|Pastor Baamu Moses, Regional Shalom Leader|
Shalom Principles Work in Uganda
By Pastor Baamu Moses, Regional Shalom Leader/Trainer, Jinja, Uganda
After being trained in the six threads of Shalom, I faced several challenges from fellow community leaders in my efforts to roll it out Shalom Zone Training in my community in Uganda. One of the key principles of shalom is the M word–multicultural, multi faith collaboration, but this approach is very challenging to implement.
Many members of the community were sceptical, uncomfortable and unhappy with me for bringing together people from different faiths, especially the Muslims, for Shalom training. Some of my fellow pastors felt that I had lost direction. One of them, a close friend, came to me claiming that God had spoken to him and sent him to tell me that in bringing together people from different faiths, I had lost track.
I told him that it was very good for God to send him, for God does everything out of love. However, I told him that if it is God who sent him to me, then I will pray about it so that He can talk to me directly, and I will diligently follow whatever He tells me to do. I prayed and waited patiently, but I did not receive the same message on this matter.
My pastor friend continued to come for shalom meetings and training for 116 shalomers: Pentecostals, Methodists, Baptists, Catholic, Orthodox, and Muslims! One day while I was training about sustainable development/change, I told the community that development is anchored on how one collaborates with the rest of the community. I gave an example that one person can be endowed with land which another member doesn’t have. However if there is collaboration in the community, the later can talk to the former and use part of the land to cultivate food and get income from the excess production.
On hearing this, that same pastor who thought I had lost direction by bringing together different faiths, went to a Muslim shalom member of the community who had a large piece of land. The Muslim farmer loaned the Christian pastor four acres (about 1.5 hectares) for cultivation for free. The pastor was determined and committed and worked very hard with his family, and God blessed them with good farming yields. Within one season, the pastor had mobilized sufficient money to buy his own piece of land of about two (2) acres, and he is now able to build a house.
Eventually my pastor friend came to me to apologize and say that it wasn’t God who had sent him to me with a divine message, but that it was only his personal opinion. He had a change of heart and now has great passion and commitment to Communities of Shalom; he is a strong advocate of Shalom Training and takes pride in community collaboration.
All six letters of S-H-A-L-O-M are important in doing shalom work in the community, and we cannot leave out Multifaith collaboration. We should STICK TO OUR VISION and NOT ABANDON IT.
Note: Pastor Baaumu Moses attended the Shalom Training in Ocean Grove in June, and will be co-leading a workshop at the Shalom Summit in Los Angeles in October. Join him there!