Each time I wake up in the morning, I am always delighted to write to you, but the most exciting part is when the LORD Jesus tells me what to say by His Spirit. Well you may say but Pastor Mark also likes to exaggerate things, how can Jesus talk to Him all the time!
Yes He does speak to me every day otherwise I wouldn’t have what to say to you and this morning He said to me, “tell them I know each one of them by name.” in my last letter I shared my personal encounter with the Holy Spirit when I was 9 years old. What I didn’t say is that I didn’t pray at all during that period because I didn’t know how too. After a while I joined Teso College for my S1 but I didn’t take the good old book instead I found strange things there.
Right in the middle of West Wing which housed S1 – S2s, stood the Anglican Chapel and every evening, those who wanted would go and pray, what baffled me was that the services were led by students. Where I was coming from, it was either Reverend Wataaka or his assistant the Canon who led church, how then do young boys lead service, where do they learn these things.
I started to attend service every now and then but on one day something happened that didn’t quite go well with me, it was strange and never had I seen or heard people act that way before, when we got up to pray, some boys started to pray in a strange language, It started with the one who was leading the service, my eyes were closed and in that prayer mood and then I heard this guy blast out something that sounded like, “Rakatambarakaya soyororo kayarata mamamama”
I instantly opened my eyes, and I thought to myself, what’s going on? Then another boy in the corner started the something similar but as I listened, it was not the same, then another started screaming. I was now starting to have a panic attack, how can strange things be happening here, this is supposed to be a church. I turned to look at my neighbour to see if he noticed what I was seeing and I got the shock of my life, his hands were lifted up and tears were rolling down his little face.
As I was trying to comprehend what was happening, the guys started falling on those hard benches, one by one, I was startled, what’s going on? About 30 landed, by this time I was close to the door, I was certain I had entered something I wasn’t sure of. What shocked me is that no one was shocked that I was shocked as a matter of fact, they weren’t shocked but instead they looked peaceful and sort of seemed to know what they were doing. Those who fell were carried to the mat in front.
I couldn’t wait for the service to end, when the praying stopped, the young leader called out those who wanted to receive Jesus Christ as their LORD and Saviour, I said to my self, I will be damned if I go over there, not after this bwalalala kakaka and the falling down that I have seen.
I didn’t ask questions, lest I also start doing bwalala and falling down like those fellows. That encounter drove me away from church. Back home my dad was proper catholic so was my step mother, and the old man wanted me to be like him, forcing me to go for mass, well he didn’t succeed.
After that church experience in TCA, I spent 6 years without stepping church, I didn’t read the good old book because it was back in Seeta and I was now in my A level in Mbale. Not once did I think I would get born again, what I didn’t know is that the LORD knew my name and a time had been set for me to give my life to Christ.
Then in 2003, a wave of Roger Mugisha hit Mbale town, I saw people heading to Mbale stadium to listen to this man who says he had a meeting with the devil and then got born again, well I wasn’t moved. I wasn’t going there to start falling and speaking things I wasn’t sure of. I stayed away from all things that had to do with Jesus Christ and manifesting. I wasn’t about to start manifesting anything. The Holy Spirit I had met earlier didn’t make me do any of that stuff.
Then one night on 22 Nov 2003, I was lying down on my hostel bed and it felt like someone spoke to me. I didn’t hear a voice but there was a familiar Presence, someone that I always knew, I sat up and I could feel what the Person was saying but without the audible voice, and He said, “It is time to give your life to Jesus” let me tell you, I knew that I knew that I knew it was indeed time and I didn’t fight because I knew that voice from when I was 9 years. When He left the room, I lay back on my bed and I knew I needed to find a church.
The next day, I asked my friends who I used to see going to church, I said to them, “Take me to a church for Born Again” they looked at me with this shock and one of them said, “You, Arnold going to church” something must be wrong, I insisted, “Will you take me or not” they said they would take me, we went to a church called Latter Rain in Mbale along Tororo road and I sat quietly behind. I didn’t go to listen to a preacher, I was told to give my life to Christ and I was going to do exactly that. After what seemed like forever with lots of clapping and dancing with people interrupting the preacher with this shouting, Hallelujah of course this was never in our little Anglican Church in Seeta.
Then finally I heard the man say, who would like to give their life to Christ, before he could finish the statement, I was up on my feet and walking to the front where he was. Imagine, a tall built-up 18 year old with big shoes and a tight T Shirt walking towards the Pastor, I looked more like a bouncer back then and when I got in front, I got on my knees. Then I was led in the prayer of salvation, I have never felt like that before, I was knew, the presence I had felt when I was a child was back. He was there but this time, there was a joy I had deep within.
As the LORD reminded me this story, I thought of you and your loved ones who are not yet born again and those who mock the Holy Spirit out of ignorance, and that’s when it occurred to me that the LORD does know them too by name and He loves them. Don’t worry about them, only pray. Their time will come like mine came. Now I cant even begin to describe to you how much I love to pray in tongues and keep in the company of people who worship the LORD in Spirit and in Truth.
“But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.”
This is the Word of the LORD.
Pastor Mark A Odeke
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. Romans 11:36