It has been a while since I last wrote about a book that pertains to martyrdom or some form of persecution.
A while back I had the chance to read A Distant Grief by F. Kefa Sempangi. My mom had actually read it first and told me that she thought I would like it. She was right! I read it in less than twenty-four hours.
A Distant Grief shares about the persecuted and martyred Christians in Uganda during Idi Amin's reign of terror. When Amin first came into power, many thought it would bring back peace and prosperity to a desperate, war-torn country. For a short while, that seemed to be the case.
Rumors started flying around shortly after Idi Amin's rise to power. People said bodies were found floating in the Nile River and other hard-to-believe things. It was true. Amin, in his paranoia, began systematically removing all those who he thought threatened his power and authority.
The Church was one of those things. Idi Amin (who had converted to Islam) began persecuting Christians in a harsh way. Those who spoke out against him or shared the Gospel of Christ were found, tortured in horrendous ways, and then killed.
Did the Church survive this extreme persecution? Yes. It continued sharing Christ with unbelievers, it took care of the orphans and widows, and it witnessed to those who were causing so much pain to the whole country of Uganda. The author, F. Kefa Sempangi, was threatened by Amin's brutal henchmen more than once.
I found this story heartrending, but hope inspiring at the same time. A whole generation of children witnessed brutal killings (many times of their loved ones) and the Church in Uganda lost many leaders, but in the end, Christ won out. Many souls were saved when the tough times came and the Church was purified through Amin's dictatorship.
If you're looking for a challenging read, A Distant Grief is the book for you. It has had an impact on my life that few other books have had. Consider reading it this summer!
NOTE: Due to the horrible nature of Amin's crimes, this book is not recommended for young children or those with a sensitive nature.