This information was put together by Reverend David Ntogohnya,  Gulu District Superintendent, and Rev. John Shroll, founder and Executive Director Emeritus of GMPI.

AFTER THE LRA WAR (1986 to 2006)

In 2005, people from the Bishop’s Office of the East African Conference (EAC) in Kampala formed an Exploratory Team (ET) to travel to Gulu. The team’s purpose was to discover any possibilities for establishing a United Methodist Church presence in the Gulu District of Uganda. The team was composed of the following persons: the Reverend James Mwoho (Dean of Ugandan United Methodism), the Reverend John Kiviiri, and the Reverend David Ntogohnya. Other group members were Bob Schooley (a missionary), Bob’s daughter, and a woman from New York, Courtney Howard. The guide for this first scouting trip was Mr. Vincent Ochaya, born in Gulu and the driver was Moses Tuuke.

This first scouting expedition was two years before the LRA had totally withdrawn from Northern Uganda. The LRA had been weakened, but there were still pockets of LRA rebel bands in remote parts of northern Uganda. This made Gulu a very insecure place. It was necessary to have a convoy of trucks full of Ugandan (UPDF) soldiers to travel safely around the rural areas of the Gulu District. Only a few of the people had begun to move back to their villages from the Internal Displaced Persons (IDP) camps built by the Musheveni government.

In 2007, a second exploratory team was sent to Gulu. The group was smaller this time and composed of three members of the EAC: James Mwoho, Paul Corti and David Notogohnya. On this second ET, the team met Paul Corti's brother, Robert, who introduced Titus Olaka to the team.

Titus had been kidnapped by the LRA and suffered injuries to his shoulders. When the group met Titus, he was a backslidden Christian. The team ministered to Titus and laid their hands on him to renew his relationship with Christ. Titus went back to where he was living in the Opit IDP Camp and gathered a group composed of mainly women and children who met for Christian fellowship in the camp. This fellowship was the beginning of Methodism in Gulu.

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The recommitment of Titus brought about a drastic change in his life. Titus had a friend, Solomon Obita, who lived in the IDP Camp in Laiyibi near Gulu City. Solomon liked the change he saw in Titus’s life and what he was doing to establish a fellowship in Opit. So the two together experienced a revived life in Christ, and they formed another fellowship in the Layibi IDP Camp.

With the departure of Kony and his rebel army, peace returned to Northern Uganda. IDP Camps were shut down and people returned to their farms and villages; they took their Methodist fellowships with them.

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In 2007, Bishop Wandabula of the EAC, appointed David Ntogohnya as Gulu District Superintendent.  David was to establish village fellowships into churches and select lay pastors to lead them. David and his wife Peninah, and their three children live close to Kampala where the Bishop and the East African Conference (EAC) offices are located. Although David is the Gulu District Superintendent, he assists the Bishop, the EAC and other districts in various ministry assignments but makes regular and frequent trips to Gulu.

The pastors in the beginning had: no training, no salary, no transportation, no property, no church facility, no resources for ministry, no Bibles, and no funds for programs or ministries.

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The first Methodist Church established was at the village of Opit and Titus Olaka is its pastor.  Titus is the most senior in age of all the pastors. Titus’s wife is Lucy. Titus derives some support  for his family by farming. Below right is a picture of the  Opit Church worship service. The church is making bricks to build their church.

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The first Methodist Church established was at the village of Opit and Titus Olaka is its pastor.  Titus is the most senior in age of all the pastors. Titus’s wife is Lucy. Titus derives some support  for his family by farming. Below right is a picture of the  Opit Church worship service. The church is making bricks to build their church.

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Peter Ojok is the pastor of the Koch Goma UMC. Peter is pictured  here with his wife and children. The church has made over 25,000 bricks. Peter is a builder and has built the KochGoma church. Peter has supervised the building of the KochCorom UMC, the District Conference Center,  and the Hospitality Lodge.

In addition to building, Peter has helped organized a soccer league composed of teams from various churches. The emphasis is to evangelize youth. Centenary (Lexington)  UMC and Advance UMC solicited used soccer uniforms for this Gulu league. Peter leads lay teams from his church to visit hospitals and pray with patients. Pastor Peter plays the keyboard.

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Josephine Lamwaka is the pastor in the village of Acschwan. She works as a farmer and is a widow. The UM church ordains women as pastors, and Josephine is the first in the region. In a culture with gender biases,  her role provides inspiration and challenge to other women who feel called to ministry.

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Alfonse Lakal is the pastor of the Koch Corom UMC. God has used his preaching and healing gifts to attract the community and the church has grown. In 2017, Pastor Alfonse held a revival in which 22 people claimed Jesus as their Savior.The church continues to give out mosquito nets; recipients receive them with tears of joy. Pastor Alfonse mentors other young pastors in the region.  Alfonse’s wife is a tailor and teaches her trade to people in the church so they can earn money to support their families.

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Douglas  Komagum is the pastor of the Ariaga UMC and serves as a mentor for Patrick Oryema, the pastor of the Lujolongole UMC. Pastor Douglas holds revivals and women conferences for Bible study and prayer at his church. He leads his church to go door to door sharing the gospel. He is careful to do follow-up visits to new Christians to get them grounded in the faith.

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Patrick Oryema is pictured here with his wife Irene and their baby. He is the pastor of the Lujolongole UMC, one of the two most recent churches formed in the Gulu District. GMPI helped purchase property, then sent the funds to raise a temporary structure (lower left) until the bricks could be made for the permanent building. The picture shows Pastor Patrick distributing mosquito nets to appreciative parents.

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