The Mafabi family lives in Bumadanda, a mostly Muslim community with 35 mosques. Patrick and Rachel Mafabi say their son Samaera's Compassion sponsorship is the reason they converted from Islam to Christianity.
Samaera Mukungwa's heart raced. The little boy watched spellbound as 17 radiant brides - including his mom, Rachel Mafabi - were led into a Christian church by a procession of jubilant choir members. Also watching were the boy's neighbors in the predominantly Muslim village of Bumadanda. They were shocked. Word had spread quickly among the hundreds of onlookers that most of the 17 couples pledging their vows to one another were recent converts from Islam to Christianity. Although most of the couples were living together, they had never been legally married. The wedding and conversion ceremony was the result of the couples' children attending the local Compassion program.
"Because of Compassion sponsors' outreach to children, regardless of their religious affiliation, Muslim adults here are beginning to understand Christ's love doesn't discriminate," says Reverend Samwiri Wabulakha, a bishop in the Church of Uganda who officiated the wedding ceremony. Samwiri says, "This has caused many sponsored children's parents to accept Him."
One Family's Conversion
The Mafabis are an example of this conversion phenomenon. "We couldn't believe our son Samaera's Christian sponsor, someone who didn't know him or us, sent us support even though we were Muslims," says Patrick Mafabi." Also, the encouragement and gifts we received from the local Bufumbo Child Development Center (UG-811), including a mattress and even seeds for us to plant, this forced us to rethink our faith - Islam did not bless us, but Christians did," added Rachel.
Samaera, now eight, says he is ecstatic that his parents have accepted Jesus Christ. "I am very happy because I always wanted them to see that Jesus is very good," Samaera says. "He loves us very much."
Once they made their decision to follow Christ, Samaera's parents participated in the multiple wedding to signify their commitment to one another and their dedication to their newfound Savior. The event was a watershed moment for the entire community.
Christian Revival Sweeps Community
"Immediately following the wedding, 120 Bumadanda villagers accepted Christ," says Solomon Maasa Madanda, an administrator for the Bufumbo center. "Shortly after that, an additional 800 Muslims accepted Christ in several neighboring villages." The diocesan office has formed a special team to help the overwhelmed pastors in the district to train and disciple the many new converts.
Despite the wave of revival sweeping the Bumadanda area, life hasn't been easy for the new converts. The Mafabis report that many of their former Muslim friends and current neighbors have had nothing to do with them since their wedding. Yet the Mufabis do not regret their decision.
"I thank God for the mercy and love He has shown me and my family," says Patrick. "I am now more at peace and my wife and I are closer than we ever were before!"
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