A Country That Can Give Back to the World
February 1, 2003 - First Ladies—the wives of presidents or other national leaders—face public expectations that often are impossible to achieve. Yet First Ladies often seem to emerge as inspirational leaders, forces for peace and grace.
by Tom Layton
Few such women are more inspirational than Uganda's First Lady, Janet Museveni. Museveni, 53, is the wife of Yoweri Museveni, who has served since 1986 as the President of Uganda. Janet Museveni, a mother of four, educated in Uganda and Sweden, has become the international spokesperson for Uganda's successful HIV/AIDS campaign, which is based largely on biblical principles. She was raised in a Christian home but says that it was only a few years ago, after experiencing a series of answered prayers, that she made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ.
Her faith in Christ has had an enormous effect on her life as First Lady. "I find," she said, "that God has given me strength, and I find the solutions that I need by praying. I remember my life before I found the Lord, and I know that it was so different without Him. I feel sorry for people who are in such important positions of responsibility without God."
As God has changed the life of the First Lady, He also is working mightily in the lives of people throughout the nation. Much of Uganda's success in fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic has been credited to church leadership and influence, church-government cooperation, and church-taught behavior. Other nations can learn from Uganda's success in dealing with the epidemic, Museveni said, as people pray, work and heed the answers that God has provided.
The challenge, Museveni said, is this: "Are people really willing to serve the Lord? If they are, they've got to reach out to where the need is. If we work together, knowing that we serve the living God, we can defeat AIDS. But are we are willing to go the extra mile to do something for someone else?"
Museveni said she hopes that Christians around the world will pray for Uganda. "So much has been done," she said, "but we still have a long way to go. We need to see this nation progress from being a beggar—looking to others for what we require—to being a country that can give back to the world. We want so much to see that happen. We need people to keep praying for us so that we will get there."
Please Pray for Uganda
Evangelical church leaders in Uganda are asking for prayer:
- For the victims of HIV/AIDS, especially orphans who need Christian role models and widows who need Christian charity.
- For trained, disciplined and humble leaders to pastor Uganda's rapidly expanding churches.
- For creative Bible teaching in a society where more than one-third of the people cannot read.
- For the continued freedom to preach and share the Gospel—a freedom that cannot be taken for granted, given the history of Uganda and neighboring countries.