I first met Peter in 2019 at a conference, later he became a member of my cell group, ‘The Bereans’; as a cell group, we meet every week and share the good news of the gospel of Christ.
The 42-year-old brother in Christ dropped out of school at a young age, got hooked to alcohol and other drugs, has no job and is HIV+. This father of 5 loves the gospel, he studies it consistently; none of the mentioned problems have taken him away from God. I asked him about sharing his story, he was happy to do so and he insisted that I use his real name and publish even his pictures so that others may know that he is real and that God’s hand touches real people even when they are facing real problems.
It is my pleasure to share with you the life of miracles that Peter Lwere has seen.
On 27th August 1978, Mr. Peter Lwere was born to his father’s second wife; he was her first born. His father had a total of 6 wives at his homestead in the central Uganda District of Mukono. Peter grew up in this homestead with his 12 brothers and sisters. Like his siblings, he went to a school which was less than a kilometer away from his home, so it was always easy for him to walk.
His father loved drinking locally made alcohol, which a nearby bar owner would make by fermenting bananas (a steeple food in central Uganda) and adding a few other ingredients to make the alcohol which was branded super waragi.
Every day after school Peter, who was known as a swift and thorough boy, would, after removing his school uniform and keeping his books, rush to the bar to buy for his father Super waragi. The bar owner, who usually gave customers a little bit more than what they would pay for, always added that top-up but little did he know that the real customer, Peter’s father, would never get to see it. The messenger, Peter, would consume it along the way.
By the time he was 10 years old, Peter had not only started drinking varieties of alcohol but this habit had also given him a network of like-minded peers who would hide away from adults and drink. Peter was not the only one drinking alcohol in his home or even neighborhood. A good number of kids would check their parents’ glasses and gallop all that would be left, no matter the type. Peter said that his mother noticed that he was drinking alcohol but she did not show much concern, so he too did not find any harm in the habit.
While at school, Peter and his peers mastered the art of carrying alcohol to school then sneak away from class to drink it without being noticed. One day a teacher found them and the whole group was sent to the counseling office, however all the sessions they had did not stop them from drinking alcohol in and out of school.
When he was 12 years old, Peter dropped out of school, and chose to look around for alternative ways of spending his days. This is when his father learnt that he had been drinking alcohol. His father was very surprised and disappointed to learn that his son had been drinking. He lost his temper and beat the 12-year-old up, and tried to force him back to school in vain.
Peter went to the streets and immediately started working from Mukono town, as a shoe shiner. He would sit by the street wait for people who needed shoe shinning services and earn some money to grab a drink in the cool of the day. ‘In spite of all that I was doing, I still received a lot of favour,’ Peter said introspectively. ‘I did not work as shoe shiner for long! I was hired as an Office Attendant at the District Offices. My job was included getting into office early, open offices, clean them, and stay around to make deliveries, among other things.’ This was a government job and it was well paying and he was smart enough to realize that he needed to grow. His performance at work was very good, he was diligent, punctual, clean and respectful, nobody knew that after performing so admirably in office, he would head to the bar and drink his salary away. He married his first wife when he was 18 years old and they were later blessed with 4 children.
Peter got recruited into the Police Force and was placed at the National Headquarters right in the heart of Uganda’s Capital city, Kampala. He was directly under the Minister of Local Government, a very kind hearted man who treated Peter so well. As a Police Officer, he would occasionally be assigned duties of tracking down crimes like drug peddling and other related cases. He would successfully carryout such operations but he also became a drug user in the process. The habit later landed him a prison sentence and a dismissal from the Police Force. Using drugs accompanied by drinking alcohol also exposed him to prostitutes. Peter had enough money and exposure to buy any prostitute.
He came out of prison and applied for a job at the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) where he was recruited as a driver. Peter was warned against taking alcohol because his physical appearance showed that he had a drinking problem, he continued drinking and smoking anyway. During his time at UNBS the drinking habit escalated. In spite of the great relationship between him and his boss, Peter could not control the habit, he drunk and smoked while on the job until one day when he drunk so much and drove the company car up to his home in Mukono. He packed in his compound and entered his house. His office tried in vain to reach him but his phones were off. One of his workmates was able to trace his house, where his supervisors went and picked the car. He lost the job after that. This is the month he was going to get a pay rise, and he had not stayed long enough to even get that month’s salary.
It was so difficult to survive without a job, he sold everything he had woke up to go to the bar. He also lost his marriage, and he also had a pregnant girlfriend. Alcohol dominated his life and left no place for food, a shower, or laundry. He would go to the bar at 6:00AM and leave at night, ‘neighbours would close their doors at the sight of me.’ he confessed. In 2015, Peter fell sick for a long time and upon the advice of his friend, he took an HIV test which came out positive.
Frustration deepened and he maintained the drinking, without even taking the medicine. One day his close friend found him unconscious locked in his house, he took him to the hospital, where he was admitted for two weeks and was given medicine, and cautioned against drinking and smoking.
Depression was still eating him away, he was directed to a church, where he met a pastor who told him about the healing power of Jesus and asked him to pay money to access those healing services. If he had the money Peter would have put it all on the pastor’s hand; he was also taken to various native doctors who did not help much. He wanted to stop drinking and smoking, he also wanted HIV to go away!
On 3rd August 2019, his neighbor took him to Kilowooza, about 2 Kilometres from his home, to attend a conference called Manya Ddembelyo mu Kristo, Luganda for Know your Freedom in Christ. He had not eaten for days; that morning, his neigbour came with friends who managed to convince him to drink water. He was put on a bike and taken to the conference arena.
Know your freedom in Christ is a series of monthly conferences hosted by Bethesda Ministries, Uganda, under the patronage of Rev. Titus Baraka, and a few other people. They mentor Christians to mentor others. This approach has brought a team of people from different walks of life who reach out to others with the intention of teaching people who they are in Christ. The already mentioned conference is one of the activities they carry out; it is held every first Saturday on the month at the Bethesda Grounds in Kilowooza, Mukono District.
While at this conference, Peter listened to testimonies by various people who had been touched by God, he listened the day’s message and was prayed for. A young man sat by him, gave him water and encouraged him to trust in God and not man. He prayed with him and Peter felt encouraged. He walked back home after the conference with the resolve to love and trust God.
When he arrived home that evening, his neighbour prepared him a meal which he ate. The same friend encouraged him to read the Bible and prayed with him, and they started trusting God together. He was determined to resist the urge to take alcohol no matter how hard it was. ‘The first three days were very tough. I passed by the same bar saw the same friends and they would be drinking just like we used to. There was a deep craving for alcohol which I cannot explain.’
“How did you manage to resist the urge to feed that desire?” I asked in bewilderment. Peter said God’s grace held him strong; it gave him a circle of encouragers who regularly visited him and prayed with him. God also gave Peter a fellowship in form of an AA group which started meeting every Monday evening, at the Bethesda Grounds. They still meet. They pray together and share experiences. The warmth of fellowship, even with other members of the body of Christ has helped him. Peter prays diligently and is always eager to share his story so that others learn that God is the one true deliverer. He has not touched alcohol for more than a year now. He does not want to touch alcohol ever again. And all the glory goes to God.