BY MOSES MUGALULA
NEWS EDITOR MEDIA
ON SUNDAY 31st December 2023, all roads will lead to Kyambogo University Cricket Sports Grounds on Jinja road where end of year 2023 prayers have been organised by Presiding Apostle Dr. Joseph and Pastor Freda Serwadda of Victory Christian Centre Ndeeba-Kampala in Uganda.
This will be the 22nd Passover Festival since 2002, when this leading International televangelist Dr. Joseph Serwadda launched end of year prayers a directive given to him by God when the two wrestled for about an hour, late at night.
It is on record, the Born of Again Faith leader in Uganda Dr. Joseph Serwadda was the first to gather all Ugandans and people of God from East and Central Africa to end and welcome the new year in a unique style. This time not burning tyres, shouting in the middle of roads, drinking in bars but worshiping and praising the Lord. He opened a new chapter for the country and region.
News Editor, the leading investigative news Website in Uganda met Dr. Joseph Serwadda at Victory Christian Centre Ndeeba and shared the inside story about the Genesis of Passover Festival and why people of God should always end and welcome new year in this celebration.
Please read on;
News Editor: Presiding Apostle Dr. Serwadda, good afternoon. 21 years go, you started end of year mega prayers and named it Passover festival. How did you come up with this name? Was it God’s revelation? Why did you think people should end the year and start the new one in prayers and worshiping God instead of partying with family and friends? How is this important and what did it take you sir to change the then trend of ending year in bars, burning tyres and shouting in the middle of the roads?
Dr. Serwadda: Thank you! In the year 2002 on 8th day of October, i had just seen off Apostle John Bunjo and wife close to midnight. I decided that i will pray outside our little house in Mutundwe then not to awake our children who were sleeping.
When i was praying, there was too much noise in the city. And i was reminded, the next day was 9th October, the independence day of Uganda. 40 years since Uganda got independence in 1962.
There and then God appeared to me and said, ’40 years is a generation, and a generation is measured by what it has achieved’.
So God said to me, ‘You have done half of your life in this Generation, it will be another bit of your life that is going to go into the next Generation. And so just like Joshua, you have lived in two generations. So listen to me very carefully, you can decide to be part of the next generation of this country or you can decide to let go.’
That word, ‘let to go’ meant to me that if i said i want to let go, i would either stop being a minister, or i would abidicate my ministry or something would even happen to me as fatal as death!
So i said, “Lord, you know i want to be part of the next generation.”
Then God said, “Ok then, there is going to be another generation starting tomorrow, because Uganda is at the centre of God’s calender.
So in 2002 a Generation that had started in 1962 had ended 40 years later.
For starters, I got saved in 1975 and in 2002, it was about 27 years for my salvation. I have now been saved for 48 years. In 2002 when God appeared to me, i had done only 27 years of Salvation.
God then showed me that there is going to be other 40 years to come, of which he wanted me to be part. Because i have had the opportunity to be in both generations, it was very clear for me that the next 40 years after 2002 would bea significant part of my ministry and life. That night in 2002, God gave me instructions, ‘Collect people, every year i will be giving you a message for them, every beginning of year i will be showing you a way to conduct yourselves as a body of Christ, i am establishing you as a prophet of this country for that purpose.’ I obliged!
So you can now imagine, this is 2023 and then it was 2002, so that is 21 years gone. That is why we call this the 22nd passover event as we enter 2024. Because we have been runing it since 2002.
News Editor: And the event name, Passover Festival, how did you come to that?
Dr. Serwadda: God gave me the name Passover and i wrestled with him that night of 2002. I said, the Passover is known in Israel, it happens on a particular day. The Passover as an event happened because the Children of Israel were coming from slavery to their promised land.
And God said to me, ‘You know, I am rolling away the reproach of Egypt just like i did it for Israelis of those days, i am now rolling away the reporoach of the foreign world from Uganda.’
And he gave me a scripture Joshua 5:9, saying Uganda from now onwards, it wil never be ashamed.
So that is how the name started and i accepted it.
The the Passover festival is an event where we passover into a new generation but we are also passing over into a new year and God himself said let it be a festival not a mourning time.
One may ask, what about prayer? I told God, for people to enter into new year, they should prepare themselves with prayer.
But God said, ‘No, if you want to make the people pray, find another time and i will allow it happen.’
That is why we have already marked off June, the whole month as Combat Month.
So, there is a separation of prayer (Combat Month) and Celebration that is why it is called a festival at the last day of the year.
And the reason God gave me was, the people do not understand what it means for them to go from one year to the other.
I even reasoned with Him, asking, ‘God, why dont we do it on the independance day? Why?’
The spirit of God answered, ‘Because it has to be different. What they achieve in the natural is not what they achieve in the spirit. These two are totally different even though they seem to be taking the same route but they are parallel.’ So the rest is now history!
News Editor: How can you account for the last 21 passover festivals? Are there visible testimonies?
Dr. Serwadda: It is true, Ugandans used to celebrate new year day by burning tyres, by drinking alcohol and all of those things but the Church of Christ used to celebrate new year’s day on January 1st.
It is so interesting! Have you seen the records today? Uganda Police has said, they have registered 700 places of Worship which will pray on 31st December and they have also allowed them to use the Fire Works.
The reason for the record because they are now giving them permission to use fireworks.
So it has become a very serious day, the Anglicans have them, the Catholics do the same and there was an event in 2007 where the Muslims did the same. It has caught on, it is all over East Africa.
In terms of what we have achieved, today you can think about it in many ways, personal miracles, people have got mighty miracles that have happened to them.
In the natural here, whether they were barren but now have children, whether they had no jobs, those who were struggling, through coming to the Passover festival, God has done for them something in their lives and there are many scores of miracles.
But also on the other side, the Nation now knows that the 31st day of December, is a day of Prayer.
What seems to be exciting for me is that, Government has come to a point where they have said, The Passover event equals the 3rd June Martyrs day event.
However, we think differently. For us we dont come for tourism purposes though Government thinks this is a tourist event. So they have now earmarked our day as the National tourist event of the nation. So to us, is an achievement.
News Editor: What is so special about this year’s 22nd Passover Festival from the last 22 passover festivals? What is it that people over there shouldn’t miss at Kyambogo on 31st December 2023?
Dr. Serwadda: First let me say, we will go back to Namboole Stadium where we used to hold Passover Festival as soon as reconstruction of this National stadium is done. We believe that the government will honour their commitment and go with us.
But this year, we are at Kyambogo University to hear God again, give us matching orders for 2024.
God has promised that, we will know him in a new dimension, never known before.
Since we walk with God in the coming year, we would like to know the new dimensions. We will hear from God, telling us where he wants us to go as a Nation.
But i see the challenges in this country and i believe, God wants to address them.
So, we must come to the Pasover festival for God to give us new directions and experiece God in a diferent way as we usher in new year 2024. God has a special message for his people which i will deliver. Dare not miss this year’s Passover Festival.
News Editor: About preparations, how big is Kyambogo University grounds, how many people can it accomodate and how many are you expecting to attend? Is there enough parking space?
Dr. Serwadda: About preparations, they started almost a week ago, because it is a lot of work.
You have a pitch that needs to be prepared for staging, we have our own platform, lighting, sound system, security, puting amenities for people to use, toilets, centres of service and all these things take a lot of time but we are in final stages now. The platform and canopy is already done. Most of the structual work is done.
The venue has been cleaned, we have been given space three acres of land for parking and other two acres for cooking where if people want to eat something they can go and help themselves. There is enough space in Kyambogo.
The two pitches plus the extension can hold about 50000 to 60000 people comfortably and we have already put 50000 chairs in the place and other couple of seats for the VIPs.
News Editor: With bomb threats and other insecurity, how will you manage security of the venue, security of thousands of people who will attend the 21st Passover festival and the security of their motorcycles and cars? If you will improvise security, how will the congregation know those in charge of security so that they deal with the right people?
Dr. Serwadda: Concerning security, our history is very clear, we have never lost a car, nor anything attached to a vehicle, no one has ever lost a driving mirror, a car indicator, no body has ever vandalised a vehicle because over years, we have been using trained people to work on the security of the venue, people and all their property.
We have 400 men who are in charge of that, 300 ushers in charge of sitting people, 100 are in charge of security.
Also, we will use the services of the police, we will have atleast 200 policemen armed and others in civilian clothes coming and we use those.
Normally when they come in the morning of 31st, they will take snifer dogs around the place, to search and make sure the place is very safe, the public will be allowed to access the venue. So, worry not about the security.
News Editor: Talk about hygiene/sanitation of the venue, have you thought about toilets from where the congregation will ease themselves. Will it be for free or pay?
Dr. Serwadda: Most of the things happpening there demand hygiene. We have very good toilets, and accessibility is free of charge.
Even entering the venue is free of charge. Victory Christian Centre paid for everything. When we want money, We will definately tell the people.
We are coming to a point where we don’t want to hire anything. Lights, PA system, canopy are ours. No need for hiring.
We have been doing this for 20 years, people are discplined. For those coming for the first time, our urshers will be there to guide them.
News Editor: Take us through the event’s program
Dr. Serwadda: Program starts early morning at 8am on 31st and will end on 1st January 2024 at 6am.
News Editor: Are there other invited pastors and choirs?
Dr. Serwadda: Oh yes! We have invited many ministers, gospel ministers, gospel singers, a special choir coming from Korea called the Gracious choir etc. I will not give you all the details of this year’s Passover festival, let God’s people from all walks of life come expecting to be surprised. We indeed have a lot for you, amazing fireworks, name it. But on top of everything, you will go back with your miracle. Come with your new year prayer requests, God will answer them. Everything is set, we are ready to receive you and celebrate together new year in God’s presence.
For views/coments on this story, Whatsapp editor on 0772523039