Friday, August 12, 2011

Tombstones and Banana Trees by Medad Birungi

A Revolution of Forgiveness

Medad Birungi's body is scarred with abuse - poverty, rejection, abandonment. Growing up with a violent father in Uganda in the 1960’s, Medad faced pain that few can imagine. Yet today he speaks of forgiveness that all can experience.

Once a boy who begged to die by the side of the road, once a teenager angry enough to kill, once a man broken and searching, today Medad is a testimony to God’s transforming power. Through his story of healing, Medad calls you to find healing for your own emotional scars. As Medad reminds us, when we forgive others, we are doing something truly radical that changes relationships, communities and countries. We are welcoming God into the corners of the human souls, where revolutions begin.

Reverend Medad Birungi is a Bible teacher, lecturer, pastor, and founder of World Shines Ministries, an organization that evangelises, disciples and intercedes in prayer in Uganda and around the world. Medad and his wife, Connie have five children and live in Uganda.

This is the story of a man’s life. It’s a testimony of how his life is changed after he accepted Jesus into his life. It’s a story of a man who has gone through hell on earth and emerged victorious in Christ. A man so changed by Christ that his level of forgiveness puts me to shame. How do I review such a book?  I am not worthy.

All I can share with you is what I learnt....and I learned a lot.

I learnt that God can overcome any difficult situation in your life. He can turn your mourning into dancing and your sorrow into joy. If you think life is difficult for you, image the life of a young boy who was  abandoned by his father by the roadside with only the clothes on his back. Imagine a little boy who was physically abused and at six years of age, sexually abused by his sister, a boy who climbed up the banana tree to eat the bananas left for the birds because he was too hungry and yet his uncle denied him of it by taking a knife to slash his feet. Imagine a young boy who is dependent on his elder sister for finances to go to school and yet not able to anything when the same beloved sister is murdered by people known to him all because hate.  A boy who wanted to kill himself because life was hopeless and much too painful.

There are 19 people in his list whom he wanted to kill once he enters the army after graduating from school. Yet, he forgave each and every one of these people. He forgave them with a revolutionary forgiveness that comes only from Christ.

He was compared to ducks and pigs and in his culture, these are lowly creatures. To be compared to either really brought his self esteem to rock bottom. He felt so rejected and abandoned and it’s only through Christ that he began to see hope. Even in Ministry, he was rejected by his bishop and bitterness, shame and humiliation returned but yet he knew that God is always with him.

In the last chapter of the book, he says ‘What does it mean to forgive? It means obeying a direct command from God. It means following Jesus’ example. It means being open to the healing and deliverance that follow. It means embracing repentance, reconciliation and brokenness. It means seeing a release of prayer and intercession, an increase in joyfulness and a radical rise in missionary zeal. To forgive is to grow, to live, to love. To give is to leave behind the tomb and to walk out, surrounded by fresh air and new life, toward the open arms of a waiting, loving God’.

Go and buy your copy of Tombstones and Banana Trees. You will learn a lot too.

Part of the proceeds of the sales will go towards World Shine Ministries. Thank you B&B Media for sending me this ARC.

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