Persecution Uganda | 03 August 2023

Finding hope in horror in Uganda


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Amina was one of those killed in this summer’s shocking attack on a school. But her death wasn’t in vain.

On July 3, the Ugandan Army found the body of 16-year-old Amina in a forest, just across the border in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Presumably, she’d been left there by Islamic militants who are part of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). She was one of the 37 people killed earlier this summer when ADF forces stormed the Lhubiriha Secondary School in Mpondwe, Uganda. 

The attack was shocking in its brutality. It’s just one example of the horrors our brothers and sisters in sub-Saharan Africa are suffering at the hands of violent extremists.

But Amina’s story doesn’t end with horror and brutality. It ends with the resilience of the African church on full display.

It ends with hope.


Redemption out of senseless violence

In June, just after the attack, Open Doors field workers were able to visit two families that had lost loved ones in the violence. Amina’s family were one of those.

Some members of Amina’s primarily Muslim family were estranged from her. When Amina and her mother committed their lives to Christ last year, both were immediately ostracized, including by Amina’s staunchly Muslim father.

Amina and her mother were taken in by the church after their family chased them from their home. They were cared for by the church, with Open Doors support. Even then, they continued to face many challenges, including threats from the family and difficulty meeting basic needs.

Amina needed to go to school and with all the financial constraints, her mother had to find the nearest school with affordable school fees. And that’s why Amina found herself at Lhubiriha Secondary School on the night of the attack.

During a visit to the family on June 18, our field workers could see an empty, fresh grave, though the family was still unsure of where Amina was. They knew she had either been abducted or was one of the bodies the government was trying to identify through DNA testing.

Then, the soldiers finally found her.

After her body was identified, a second funeral service was organized for Amina at the church where Amina used to attend. Before the burial in that fresh grave, the pastor preached the Good News of Jesus to Amina’s family members and the other people there, many of whom are Muslims. And, praise God, the seed of the gospel found good soil.

“One of the Muslim members present said that seeing his fellow Muslims kill such innocent students in the name of Allah has made him question his own faith ...”, says an Open Doors team member present at the funeral. This man eventually gave his life to Jesus.

We can’t share any specifics about this new brother, as he has already received death threats. But his faith is a testimony to Amina’s legacy. “I have been told that I cannot be on the earth and must be killed,” he says. “I fear as a human, but I am trusting Jesus to guide me. For me, even if they kill me, I will be in heaven with Amina.”

When things like Amina’s murder happen, it can be tempting to throw up our hands and wonder where God was. And, of course, we will never know—this side of heaven—why God allows our brothers and sisters to be butchered. All we know is that it grieves Him, too; and that He walks alongside us as we mourn.

But sometimes, God gives us a glimpse of His redemptive work in the world. And that’s what this is. Amina’s death seems pointless, yet another victim in a region full of innocent martyrs. But her death helped ignite the hope of Jesus in another heart! She didn’t die in vain—her witness continued after her death, and God welcomed another sinner into His arms.

Join us in thanking God for Amina’s life and testimony. And continue to pray with us for our brothers and sisters in Uganda as they continue to mourn this horrific attack:

  • Thank God for giving Amina’s mother peace about where her daughter’s body is and that it has now been laid to rest. Naturally, Amina’s mother is still grieving.

  • Pray for healing, comfort and peace for her mother and the entire family. Thank God for those in the community whose hearts are beginning to turn towards Jesus.

  • Pray the Lord will strengthen them for whatever persecution may lie ahead. Pray they will grow in the faith and also be a testimony that will bring many others to Christ.

  • Pray especially for our new brother’s safety, that God will protect him and that he will be well discipled. Pray for wisdom and direction for our local team and church, as they seek for a secure way to support new converts in Mpondwe.

  • Pray for all the families that have lost children and loved ones in this attack. May God’s Spirit be their Comforter and minister to their hearts and minds.