It is one thing to hear God declare his plan for restoring Africa.
It is another thing to respond to what you believe God has said by buying land and starting to build new villages.
But that is what he did, veteran Ugandan pastor and intercessor Laban Jjumba told fellow African Christian leaders during a virtual Africa Day prayer meeting last week, hosted by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng of South Africa.
Jjumba, who is one of the apostolic team leaders of a group of 250 congregations in Uganda and a founder of Intercessors for Africa, asked leaders participating in the historic prayer gathering to meditate on his message and then confer together on how to move Africa forward.
In his message, Jjumba, who says he has been praying for his country for nearly 60 years, shared how God spoke to him through Scripture about restoring Africa.
A few years ago, while wondering why things were not moving forward in Africa as expected, he said the Lord drew him to Isaiah chapters 58 and 61.
Speaking to intercessors, he says Chapter 58:12 says: Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.
It is saying that intercessors are to “start the building work”, he said.
He said chapter 61, which deals with the coming of the Messiah and His work through His anointed people, says in verse 4: “And they shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former resolutions, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations.”
In other words the two chapters of Isaiah have surprising news for “those among us who have been expecting politicians and the like to build the nations”. The Scriptures confirm that it is the assignment of intercessors and Spirit-filled Christians to “rebuild the old ruins”.
“It struck me strongly, because I thought my calling was only in the closet,” said Jjumba.
He said that as he prayed on, God continued to speak to him through the Genesis story of Joseph, who is a type of Jesus.
Joseph — his father’s beloved — left his family home in Hebron to check on his brother, as Jesus, His Father’s beloved, left Heaven to check on God’s creation. As Joseph discovered that his brothers were not where he expected to find them, so Jesus found his brethren — the Jewish people — were not where He expected them to be spiritually. Joseph’s brothers then conspired to kill him, and Jesus’s “brothers” colluded with the Romans to kill Him.
Meditating on the parallels between Joseph and Jesus, Jjumba reflected on Joseph’s experiences in Egypt and what they represent in the lives of Christians today.
In Egypt Joseph was enslaved, lusted after by his master’s wife, and imprisoned before he became the governor of the country. Jjumba said his reflections led him to a “powerful discovery” — that “Jesus has become imprisoned in our religious systems”.
Joseph was unknown in Egypt before he became governor. Today, he said, people know Jesus as the starting point of a religion called Christianity.
“They don’t know Him as the solution to their nation’s and the continent’s problems. which means because we have imprisoned Jesus in our religious systems and He is looked upon as a religious leader — not as a King. And He came to be King and provide solutions.
“That is why the nations do not have solutions, which means we must release Jesus from being just a religious leader — to becoming King and providing solutions for the continent,” he said.
He said that after Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream he advised him what to do, saying: “Let Pharaoh do this…” It is time for Jesus — through His Church — to come out of imprisonment and tell Africa what to do, saying: “Let Africa do this…”
Jjumba said he looked at a news video clip of a 7km queue of Indian people lining up for food handouts due to the impact of being locked down. He was deeply moved when a woman in the line said: “Please, we are able to work with our hands but we are now locked up in the city. Can you provide us transport so we can get back into our villages and we will grow food for ourselves? We don’t want to beg for food.”
He said the Lord spoke to him, saying people were suffering because of the worldly system that is being followed by nations, whereby people leave their inheritance on the land and come into cities.
He recalled how, after South Africa was released from apartheid rule, many people left homelands for the cities. Likewise, many Africans were dying in the desert and sea running away to Europe, or ending in slavery after going to the Middle East in search of jobs.
Jjumba said the Lord told him that Africa will not be restored if all the people who have left their inheritance in the country remain in the cities where life is tough and artificial.
He said the Lord’s solution came to him through reading and meditating on the Genesis 14 account of the abduction of Lot and his family by warring kings. Verse 14 says that on learning of Lot’s situation, Abraham mobilised 318 men who were born in his house and pursued the raiders. The rescue mission was a success and Lot and his family were brought back home.
Jjumba said he had read the passage many times but as he meditated on it this time, he realised that the 318 fighting men must have had wives and children, which he conservatively estimated meant that Abraham was a father of a community of nearly 2 000 people.
“And I heard God saying to me: ‘That was Abraham’s church. Abraham was their father and their pastor.”
Furthermore, it dawned on him that all of those people were employed, trained and equipped.
“God spoke to me: ‘This was my original vision of the Church — a community fathered by pastors and leaders like Abraham, and all of them taught the ways of the God of Abraham,’ ” said Jjumba.
He said that God showed him that in Genesis 18:19, which was before Isaac was born, He could say He knew Abraham would command his family after him to keep the ways of the Lord — because he had seen him fathering his “church”.
He said God told him He had intended for churches to be communities like Abraham’s “church”.
“I said: ‘Wow! You mean what we have as congregations is not what God had on His heart?’ And — please forgive me church pastors — but this is what I feel God spoke to me: that congregations are a very poor representation of God’s original plan for the church.
“He intended communities, fathered and led properly, living on their inheritance; not cut off and living in slums and cardboard box houses and the kind of thing that we have today.”
God further told him that it was praying people and Spirit-filled people who were going to build such churches.
“I want to conclude, by challenging my brothers and sisters that the idea of mega-church congregations — I don’t believe is any longer God’s heart. Lockdowns have taught us a lot. We are not able to do certain things because we are just congregations. Nobody knows where the other brother lives. Nobody knows whether he is hungry or not.
“But in a community people know what goes on with each other. I am praying God will show you how to build this new type of community which God is talking about. I believe it is when we hear this word: ‘Let Africa do this, Let the Church do this’ — that we begin to hear God’s heart about the future,” said Jjumba.
He said that a few years ago God began to direct him personally “to go back to our inheritance in the land — in the villages”.
“We have bought 61 acres of land about 160km west of Kampala, and my colleague has spearheaded another move north of Kampala by buying another 93 acres. And we are grouping together, starting new communities and new villages there. We are already seeing the establishment of communities where we are bringing in the youth who have been running off to the Middle East to get jobs.
“And we provide them with employment in cottage industries on the farms that we have established there as the beginning of the solution for Africa. Already our neighbours in these villages that we have started are coming to us and saying: ‘Why are you coming here?’ because they have seen a lifestyle in our villages in the country that is better than theirs.
“They begin to ask us for the solutions which are coming from the Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot say everything in the few minutes that we have here. But I want to ask you that you begin to meditate on this and let us conference together and see how to move Africa forward. It is those from among you intercessors and you Spirit-filled people who will rebuild the old ruins.”
Watch Pastor Laban Jjumba’s Africa Day prayer meeting message: