Destitute and defrauded, Didas’s family needed help the church could give.
If hard work alone could make a man rich, Mr. Didas Kacokoli should have been the richest man on Earth—but misfortune had pressed him into abject poverty. Most of it had not been his fault. It started in 2005, when his father moved the family from Bitooma to Kibaale. He purchased a plot of land and settled down, never suspecting what had really happened: A con man had collected his money for land that actually belonged to someone else! Since he could not read, Didas’s father had believed what the dishonest agent told him and signed the papers, never suspecting that he had been tricked, and the “deed” to the land was a complete counterfeit. This form of fraud is surprisingly common in Uganda, and the victims of the crime are virtually always illiterate.
Three years after the move, the father died in a car accident, leaving his family alone in this new place. Soon after, the true owner of the land came to them with title in hand and informed Didas and his family that they were squatting on his property. Didas could hardly comprehend it, but the man’s words proved tragically true—and since they had no legal right to their home there, Didas’s family had to vacate.
Didas and family left Kibaale empty-handed. Moving back to Bitooma, they built a grass-thatched house on an uncle’s land. Three months later, as if the family had not had enough troubles, their thatch house burned to ashes. The family lost all their possessions except the clothes they were wearing. With all the tragedies, life seemed too difficult to bear. Didas resorted to drinking alcohol, little knowing how much trouble his alcohol addiction would add to his life.
The second shelter Didas constructed could hardly be called a house. The little hut’s grass walls sloped up into a grass roof, with hardly anything inside. With neither clothes nor bedding, the family slept on the bare ground with nothing to cover them. They hated to see dark clouds in the sky, for the coming of rain felt like mockery in a leaky grass house. When it rained, they might as well be outside, because the water-logged grass dripped for hours even after the rain stopped! The water puddled on the dirt floor where they slept, and the children shivered with cold.
Meanwhile, Didas’s alcohol addiction grew worse, and in his drunkenness he began beating his wife. Still, he did his best to provide food for his family, and because of his hard work his children escaped malnutrition. Then an unexpected blessing came to the family. Mr. Aggrey, a nurse in charge of community services at the Bitooma Health Center, discovered the shack where Didas’s family lived. Being a Seventh-day Adventist, Mr. Aggrey notified his church of the situation, and the church came together to build a stick house with a metal roof to replace the grass hut. Now at least the family could stay dry!
The church’s kindness touched Didas’s heart and gave him a desire to know the God who had revealed His love through these caring people. Didas began to study the Bible, and through it he saw that Jesus is our ultimate need. Jesus’ saving grace was the only power that could overcome the alcohol addiction that had enslaved him for so long. Testing the promises in his own life, Didas found them to be true and filled with power. Free at last, Didas joyfully declared his love for God and His perfect law through baptism!
Yes, the con man caused ruin and havoc, but Jesus redeemed it all.
Told by Didas Kacokoli to John Kaganzi, a district pastor in the Ruhandagazi District in Uganda and the manager of Messenger Radio in Mbarara.
How You Can Help
Pray for Brother Didas to remain faithful to Jesus.
Pray for the churches and church planters in Uganda to find more families in need of help and Christian encouragement.
Give to the work in Uganda. Needs include church buildings, Bible worker training and support for church planters. Send your gifts marked “Uganda Bible Workers” or “Uganda Churches” to:
Mission Projects International
PO Box 151
Inchelium, WA 99138
To give securely online, visit:
Thank you. Your gifts sustain seven full-time Bible workers and one full-time evangelist who are bringing God’s last warning to southern Uganda. Thank you so much for your support of these workers!