Death by the Spirits

Words of comfort win a sorrowing mother.

Patience and Nyambabo have lived and worked in Keicuma, Uganda for many years, he as a policeman and she as a teacher in the Anglican school. Their family lived happily until one morning, their 11-year-old son, Obama, molded a piece of clay into a small boy, dug a hole and placed his model into the pit. “Mother, come and see,” he called. “Do you see this model of a boy in the pit? This is me in the grave. Very soon I will die because the devil spirits want me to come to them.”

Patience furrowed her brow. “Foolish son, why do you wish to die?” Obama laughed and ran off to join his friends playing football.

A week later, at sundown, Obama ate supper with the rest of his siblings and went to bed. Early the next morning, as the children prepared for school, Obama was not with them. “Obama,” his mother called, “come out of bed or you will be late for school!” But when she looked in his bed, Obama was not there.

Just then, his sister came in screaming. “Obama has hanged himself!” she yelled. “Look in the mango tree!”

The whole family went to see. Neighbors congregated, too. It was too late to save him. Obama was dead. The neighbors shook their heads as Patience wailed. “Death by the spirits,” they clucked. In African cultures, evil spirits all too commonly possess people and lead them to kill themselves.

Nyambabo and Patience live right next to our Seventh-day Adventist school; and when we heard about Obama, we organized the staff to spend the night singing and praying with the family. After the funeral, we collected money and food for them. Then we visited again and shared comforting Bible verses. 

The morning after our visit, Patience came to my office. “Would you remind me of the verses you shared?” she asked.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes,” I began. 

“Ah, that one!” She wrote the verse reference down and returned home. Then on Sabbath, Patience came to our church! As a visitor, she was given a chance to say something during the service. “This is my first time to worship in the Seventh-day Adventist Church,” she said. “When I lost my child last week, no other Christians returned to see me after the funeral, not even the pastors in my church—only the Maranatha School staff and their director, Pastor James. They gave me not only money and food, but most important, the word of comfort from the Bible. I am here today because of the kindness you showed me and the spiritual hope you gave me. Pray for me that your church becomes my church.”

Word got back to the Anglican clergy of what Patience had said at the Adventist church, and the following Monday the school administrator handed her a termination letter. She came to my office crying. “Do you have a job for me here, pastor?” 

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the budget to hire another full-time teacher, but after two months I asked her to join us on a small stipend of about $25 per month. Patience now teaches kindergarten and music in our school and directs the choir in our church. She helps us sing our hymns with passion and power! She has been receiving Bible studies and will soon be baptized into the remnant church of God. 

We praise God to have been able to share Jesus’ comfort with Patience, and we will continue to witness for Him until He comes! 


James Musinguzi is a retired pastor and the director of Maranatha Seventh-day Adventist School.

How You Can Help
Pray for Patience and Nyambabo as they deal with the loss of their son. 

Pray for the work of the gospel in Keicuma. 

Give to the work in Uganda. Needs include church buildings, Bible worker training and support for church planters. Send your gifts marked “Uganda Evangelism” 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!