Our Uganda 2014 team is preparing their hearts and minds for the upcoming trip this summer, and this online article about Alexander Mackay’s work for the cause of Christ in Uganda is a must-read. Ben Mosteller, one of our deacons who’s leading the trip to Uganda, gives us his thoughts about the pioneering work of this early missionary:
Alexander Mackay blazed through uncharted territory in Uganda back in the 1870s, and we will be experiencing the fruit of his labors this summer, nearly 150 years later. A Scottish missionary who answered God’s tug on his heart to serve in Africa, Mackay had to literally cut his way from the coast of East Africa into the heart of the continent to Lake Victoria and eventually what is now Uganda.
This article recounts the hardships of a man with a passion for seeing lost people come to Christ. Mackay took the mantra of John the Baptist, that he was “preparing the way for the coming of the Lord.” He dealt with many difficulties, not the least of which was the king of Uganda at the time. Mackay spoke boldly and with conviction to the king, saying things to the king like, “The greatness [of people] will pass away and their souls are lost in the darkness of belief in wizards and charms, while I know that my soul is saved by Jesus Christ, God’s Son, and therefore I have spiritual riches that never perish.” What boldness!
God used Mackay to bring many people to Himself, but the king (and later, his son) turned on the Christians due to the persuasion and lies of Muslim slave traders. These men were trying to manipulate the king, but Mackay spoke out against the injustice of slavery, which the king was doing to his own people. At different points, the king ordered Christians to be tortured and killed. But the passion for Christ never died. Even three boys, aged 12-15, were tortured and burned for standing up for their faith! God used Mackay in mighty ways until he died of Malaria at 41, and we still see the legacy of his work today.
It is amazing to read of the history of those who have gone before us to this great land to share Christ with its people. We are honored to follow in Mackay’s footsteps these many years later. Not that we (or Mackay) labor for renown and glory. As one Christian who was killed for preaching the Gospel in Uganda said, “I have bought this road with my life!” His blood paved the way for many Christ followers to come. We now prepare to journey down this road to continue God’s work in Uganda–for His glory alone!