The First Level of the Girls’ Dorm is Done!

Hooray, hooray, the first level of the girls dorm is now done! Everyone was rejoicing at how beautiful the building is, especially at night.

We had solar panels installed, so the girls will have free, reliable electricity in their new dorm. This will solve two problems. Power outages are frequent and can last for days, so some evenings the students have no light for studying in the evening. Also, electricity is expensive, which is a burden on the school.

Along with the dorm they also built a nice new girls’ toilet/bath house. It will be lit by the nearby dorm lights at nights. No more stumbling to find their way in the dark!

The girls enjoyed cleaning their future home, to make it spic and span.

Then the boys brought over the newly made bunk beds.

Ready to go!

Progress on Dorm – January 2024

They are now putting some final touches on the first level of the girls dorm now (January 2024). They’ve plastered the walls inside and out, finished the floors and finally installed glass in the window and door openings.

Above they are sealing around the windows of the door. The dorm has very high ceilings, windows and doors!

One other thing needs to be done – to build a dedicated latrine and bathroom next to the dorm. This goes pretty quickly.

Here they are constructing the roof for the latrine.

So this is where we are at right now with the new dorm!

They still need to apply an outer coating to the building and will do that soon.

They will also be installing some solar panels for electricity and will need to build beds for the girls too. So there are a few more things to do before the girls move in, in February.

Kingsway’s Surprisingly Heroic Mission

Because of an interesting cultural misunderstanding, I (Lois Tverberg, chair, US Kingsway board) missed a critical detail about Kingsway Christian High School until recently.

Originally I thought that the school’s purpose was to support Rev. Dr. Milly Maturu Erema’s family. When Milly was attending Western Seminary in Holland, Michigan in 2001, four of Milly’s brothers were killed in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) conflict, and Milly became responsible to educate their 22 orphaned children. Raising school fees for so many would be impossible, and Milly and her husband were both educated, so with the help of churches in our area, they decided to start a boarding school where they could receive income from other students who would attend, and make sure their children had a Christ-centered education.

Remember the Invisible Children?

What I was shocked to learn recently was that Kingsway was actually serving a much bigger purpose, and in a sacrificial way. Shortly after Kingsway began in 2008, Milly and her husband Sam were contacted by other families suffering in the LRA conflict in northern Uganda, where they both come from. They were pleading for their children to attend Kingsway too.

You may remember hearing about the “Invisible Children” who fled from their homes every night to avoid being abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group that was forcing young boys to become child soldiers and girls into sexual slavery. Many walked long distances each night to sleep in cities like Gulu, where the Ugandan army was on guard. In the morning they’d return home.

There was a huge social media campaign called “Kony 2012” (see below) to call attention to the crisis, and reporters and international aid organizations flocked to Gulu to help children there. But because of the danger of the LRA, none of the visiting agencies set foot outside the city to visit surrounding villages. There, thousands more children had been sleeping in the bush every night for years, unable to attend school or church, and some had lost their families in the LRA’s massacres.


Kingsway was in southern Uganda, which was safe from the conflict. In spite of the danger, they decided to bring desperate young people from the villages in the north to Kingsway. Of course, none could pay. Yet most of Kingsway’s first 150 students came from the conflict area. Milly and Sam made many trips to get children from their school, which was about 300 miles away.

Milly’s harrowing tales of war zone travel shocked me. Normally they traveled by bus, but the LRA would stop vehicles and set them ablaze with the people still inside. So buses stopped going to the north. Milly and Sam would take the bus as far as they could, then walk the rest of the way. They walked through the bush, often many miles, because roads were dangerous. Sometimes they were stopped by the Ugandan army, who held them at gunpoint until they explained their mission.

One time Sam was bringing four children back with him when he was captured by the Lord’s Resistance Army. When they took him back to their compound, he knew his likely fate – he would be shot and the children taken into bondage. But one of the soldiers recognized him and pled to his commander, “Oh, this man was my teacher! Please spare his life!” So they let him go. It was almost evening and he was exhausted, but he walked through the bush all night long to find safety. The children were lost to the LRA.

When “Our Children” does not mean “Our Children”

I asked Milly, were these relatives or neighbors, that you would risk your life to get them? I wondered this because Milly always spoke of bringing “our children” from the north to Kingsway. I assumed they had to be at least from her own Lugbara tribe, a minority in Uganda.

“Night commuters” hiding from abduction by the LRA

The answer was actually no! They were mostly from other tribes and villages in the north. People who were sheltering “invisible children” had contacted Kingsway. Milly reached out to each one she could help.

Many Kingsway graduates now have attended university and started jobs and found good lives, a fate unthinkable for thousands of youth who gave up hope of going to school past 7th grade because of the war. Milly even spent her own money to send one of the brightest to university, and he works for a United Nations refugee camp today.

What’s ironic is that for years I didn’t grasp the heroic, unselfish nature of Kingsway because of how Milly was using the phrase, “our children.” Local churches saw Kingsway as serving Milly’s nieces and nephews. I assumed the children from the north were extended family. But to Milly, “our children” actually referred to any desperate Ugandan child who she could help.

Social Media and Kony 2012

You may remember the social media campaign called “Kony 2012,” which was the first video to become a viral media sensation on Youtube. Produced by Invisible Children, Inc., the video told the story of the invisible children coming to Gulu, and then it attempted but failed to bring the LRA leader Joseph Kony to justice.

9 21 2012 ONC- Jason Russell

The campaign was promoted by influencers like Oprah Winfrey, Taylor Swift, Bill Gates, George Clooney and George W. Bush, among others. This brought enormous attention to the tragic situation going on in northern Uganda, but it wasn’t able to end the Lord’s Resistance Army conflict. Cynical reporters mocked the efforts of the campaign, calling it “white saviorism” at its utmost.

You know what? It’s actually been the humble, grass-roots ministries of Ugandans themselves, like Kingsway Christian High School, who have begun to bring hope and healing to northern Uganda.

Western Seminary Celebrates Rev. Dr. Milly Maturu Erema as Distinguished Graduate of 2023

On November 9th, Western Theological Seminary hosted a lovely dinner at Haworth Hotel in Holland, Michigan where Milly and many good friends celebrated her award as the seminary’s Distinguished Graduate of 2023.

After dinner, Lois Tverberg shared some of Milly’s story and accomplishments that she wrote about in the seminary’s Commons magazine. (See this link to read her amazing life story.) Because of teaching at Uganda Christian University and mentoring future pastors, Milly has had enormous influence on future pastors in Uganda. She is one of only two women who have both a Ph.D. and are ordained Anglican priests. And on top of this, she runs Kingsway Christian High School which has given hundreds of children from war-torn areas a chance at a future that is impossible without a high school education.

Then Dr. Felix Theonugraha, the president of Western Theological Seminary, gave her the award.

Everyone wanted their pictures taken with her.  🙂

And the next morning they celebrated again at Western Seminary!

Along with the award, Western Seminary invited her to be a Visiting Scholar for the fall semester, and gave her a lovely office where she did research and worked on presentations that she gave while in the US this fall. It had large windows and was right next to the atrium gathering area, allowing for many good conversations with professors and students there.

Watch Dr. Milly talk about Reading the Bible as an Insider

When Dr. Milly Erema was in Michigan in October and November 2023, she gave several seminars at area churches about how she reads the Bible from an “insider’s perspective.” She understands ancient rituals and symbolism in the Old Testament that is lost on Western readers because of growing up in an East African culture with traditional practices that resemble the Ancient Near East in many ways. Many puzzling passages make more sense in this context.

She and Lois Tverberg, who writes about the Bible in its cultural context, had a lively conversation about her “ancient” perspective on the Bible.

You can watch one of their talks below!

Paper Given at the Evangelical Theological Society Meeting

Dr. Milly and Lois Tverberg also traveled to San Antonio to attend academic meetings in biblical studies. They attended the conferences of  ETS (Evangelical Theological Society), IBR (Institute for Biblical Research) and SBL (Society for Biblical Literature).

At ETS, Dr. Milly gave a paper about how her East African traditional knowledge sheds light on Psalm 82, a puzzling psalm for Christians. Consider the text of Psalm 82:

God has taken his place in the divine council;
in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
“How long will you judge unjustly
and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
they walk about in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
I said, “You are gods,
sons of the Most High, all of you;
nevertheless, like men you shall die,
and fall like any prince.”
Arise, O God, judge the earth;
for you shall inherit all the nations!

Christians puzzle over how this psalm speaks of God seemingly among other gods. It sounds like some kind of polytheism is being hinted at, which the term “divine council” also suggests. Dr. Milly has an answer for this from her culture, where human leaders are spoken of as “gods” because the assumption was that the spirit of the god was speaking through them. It is as if God gives a bit of his Spirit to each person who has authority to rule or judge on his behalf.

This is actually not unlike what you see in the OT when kings are anointed and are filled with God’s Spirit, (1 Sam 16:13) or when the 70 elders are filled with the Spirit after Moses delegates some of his duties to them. (Numbers 11:25)

Dr. Milly sees Psalm 82 as a rebuke upon human leaders who are corrupt, who neglect the needs of their people. They may think they are gods and can act with impunity, but they will realize their humanity when they face judgment for their misdeeds when they die.

You can read her paper at the link (pdf.):

A Contextual Analysis of Psalm 82 from an African Perspective – FINAL

Dr. Erema is speaking in Michigan and Texas

Dr. Milly Erema is currently visiting the USA until November 29. While she is there she will be giving talks in Western Michigan and at the Evangelical Theological Society Meeting in San Antonio.

She has already given a two-week seminar at Pillar Church in Holland, Michigan called, “The Bible from an Insider’s Perspective.” When she studied at Western Seminary (Holland, MI), her professors were amazed at how she seemed to read the Bible from an insider’s perspective, because of growing up in an East African culture with traditional practices that resemble the Ancient Near East in many ways. Many puzzling passages make more sense in this context. She and Lois Tverberg, an author on Biblical cultural context, had a lively conversation about her “ancient” perspective on the Bible.

The pair will be giving two more seminars on the same topic at area churches that are open for anyone to attend. Please join us!

Sunday, November 5, 11:45 AM – Second Reformed Church, 225 E Central St, Zeeland, MI 49464 (Enter in the new “A” entrance in the back, off the lot on the corner of Cherry & Church streets.)

Wednesday, November 8, 6 PM – First Reformed Church, 630 State Street in Holland, MI 49423.

Hope you can join us! (We’ll try to put a video link online later.)

At the Evangelical Theological Society meeting

In San Antonio, Texas on Tuesday, November 14 at 4:30 PM,  Dr. Erema will be giving an academic paper entitled,

Reading Psalm 82 from a Ugandan Cultural Perspective

Psalm 82 has been of recent interest because of Michael Heiser’s theory regarding divine council imagery. He sees the bene elohim (“sons of gods”) as divine beings that polytheist peoples worshiped as gods. Dr. Erema will share a contrasting interpretation based on how East African readers understand this imagery.  The “sons of gods” are seen as human leaders who are called “gods” because their authority is seen as God-derived. This interpretation accords with the many times when foreign kings claim divine status throughout the Bible. Psalm 82 rebukes these “gods” for neglecting to bring justice to the widow and orphan, which is the universally-assumed responsibility of kings throughout the biblical text and in the Ancient Near East.

If you are going to the Evangelical Theological Society meeting, we hope you will attend.

Finishing the First Floor of the Girl’s Dorm

It’s been a constant battle with the rains this year, but the Lord has let us finish the first level of the girl’s dorm. We’re happy to say that the final plaster is being laid on the walls inside and out. The floors have also been finished and polished.

The plaster outside will keep the rain from melting the hand-dried brick. It looks much better than the rough brick exterior that pictures showed before.

The inside walls and ceiling will be clean and smooth too. We’ll paint them later.

It’s looking pretty good so far!

All that’s left is to put the window and door glass in and paint the interior walls, and also to build nearby toilets/bathrooms. Then the girls can move in. Hooray!

Kingsway Fall Newsletter – October 2023

Dear Friends of Kingsway Christian High School,

We greet you in the precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ! We heartily thank you for your continued prayer, encouragement, and financial support.

We have successfully closed school for second-term vacation for three weeks. Most of our children have gone to their homes and relatives! Term 2 was very difficult because food prices soared to three or four times higher than at the beginning of the year! Through you, the Lord fed us through the term. For this we cannot thank God enough!

School News

My daughter Comfort is traveling in northern Uganda, following up on our past students and collecting their stories. Students have been very happy to reconnect with Kingsway and share how it has changed their lives.

Reward is working on the Ministry of Education requirements for Uganda National Examinations, which will take place at Kingsway from mid-October to mid-November. This will be the first time our students are sitting for the national examinations at Kingsway since COVID! Pray for us for the resources for running the national examinations, which are always very expensive.

Staff and Building News

We employed four new teachers: an English teacher, a biology and chemistry teacher, a geography and entrepreneurship teacher, and a physics and mathematics teacher. We are still looking for another cook to employ to replace Godfrey. We are also looking for an assistant teacher to help out with Comfort’s subjects.

For the girl’s dorm we’ve completed the most difficult part of the project, installing the roof slab between the floors. We still have some work to do to finish the ground floor and the new toilets for the building.

We were able to install solar panels in the staff residence (below) and we will  do so soon in the examination hall too. Having electricity and lights to study and grade papers in the evening is an answer to prayer for our teachers and students, especially as national exams approach.

Challenges and Prayer Requests

Frequent Power Blackouts

We need funds to install more solar lights at school. In this past term, we had frequent power blackouts, which left the school in total darkness.

The Girls’ Dormitory

We need to finish the girls’ dorm so we can register Kingsway as a boarding school. This will help us to avoid problems with Ministry of Education.

My Travel to the USA This Year

Thank you for your prayers for me for a visa. I did get the Visa to travel to the US in October. I will be in the US from October 12 until November 29 and hope to see some of you. Please pray for me for safe travel to the US. We will send an update soon about US travel.

We thank God for each one of you, remembering you in our prayers for your labor of love for Kingsway, especially for feeding us and providing an education for our vulnerable orphaned children. Your labor is not in vain. May the Lord reward you greatly!


Celebrating Progress on the Dorm

Work on the girls’ dormitory has been ongoing, persevering in spite of rain and power outages and lack of manpower at times. They still need to plaster and paint the interior and finish the floors inside before the students move in. But things are getting done.

Finally the students were invited to come over and check out the progress.

The girls were pleased to imagine living in their new home:

And the boys were very happy with the dorm too!

Fun on the Football (Soccer) Field at Kingsway

Some of the girls’ team

Kingsway has been teaching children to train to succeed and building confidence and teamwork by having both boys’ and girls’ football (soccer) teams . They have had a great year so far!

Teamwork is great fun!

In the first term they played against two other schools and won both times. This term they have two more games.



You can enjoy one of their post-game victory celebrations below.

They arranged with one school that the boys’ team would play against their girls team, just for fun. The boys didn’t take the game too seriously until the girls started beating them! At the end the girls won, 2-1. You can imagine the shouts of joy.

They also had a game between the students and Kingsway’s teachers. The teachers’ team didn’t have enough players for a team so they invited some Kingsway alumni to play with them. But the students still won in the end, 3-2!

Kingway’s teachers look confident that they’ll win
But Kingsways’ student team looks pretty tough!

Their uniforms were donated by Milly’s son Hope Feni, to give the school some team spirit and allow them to look polished when playing other schools.

Kingsway is currently working on improving their sports programs, because sports are very popular with students in Uganda. If you would like to donate towards this project, go to this page.

They are also asking for donated sports equipment in west Michigan, while Dr. Erema is visiting the US in October/November 2023. Contact for more information.

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