6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8
Yesterday, a great man rested from his work. The Most Rev Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo was the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Uganda from 1995 to 2004. He passed on when he was almost eighty years of age. He was one of those rare leaders with incredible humility, who won admiration from people of all walks of life, even those that weren’t Christians or under his clerical leadership. He also was known as a developmental leader, who worked to help people experience the Kingdom of God here on earth, and not just prepare them for heaven.
The challenge of being a public figure is that people can think they know you, based on the information they receive from different sources. And what happens in most cases is that the majority of the people end up with a caricature of the person, just piecing together an image from sources that they trust, whether those sources are correct or not. And when one passes on like the Archbishop did, some of those pictures or images can endure, without the opportunity for clarity because the person can no longer speak for themselves.
So, in this case as in others, it becomes incumbent upon those who have had first hand experiences with these people, to share their own first hand stories and to be faithful witnesses to their experiences. These eventually end up helping people form a more accurate picture of who the person really is/was. Incidentally that’s what Jesus commanded His disciples to do; to be witnesses to His life, death and resurrection. It’s fair to say that without the faithfulness of these witnesses, we wouldn’t have the Bible. But I digress!
Just before getting married in 2003, I had to find a house to rent. Our friends, Isaac and Esther Aguku lived in Bweyogerere back then at what is now Rest Gardens. The property belonged to Archbishop Nkoyoyo. One of the houses fell vacant and the Agukus notified me about it. I paid for it and after we got married, that house became our first marital home.
A few months into our marriage, we fell upon hard economic times. Business just wasn’t picking up and we were fighting to stay afloat economically. It became so bad that we started defaulting on our rent payments. Even though the terms were so flexible, we could pay one month at a time, things became so bad that we started defaulting on our rent payments. Eventually – breathe – we were four months in rent arrears!!!
Now here is the testimony: Not even once did Archbishop Nkoyoyo send any of the caretakers to ask us what was up with our rent. NOT ONCE! That was the man that just went to heaven. I will never forget his kindness to us. We eventually cleared our rent.
In that difficult season, I went home one day about 3pm because I had no work to do in town (not a good thing when you’re running your own business)! I took a taxi home, and because I didn’t have money for a boda boda, I walked home from the stage. It was drizzling. I was dejected. That afternoon, heaven dropped one of the most encouraging song I’ve ever written. I sang it all the way home through the rain.
When I look at tomorrow
I forget my yesterdays
When I look at your promise
My troubles I lay aside
The power of your Word
Spoken unto me
Drives away all fear
And I believe
Because of your love
I can face tomorrow
Because of your grace
I will never be dismayed
You’ve held me through the shadows
I’m standing here
To lift your name on high