Pastor in the Kitchen
Rev. Milton Tweheyo, Director of Student Affairs at Uganda Christian University comments about Michael Bogere. “He is actually referred to as “pastor” because of the ministry he has had in our kitchen department.”
Michael loves to sing and lead songs along with discussing or debating topics from the Bible in any environment. God has a plan for Michael Ronald Bogere. A fellow school mate asked him to visit a church to play soccer, see Christian films exposing him to a lot of scripture verses and testimonies. He even went door to door with his friend preaching Christ and as he describes “one day found space in my heart” for Jesus.
Being a passionate young man he remembers being invited by friends to take part in singing and debating competition with Christians and young Muslims. He experienced continuous convictions and shares, “they were challenging me that I was on the wrong side of life… meaning that I was wasting my life in Islam. I needed comfort and a lot of encouragement in life because of the suffering I was subjected to.”
Michael’s good friend asked him to go with him for a prison ministry where they shared scripture and sang songs. Michael states, “I saw helpless prisoners in Soroti Prison giving their lives to Christ which impacted me.” His personal story encourages others who find themselves in similar situations. “I am an orphan from the Soroti District of Uganda, a place that has experienced every calamity that the world has ever known. That is to say floods, unending wars, karamaja (cattle rustlers) raids, and famine which had left a lot of our parents and brothers homeless and others have died in the famine leaving some of us orphans.”
A former Muslim, Michael is no stranger to hardship and persecution. He originally joined Islam to survive and says, “Under Islam I engaged in a lot of activities like singing at night from door to door while drumming waking fellow Muslims to eat at night in preparation for fasting the next day and washing the mosque every Friday.”
At one point, Michael was sent to live with his stepmother who abused him and tortured him. “She burnt me with hot porridge from the fire.” His story is not uncommon in Uganda and he is able to comfort others because he understands from personal experience.
In 2003 Michael became a Christian but the challenge was how he was going to go on in fear of his Muslim relatives. Time after time they forced him to go and pray in the mosque and even fast, while as he says “in my heart I had already believed Christ.” The turning point occurred in Michael’s life when his good friend invited him to share in a youth conference about his struggle with Islam life where he touched people’s hearts and recalls three people giving their lives to Christ. “Which moment broke me down wondering how God could use a mere hopeless person…It did not take me long and in 14th Feb. 2004 I publicly confessed Christ both at church and home and…was rejected and sent away by my closest family members.” I stayed with friends while not studying for two years (due to lack of funds) and served in church activities were I began to see God’s purpose and directions in my life. “Surely I know He has never forgotten me…am serving Him even in the darkest times in my life. I have given it all to serve Him in many areas in youth ministry in my church. That’s how I met Christ.”
“Since joining this section (catering area), he has led other staff in Christian songs for our fellowship which has really improved Wednesday service. He has been giving us special songs too and also organizes Bible Studies with other workers which have improved them spiritually, says Ekadu J. Richard, Catering Section at Uganda Christian University.
Michael continues being a lay “pastor” to the people God puts in his path whether on campus, at conferences, in prison ministry or with the youth. Michael has a powerful testimony and has served as the Student Welfare officer as the liaison between all university students, hotels and the university administration and a Member of the UCU Parliament. Currently he is developing his own business of selling meats, fresh fruit and vegetables to large restaurants and hotels. Through his leadership in business and on campus he is multiplying the BOLD concepts he is living out as a disciple. His testimony of his identity in Christ points the way for others to be free from the bondage of the culture.
Michael graduates in 2013.