A winding, troubled life journey brings a young couple to the truth.
Arston and Penlope studied at two different universities in the Mbarara District of southwestern Uganda until 2012. That’s when they were expelled for reckless living and alcoholism. Guilt-ridden for having wasted their poor parents’ resources, they both feared to return to their homes. Instead, they wandered from town to town looking for ways to survive.
Penlope ended up in Kampala, where she had an aunt she thought could find her a job. Things didn’t go well at her aunt’s place, however. Her aunt wanted to use her as a housemaid, a job Penlope hated. As soon as she could, she found another job as a waiter at a bar. Unfortunately, working at the bar plunged her deeper into alcoholism. Soon she would do any odd job to earn a drink and some food.
Arston found work as a primary school teacher in Kamwenge, and all this time, Penlope and Arston visited each other whenever they could afford it. Then, in July 2017, Arston found a job for Penlope as a storekeeper in Kamwenge. Although their salaries were not even enough to pay for rent, and they each were evicted from their homes numerous times, they met every evening to share a bottle of waragi, or cheap local gin. Eventually, they started to live together as husband and wife.
In January 2018, Arston’s aunt found him and Penlope jobs teaching at Rushango Primary School in Kiruhura District. Here they met Ronard, the headmaster of Model Pathfinder Primary School. One Sunday during the school break in August, Ronard invited Arston and his wife to visit him. It so happened that an evangelistic series was beginning near Ronard’s house that evening, so Arston and Penlope attended.
That night, Evangelist Starence preached a sermon entitled, “Jesus, the Hope of All Sinners.” The sermon moved their hearts, and they attended the meetings until the end of the 14-night series. At the end of each sermon, when Evangelist Starence made a call, Arston and Penlope would be the first to come forward, shedding tears. Arston gave his heart to Jesus and was baptized.
When the school term began at the end of August, Arston and Penlope learned that they would be forced to teach on Sabbath. When they told Ronard about it, the administration of Model Pathfinder Primary School decided to hire them. Their salary is small, but they testify, “We don’t regret having left our jobs at Rushango Primary School, nor do we regret not finishing our university degrees. We have greater degrees now from the school of Jesus. At Model Pathfinder School we are back home; we live a life of hope. Our parents have even accepted us as children again.”
Arston attends Bible studies with us in our home regularly, and he no longer drinks alcohol. Penlope, however, is still struggling. When Arston is away, she sneaks to the bar for a bottle of waragi. We are keeping them in our family circle, doing our best to lead them into a closer walk with Jesus. A generous sponsor is sending Arston to Bugema Adventist University to complete a diploma in education, and we are looking for someone who can sponsor Penlope for the same course. We see tremendous progress in their lives and pray for a complete change to take place as they grow.
Pastor James Kyarikora is a retired pastor in the Uganda Conference who is still active in ministry.
How You Can Help
Pray for Arston to remain faithful to the Lord. Pray for Penlope to come to know Jesus’ pardoning love and receive the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome.
Give to the work in Uganda. Needs include new church buildings, training for church planters, Bibles and church planter support. Send your check marked “Uganda Workers” or “Uganda Churches” to:
Mission Projects International
PO Box 151
Inchelium, WA 99138