Uganda Train Wreck Claims Missionary Adam Langford, Church Leader Moses Kimezi (Jan-Feb 2007)

By Matt Dabbs

by Erik Tryggestad
Published together with The Christian Chronicle

JINJA, UGANDA—Comforting a grieving woman who lost her sister to AIDS, Adam Langford could only say “nga kitalo,” a phrase in the Lusoga language that roughly translates as “oh, it’s terrible.” It’s an expression of deep sympathy used only at a time of death.

“My illusions of solving the problems of this country have long ago left me,” Langford wrote in an account of the funeral. “They have been replaced with the hope of a risen savior who understands what it means to suffer in this world.”

Langford, 28, died Jan. 16 when the truck he was riding in went over the edge of a mountain road in eastern Uganda.

Another passenger, 36-year-old church leader Moses Kimezi, died in a Mbale hospital from injuries sustained in the wreck.

The two men and a hired driver were transporting coffee from Mount Elgon to Jinja for The Source Cafe, an Internet cafe and coffee shop in the city of more than 50,000 people, missionary Clint Davis said. Profits from The Source help support many church-related needs for the 70-plus congregations in the area, including support for victims of HIV and AIDS. Kimezi served as the cafe’s manager.

The brakes on the truck apparently failed as the driver attempted to navigate the hairpin turns of Mount Elgon, said John Barton, a former missionary to Uganda. The driver lost control of the truck, which left the road, went airborne briefly and rolled down an embankment. The driver, who also was taken to the hospital, is expected to survive.

“Adam and Moses were an amazing pair,” said Davis, former director of the cafe who now heads The Kibo Group ministry in Uganda, “and now we’ve had a one-two leadership loss at a time when they were doing so many good, kingdom-building projects together.”

Langford grew up in Oklahoma City and became interested in missions during a two-week high school trip to the Central American country of Honduras. While studying business management at Oklahoma Christian University, he spent two months in Uganda and met a group of missionaries in Jinja.

“I was amazed at how the team was able to spread the gospel, not only through preaching and teaching, but also through redemptive business and social entrepreneurship,” Langford said in an online journal.

After working as a financial adviser in Gresham, Ore., Langford joined the Jinja team. His brother and sister-in-law, Ben and Kym Langford, also serve on the team as church planters.

Kimezi, an accomplished carpenter and businessman, left behind a wife, Irene, and three children. Kimezi and his family helped a young man with a cleft pallet to get reconstructive surgery and nursed him back to health. Kimezi taught him carpentry. The day of the accident, the young man pledged to take care of Kimezi’s children, Davis said.

Kimezi was buried at his home in Uganda Jan. 18. Langford’s funeral is scheduled for late January at the Memorial Road church in Oklahoma City.

Barton, a philosophy professor at Rochester College in Rochester Hills, Mich., and Mark Moore, an Africa consultant in Washington D.C., traveled to Uganda to minister to the hurting churches and missionaries. The men visited the site of the wreck and said that many Ugandans expressed sympathy and support.

“Obviously, this is tragic on so many levels, and the time of mourning is really only beginning,” Barton said. “But . . . we can already see God’s power and provision at work here.”

“In good Moses Kimezi style, it often turns out to be the Ugandans who teach us about goodness and faith and hope,” he added. “And, as I can imagine Adam saying to us right now, may we learn these lessons well from our Ugandan teachers.”

At the team’s Web site, www.jinjamissions.org, Langford’s final report became a memorial for the missionary. Friends and supporters posted dozens of comments to the report.

“You made being a real Christian cool for the teens,” church member Cindy Wilson wrote. “Your faith in our Lord showed no boundaries. It was deep, real and crazy.”

Read Adam Langford’s final mission report online at http://www.jinjamissions.org.

Find out more about how to support the work of The Source Café and contribute to the families in the tragedy at www.kibogroup.org.

Read more about The Source Cafe in this New Wineskins article.

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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1577 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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