Geoffrey is African Leadership’s Country Director in Uganda. He is the pastor of Bridgebuilders Church in Gulu, northern Uganda, where he lives with his wife Jennifer and six children. Geoffrey serves 18 teachers and 265 students across his country -- a country that has seen decades of instability and violence.

With the high prevalence of trauma resulting from the unrest, the church faces an interesting challenge in Uganda. Aside from those who lost homes, family, and more, those who were abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army often encounter rejection from society when they try to return home. But Geoffrey sees an opportunity here – “it is my firm belief that the church, wherever it is, is to be the salt and the light.” So just how can the church be an effective light and speak to a population that has experienced such unthinkable darkness?

One young man in particular stands out to Geoffrey. James* was abducted by the LRA and forced to fight. When he was able to return home, Geoffrey says, “he had lost hope because of the things he had gone through, some of the people he had killed haunting him. He wanted just to die, to commit suicide.” But Geoffrey’s church stepped in. They accepted him. They prayed with him. “Being there with him as a church, we have given him hope, a purpose to live, and he’s very happy that God has seen him through all that, and God protected and preserved him to manifest who He is.”

Now a “very vibrant youth,” he has since gone on to Bible school and is deeply involved in the church’s youth ministry. Because of servant leaders like Geoffrey – and pastors and teachers in the Common Ground Academy across the continent - Africans like James are finding new hope, unconditional acceptance, and, ultimately, common ground with the Gospel.
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*Name changed for confidentiality.