Mt. Elgon. When I hear about it, I often get chills. I’ve never heard of a worse war. Maybe there’s been a bigger one, but not one with greater cruelty. It is over now, but the pain still lingers. It was one tribe fighting against itself. So many died, and too many children saw their parents brutally killed.
CRF had some schools on Mt. Elgon. One was taken. Another was closed. We got one of them back, but there has been a lot of damage done. When the school was closed, many children did not get to attend any school at all. Now that they are coming back, they are very old for the grade in which they are enrolled. This presents a problem because it is difficult to get sponsors for older children who are in primary grades. And our CRF leader at the school was also murdered in the horrible violence. As a result, we needed a new leader.
As a group of us with CRF were talking about the situation, we discussed the leadership qualities of James Mangut. We had been told that he would be a good partner for CRF, and he was already helping the children there at the school. But in our conversation, his faith came up. We were not sure about his commitment to Christianity. And there is a “Christian” in Christian Relief Fund. We talked about his belief or lack of it. We tried to conjecture about why he wasn’t a part of the church there. We discussed what all was needed spiritually in being a part of our school. Nearly all of us felt like we needed him but couldn’t use him because of this seemingly big difference in us.
As we kept talking about him, Emmanuel (yes, of Emmanuel’s Farm) said, “I’m going to quit talking about him and go talk to him.” He suggested that maybe no one has ever talked to him about this before. He also said that if James knew how good the gospel was, he would want to be a follower. So when the rest of us talked about James, Emmanuel talked to James. In fact, he talked to him several times.
I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when Emmanuel sent me an email recently telling me that James and his wife were making a decision to be Christians. And Emmanuel went over to Mt. Elgon and baptized not only James but also his wife, Pamela. But that is not all—a lot of other people upon hearing the good news also thought it was good. Before Emmanuel left, he had baptized 39 people. Isn’t that great?
Now we have a good leader and a man who believes on Mt. Elgon to teach our children. I’m thankful for James’ surrender to God. And I’m thankful for Emmanuel’s witness to him.
I think I learned a lesson through this. You should talk to people rather than about them. How many people do we talk about rather than talk to? Maybe a lot more people would believe if we would talk to them rather than about them.
Pray for James. He has a monumental task on Mt. Elgon. He needs money for the school to keep it continuing. He needs a lot of his kids sponsored. But he has faith.