Finding Holy Ground: How the Gospel Transforms Lives Today

Damilola Makinde, Spring Harvest host, shares her personal experiences from a recent trip to Uganda with Compassion UK.

What is the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus?

Some of the usual (and important) answers come to mind:

  • The empty tomb.
  • The unusual use of female eyewitnesses.
  • The testimony of the apostles – their willingness to die rather than deny that they had seen the resurrected Jesus.

All of this is indeed valid, but these facts will not be the focus of my piece.

Beyond the historical evidence, I would add the following names. Noirine. Milly. Anna. Kenneth. David.

Milly smiling

They aren’t characters in the resurrection story as narrated in Scripture, but they are living, breathing representations of the power of the cross today. I got to meet them (and many others like them) during a recent trip to learn about the work of Compassion’s church partners in Uganda.

Lives changed by the Gospel

The Spring Harvest team

Our trip began with a tour of the Compassion Uganda office, which is aptly named Compassion Tower – a representation of the stories of being elevated from extreme need, which we would soon hear. We met with members of the senior leadership team, and heard their own eyewitness accounts of the power of the empty tomb:

Of families released from desolation and despair.

Of children regaining their childhoods and being blessed with the space and security to dream about their futures. Of families being championed and loved by their local church.

Of children being introduced to the Jesus at the heart of Compassion’s work.

Of girls and boys encouraged and affirmed by unseen-but-nonetheless-present sponsors.

Of local churches proclaiming the Gospel in word and deed, in the most trying of circumstances.

Story after story of lives transformed. Hope restored. Destiny rising from the dust.

Stories rewritten by grace

Children celebrating in Uganda

I’d seen enough to make the trip worthwhile by this point, so it was a double blessing to not just soak in their eyewitness accounts but to become an eyewitness myself.

Our group were invited into the homes of those who, in material terms, had far less than we did, but in spiritual terms, are co-heirs with Christ, partaking alongside us in every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3). We got to…

  • dance with Mercy and Anna, who were revelling in the simple joys of being 5 and 12 as they spent the day with us at their project…
  • meet mums who held in their arms testaments to the kindness of God: their children who’d been saved from illnesses of various sorts through the medical attention they’d received with help from the project…
  • buy earrings – which not only perfectly matched my outfit (a helpful perk), but also came from girls and mums who’d learnt new skills, affording them an additional means of supporting their families.

A holy pilgrimage

Uganda may not be a listed destination on any Holy Land tour, but I consider the trip to have been a pilgrimage of sorts. It was an undeniable privilege to see Jesus’ resurrection power take form in the lives of the beautiful people mentioned above. But perhaps the greatest gift of this time was how it highlighted what we most have in common amidst our very different backgrounds and situations.

The reality is that any person who has been transformed by Jesus is in themselves evidence for the resurrection! And any patch of ground which hosts the reality of the living Jesus is holy ground.

I am so thankful to my brothers and sisters in Uganda for reminding me of how I see the power of the cross lived out in the many church communities in the UK, in the lives of individuals who are sponsoring children in response to the gospel message, and in my own life and story as I continue to experience the kindness, hope and forgiveness of Jesus.

“He is Risen.” It was beautiful to see God at work in Uganda. I’m so encouraged by the work that Compassion, in partnership with the local church, has done and continues to do in that nation and beyond. It is absolutely making a difference, as some of the stories shared in Uganda illustrate.

The tomb is still empty. Jesus is indeed alive. If you’re looking for evidence, there’s lots to be found in Uganda – but you don’t need to look that far.

By Damilola Makinde, Spring Harvest host 2023 and Evangelical Alliance’s Advocacy Engagement Lead

Compassion UK

Words by Compassion UK, Damilola Makinde


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Compassion UK Christian Child Development, registered charity in England and Wales (1077216) and Scotland (SC045059). A company limited by guarantee, Registered in England and Wales company number 03719092. Registered address: Compassion House, Barley Way, Fleet, Hampshire, GU51 2UT.