“Kiwanuka’s remarks left me feeling betrayed and more helpless than ever… I had no formulas with which to heal the woman. And I was not like the great prophets and preachers of the past…I had no special access to God. Besides, I continued arguing with myself, the woman could die at any moment. What would people think and say when they heard that the pastor of the Redeemed Church had kept a dying woman from the hospital?
“With this last thought, I was convicted of my own self-concern and foolishness. I was reminded of the child Okelo and of the work God had done in his life. It was not I who had delivered him, but the strong words of Jesus Christ, the same Christ who said, ‘I can do nothing of myself, but the Father in me, He does the works.’ I too could do nothing of myself. But, like Paul, I could do everything through the power of the resurrected Lord.
“I turned again to the relatives and this time I asked them to sit down. I took my Bible and stood over the sick woman’s stretcher. For more than an hour I read to her from the book of John. When it was time for the service, another elder took my place and continued with the reading. I returned after the service and the woman was still lying unconscious. She had not moved once since she had been brought into the vestry. I could see the disappointment on the faces of her friends and relatives…
“We kept the woman in the vestry for the remainder of the day and throughout the night. She slipped in and out of consciousness, and she moaned or tried to twist her body out of the straps. Whenever she awakened, there was an elder at her side reading to her of the Resurrection and of God’s love for His suffering people.
“By morning the woman was completely conscious and able to sit up in a chair. Her face was still swollen but she had almost regained her normal coloring. Before long she recovered her voice and her first questions were of her children…Shuddering and weeping, she told the story of the shameful terror they had been forced to witness.
“‘That is why I could not bear to live,’ she said in an exhausted, broken voice. ‘I could not bear that my children had seen their father suffer such things.’
“My heart went out to the woman as she relived her nightmarish experience…[She], I knew, had no categories in which to place events that were beyond the ability of human beings to comprehend and endure.
“I prayed with the woman for a long time, asking God to bring His peace and healing to her life. When I finished, a neighbor…came forward to take her home to her relatives. The woman rose weakly and seemed about to collapse. Then she gathered her strength and, holding tightly to her neighbor’s arm, walked out the door. As I watched her leave, I felt tears fall down my cheeks. She seemed to me to be so frail and I wondered if she would ever recover from the terrible wounds she had suffered.
“…I myself heard nothing of the woman until two Sundays later when she came to church accompanied by her children and her friends and her relatives. They all sat together on the front row and with my first glance at the woman…[she] seemed to be completely well. Her face not only had returned to its normal shape but was healthy and glowing. She sat in her chair with confidence and strength and seemed to be the center of courage for the entire family. After the service, she led her family and friends forward to hear the message of salvation and together they committed their lives to Jesus Christ…
“Word of the woman’s healing spread rapidly and in the weeks that followed, we of the Redeemed Church experienced a special visitation from God. Dozens of widows and orphans, their lives shattered by Amin’s rampaging soldiers, were brought to the church for prayer. Again and again, in the presence of the most excruciating human grief and sorrow, we witnessed the power of God’s healing love. Destroyed minds and bodies were restored, and out of gratitude hundreds committed their lives to the service of Jesus Christ…”
F. Kefa Sempangi, A Distant Grief, Regal Books, Glendale, CA 1979