NOTES FROM THE FIELD
In this series, thoseinvolved with CLC foreign missions profile one aspect of our overseas endeavors.
It may go without saying that things don’t always go as planned when it comes to overseas mission work. The book of God’s wisdom reminds us that “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9 ESV) The plan was not to go and preach the Gospel to Eric Sagala, but rather to go to Kenya to help establish a school and bring a congregation through the study of God’s Word.
Eric was not active in the congregation in the early days of its formation, but he was always willing to lend a hand where he thought he could contribute. Over the years he would end up being the driver for trips in Kenya and Uganda. While accompanying the missionary or mission helper teams, Eric found himself listening to sermons and children’s vacation Bible school lessons over and over. It was not long before he started participating fully in pastoral conference sessions with evident interest in God’s Word of life. One such lesson that he heard numerous times was that of Jesus raising the little girl from the dead. He remarked “I think many people will follow Jesus if they hear this story, it is wonderful that Jesus can cheat death so easily.” Jesus will do the same for Eric. He will raise him from death as if waking him from sleep.
A very severe case of COVID-19 brought Eric’s earthly pilgrimage to an abrupt end. Eric’s passing raises many questions: “What will his mother do without him to help at home and run the daily operations of the family farm?” “How will his young children persevere through such a tragic loss?” “Why now? Why him?” We may not receive the answers to those questions, and they may weigh heavily on our hearts and the hearts of those closest to him.
The questions that God has answered definitively will be what brings us peace. “Has God done everything in order to prepare a place for Eric as a pure gift of grace found in Christ Jesus?” YES! “Has the Lord removed Eric’s sin from him as far as east is from west?” YES! “Did the Holy Spirit work in Eric’s heart and give him a faith that he professed?” YES! “Will he live again?” Because Jesus lives, the answer is YES!
We grieve along with the Sagala family and Eric’s many friends, but we grieve as those who have hope.
Below is the obituary prepared by the family and published in the national newspaper:
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Eric Bwibuya Sagala after a short illness. The Late Eric Edwin Bwibuya Sagala was born on 2.11.1972 being the 7th born to the late Joshua Sagala Bwibuya and Anna Chebet Sagala.
He was brother to Vivian (USA), Mary, Emily, Nancy, Jemima, John and Rachael. Grandson to the late Isaya Bwibuya and Rodah Ondisa and late Benjamin and Rachael Chumo.
He was husband to Grace Mwamburi and father to Wendy, Natalie, Martin, Melanie, and Nicole. He was uncle to many.
He was also grandfather to Tessie, Malaika, Zuri, Clarissa and Baby Joshua.
The Burial shall be held on 1st April 2021 at his home in Mabusi Scheme plot 17 Nzoia Location, Kakamega County. John 5:28-29 ESV “Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.”
Michael Gurath is pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Phoenix, Arizona, and a visiting missionary to Africa.