Priscilla is the wife of Bill Issa, a church planter in Kampala, Uganda. They have six children: Glory (17), Jonathan (15), Daniel (13), Victor (7), Joshua (4), and Esther (1).
There is a young man in our church named Alex whose conversion touched my heart. He is an orphan who became a street kid at a tender age. Later, he was taken from the streets by the biggest Charismatic/Word-of-Faith church here in Kampala, and he became a member of their dance group. By his own testimony, he remained of the world until one day he came across an audio sermon by Brother Paul Washer on the internet. After some time, his pastor called him into his office, and there he wanted to take advantage of him, but thankfully someone came and interrupted him. Alex became afraid of this situation, and he began to look for a church that preached the Word like Paul Washer.
In his search, he happened upon Conrad Mbewe and wondered if he could be helped from Zambia. He could not believe his ears when Pastor Mbewe told him that his church had a church plant in Kampala! Pastor Mbewe connected him with Pastor Bill Issa (my husband), and immediately Alex called Bill. After a few days, they met and talked at our home. After their meeting, Alex decided to leave the rich, 20,000-member mega-church to join our poor, twelve-member church, which meets in our garage. This shocked me! I could not believe it and thought that Alex would one day leave us as well. But to my surprise, he became more and more serious about his salvation, and after a while Bill baptized him. Now Alex has brought into our church some of his peers from the mega-church he used to attend. The Lord is amazing!
God has been using circumstances to work in my heart for some time. I met my husband in a charismatic church where we were both members. Bill was an evangelist in that church, but his doctrines were different from our pastor’s. Later, we moved to another area and joined different charismatic church, where Bill was appointed Assistant Pastor. He served there, but his teachings were again in contrast to those of the pastor. One day, Bill was forced to leave the church.
Bill was discouraged, but he was still spending time in prayer and sharing the gospel with his students at the high school where he was teaching. He ended up having a large following, and we could no longer fit them all in our small sitting room.
This is when the Lord joined us with our friend and brother in Christ, Michael Miller, a reformed Baptist pastor from Sand Springs, Oklahoma. The Lord started using Michael to help Bill see the truth, and he decided to abandon the charismatic faith and reform the small church which had formed. When we began to implement various reforms in the church (i.e. from unbiblical songs to hymns, from allowing women to be pastors to not allowing it, from speaking in tongues to not doing so), nearly all of the forty or so church members decided to leave. All of them went to other churches, save only our family and one other girl.
This was not easy for me to endure; it was a serious trial, because I was also not ready to accept the reforms that Bill was making. I liked being charismatic. I hated hymns because I found them old and boring, and having to stop speaking in tongues disturbed me greatly. Bill patiently continued to explain different doctrines of the Bible to me until, slowly but surely, some things started making sense to me. By the grace of the Lord, I came to realize that we had been lost, and I started to enjoy the things I used to hate. Today I can testify that the Lord has drawn near to me in a special way since we became reformed Baptists. I give all the glory to the Lord for saving my life.
I have had many special seasons in my life in which I can see God’s goodness magnified. First, I am grateful for the extraordinary provision the Lord extended to me and my family through support from HeartCry. We had been serving God, but not effectively, because of many hardships. Bill had to toil much in order both to serve Christ in ministry (which he liked so much) and to get bread on the table for us. I don’t know how I can thank God and all the donors of HeartCry enough that the Lord is using for this cause. Second, I thank the Lord for Brother Asuman’s wedding. I used to be the only woman in our church; Bill and I were the only couple in the church for a long time. Now, however, there are two women in the church (the others are men and girls). Third, I also thank the Lord for our young baby girl. Esther, who was born with a low blood-sugar level and had to be transferred to the nursery section for a week after delivery, has been restored back to health by the Lord.
Our church has been going out together to try to reach people in our community with the gospel. Once every month we have what we call a “Fellowship Sunday,” where church members remain at our home instead of leaving after the worship service, and we spend the day and share meals together. This has tightened the bond of unity and oneness among us.
Helida Ogallo: KENYA