Moses Andruga wears many hats. He is a husband, father, pastor, church planter, farmer, trainer and orphan caregiver. He is very active and effective in each area of ministry, surprisingly so. What is astounding is that Moses is a sojourner, living with his family and several orphans in a tent in a foreign land.
I was speaking to Moses a few months ago, inquiring about life as a refugee. He and his family were forced to flee South Sudan because of the intense warring within the country. His departure from his motherland was necessary because military forces were sweeping through his region to thwart the advancement of rebels, who opposed the current government. Because the military has difficultly distinguishing rebels from peaceful civilians, their attacks are often indiscriminant. If a village is thought to have aided the rebels, then the whole village is in jeopardy, including women and children. Men are often arrested or killed.
Moses and his family fled into Uganda along with thousands of others South Sudanese. He receives a small amount of financial support from a mission organization, which could be used to rent a meager home and parcel of land, but Moses chooses not to do so. Instead, he opts to live in a refugee camp.
Camp living is difficult at best. We often have an image of orderly white UN tents in neat rows and daily distribution of necessities given in a peaceful manner, but the reality is very different. People are usually given a blue tarp, a 5 gallon yellow bucket and a plastic basin. There is very little organization, extortion is common, resources are extremely limited, tensions are high and sanitation is non-existent.
“Moses, why do you choose to live in the refugee camp,” I asked. His reply was quick and heartfelt—“It is where my people are. I cannot choose to live in a place away from the people. It is difficult, but I will live with my people.” I smiled broadly, and my heart felt like it would burst in praise to God for moving so genuinely in people like Moses.
Standing nearby and listening to our conversation was a man who faced the same challenges as a sojourner. I received a message from him a couple of weeks later. “My family and I are moving,” he said. “Really?” I asked. He humbly stated, “Yes, we are leaving the home that we are renting and we are going to register refugees.” I didn’t ask what prompted him to make such a decision; I knew the answer was that God used Moses’ example to lead him. That man has since become a great leader among the refugees in another area.
A few weeks ago, Moses sent a message about a new church start in his camp in Pagirinya of the Adjumani district of Uganda. The group was meeting under a tree (when weather permits) just as many churches start in the region.
Back in September, Moses mentioned in an email that the church desired to build a simple shelter. They had some local resources such as timber and labor, but they had no roofing or nails. The shelter would be a place of prayer and worship, as well as for training, storage for farming tools used in Foundation for Farming training sessions and for schooling children.
There are many great examples in the New Testament of churches helping churches while they’re in need. MeadowBrook has that kind of heart and purpose too. Moses was elated to have the monetary help from The Brook, albeit a modest amount. As the structure progressed, he sent pictures, which I am sharing with you.
Moses and people like him encourage us greatly. Their lives are given to serve and honor God, which is evident in their love and dedication to people. May we all have such devotion and ministry prowess.