Ugandan Apostle Dr Stephen Senfuma passed on 26 June at Nakasero Hospital, in Kampala, at the age of 55.
He was the senior pastor of United Christian Centre (UCC) – Kampala for over 25 years. Through the Innerman Ministries, God used him to renew people’s hearts in Uganda and abroad.
Born in Nakakonge Village, Bugerere county, Kayunga District, Bishop Stephen married Favour 14 years ago, and God blessed them with children; Rebecca, Dorah, Esther, Grace, Genesis and Exodus.
Mrs Favour revealed during a press briefing Thursday that her husband was first admitted to Platinum Medical Center on the 1st of June, 2021, before being transferred to Nakasero Hospital.
“I want to thank God. This period has not been easy for me. Ever since my husband got sick, immediately, my heart was burning all the time; and that is one of the signs the Holy Spirit uses to tell me that something super good is going to happen to me, or something very bad is going to happen. Whenever I could look at him, my heart would melt. There was fire that could not be quenched by even cold water,” she said. “So many people were praying every hour when he was put on oxygen, and I appreciate them.”
“I can’t say I knew [he was going to die], I had the faith that I was going to bring back my husband home. I had all the faith, until the last minute when I saw him on bed going away,” she continued. “I want to thank God so much, he is a good God. He is mighty. When my husband passed on, there were so many things going through my mind.”
“The very thing that I feared most, came to me; just as Job said, but God is good. I don’t have any questions for God. I am not grumbling. I know that God is going to take that place of a husband,” she went on. “I am so grateful to God for these 14 years, for the gift of life, and children.”
Mrs Favour in her speech urged that Dr Stephen Senfuma was COVID-19 negative at his point of death, but succumbed to the infection’s concomitant effects
Dr Stephen Senfuma’s father, the late Ddamba Katula Wilson, was one of the survivors of the 1945 world war, and had 3 wives. They altogether gave birth to 23 children.
Senfuma’s mother, Ferista-nzela, was the youngest of all the three. She begat 16 of the 23 children.
In his book titled ‘The Testimony of Bishop Stephen Senfuma” the well-known preacher shared a testimony of how God found him hopeless and transformed him inside out.
Bishop Senfuma’s testimony begins with his very birth. His wrote in his book that his mother didn’t have access to a hospital and ended up giving birth from a nearby garden at their home.
Due to family wrangles, Senfuma’s mother was later chased out of her home together with all of her children. “Our father could provide to all children clothing and beddings, apart from us, because he didn’t love us,” the preacher wrote.
Life Before Salvation
At a tender age, Bishop Senfuma used backcloth for beddings. As one who experienced psychological torture as a child, Bishop Senfuma urged parents to avoid using harsh words and actions towards children.
“My Father helped me study up to primary three; unfortunately he stopped there to pay school fees for me, so we kept moving from one school to another. Surprisingly, he could pay school fees for children from other families whenever they pleased him, he would reward them by paying their school fees,” he wrote.
“One day I was sent to collect school fees and a uniform but my Father simply told me to sit at home for over two weeks. Afterwards, he gave me his Pajama adjusted with a string to fit my waist. At school I was the topic of the day, at break time, all children gathered around me and laughed at me for the pajama which looked like a skirt. I hated school and feared lunchtime so I ended up leaving school before lunch time. As I ran back home, I stopped under a mango tree and cried, this is the day I remember in life which opened up the door of sorrow upon my heart in my life. At home my Father told me to go and harvest coffee and to attend to the cows. I then understood that, he was not interested in paying my school fees anymore. I then devised ways of getting school fees to go back to school by joining a local traditional dance group,” he wrote.
With others, Bishop Senfuma would entertain people at weddings or other functions. He also used to carry Matooke to local market places, tho it severely affected his back. He was thankfully able to pay his own school fees from primary three to primary six. That is where his education ended.
Senfuma, his siblings and mother were soon taken in by their poor drunkard Uncle. His mother begun selling local brew and in such a business, she got married to one of her customers who was a traditional doctor. He also trained people in witchcraft at his home. “We assisted him in his duties and I was the one drumming in the shrine during those traditional functions. Life was better for we easily got what to eat and afforded meat out of the many sacrifices made in the shrine,” Bishop Senfuma wrote in his book.
Moving to Kampala, Bishop Senfuma’s sister Gertrude Nansasi married a one Mr. Sebateeba. The couple later had a vast cassava plantation, and decided to use the flour for making Pancakes. They requested Senfuma to help in making and selling the pancakes.
“All we came with to Kampala was a sack of cassava flour, a charcoal stove and a frying pun. After preparing, I would then carry the pun cakes at the Eastern gate of Makerere University for sale. My target customers were the Makerere students who were passing by as they went to Mulago Hospital. Unfortunately, they never bought any pun cakes and most of the time we would take back the pancakes and eat them ourselves,”
This business failed and Senfuma later had to work as a house boy. “I was in great misery in this place for I could not even eat of the food I cooked, and never had a blanket,” he recalled. Senfuma wrote that his boss abused him and forced him to wash “her knickers including those she used in her monthly periods.” “Finally at the end of the month, she chased me away without a penny. At this point, I wanted to commit suicide but I did not have even money to buy poison or a rope.”
“I wanted to force myself into a moving car so that it kills me as I crossed the road at Wandgeya. Unfortunately, all cars were moving at slow speed so I gave up.”
Senfuma’s in-law got him another place to work as a houseboy again; the place was near old Kampala police post, though he could share their food, the couple were drunkards, he wrote.
Bishop Senfuma later left this job and joined his brothers in Bakuli, a Kampala suburb. Here they were making and selling cakes, each would go for 50/= and the person selling would receive 3/= shillings per cake. He later also started training in boxing and kungfu.
“I gathered money from a day’s work and registered with Kampala Boxing club (KBC). I often went for training and at the same time sold cakes to the people I trained with. I had a convincing thought that in life, nobody loved me since my own father did not. It thus moved me into boxing with the motive of gaining defense and attack mechanism in life,” he wrote in his book.
All the youths that were training in boxing were smokers of Opium, a dangerous habit he unfortunately adapted too, and finally became an addict.
“Many times I would utter and throw vulgar words to anyone who held a Bible. In pretence I would request for that bible to read but only to end up tearing it in pieces or burning it completely. I burnt 6 Bibles simply because the Bible referred to God as our Heavenly Father yet I hated my biological Father on earth. I had a negative perception of the word Father. One time at a funeral there were ladies who sung hymns through out the night. In the morning, they put down their hymn books which I secretly picked and burnt completely,” he wrote.
“Many evangelists who tried to preach to me would just endure my vulgar and obscene words as they preached to me, I actually would tell them to save me instead of telling me about their white Christ. I really hated myself and was fed up of everything in my life.
“This is a characteristic of people going through a painful situation or having wounds in their hearts, to always try to find rest or do something that will help them forget the pain, for example smoking cigarettes, drinking booze, taking drugs,” he wrote.
After going through all this, Senfuma came to understand that everything man tries to do in his own wisdom is in vanity. According to the preacher, Christ alone offers an everlasting rest to all who come to Him.
“A lady preacher who had come to my one roomed house at Bakuli, a suburb of Kampala, had spoken the [Gospel] to me. I welcomed this lady into my house with an intention to hurt her but it is a mystery how I waved off the thought. She was part of the group of born-again door-to door evangelists.”
“When she was seated I quickly shut the door to carry out my intentions, surprisingly she did not raise any alarm when I made advances towards her. She was cool, calm, and collected, a thing I had least expected of her. Truly, the righteous are bold as a Lion and she was one indeed. In confidence she stood up and began moving her lips as though in silent speech. I did not understand what she was doing then but now I know that she was praying,” he wrote in his book.
“For a few minutes I remained stationed starring at her lips. I don’t remember how I opened for her the door to exist. When she was outside the house she pointed at me saying You man, one day you will get saved, despite your stubbornness. Little did I know that this was a prophecy.”
Bishop Senfuma’s turning point was when his brother named Kiviiri committed suicide.
“After burial, I went to my brother’s home in Nakulabye, a neighbourhood in Kampala. He had a neighbour by the name Lule Moses, this man came and visited us at home. As we conversed he said: Congratulations. You have really become a professional boxer. Your game was broadcasted on television! He immediately offered me a soda. It surprised me greatly because in my life no one had ever offered me such. Somewhere amidst the conversation, he opened his Bible and told me that despite being a professional boxer and kungfu, I could die at any time. This caused great fear in my life for it was the very voice in my heart. He quoted; Rev 20:11,” he wrote.
Earlier in life, Senfuma had a lot of questions concerning death but had no one to help provide the answers until this point. Some of the questions where; where does a person go after death? What does the person see after death? Why do the people I lived with don’t come back to tell me what befell them?
“He clearly told me that in case a person dies without accepting Christ in your life, you go to hell but when you accept Christ, in death you go straight to heaven. He confirmed to me that he never feared death for he was born again. In my life I used to fear two things; a gun and death therefore I was surprised when he said was never scared of death. He actually talked about death with courage and joy some thing I had not seen before. This man never told me to accept Christ but he shared with me several scriptures from the Bible concerning life after death, heaven and hell etc. That day, Wednesday, I decided to accept Christ, and got saved.”
The following Sunday, Senfuma walked from Bakuli to Kamwokya to a church called Christ our Way church led by Pastor Sam Wamala. “At the end of the service, I went to the Pastor and requested him to lead me into a prayer to openly accept Christ as my personal Saviour although he had not made an alter call,” he wrote in his book