Overcoming Lust in Uganda
Recently, I exchanged emails with Margaret Nelson. Margaret is a Shepherd’s Staff Mission Facilitators missionary who has served in Uganda for over fifteen years. SSFMI is a rapidly growing NPO presently helping 120 churches send out and care for over 210 missionaries in 54 countries. I have served on SSFMI’s board since it began in 2001.
Are we better than they?
She wrote because Jeff Jackson, our founder and director of missionary care, offered my book Overcoming Lust as a resource to our missionaries. Margaret’s description of the people among she labors caused me to ponder and pray:
Polygamy is legal here, so most women raise their children as single mothers. From the wedding, they know and fear their husbands will be unfaithful to them; they just pray they never know about it. Their husbands are mostly just sperm donors. They have multiple wives, live-in wives, and concubines, not to mention the occasional affair—in other words, they never zip up.
There are basically no morals here, even among Christians. Many pastors are not legally married to their wives, and/or are polygamous. Girls are considered more marriageable if they’ve already produced a child before marrying because they’ve proven they’re not barren (a great shame to a man). I asked in a class in church one day about when it was wise to plan for a child (or something to that effect). I was appalled that in all the answers I got, not one said “after marriage.”
I have been carefully talking to the Ugandan pastor I work with about some of your book. Ugandans basically do not talk about sexual matters at all, and most are very ignorant of their bodies, especially in the rural areas where we minister. But since he’s been my interpreter for 15 years and we trained health workers for 3 years (I am an RN) he had to learn to talk about “forbidden” topics.
He was not sure as a pastor he should be even teaching on such matters.
One of the things we have looked at in our rural village church’s ministry (which focuses on both teaching the Word, and on doing Bible centered village education) is doing an adult Sunday School class for men’s and women’s issues. He could maybe teach men and boys on the life of King David, and I could teach the women and girls maybe on Queen Esther (with the pastor’s wife interpreting for me). Your book has renewed that vision, and certainly provides us with usable materials for such a ministry.
Are we better than they?
Dare we look down on these Ugandans? Among them, sexual sin is fully exposed. However, among us sexual sin and its damage are covered up by means of birth control and abortion while pornography use has become rampant. In our midst, single mothers are frequently isolated. Are our ways less harmful or more pleasing to God than the way these Ugandans live?
Will you pray?
Will you join me in praying for Margaret and this church in Uganda as they confront the destructive sin of lust and bring light into a dark place?
Note: You may also be interested in the book endorsement submitted by Margaret.