Pastor Ddiba Assadi leads a vibrant church in Kampala, Uganda and is one of the leaders at the centre of an amazing move of God in the city. This is his incredible testimony.
In 1985, at the age of 12, Ddiba Assadi and his elder sister visited a church in his hometown, Kampala, Uganda, to satisfy his curiosity about reports of miracle healings. The children, from a strict Muslim family, planned to keep their visit a secret because they knew it would anger their father.
But as things turned out it was to be the boy’s last day in the family home.
The church they visited was the Miracle Centre under Pastor Robert Kayanja — the same church (though different building) where currently up to half a million people gather every night for an all-night prayer, worship and ministry service that has been held daily for almost a year.
“What I saw with my own eyes was amazing. People were crying, people were laughing, people were falling. At that time I didn’t know who the Holy Spirit was. I found myself shaking and crying.
Gave life to Christ
“I couldn’t explain it, I could not understand myself. And I gave my life to Christ,” said Assadi.
When he got home, Assadi, who suffered from a severe stutter, tried to tell his father about the experience.
“I could not speak well. I was fighting with my words. I tried to explain to my dad that Jesus had touched me, I was born again.”
Assadi’s father angrily ordered his son to leave the family home.
“I used to walk around, looking for something to eat. At night I would go home but no one opened the door. I ended up on the streets of Kampala. I was a street kid for three years, eating garbage and sleeping in stadiums.”
Eventually somebody picked the teenage boy up from the street and took him to a church.
“In that church they put me in the choir. I was in the church choir for three years, doing nothing. I didn’t know how to read a Bible. I didn’t know how to pray. I didn’t know what to say.”
Assadi slept in the church at night. He was tolerated at the church but he felt isolated and unloved. After services he would ask the pastor for money for food and offer to wash cars and dishes in return.
During this difficult period he was often beaten, burned and tortured by Muslims on the street who never forgave him for leaving the religion.
On the right track
“But by the grace of God, everyday something inside me was telling me: ‘You’re on the right track. Don’t lose hope. I am with you’.”
He was unschooled and could not read or write, so he could not read the Bible for himself. But prayer became an important part of his life. He used to call upon Jesus to protect him and he told the Lord that his greatest desire was to serve Him but he did not know how to.
After three years he was offered a room in a church member’s two-bedroomed house, in exchange for maintaining the garden. He stayed there for a number of years and continued to sing in the church choir. In 2000 — 15 years after he had given his life to Jesus — after he was rejected by a woman he had fallen in love with, he locked himself in the house with the idea of killing himself by taking poison.
“I was crying and I prayed this little prayer: ‘Jesus I have never seen You before and I don’t know whether You are real. But, one thing I know is that there is something carrying me inside and I am following the right path.
“But if You are real why don’t you come and show Yourself to me? There is something I am asking from you right now, dear Jesus. Come and kill me. If you do not kill me, I will poison myself. But Jesus, do not put me in hell. Put me at the gates of heaven where You will be there with me’.
He asked the Lord to show him what he could do for Him for His glory, otherwise he would kill himself in five minutes.
He waited five minutes — and then another five. He lost hope and he heard a strong voice in his thoughts, which he believed was the devil, telling him to drink the poison.
“As I was about to open the bottle [of poison], I heard someone knocking at the door, I hid the poison as I thought my friend had come back from work. He had his own keys and I had mine but I had locked myself inside.”
He heard the front door open, and then he saw the door knob turning and the door into his room opened.
It was Jesus
“When the door opened, it was not my friend. It was our Lord Jesus. He had on a white robe. I was so amazed and I could not move. I could not shout and I was shaking.”
He said the Lord stretched out His hand and said: ” ‘Behold, I am Jesus.’ I saw His palms and the wounds from when He was crucified. I looked at him from head, down to His feet and I saw where the nail went through. But I could not utter a single word.
“When He reached to me He hugged me. When He hugged me I felt peace. I felt love and He whispered in my ears: ‘I love you.’ ”
It was the first time in his life that anybody had told him they loved him and he felt as if his heart wounds had been healed.
Jesus sat down on Assadi’s little bed and placed him on his lap.
“He began to tell me many mighty things which I did not believe at that time. He told me He was going to work with me, teach, use me in various nations, and lead me. He told me He would take me to church and teach how to read.”
Assadi said he asked Jesus how all these things would happen, since he did not have a passport, didn’t speak English, was unknown and didn’t have money.
Believe and you will see
“He looked at my face and said:’If you believe what I am telling you, you will see it.’ I asked Him to help me to believe because I had no faith to believe and I could not talk properly.
“He put his finger on my lips and when he removed his finger I began to speak fluently — without a stutter — up to date. That was the first miracle in my life.”
He said Jesus then touched his head and all the scars and burn marks inflicted by his Muslim persecutors vanished. Then Jesus put His palm over Assadi’s eyes.
“When He removed his palm I began to see the whole world. I saw people and what they were thinking, what they were saying and what they were going through. I could see what would happen in the future. I thought I was going crazy and He [Jesus] told me He was giving me the spirit of seeing.”
Jesus continued to encourage Assadi, saying he would show him things to come and reveal men’s hearts to him but he should wait for His timing and should remain humble and faithful. He should also forgive everybody who had hurt him. When Assadi said he could forgive everybody except for the Muslims, Jesus touched his heart and the spirit of unforgiveness left him like a chain being broken.
An unknown language
After two and a half hours when Jesus stood up, he saw his hair from behind — it was pure gold. He touched the Lord’s hair and fell down and started speaking in a language that he did not understand — but now knows to be tongues.
When he asked Jesus what was going on the Lord said: “You have been touched by My anointing. I am Christ the Anointed One. I am preparing your life to give you the same anointing, to take My healing and My love to the nations of the world.”
Jesus started to teach him about the Holy Spirit and then told him to turn around. When he turned he saw what seemed like a giant glass man in the form of Christ — and he heard a voice saying it was the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit called his name and said He would be with him always, then He disappeared into Assadi’s body. Assadi said he felt stronger, more full of faith and wanted to jump and praise God.
Soon afterwards Jesus left, passing through the wall and the owner of the house, Kamva, returned.
When Kamva heard Assadi’s story, and saw that his face was clear and he did not stutter, he said he should tell their pastor. On his way to see the pastor, the Holy Spirit told Assadi the pastor would not believe him. In fact, after hearing his testimony, the pastor told him he was demonised and needed deliverance.
Thereafter he was kicked out of the choir and shunned by people in the church. But one day the scheduled preacher did not arrive and the church was full. He phoned the pastor who was away and was told to ask people to share testimonies. But nobody came forward. He called the pastor again and was told he should pray for the people but should not preach. He said he would be there later.
Assadi had never stood in front of the congregation before but something unexpected happened when he did that day.
“When I stood there, my eyes were opened. I began to see the issues the people were going through. I began to call them by name. People was so amazed, the power of God was healing people, people were receiving instant healing. The service was supposed to end in 45 minutes, but we ran that service for three hours.”
When the pastor eventually arrived he reprimanded Assadi and told him not to do such a thing again. He apologised but said that nevertheless people started to follow him. He told them he was not a preacher and that if God gave them a word for them he would give it to the pastor.
His life carried on in that way for another five years until the Holy Spirit began to open doors for him to talk to people by phone.
“People began phoning me from Sweden, from London, from the US — saying my sister has given me your number that you can pray for me. Can you please pray for me? And the miracles began to happen. People bought me tickets, I began to fly… getting visas, flying to Sweden, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Israel… I’ve been in South Africa several times.”
But his pastor continued to ignore him and he decided to visit Pastor Robert Kayanja (now his spiritual father) at the Miracle Centre Cathedral under whose ministry he had first accepted Jesus more than 20 years previously as a 12-year-old Muslim boy.
Call to preach the gospel
He spent five fruitful years at the Miracle Centre Cathedral where Kayanja told him God had called him and he should rise up and preach the gospel. Kayanja eventually prayed for him, anointed him and assured him that the Lord would show him where to plant a church.
But Assadi said he was shocked when God showed him the notorious red light district of Kampala — a place of prostitutes and drug addicts that he wanted nothing to do with. Appalled at the idea he moved to South Africa and stated ministering in Cape Town where he was well received. But Jesus appeared to him again and said he must return to Kampala, promising to protect and provide for him and to take him around the world.
“I cried the whole night and I said: ‘ Lord no! Send someone else, people are hurting me a lot there in Uganda.’ ”
But Jesus persisted and he returned to Uganda.
“I thought things would work out quickly. But it took another two years. I didn’t see a single sign from God. I was disappointed, discouraged and began to regret returning.”
After some time he was approached by a wealthy man who told him that years ago, on the day he had spoken in his old church when no preacher arrived, he had prophesied accurately into his life. He said he had made a vow to provide him with rent-free space. And so he gave him a hall that could accommodate 100 people — in the red light area.
Reluctantly he accepted the hall, but resolved not to put up a sign or make any public announcements about the new church. Married by that time, he decided that he and his wife Lydia would test God’s will by simply waiting on Him. Within a month the hall was packed and after two years they moved to a bigger venue — still in the red light district — which is their current church, Spirit Life Miracle Ministries.
“Right now, as I am speaking, this place is too small,” he said.
“God is doing incredible things. He sends miracles, signs and wonders, people are giving their lives to God. The anointing of God is so strong. God has been faithful.”
Steve Kalule, a Ugandan-born engineering contractor who is based in Johannesburg, recently preached in Assadi’s church during a ministry trip with South African worship leader Pieter McKarthy.
“One of the amazing stories about the church is that it is located in Kampala’s red light district. The pastor is not an educated man and yet because of what God is doing, the people surrounding him and in leadership and within the congregation, include high government officials, accountants, doctors, professors and other professional people with a wide circle of influence,” he said.