Listening to Joseph tell his life story is as exciting as watching a movie filled with adventure and wonder. At 23 years old, he has seen more than most people will ever see.
Born near Jinja, his mother would journey by foot with her family quite often. Out of the seven children she brought into this world, Joseph was the only one to survive childhood. On one particular journey, Joseph and his mother traveled by foot from Jinja to Kampala (44 miles) through the bush. They ended up getting separated and Joseph found a couple working in their garden that invited him to stay in their home until his mother returned. Two months later she found him and they began the routine of wandering by foot yet again.
While staying in Karamoja, Joseph made the decision that he would not wander with his mother anymore. He craved stability and community. He stayed with extended family in the village, attended P5 and surrendered his life to the Lord. Eventually his mother also surrendered her life to the Lord, and Jesus has transformed their lives since.
Joseph would often wonder what would come of his life. He had big dreams but the village was too small to help make them come true. Almost one year ago, his friend suggested he call someone he knew in Jinja. This is when Amazima’s relationship with Joseph began. He soon found himself in Jinja interviewing for a youth pastor position for our Masese outreach.
Since joining the Amazima family, Joseph knows he can continue dreaming big because the ministry encourages him to do so. His hopes are that in 2018 he can finally attend seminary and receive his certificate as a pastor. “I love God’s timing. It is always perfect. I know whenever I finally attend seminary, it will be right when God wants me to be there,” Joseph says with a big smile on his face. For now, he is enjoying being a part of the Masese community. He prays that the children know they can ask God for what they need. “I am so grateful for this opportunity to teach the Word and know they are fed well, but I really pray that they continue to seek out formal education as well.”
You can find Joseph serving up to 1000 children in the community Monday through Friday. Watching this young man’s face light up when he speaks of how he creates curriculum for Bible studies is so inspiring. Frequent trips to the library waiting for one certain book to be available so the children can learn Bible stories better shows how committed he is to sharing the gospel. As the Masese community is primarily made up of Karamajong people, Joseph who is also Karamajong, can relate really well. He understands the hardships his people face and what they need exactly to make a change. On the top of their list of needs is Jesus. He has seen a radical change from when he first arrived. When he began discipling the children, they had very little interest in the Bible. Now they can recite verses out of the Old Testament by memory and are showing excitement about diving into the New Testament.
A question like “How has working with Amazima changed your life?” requires a comfy seat and a pot of coffee. While we could have sat and talked through his response for hours, Joseph shared what was on his heart. “One thing that I am so grateful for Amazima is the courage I now have to share the gospel.” he went on to explain that he used to be more quiet in his faith but now he is loud and confident in his love for Jesus. He even shared that within the last year 5 community members from Masese have surrendered their lives to Christ! What a beautiful gift it is for Joseph to be in Masese, amongst his Karamajong people. We truly do believe that the way Joseph dreams and prays will continue making a huge impact on this community!