One of the many highlights of being a member of Tayside Christian Fellowship in Perth is the chance of meeting and engaging with visitors, many of whom decide to stay with us.
This is the story of Manny, who first came to our church nearly seven years ago and who now is ready to return home to Uganda. We will miss him tremendously and so it is with a heavy heart we wish him well as he prepares to return to his family and establish himself in a new and exciting career.
Before departing this month, Manny was keen to share with our regular website visitors and TCF, his unique perspective of what the ‘TCF family’ has meant to him.
My Name is Gonzaga Emmanuel Rubombora, but many of you know me as Emmanuel or Manny. I am a Christian from a beautiful country situated in The Great Lakes region of East Africa called Uganda with a reasonably large family, and even though my parents Doreen and Tony Rubombora only bore three girls and two boys of which I am the third born, I have many other brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers that make my family. This is commonly understood as the African family. Over here, I believe they would be considered extended family or even in some cases close friends.
I arrived in Perth as a student in 2014 when I enrolled on the AST Part 66 Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Course. I later went on to do my BEng Hons degree in Aircraft engineering and Air traffic management, of which I am finishing this year.
I found TCF online as I looked for a church to attend. I wasn’t particularly sure of what kind of church TCF was or who any of the members were the only thing that probably stood out for me were the words “Christian Fellowship”.
I cannot recall the date I first attended TCF’s Sunday service, but I do remember the atmosphere and people. At home in Uganda, we have large churches with sizable congregations, normally a few thousand people attend more than one Sunday service weekly in most of the main churches. It is difficult to know all the members in the churches that I belong to, which usually means I get to fade into the crowd without drawing too much attention to myself (one of my many uncordial habits), this wasn’t the case at TCF. On my first visit I was greeted by happy wholehearted people, I thought this was standard procedure, but as I attended more frequently I was surprised that this congregation were not getting used to just seeing me around but wanted to further engage and know who I was.
This coupled with a sound doctrine based on the teachings of The Word of God, led to fruitful interaction, and sharing more of their time through fellowship. I have been blessed to visit many homes where The Word of God was not only shared but practiced, and after many delicious home cooked meals each one of which accompanied by an equally filling dessert, I was convinced that these were true children of God.
In all seriousness I didn’t just find a group of believers, I found a home away from home and more importantly I found family, the kind of family that was moulded by The Holy Spirit as part of the body of Christ, openly proclaiming the biblical truth and actively searching for ways they can bless the people around them the same way Christ has truly blessed them.
I have had the pleasure and honour of seeing how The Lord works in TCF from the children to the adults raising up disciples and moving them forward into different walks of life, I being one of them. Some of my experiences include benefiting from the wealth of resourceful people that have kindly helped me in my personal, professional, and spiritual life of which I am grateful.
In the beginning, I was in the general homegroups, I then joined some of the more age specific study groups like Young Adults where I was able to interact with people of a similar age group and form strong bonds of friendship with a group of encouraging people. Finally, I have been blessed to take part in assisting some of the younger adults and upcoming leaders. In the Youth Fellowship, I must say, the teenagers in the church are growing in their faith and actively applying their talents as a strong part of this community.
As I move on to the next stage of my life, carrying with me memories of time spent in Scotland, I will always remember the gifts that the Holy Spirit gave me through a small community made of different people with various backgrounds showing the heart of Christ merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
My prayer for TCF is that you will continue to open your doors and your hearts to the people around you no matter where they are from, showing them the many great gifts, our Lord Jesus Christ has given you.
The next stage of my life will be moving back home to Uganda after nearly 12 years in the UK. I will be working towards getting my aircraft maintenance licence and setting down roots once again. Despite the many challenges we have in Africa, God has blessed and protected us. I hope to see some of you when you come to visit our large and lovely continent.
Published August 26th 2021