one sheep. Most of the students in the university are practicing Christians and many students enjoy large crowd or mass evangelism. Indeed, it is good to see many people come to hear the good news of Jesus by powerful preachers. The students are no different. Many students struggle to appreciate our UBF inductive bible study. This method is quite different and new to them. Many of them have never had one to one bible study using question paper. Testimony writing is also difficult for them and they prefer to ‘speak’ their testimony instead of deeply meditating on God’s word. As a result, many of them often fail to find one thing to repent of or to put in practice. Unlike other continents, the African campus is ablaze with all sorts of doctrines. There are many false teachings. Other students find our World Mission focus strange. They want to serve in a community church. Inspite of this, we are thankful that slowly our bible study quietly changes one person at a time.

In 2016, we have already raised 12 new leaders in Uganda through diligent bible study. They are tomorrow’s spiritual leaders and Gods hope for the world. Personally, God blessed me with several committed sheep, some of whom have gone on to serve in other ministries. S. Maggie also raised several faithful bible students who have become prayer mothers. Inspite of this however, after many years of serving as shepherd, I often felt a sense of failure for not having one firm disciple. This way of thinking often made me depressed and spiritually tired. I often lost heart when I couldn’t see real change in bible students’ life. Nowadays the ministry in Makerere faces many challenges both from within and without. Our house church ministry was on attack while some of our sheep got swept by a strange teaching on the campus. However, we do not lose heart. We struggle to painfully plant Gods word in the hearts of willing students.  I am a great sinner who failed to bear God’s grace and blessing. I thank and praise God who forgave all my sins and used me. Ephesians 2:3-4 “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when were dead in our transgressions - it is by grace that you have been saved”. Although I run away, God was faithful to wait for me and restore me fully into his flock of sheep. When I struggled to pioneer new ministry at UCU, God still wanted to prepare my heart with spiritual training.

Thank God who has continuously supported me with his word inspite of my weak spirit. Last year, I was selected as a United Nations Business Operations Trainer. This opportunity now gives me chance to visit many countries around the world. May God use this five loaves and two fish opportunity for his glorious campus work around the world. Praise Almighty God who called this unworthy sinner to his redemptive work and has used me to co-work with many great servants. Thank God who has continuously supported me with his word inspite of my weak spirit. My hope and dream is that someday God can use me and my house church to declare his promises to people in another country who still suffer under the power of sin and condemnation.  I always pray that I can remember Gods call on me continually so that I may remain His useful instrument in any mission field he chooses.

One Word: I was made alive in Christ

Prayer Topics

  1. To raise one disciple this year
  2. To co-work well with Msn Livingstone Kang for Makerere Chapter
  3. To firmly establish UCU Ministry
  4. Completion of construction for Kyambogo  University centre
  5. God may raise native leaders for 55 African countries.
  6. For Msn Samuel and Mary Yoo pioneering Jimma University in Ethiopia
  7. To continue to raise up native spiritual leaders through intensive Bible study and discipleship ministry and to build God-centered house churches. 
  8. To double God’s work until 2020 and to pioneer at least five Universities in Uganda by 2020. 
  9. To support Msn David Lu for Rwanda pioneering work

아프리카 우간다의 스티븐 세발레 목자(Steven Sebbale)

                      도박꾼에서 복음의 일꾼으로 

벧전 2:9 “그러나 너희는 택하신 족속이요 왕 같은 제사장들이요 거룩한 나라요 그의 소유가 된 백성이니 이는 너희를 어두운 데서 불러 내어 그의 기이한 빛에 들어가게 하신 이의 아름다운 덕을 선포하게 하려 하심이라” 

제1장. 파괴된 순수함 

안녕하세요. 저는 우간다에서 온 Steven Sebbale입니다. 제 인생의 여정은 1977년 3월 3일 시작되었습니다. 저는 8명의 아이들 중 4번째로 태어났습니다. 제 어린 시절 기억을 돌아보면 친척들이 늘 오고 갔고 시골에 있는 할아버지 집으로 자주 찾아갔던 기억으로 가득합니다. 그러나 이 모든 행복감과 순수함은 부모님의 결혼생활에 문제가 시작됨으로 사라지게 되었습니다. 저는 회교 학교에 입학하였습니다. 이 학교에서 강제로 아랍어를 배웠고 매일 하루 다섯 번 씩 무슬림식 기도를 해야 했습니다. 6년간의 회교학교 과정을 마친 후 정부 장학금을 받고 마케레레 대학교 경제학과에 입학하게 되었습니다. 

대학 1학년 때 저는 카지노에서 딜러로 일했습니다. 이 일을 하면서 저는 많은 사람들이 도박과 돈의 노예가 되어 인생을 허비하는 것을 보았습니다. 이 일은 야간 근무를 해야 했으므로 저는 밤새 일하고 낮에는 잠을 잤습니다. 강의실에서 강의를 듣는 도중 졸았으며 강의가 끝나면 깨어났습니다. 저에게는 꿈도 희망도 삶의 목적도 없었습니다. 저는 포르노를 보았으며 부도덕한 관계에 빠져들어갔습니다.  2학년 어느 오후 야간근무를 위해 잠시 기숙사 방에서 쉬고 있던 중이었습니다. 하나님은 백아브라함 선교사님을 제가 있던 곳으로 인도해 주셨습니다. 그는 저를 성경공부에 초청했습니다.  그와 한 해동안 창세기 성경공부를 하고 난 후 저는 하나님의 저를 향한 사랑을 영접하였습니다. 특히 창세기 1:31절 “하나님이 보시기에 심히 좋았더라” 말씀을 받게 되었습니다. 또한 저는 목자님과 요한복음 말씀을 공부하게 되었습니다. 저는 예수님을 인격적으로 만나게 되었고 요한복음 21:15절 “예수께서 이르시되 내 어린 양을 먹이라” 말씀을 통해 캠퍼스 목자로 부르시는 하나님의 부르심을 영접하게 되었습니다. 저는 카지노 딜러 일을 그만두고 캠퍼스 선교에 헌신하기로 결단하였습니다. 

제 2장. 런던의 하나님 

대학을 마치고 형을 방문하기 위해 영국 런던으로 가게 되었습니다.  저는 한 순간에 캠퍼스 목자로서의 부르심을 잊어버렸습니다. 저는 대도시에서의 삶을 즐겼습니다. 저는 런던 최고의 레스토랑의 3성급 셰프 밑에서 일하며 훈련받게 되었습니다. 저는 채 4년이 못 되어서 하급 요리사에서 최상의급 바로 밑의 요리사가 되었습니다. 

2003년 12월 20일 저는 마가렛 목자와 결혼하게 되었습니다. 그녀는 기도하는 여인이었고 예수님을 향한 열정이 있었으며 동시에 재능이 많았습니다. 그녀는 영국의 가정의학 과정 입학시험에 합격하였습니다. 저는 매우 빠르게 승진하였습니다. 마침내 2008년 중순 영국 북부에 있는 세필드 지점의 책임 chef로 가라는 제안을 받게 되었습니다. 회사에서는 집과 기타 필요한 것들을 지원하겠다고 하였습니다. 그러나 저는 내적으로 매우 공허하였습니다. 여러날 밤 저는 분명한 사명이 없는 삶의 무의미함으로 인해 눈물을 흘렸습니다. 당시 저처럼 사명이 없는 삶의 무의미함을 느끼고 있던 동역자는 우간다로 돌아가고자 결단하였습니다. 그녀는 유럽에서 전문의로서 안정된 삶보다 우간다에서 섬기던 그리운 양들을 섬기고자 결단하였습니다.  저는 케임브리지 대학에 지원하였고 경제학 석사 과정에 합격하여 깜짝 놀라게 되었습니다. 저는 하나님께서 이곳에 남기를 원하시는지 아닌지에 대해 혼동이 되었습니다. 

그 때에 히브리서 11:24-26절 “믿음으로 모세는 장성하여 바로의 공주의 아들이라 칭함받기를 거절하고 도리어 하나님의 백성과 함께 고난받기를 잠시 죄악의 낙을 누리는 것보다 더 좋아하고 그리스도를 위하여 받는 수모를 애굽의 모든 보화보다 더 큰 재물로 여겼으니 이는 상 주심을 바라봄이라” 말씀을 기억하게 되었습니다.  바로 그 순간 하나님은 저에게 떠나라 명하셨습니다. 저는 총괄 운영자에게 가서 사직서를 제출했습니다. 

우간다에 돌아와서 몇 년간이나 직장을 구하지 못했습니다. 그러나 저는 하나님을 신뢰하였습니다. 하나님은 8년만에 경제학을 다시 공부하도록 도와주셨습니다. 비록 셰프로 일하며 오랜 시간이 흘렀으나 저는 최우등으로 졸업할 수 있었습니다. 이후 하나님은 정부 기관에서 일할 수 있도록 문을 열어주셨습니다.  2011년 부활절 수양회에서는 마가복음 16:15절 “또 이르시되 너희는 온 천하에 다니며 만민에게 복음을 전파하라” 말씀을 받았습니다. 이 말씀을 통해 저는 만민 구속역사를 위한 하나님의 계획을 볼 수 있었고 세계선교 환상을 보게 되었습니다.  제 삶의 목표가 변하였습니다.  희생적인 우리 선교사님들의 삶을 보면서 베드로전서 2:9절 “그러나 너희는 택하신 족속이요 왕같은 제사장들이요 거룩한 나라요 그의 소유가 된 백성이니 이는 너희를 어두운 데서 불러내어 그의 기이한 빛에 들어가게 하신 이의 아름다운 덕을 선포하게 하려 하심이라” 말씀을 제 인생요절로 잡게 되었습니다. 이제는 하나님의 때에 죄와 죽음 권세 아래에 고통하는 다른 나라 백성들에게 약속의 말씀을 선포하는 가정으로 하나님께서 써주시도록 기도하게 되었습니다. 제가 하나님께서 원하시는 어떠한 선교지에서라도 그의 도구로서 사용될 수 있도록 하나님의 말씀을 늘 기억할 수 있기를 기도합니다. 

제 3 장. 우간다에서의 목자의 삶 

우간다는 기독교 국가입니다. 대다수의 대학생들이 기독교인입니다. 2000년 저는 성경을 가르치기 시작했습니다. 당시 저는 마케레레 대학생들에게 성경을 가르쳤습니다. 비록 저는 연약하고 죄악되었으나 하나님께서는 유사무엘, 유마리아 선교사님들의 실제적인 삶을 통해 저를 훈련하셨습니다. 두분들의 헌신을 통해 마케레레 역사는 크게 성장하였습니다. 많은 선교사님들이 우간다에 오게 되어 저희는 큰 축복을 받았습니다. 임누가 레베카 선교사님들은 2001년에 오셔서 마케레레 역사를 계승하였습니다. 그분들의 리더쉽 가운데 베데스다 병원이 설립되었습니다. 개인적으로 하나님은 비록 다른 모임으로 갔지만 몇몇 양들을 보내주심으로 저를 축복해 주셨습니다. 마기 목자는 몇몇 자매들을 기도의 어미로 키우는데 쓰임받았습니다. 2009년 이후 하나님은 성장하는 우간다 역사에 저희 가정을 사용하여 주셨습니다. 우리는 새 캠퍼스를 개척하고자 기도하고 있습니다. 2012년 북동부 지역 아프리카 수양회에서 말씀강사로 쓰임받았습니다. 그 때에 사도행전 1:1-11절 “너희는 나의 증인이 되리라” 말씀을 섬겼습니다. 이 말씀을 준비하면서 목자로 부르시는 하나님의 부르심을 새롭게 하였습니다. 저는 안락한 삶을 즐기고 있었습니다. 비록 캠퍼스 목자로 살고자 결단하였지만 캠퍼스 역사에 실제적인 헌신을 하지 않았습니다. 이 메시지를 통해서 저는 예수님의 증인으로서의 부르심을 새롭게 하였습니다. 

하나님의 은혜로 우리는 강리빙스턴 그레이스 선교사님 가정과 함께 Uganda Christian University를 개척하게 되었습니다. 하나님의 은혜로 우리는 2년간 두 명의 형제와 1명의 자매를 섬겼습니다. 우리는 그들이 UCC 캠퍼스의 아브라함과 사라가 될 수 있도록 기도했습니다. 많은 어려움에도 불구하고 하나님은 여러 헌신적인 젊은이들을 세워주셨습니다. 저는 사도팀 형제들을 섬기고 있습니다. 그들은 우간다 캠퍼스 역사의 미래의 주역들입니다. 

 하나님은 여러 방면으로 우리 가정을 축복해 주셨습니다. 하나님께서는 두 자녀인 예레미야와 나탈리를 허락하여 주셨습니다. 또한 하나님은 마케레레 대학에 있는 그의 양들을 먹이도록 인도해 주셨습니다. 여러 젊은이들이 책임감있는 목자요 성경선생으로 세움받았습니다. 현재 저는 5명의 양과 쥬니어 목자팀 말씀공부를 섬기고 있습니다. 이러한 말씀 역사를 통해 우간다가 거룩한 백성 제사장 나라가 되는데에 쓰임받을 수 있기를 기도합니다. 쓸모없는 죄인을 위대한 하나님의 종들과 동역하는데 사용하여 주신 하나님을 찬양합니다. 제가 하나님 나라에 들어갈 때까지 우간다가 제사장 나라 거룩한 백성이 되는 역사에 하나님께 쓰임받는 종이 되기를 기도합니다. 

한 마디: 거룩한 백성 제사장 나라 

 

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