Kristopher Sledge ’13
Christian ministries major Kristopher Sledge ’13 experienced a summer he won’t soon forget. The 19-year-old Selinsgrove, Pa., native says he was grateful to spend time this summer as part of a 15-member team from his church doing mission work in Bwaise, Uganda, a suburb of the capital, Kampala. However, on July 11, he was also one of the people hurt in a terrorist bombing that killed 74 and injured many others.
“The terrorist group al-Qaeda does not like that Uganda and Ethiopia has troops in Somalia,” says Sledge. “They chose to bomb two places: the Ethiopian village restaurant that I was at, and a rugby club. Both places had a lot of people there, all watching the World Cup final match between Spain and the Netherlands.”
Though he sustained many injuries—including shrapnel wounds and a broken tibia—Sledge, who plans to attend seminary in the future, has a positive outlook on life and his faith. “I see God as my great protector,” he says. “There were so many people who were dying around me … . There were so many people who died instantly in the bombing. I am so grateful.”
Although he’ll be taking the fall semester off for medical leave, Sledge looks forward to returning to Messiah College, a place he says that has encouraged him to grow both academically and spiritually. “God and Christian fellowship were so important to me as a child and youth growing up in my local church,” Sledge. “Having that at Messiah was exactly what I needed to continue to grow in my spiritual life and grow my relationship with God.”
His time in Uganda, he says, has made him realize that life is not something to take for granted. “I realize that I need to live everyday for God,” he says, “because any day could be my last.”
—Noreen Livoti ’02
Posted on August 25th, 2010