You need to acquaint yourself the remarkable autobiography Fan into Flame by late Very Rev. Dr. John G. Gatu that traces his remarkable life as a born-again Christian and the impact of the revival movement in Kenya. The chapter on how he and others such as Rev. Obadiah Kariuki confronted the late President Jomo Kenyatta regarding oath taking shortly after Tom Mboya was assassinated is powerful to say the least.
The revival movement brought us into contact with Wazee wa Mzigo such as Musa Amoke. But none represents this unique evangelistic movement than the mecurial late Bishop Festo Kivengere of Uganda.
In his sermon in the US titled `The Triumph of God’s Glory’ by Kivengere begins this sermon by saying:
“…I remembered when I was preaching in the Solomon’s Islands, years back, a young man was affected by this Glory of Jesus Christ in His fullness. One hot afternoon in the Church, in the Island of Maleta, and without any invitation, this young man of about twenty, got up, excited and he came forward and this is what he said:
`Brothers, me love Jesus too much. Me try speak about him other people. Me shake, shake too much. But me now know him proper. Me shake shake no more.. !”
Of this sermon’s subject he says thus: `Its dimension can make men clap, let alone angels…’
Based on St. John’s Gospel 17: 22, 24 New International Version, he quotes:
22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
We are reminded that `Festo Kivengere (1919–1988) was a Ugandan Anglican leader sometimes referred to as “the Billy Graham of Africa”. He played a huge role in a Christian revival in southwestern Uganda, but had to flee in 1973 to Kenya in fear for his life after speaking out against Idi Amin‘s tyrannical behavior.
Kivengere had been made bishop of Kigezi and was among several bishops summoned to Amin’s quarters. Angry mobs called for their deaths. Eventually, all were permitted to leave but one, the archbishop, Janani Luwum. The others waited for Luwum to join them but he never came out. The next day the government announced that Luwum had died in an automobile accident. Four days later, despite government threats, 45,000 Ugandans gathered in the Anglican cathedral in Kampala for a memorial service honouring their fallen leader. Kivengere did not attend the service. Urged to flee by friends who said, “One dead bishop is enough,” he and his wife that night drove as far as their vehicle could take them and with the help of local church people in the hills they walked until the next morning brought them to safety across the border in Rwanda.
He later authored the book I Love Idi Amin to emphasize the qualities of forgiveness for those who wronged you and love of those who persecute you. Kivengere stated, “On the cross, Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, because they know not what they do.’ As evil as Idi Amin is, how can I do less toward him?”
He returned to Uganda after Amin’s downfall to continue an active ministry until his death by leukemia in 1988.
Kivengere was known as a great storyteller and often thrilled his own and other’s children with his storytelling skills. A favourite story of his:
“One day a little girl sat watching her mother working in the kitchen. She asked her mummy, ‘What does God do all day long?’ For a while the mother was stumped, but then she said, ‘Darling, I’ll tell you what God does all day long. He spends his whole day mending broken things.’
Oh…! Sweet Jesus!
`Because He came, and he became a human being, he gives my `Africaness’ a completely new value….’