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Friday, July 5, 2013

Right on the mark but running ahead of times

Literature: With faith as his guide, Hillary Turyagyenda wrote 16 books in three years, something not many authors can boast of, writes Dennis D. Muhumuza

April 6, 2013, was the launch, in Kampala, of 16 books —a function codenamed “4x4” because the books were divided into four packs, each pack containing four books with interesting titles like God’s Economics, The Grand Scheme of Things, Miracles Don’t Just Happen, Days are Daisies, to mention but a few.

It is the first time this many books, by the same author, have been launched together in Uganda by a young man of 31 years. And these are not works patched together by the Nkrumah road printers. They are works of quality, published by the US-based company Createspace, and are available on in paperback at the average price of $12.

The author
Writer and Pastor, Hillary Turyagyenda
The inspired author is Hillary Turyagyenda, also a musician who plays the keyboard dexterously and has written more than 1,000 songs in the praise and worship category, and recorded four albums with 15 tracks on each. Little wonder that some of the guest speakers at the launch described him as “a man who is running ahead of times but right on the mark” – the spur to young people to tap into that dimension of doing things astronomically.

Dr Albert Rugumayo, who taught Turyagyenda at Makerere University in the Civil Engineering class, said, “he was always a top guy, always very cheerful and modest. To write 16 books of this quality in three years shows you what capacity he has – it really is phenomenal!” He compared Turyagyenda to the man in the parable of talents who maximised his talents and was praised and rewarded by his master (Matthew 25:14-30).

“He is highly motivated, disciplined and does everything with excellence and integrity. He has defined his purpose and is fulfilling it by engineering people’s hearts,” Dr Rugumayo added.

On top of his books and the music, Turyagyenda is a panelist on the radio talkshow, Concerning Spiritual Things, that airs on 96.6 Spirit Fm on Tuesdays at 8pm. He is also an associate pastor at Spirit and Word Church, YWCA, George Street, Kampala.

His life
The ambidextrous man was born in Entebbe to Sam Turyagyenda, an airforce pilot and Anne Kyomugisha, an electrical technician. As the first of five children, Hillary needed no prompting to grow up with a sense of responsibility. But like any child, he had his naughtiness playing out at Lake Victoria Primary School where he even joined Scripture Union to be near the beautiful girls therein.

But his true spiritual metamorphosis began in 1996 in Senior Two at Kako Secondary School in Masaka. There was a born-again crew in the school known as the “Upper Room People.” He was inspired by their knowledge of the Bible and unflagging belief that those who are in the Lord do “mighty exploits.” Turyagyenda got hooked, got saved and was soon filled with the Holy Spirit complete with the gift of speaking in tongues.

In A-Level at Makerere College School, Turyagyenda excelled and made it on government sponsorship for Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. It was in his first year at Makerere University that he first felt deeply within that he was going to become a minister of the gospel. True to his intuition, he resigned his professional job after five years to join full-time Christian service. The story of a young man of great promise quitting a coveted profession and a lucrative job at Shell Uganda Ltd, to preach the gospel dumbfounded most of his colleagues, relatives and friends.

“They saw it as signing up for poverty. But it is their insecurities that made them think so. Maybe they thought I would be bothering them, asking for money,” he says retrospectively, “But to me engineering was not it, and it’s very hard to go against your heart.”

His inspiration
It is also by heeding his heart that his writing began taking shape. It was during a university fellowship in 2001 that he felt driven to write devotionals and share them with brethren. He kept getting new insights and revelations as if God was telling him “write about this”, “write it this way.”

“There were bursts of inspiration reverberating inside of me —this fire that could not be quenched,” he says fervently. He found escape by spurting these inspirations on paper.

Today, he admits all the books and music have had a toll on him but whenever he sees the results, he rests and rejoices in what the Lord can do through an individual surrendered to Him. Turyagyenda recalls how he used to devour the works of American thriller authors Sidney Sheldon and Robert Ludlum of the famed Bourne trio.

Not wanting to embark on his writing technically unprepared, he read Plain English by Harry Blamires, which taught him the art of conveying his messages with powerful simplicity so that the principles of life he explores in his literature can be understood by everybody who can read English.

He attributes his success to “six faith-builders” headed by his close friend Ronald Niyonshima that provided an environment in which he flourished: “They are big thinkers, great believers and people of limitless possibilities that nurtured by faith, sparked my love for the Word.

“Niyonshima tended to see the unusual elements in me, and would prophesy over my destiny, saying, ‘I see your ministry growing exponentially. You can hardly shrink from any challenges when you are surrounded by people like these. They have been the greatest spiritual catalysts in my life and continue to be the source of the drive to excel and achieve more.”

His purpose
Everything he does, he concludes, is designed to inspire people’s faith toward receiving from God: “The Lord is putting us to saturate the market with these things which will build His people. I encourage people to support the ministry financially and spiritually so that they, too, can be part of changing and transforming lives.”

--Saturday Monitor, April 27, 2013