FISHERS OF MEN. When Pastor James Alex Adima,30, Truth Fountain Church West fished from among his flock Judith Akello,30, a social worker at African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries- Uganda, for marriage. The couple that exchanged vows on April 21, 2018 shared their story with TOBBIAS JOLLY OWINY.
How did you meet?
James: I got involved in evangelical work in my my late teenage years and that was when I met Judith. She was a young woman in our Lango Gospel Outreach Ministries 10 years ago in Lira town. We would go together and preach under our missions.
Judith: We first became friends after meeting on a mission ground 10 years ago. We had gone for a gospel crusade, from then, we became good friends. Before he went to African Bible College, Lubowa – off Entebbe Road four years ago, I only knew James as an active young man in our team. I discovered more about him when he returned last year. Then, he opened up to me about his [marriage] intentions.
When did you get close?
James: When I returned from college, my attitude towards Judith changed. One day while praying, I opened my eyes and all of a sudden saw tears rolling down her eyes. I was amazed and thought to myself; this is the woman I want [to marry].
We thus built more trust in each other and started talking about our past, which included our heartbreaks. We prayed for each other and one day, she specifically asked me to pray for her in order to get a great husband.
Judith: When he returned from school as a pastor, coincidentally we were praying from Truth Fountain West Church Obangapewany in Lira town. While I shared my experiences and sought counselling from him, I got drawn to him.
What attracted you to each other?
James: Judith is quiet and humble that it set me wishing to be with her. She is hardworking, virtuous and diligent. She would use her money to buy clothes and shoes for poor children and preferred to keep it secret. Such a touching gesture!
Judith: I had always prayed for a God-fearing, and honest husband; qualities I saw in James. Also, he is a pastor, God-fearing, respectable, kind and calm.
How did you approach her?
James: As friends, we made frequent phone calls to each other. One day, I initiated a chat in which I asked that we have an evening out together. She declined and I felt downcast.
I almost shied away because we were best friends and I, was her pastor. I kept pondering what other church members would think if I took one of my sheep for a wife.
A month later, I re-strategised and asked what her favourite dish was. When she mentioned pork, I mulled over it. One year later, I proposed to take her to a pork joint at Teso Bar, Lira town and she accepted.
When I held her hand as we ate our pork, Judith was shaking. I imagined she was nervous, so it relieved me to know the person I was getting ready to marry felt the same way as I did. I launched my manifesto and she okayed it.
How did you react?
Judith: I took it for a joke. It was tricky because we were good friends who preached together and this time people would be shocked to see us hooked up as husband and wife.
When he proposed, it threatened our friendship since I was too much into the reputation I had been building as a young woman. I rethought and realised it must have been an answer to my prayers.
Did you have a traditional marriage ceremony?
Judith: Yes, a month ago. I’m so happy that our parents, relatives and clan blessed us and gave us a go ahead to do the church wedding.
James: Culture and faith intermarry. We could not ignore the traditional marriage ceremony much as our main target was the church wedding. We planned for a simple ceremony since finances were limited.
Who proposed the wedding?
James: I did a year ago during our courtship. We agreed to wed first before starting a family since we already knew each other’s weaknesses and strengths. We went to our youth pastor, who helped us to plan for the ceremony
What was your reaction?
Judith: When he set the condition of wedding before starting a family, I knew he was serious. It was like a miracle because getting a man is one thing but one that will immediately want to put a ring on your finger in church is another.
Wedding has been my childhood dream and the fact that we are Christians; we needed to follow values which included wedding. When he proposed, I was not surprised.
Did you go for premarital counselling?
James: Yes, it was necessary and it was held at the pastor’s home in Ireda. It helped us learn, especially coping with elements of emotional and psychological challenges in marriage.
Judith: We learnt so much in terms of how to conduct and care about ourselves, and as a family.
Were you prepared to wed?
James: No, because we did not have enough finances but our wedding was debt-free because friends supported us.
We had a budget of Shs9m, the ceremony cost us about Shs14m. Thanks to contributions from friends and relatives because we had a balance to cater for our honeymoon.
Judith: I was ready for the wedding, although my worry was that our budget for food and refreshments would not be enough for the guests. Gladly God offered us friends who supported us and it was colourful.
Was there a wedding budget?
James: Yes, friends and relatives pledged and came in to take up roles that I valued at Shs5m. Feeding cost us Shs3.5m and decoration services followed by costumes ( suits and dresses for the couple, the best man and the matron) at Shs1.2m.
Judith: We also bought a pair of wedding rings at Shs400,000, entertainment and transport cost us Shs2m and the wedding cake at Shs400,000. My gown was an offer from my matron— she bought it for me.
What was your best moment?
James: When we exchanged vows and she said it would only be death to do us part, because most women today do not want to make such promises.
Judith: When I marched and James unveiled me at the altar. Also, when he put a ring on my finger, I got the assurance that he was mine.
Was honeymoon necessary?
James: We realised that it was necessary during premarital counselling because we needed to relax from the preparation stress. We secured Shs1m for honeymoon at a certain spot in Entebbe. This lasted five days.
Judith: I treasured it so much because it was a time that we learnt more about one another and meditated on the real purpose of the love journey we had started.
Date: April 21, 2018
Groom: James Alex Adima,
Bride: Judith Akello
Reception Venue: Uganda Technical College Field, Lira town.
Church: Truth Fountain West Chruch, Obangapewany.
Celebrant: Bishop James Okalo Ekwang.