I came to Britain 32 years ago after fleeing the dictatorship of Idi Amin in Uganda. When I was a child my mother told us about God’s love and the life of Jesus, his extraordinary birth, kindness to people, suffering, death and resurrection. The story gripped my young imagination to the extent that every Good Friday I used to feel sad for Jesus and I was truly glad on Easter day because he rose and was alive. As I grew older I became acutely aware of my shortcomings before God and was restless and fearful of His judgement. I prayed earnestly to Him to show me the right way to live that pleases Him and He did. I attended a Christian conference where, in a deeper way, I learnt more about God’s love and forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ, and that we are no longer judged. I learnt that in Christ, God in His love and forgiveness sees us as if we had never done anything wrong. My life changed totally. I began to trust Jesus and God in all circumstances and to pray for my family and people that they too may receive this wonderful gift from God.
In 1976 at the height of Idi Amin’s,rule of terror so many people had been murdered or disappeared including some members of my family. There were frequent incidences of people being taken away from their homes or work places and never being seen again. On one occasion the army entered our University campass and beat up the students because they had protested against the murder of a student. At night I was so fearful I could not sleep. I felt I was on the verge of losing my mind. As I prayed the Lord gave me a prayer, “Thou art my sanity ” and there was a wonderful picture in my mind of the Lord Jesus looking at me with compassion. I slept soundly and felt safe in His love. That is why I am glad to sing, praise and dance to Him and draw people to Him through music and dance. It is a wonderful gift for which I am truly thankful and humbled.
God bless you.
Dr Florence Odonga is one of the singers and a dancer with the New English Orchestra. She will be peforming at the Papal Visit Prayer Vigil in Hyde Park on 18th September 2010.