Chaplaincy’s Kimera goes to US mission

Rev. Amos Kimera and his wife, Florence, receive prayers from UCU’s vice-chancellor and priests during the August 25 service in Nkoyoyo Hall

PATTY HOUSTON-HOLM

Rev. Amos Kimera is aware of how alcohol, technology, materialism and peer pressure get in the way of a life fully committed to Christ. He has seen that in his 36 years of growing up and working in Uganda. He knows such temptations are greater in developed countries.
In early September, when moving with his family to the United States, Rev. Amos expressed hope to play a small role in turning that around. The Uganda Christian University (UCU) assistant chaplain accepted an offer to study at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and to be a pastor at a Ugandan church in the Boston, Mass., area.
On a late August Monday afternoon and after fighting traffic in Uganda’s capital city of Kampala and helping eight students from Germany settle in for a semester on the UCU Mukono campus, he reflected on the decision that was three years in the making. In addition to offers on the American side, he had the blessings of Uganda’s Anglican Archbishop Stanley Ntagali and UCU’s Vice-Chancellor John Senyonyi.
Mostly, however, through the Bible’s Matthew Chapter 9 stories of Jesus’ healing drive, Rev. Amos recalled a visit to Boston and one youth healing opportunity that was missed.
“An 18-year-old from Uganda (and living in Boston) had everything going for him with offers for college and more,” Rev. Amos recalled.
“Yet, he felt pressure and felt not good enough. He committed suicide.”
In partnership with his wife, Florence, Rev. Amos has not just counselled youth about their self-worth and positive lifestyle changes but has walked alongside them. Sometimes, it is listening, laughing, watching a movie, – not judging – while demonstrating a lifestyle devoid of alcohol and other potentially destructive behaviours. Often, God is not mentioned at all.
“My wife is the biggest supporter of my ministry,” he said.
“We have had young people at our house, telling us they are ‘waste.’ My wife tells them that others may define them that way, but that is not who they are.”
When working on a master’s degree in urban ministry leadership and serving at St. Peter’s Anglican Church of Uganda in Massachusetts, Rev. Amos anticipates most of his work will be with youth ages 2 to 20.
Florence will volunteer at the church while focusing on the care of their two children, Makaila Mwebaza Nakalema (5 years) and Moriah Mirembe Kisakye Nassuna (11 months). With both parents from the central Uganda region – she from Mukono and he from Mityana and Luweero – they plan to reinforce the Luganda language and tribal customs at home while introducing their children to a new culture in the United States.
In previous visits to the USA, Germany (where he forged a relationship between UCU and an international university), United Kingdom, South Africa, Indonesia, Norway, Poland, Italy, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda, Rev. Amos has become keenly aware how wealth pulls people away from the Christian faith.
“When you have everything, you don’t need God,” he said.
“My fridge is full, I have a car. Life is fast. Where is God, and why do I need Him?”
The unintended consequence of modern technology, particularly for youth, is the distraction from a faith-based walk. Rev. Amos’ strategy is not to fight the media but to join them.
With his first degree from UCU in mass communications and a post-graduate degree in divinity, he is seeking solutions on how “robots” can make the church stronger.
“Church leaders need to learn how to use these tools so we’re not left behind,” he said. “Children are struggling between modern ways and the Truth. We need to be smart to overcome world views and remind youth that God is in control.”
Leaving UCU is bitter-sweet for the assistant chaplain. He will “deeply” miss the students. Likewise, Amos and Florence will miss regular visits with their family members who live in Uganda.
A Boston winter with bitter-cold snow and driving on a different side of the road are just two of many eastern United States cultural adjustments.
But Rev. Amos thinks about Matthew 9:38 and Jesus’ message to his disciples about the plentiful harvest with few workers; he knows he is being sent into that harvest field.
“God is sending me into this mission as He always has,” he said.

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