Tuesday, January 25, 2011
I had always despised street preachers and taken them for people with time and breath to waste, but when I stopped to talk to one recently, I was challenged and left with a huge debt in my heart, writes Patrick Seruyange.
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Nobody seemed to be paying attention to him, not even me. From where I was, I couldn’t pick out a single word. But despite the chaos, occasional insults and hawkers competing for equal audience, he preached on. He was like a man stuck in the wilderness yelling for help, hoping that someone, somewhere, would hear his cry. Sometimes, we Christians take what we do too importantly that we forget the smaller contributions from other people. In God’s eyes, we are one body and equally perform an important role in furthering the kingdom of our Father. It is very tempting to despise pastors who preach on the sidewalks. Fellow Christians argue that their message is not taken seriously, or that they should only preach in church.
After meeting Emmanuel Walugembe preaching at 11p.m just above the taxi park, my perception towards side walk ministries changed.
Before talking to Emmanuel, I had all these preconceived ideas about him and his ministry. However, by stopping to talk to him, I realised that even though I did not pick any message from his sermon, his presence alone provided a challenge and provoked me to ask myself questions. There he was, smiling on, speaking with conviction and badly vouching for attention, yet I walked on and silently despised the influence of his ministry.
Walugembe was planting a seed in each one who passed by, a seed another person would perhaps water and have it blossom into salvation one day. It hit me then that even if nobody was paying attention, Walugembe’s presence alone was the message. A message asking each one of us what we are doing for Christ. A message delivered by a roadside pastor.