Thursday, January 18, 2007

In Memory of Moses Kimeze

We received word today from Mark Moore via his wife Marnie that Moses was buried and there was an amazing service for him earlier today. This makes sense (that they buried him so quickly) as there is probably only one location in all of Uganda capable of preserving bodies. Burials usually take place the day following the death. I'm so glad that my teammates Mark and John Barton were able to make it to Uganda in time.

You can tell so much about a person by what is said at their funeral and how others respond to their funeral. Mark said that he's never seen so many people at a Ugandan burial before and unfortunately, we've all seen several Ugandan burials as death is a far too often occurrence in Uganda from accidents, AIDS, malaria, etc. It is hard to get a good count at a service like that but he estimated close to 500 people attended the service. Many Ugandans would have come long distances on their bikes. There were as many as 50 vehicles lined up close to his home. Many bazungu (white people) were there that Mark had never seen before which just confirms that Moses' had an incredible impact on not only Ugandans but people from all over the world.

I loved watching Mark Moore and Moses Kimeze team up to serve and care for people in need. They were an amazing team (much like Moses and Adam became in the past year). An example is a teenage boy by the name of Dombodo that Mark met one day deep in the village. Dombodo had a severe cleft pallet and many complications because of it. He could not speak to where I could understand him. Mark brought him home one day and Moses instantly adopted him (Moses and Irene were immediate neighbors to Mark and Marnie). Mark worked his connections until he got Dombodo's cleft pallet fixed. This process took quite a bit of time. Mark provided Dombodo the opportunity to a better life. Moses provided the constant care and nurturing for him to grow up to be a man. Today the report came that Dombodo, feeling like he has just lost his adopted father, went to Irene and pledged his full support to her and their children just as Moses cared for him. Moses' story is going to continue to be told over and over like this for generations to come as Dombodo was just one example of so many Moses served.

My dear friends Nyanga Grace, James Okumu, Richard Bazanoona and Mark all spoke at the service. Mark pointed out that many people might believe that Moses became the person he was because of his close ties to American missionaries. This is far from the truth though. Moses taught all of us (Americans and Africans) so much more and there is no doubt that we are all better people because of Moses Kimeze.

If anyone reading this ever had the opportunity to meet or to be blessed by Moses' in one way or another, please feel free to share that by commenting. I want to share some thoughts from others I've already heard as well as some of my own, although it would be impossible to share everything I've learned from him in one writing.

From Marnie's phone conversation with Irene, Moses' widow, just a few hours ago.....
Irene sounded alright, very teary. She said she is missing
Moses. She also said to me that she didn't know how she had
been blessed with such a good man. He wasn't like most men in Africa. Their daughter Rachel (4 yrs in December) still doesn't understand that they had buried Daddy. She still thinks he's in town and will be coming home.
From Marnie herself.....

Through the years I honestly never saw the man do anything
selfish. Nothing, period. He was always helpful to me when Mark
wasn't around, loaned money to others often, and continually
worked as a peacekeeper amongst others. He was strong, constant,
loving, encouraging and full of grace. He was patient and kind to our kids, and was especially patient and kind to me. He advised me and helped protect me. Mark and I have often spoken through the years, especially since leaving Uganda, that we have so much admiration for him.

Some of my own favorite memories of / with Moses Kimeze......
  • His unforgettable and contagious laugh. I never heard him laugh without others joining him in his laughter.
  • The fact that while living in one of the most remote and poverty stricken villages in Africa, he seized an opportunity of a goat from his uncle when he was just a young boy and turned that into many goats, putting himself mostly through school and was the essence of a rags to riches story that kept getting better every day. He is my main inspiration for developing the Kibo Group and expanding development ministry in Africa.
  • His constant conviction to live with the utmost integrity. When he managed the building renovation project (about a $100,000 project), he gave me a full accounting of every shilling he spent and that I had given him. He lived a trustworthy life and in return gained full trust from me and everyone else. Honestly, this is extremely rare in Uganda as they live in a culture that often celebrates trickery and corruption.
  • His humility and refusal to be in the spotlight. As I was helping to organize Jinja Church activities, I always wanted Moses present in the leadership meetings as I discerned he was full of wisdom. I wanted him to be an up front leader. He, on the other hand, never really wanted to be in the meetings or be up front. Not because of his lack of committment or because of any laziness, but he preferred to live his life serving rather than sitting in meetings or taking credit for anything. I came to fully respect him for that. And this very quality is why he became all of our top choice for leading The Source Cafe and business ministries in Jinja. He was the full essence of a servant leader and so many benefited from that.
  • Seeing his heart break on a Jinja Church mission trip eight of us took to Rwanda. We heard firsthand of the great suffering during the genocide and I observed Moses' heart hurt for them.
  • Eating lunch after Sunday church with Adam and Moses and his family just eight weeks ago. His children were well behaved and it was a pure joy to spend that hour in their company. Adam and Moses talked of additional projects they wanted to start at The Source that would help the poor in the villages.
  • Watching and admiring him mechanically repair practically anything and everything that was put in front of him.
  • Working at The Source with him one day when Briley called me to tell me our house was on fire. I first looked for Moses, grabbed him and we rushed to our house. It was an electrical fire and he knew immediately where to look and find the main wire into the house and disconnect it. He kept our entire house from burning down that day when I didn't have a clue what to do.
  • Briley and I wearing Ugandan traditional clothes (Briley wore a dress with pointy things on the shoulders and I basically wore a white dress over my suit called a kanzu) and attending Moses introduction ceremony and wedding with Irene. Read a good account of it here written by another good friend of mine Nyanga Grace.
  • Celebrating with him and Irene over the birth of their firstborn, Rachel.
  • Watching him laugh and play with his children.
  • Watching him laugh and play with my boys.
  • Watching him treat Irene with great love and respect like no other husband.
  • Watching him work with excellence in EVERYTHING he did.
  • Knowing that he turned down opportunity after opportunity for a better paying job with less hours. He chose to sacrifice worldly wealth for spiritual wealth.
  • Receiving an e-mail from a woman at International Justice Mission in Kampala the day before he died praising Moses for his efforts in exposing a thief who stole Sarah (read down to my March 2, 2005 post) and her orphan siblings' fund for their education / future.
  • Spending a day going to Kapchorwa / Mt. Elgon with him in March of 2005 to meet with coffee farmers and discuss a future purchase of coffee. He drove very cautiously (I wished he'd go faster) on the same road he died on this week.
  • Witnessing his baptism with his sister in the Nile River.
  • Mourning alongside him at a burial of one of his own family members in his home village.
  • Watching Adam and Moses work together at The Source (March 22, 2005 post) on my most recent trip. Adam joked that Moses had fired him eight times now, Moses just laughed hysterically. They were quite a pair.

Maybe more than anyone I have ever known, Moses lived a Christ like life. I am blessed to have known him. Words can't express how much I already miss him.


An update on the Langford family..... I just spoke with Dusty Davis, a good friend of the Langfords and a former Jinja intern, and he and about 100 others were at the OKC airport getting ready to welcome Ben, Kym, and Eli. They expect Adam' s body and the Bogles and Manrys, their teammates, to board a BA flight tomorrow morning and hopefully arrive Sunday. If all goes well, Adam's funeral will likely be on Wednesday at the Memorial Road Church of Christ in Edmond.


An update on my own family...... Briley fell on the ice yesterday and fractured a bone in her elbow. Please pray for healing and less pain in her arm. School is out again tomorrow and another big storm coming in this weekend. Where are we, Michigan?


At 8:07 AM, Blogger karenw said...

Clint, this is a wonderful tribute to your friend, Moses. I hope you are sending a copy of this to Irene. I am sure that it will be very comforting to her to hear how you all loved and respected her husband. What joy it must have been to spend time with him as he worked and laughed along side of the Jinja mission team. Thank you for sharing more of Moses life with us. I love you, Mom

At 8:26 AM, Blogger Danna said...

I am sitting here in tears. Thank you for sharing this. Thank you for letting me know Moses through you all these years.

At 2:44 AM, Blogger Lana said...

I got to know Moses this past month while I was in Uganda. He always had a smile on his face and always was laughing.
Adam and I had Moses and his family over for taco soup and a movie about 3 weeks ago. About ten minutes into the movie(Cars), Adam tapped me on the shoulder and I looked over to see the whole family sleeping. It was really sweet.
I loved going to the Source and seeing Adam and Moses cut up together. They were a great team. Thanks for sharing your memories of Moses. I am really going to miss him.

At 12:10 PM, Blogger Clint said...


I'm so glad to hear from you and I'm so sorry for what you have had to endure this past week. Please give me a call when you get a chance.


At 9:13 PM, Anonymous Claire said...

Somehow I stumbled on your blog by clicking my way through starting on the Jinja Missions website. I and three other Pepperdine students were in Jinja May/June 2006 with the group Let's Start Talking. I was able to live at the Langford's house for 6 weeks and got to know Adam quite well. We all are really sad that he's gone ...
One night one of my teammate's and I had the opportunity to go and have dinner at Moses and Irene's house. We felt so loved by them and were really blessed that we got to know them while we were there. All of your thoughts brought back good memories for me as well. Thank you!! -Claire Bergens

At 6:42 PM, Anonymous Mike Upshur said...


I found my way to your blog while I was on the Jinja site reading through some of Adam's blogs.
I was one of the interns from Rochester who spent 7 weeks in Uganda this past summer and I had the pleasure of doing my business intership at the Source with Moses and Adam. I also had the experience of living w/ Adam in his new house... err...duplex.
Thanks so much for sharing your memories of Moses. I can't remember how many times Adam told me what an asset Moses was to the Source. While we were there Moses fired Adam for what I think was the 11th time, but also we got to experience Adam firing Moses b/c Moses underestimated the amount of coffee they needed to buy on their next purchase. When i got back at the Source after a day in the village w/ Ben I remember Moses standing at the coffee counter laughing hysterically. He came over to me and put his hand on my shoulder and in between gasping for air from laughing so hard he told me that Adam had fired him. Gladly, though, Adam took back his decision and allowed Moses to stay on board.
They were both great men, and a fun team to watch work together at the source. Thanks again for sharing your memories of Moses


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