Missionaries escape gun battle and deepen bond with Karamojong people they are reaching.

By November 10, 2004

Uganda (MNN) — Missionaries with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board fled their home in Uganda under gunfire and fighting.

The family of John and Linda Witte had grown accostomed to the gunfire often heard while living among the ever-warring Karamojong people. But one day in September, the missionaries found this skirmish too close to home – in their front yard.

Four Ugandan army tanks and a personnel carrier came to confront the Karamojong warriors who were on the hill behind the missionary compound. Government troops fired over the house, and the missionaries were caught in the middle.

The Witte’s four children had to crawl on the ground to avoid the gunfire, and explosions were heard in the distance. After several hours, they heard a break in the fighting and fled on foot.

The roads were closed and even walking paths were too dangerous to take, and so friends from the village helped guide the family safely through the bush six miles to the airplane waiting to evacuate them.

In that experience, the Wittes bonded with their village friends like never before, and they hope the new bond will open the door to sharing the Gospel, something the Karamojong have resisted in the past.

The Karamojong people are a difficult group to reach, facing drought, famine and war on a daily basis. Their energy is focused on survival, with little time for anything else. They are also an oral people, learning through stories spoken and not written. But there have been breakthroughs, including a missionary team who has begun chronological Bible storying.

The Witte’s are encouraged that this dangerous escape situation may be another breakthrough, and they are hopeful that it may provide a bridge into the hearts of the Karamojong people. Pray for the safety of the villagers left in the region. Pray that the Witte’s ministry will grow and be blessed through the power of God’s Spirit at work in people’s hearts.

Leave a Reply