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Keswick: pastor's tale of family abuse healed by Christ

A Ugandan pastor who suffered a childhood of abuse, rejection and poverty has spoken of the need for ‘revolutionary forgiveness’ for those who follow Christ ...

A Ugandan pastor who suffered a childhood of abuse, rejection and poverty has spoken of the need for ‘revolutionary forgiveness’ for those who follow Christ.

Medad Birungi’s childhood in Uganda was blighted by a polygamous, abusive father who ultimately rejected Medad’s family and left them in poverty. Shunned and mocked by his community, the family turned to witchcraft to try to improve their situation, but found that their lives got even worse. Medad started a lifestyle of violence, alcohol and crime, but found his depression just got worse. He tells his story in Tombstones and Banana Trees: a true story of revolutionary forgiveness.

Speaking at the Keswick Convention, which he has attended nearly every year since 1997, Birungi said the power of Jesus Christ helped him forgive the terrible hurts he had received and inspired him to go and help others.

“I believe that forgiveness through Jesus Christ heals your past – it has healed my past,” he said. “It also restores your current relationships. From my brokenness and woundedness, God has given me a ministry of healing broken lives and inner healing.

“Forgiveness is a choice. Jesus Christ is the only one who can enable you to forgive, it’s very hard. But through the power of the Holy Spirit, forgiveness is possible.”

Initially through a choir that spoke of the truth of Jesus Christ, Birungi was drawn to Christ, and ultimately reconciled with all of his family and those who had badly hurt him. They are mostly now born-again Christians.

Birungi is now an evangelist and has set up orphanages and Bible teaching programmes in his country. He attends Keswick Convention to rejuvenate from his ministry commitments.

“Sometimes I get dry and tired,” he says. “Keswick has been my power centre. I come here, and I’m empowered. I get notes and CDs, and when I go back I take the theme of Keswick for another year. I go to preach. It has been a power source centre.”

Keswick aims to be a place of spiritual refreshment, to equip and strengthen Christians in their work for the Lord. It is a Christian event with a series of Bible talks, passionate worship and fellowship, set in the glorious surroundings of the Lake District.

Photo: Mark Rushton, Keswick Ministries

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