The Story of God’s Work in Pastor Katende Jeremiah Bulasio.
Young Katende was born in 1979 in a village and area in Uganda with a long history of witchcraft. Even before he was born, he was dedicated to the devil. His training in witchcraft started around the age of 3 or 4 when his mother told him to take food to something she called his brother. When he got into the hut, it was a lion and he dropped the food and ran out. His mother forced him to go back in with more food. There were ceremonies in the home during which he changed. He was able to walk into fire and eat it without being burned. After this, he was given a case with a spear, a knife, and a bark cloth (hammered and stretched fig tree bark).
“The more they had evil meetings at home, the more I went deeper in serving the devil.”
He couldn’t succeed at school, being led out by spirits into the forest, often finding himself with snakes. He was then trained by superior witchdoctors to deal with the second class of spirits. They made him sit on a bark cloth and told him to get hold of whatever was sent to him…big snakes, lions, a python, with the aim of threatening him. If he fled, he would be killed. He had to be bold and take hold of them. Whatever he got hold of disappeared into his body. He was trained to be in control, but he was actually controlled and motivated by fear and threats.
The next level of training was done by evil spirits who took him into the forest for weeks at a time, teaching about 2,700 different herbs. With that knowledge, he would give people “medicine” that would get them what they wanted… a lover, for instance, whether that person loved them or not.
He was accustomed to his witchcraft being effective until eight young men came to him to get girls who were born again Christians. This time, it didn’t work! When he inquired of the spirits about why it didn’t work, he was told that it would take another trick in order to trap them. This was first to abuse them in various ways. When the young men did that, it worked with seven of the eight girls. They were overcome, but when Katende tried to overcome the eighth girl, although she cried, she said, “May God have mercy on you, may God have mercy on you”…no matter what things he did to her. This girl was used by the Lord to draw him to salvation.
In this, she was being like Jesus in his trial, “when they hurled insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” 1 Peter 2.23 This was the first step in breaking the power of evil in Katende’s life. His witchcraft was being disrupted!
“Surely the way God drew me in was incredible…”
He started to hear a voice telling him to go to her church. At first, he resisted but then thought it was the spirits telling him to go so he could get the girl who had become a problem in his practice of witchcraft. He went several times during the praise and worship. One time, he got annoyed as he perceived the preacher was minimizing the power of the evil spirits; so when he went home, he sent spirits to attack the pastor, but it backfired. After some days, when he went back to the church, he found himself laughing uncontrollably. They took him aside and prayed for him. He wondered about that and even told his parents and sisters that he was going to get saved. Right away, the evil spirits told him that if he got saved, he would die immediately.
He went back, having been told by the evil spirits that the Christians blow out the candles at a night prayer service. He expected to get the girl in the dark, but it wasn’t true; they didn’t blow them out. He heard that eighth girl saying, “Jesus is stronger than evil spirits.” He intended to go out but couldn’t move, calling the spirits to come and “rescue” him but they said, “We can’t come in because there is fire inside the church.” The pastor and church members prayed for him and the spirits spoke saying, “Kasajja is coming and will swallow up all of you.” However, they continued to pray for him and one of his legs changed into the tail of a big snake. Some fled in fear but others continued praying, driving the evil spirits from him. When he came to his senses, they preached the Gospel to him but he was not yet ready to accept Jesus. The following day, the spirits threatened that they would kill him and all the saved people.
This battle went on for a year, from the time he first went to the church, thinking he could get the girl who was causing him trouble. Still, this voice kept telling him to go to the church and he was still thinking it was the spirits, so he went again. However, this time, when the preacher called forward all those who wanted to get saved, he went forward and confessed; but it was another 2 months before he was able to bring everything he used for witchcraft to the church to get destroyed. During that time, he was still afraid to fellowship with them because he believed they would all die if he went back.
God’s perfect love casts our fear.
He knows now the importance of follow-up because they continued to come to him, showing him God’s patient love. He asked the pastor what would happen (to a believer) if he died. He was told that he would go to heaven. From that day, he went back to church, certain that he would die because the spirits told him so, but he was happy because he was going to heaven!
No one, even in his family, could touch the things he used for witchcraft without his command (or they would be beaten by the spirits). This was one motivating factor in his taking all of it to the church. The pastor stomped on them as the church members praised God. He was convinced that the pastor would be dead and he or others would become crazy in the next hour, but nothing happened! He found himself singing joyfully. They then took the things out to burn them.
Pastor Martin, who prayed for him also invited him to live at his home and mentored him for 6 years (1998-2004) before Katende Jeremiah started to work under the pastor/bishop he is now working with, David Kagoro.
His story wonderfully illustrates how God is the initiator in our salvation and in his mercy he uses believers to be agents of his transforming grace. It also clearly shows God’s power over evil.
The Bible declares that the devil is like a lion, prowling around, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5.8). The “devouring” and deception takes on a different face in a world that honors Science above all else. However, we are still drawn in by our fears and the desires of our hearts. We want what we want and will do whatever we think will get it at the cost of others and ourselves.
We all need the same powerful rescue “from the dominion of darkness into the Kingdom of the Son He loves in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Col. 1.13,14)
Katende Jeremiah Bulasio is now a pastor with a pastor’s heart and desires to see others delivered from what he was born into. He is committed to Discipleship because he knows that communities can be transformed when believers are helped to mature into Christ-like character.