In Summary

FEEDING THE SOUL. Tent of Testimonies is an app seeing Ugandans and others across borders enjoy the word of God, writes PAULINE BANGIRANA

We are increasingly connected online, social networks are our meeting points and making friends that we never meet. We do not feel as lonely with MBs than without. In fact so much time is spent on WhatsApp and Facebook than face-to-face conversations. Experts even say we are losing our social skills but one man rather than see it as a doomsday scenario, uses social media to spread the word and feed souls.

Fred Akama is an evangelist based in Nairobi, Kenya, the spiritual head of Tent of Testimonies International commonly referred to as ToT, an online ministry where healing, deliverance and miracles are sparked by a text. Through WhatsApp he reaches thousands across borders. Some of the activities include online prophecy, dream interpretation, life questions and bible study.
Have you ever been changed through a text message, a feel-good audio or an inspiring video? Do you believe there are people whose lives are turning around after a response from the man of God? When he receives a text message, his response is usually OK and indeed he is good on the promise. Where you would feel burdened, when he says OK, consider it done.

Are you ill? Have you applied for a visa or that dream job? Or has a payment delayed? These are the concerns that Akama deals with on a daily. The online ministry has a team of administrative ministers who teach and help run the group. “The reason is that this generation is full of tech-savvy people. As such, God is using that technology to reach out to the people,” the prophet shares.

Joan Salmon, a member, notes the love in ToT. “I love it because we are taught the word and my spirit is fed through the online platform,” Salmon says. She loves the prophet because he has ended her years of suffering. She calls him Papa as most of the members refer to him.
“Papa does not judge me despite knowing all there is about me. This makes my insecurities disappear and helps me learn to deal with others.” In ToT, she has family.
Through the ministry, she has learnt to fight from a point of knowledge. “I thank rather than beg and I will make it way bigger than anyone ever imagined.”

Resurrection: The faithful light candles during the Easter celebrations last year at St Nicholas in Namungona. COURTESY PHOTO

Limitations
The ministry is not limited because it is online. However, Prophet Akama emphasises that ToT is not a church but fellowship of different believers from different churches, and this enables them traverse borders. “We do not have to be in that country to be able to heal that person. At the last count, the online ministry was in at least 39 countries worldwide within a year.” Some of these include South Africa, India, Zimbabwe, Jamaica, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Uganda.
It is something that some churches are unable to do because of space and time. “Our ministry is able to impact many people in different countries easily. Through our ministry, we reach countries where preaching the gospel is restricted. We reach people in the comfort of their homes,” Akama says.

How did we start?
ToT comes from Numbers 9:15 KJV which states “And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning..” It was started in January 2017. “We are expanding at a phenomenal rate. We started with one WhatsApp group; in three months, there were over 10 groups.”
Due to management concerns, the groups stopped at 10 with three youth groups. An app is yet to be introduced so that more people are impacted and accommodated.

Winnie Najjuma, a member, says the online platform is helpful. The administrators share scriptures, which help kick start her day. “I got to know about ToT through a friend. People usually fear prophets and are doubtful. However, Akama has a way of revealing prophesies in a friendly way. You are left in shock but also laughing about the way he delivers the message.”
She notes that when she opens her phone messages knowing that there are bible teachings and to rejuvenate her spirit.

Challenges
Not all is rosy for this group because some members cannot afford to load internet data daily and they miss the daily teachings.
Others miss the messages especially when they find many of them inbox.
There are those who use the group for other motives such as dating. However, there are stern warnings against this.
Sometimes WhatsApp goes down in certain countries and as such these people are not ministered to.

Perception
In a country where people are sceptical of prophets, Fred Akama notes that they too are servants of God. “A prophet is not an Old Testament thing. God anointed prophets too. We have thousands of testimony. One does not need to wait to go to church to get what they need. They are sorted through a text. Testimonies are on a daily basis.”
ToT has imparted many lives and as such, proving that God is not limited by space or barriers. Through Prophet Akama’s OK, one’s world is changed forever.