Eve & I took the October half term week to have some "Dad & daughter time" visiting some of our Love Africa Projects in Uganda. Although this was a visit that Eve had been asking to do with me for some time and therefore sort of unofficial we were able to spend quality time with three project partners and get a sense of how our Love Africa financial support is beginning to make a difference already. So here is our report!
Pastor Paul Luballe Centre For Evangelism.
At one of the communities we are supporting near Iganga through the ministry of Pastor Paul Luballe and The Centre For Evangelism; we heard in detail about how Love Africa monies are already making a difference.
Pastor Paul has invested Love Africa monies strategically in five of his 60 churches to lift people from significant poverty caused by HIV/AIDS. The levels of poverty are extreme and his approach is very systematic:
1. Identify the most vulnerabl people in the community
2. Give them immediate practical help such as blankets and food.
3. Bring them together to become a group that learns to help one another instead of being isolated by poiverty and disease.
4. Educate them about infection, treatment and sustainable living using new income genrating activities
5. Work with them to become secure in food and health management.
6. Encourage them to help the rest of the community to avoid infection and disease.
We heard such powerful testimonies of transformation and hope from two of the five extremely rural communities. That is amazing progress just a few months after receiving the Love Africa Funds.
Messages of gratitude to the St James church family were passed to us over and over again. It was incredibly moving to see how our help is making such a difference already.
Pastor Nicholas Ong'amo - Tumaine Children's Home Kakira
We have been very focussed with our support of Tumaine to try to get the building project finished before moving to other areas. What has our money ensured?
1. Fresh water supply from new tanks that catch hundreds of litres of rain water.
2. Funding for electricity supplies which should be hooked up before Christmas
3. An underground water storgae tank
4. A repaired and secured roof with no leaks.
5. Uniforms and school fees for 70+ children to ensure they can go to school every day
6, A bible for each child together with Mosquito net and soft toy
7. Clothing for all the children accross the age range
8. Medical support costs for each child.
We spent a lot of time with the children and they are so grateful for all the big improvements they have seen. They talk about and pray for St James every day quite spontaneously. We heard many of the stories behind why some of the children came to be at Tumaine and these were very harrowing and moving. Without this ministry these children would be living in some of the poorest and most dangerous camps in the country.
There is more to do and if we can work effeiciently and closely enough with Pastor Nicholas we hope that we will be able to help with food security programmes at Tumaine in the coming year. ACET have worked extremely hard with Tumaine to help them manage their funds well.
Uganda Women's Concern Ministry - Mbale
Edith Wakumire and her team work with 15 Community Mobiliastion Teams (CMT's) and we visited one of the most remote teams in the mountains at Wanale. Edith says "where everyone else's work stops, this is where our work begins". She works with the neediest people of all. We have visited this community before and there is such a fine line between exisiting and falling into life-threatening poverty. The CMT's identify the most needy families and children and support them with immediate practical needs then help them to earn money through food, craft and skills programmes as well as educating them about HIV/AIDs and malaria. We were able to meet three families who had been helped by UWCM who would otherwise surely have perished. It was a very moving experience to talk with them about their plight and how they had been helped.
The CMT's need some discretionary funds to help needy people right on the spot and we are talking with Edith about how to make those funds available to the CMT's from the monies we will be giving from Love Africa in 2009.
While we were with UWCM we attended their first ever CMT gathering where all the CMT's came together to share best practices and to support one another. This is one of the activities Love Africa has made possible for the first time. They were so professional, dedicated and evangelistic in their approach and more funds will flow into their work to support and grow this ministry in the months ahead.
This is a short summary of what was a truly amazing visit. It was very special for me to share this aspect of our ministry with Eve and she has since presented her experiences to resonate at st James and to her school year.
I think our biggest learnings were
1. That relationship makes all the difference and that is why it is good to visit and why Love Africa has relationship at its heart.
2. That the need is very great yet it does not take much to change lives.
3. Love Africa funds, even after 6 months are making a difference and the potential to change whole communities for the long term once and for all is HUGE!
4. The faith of the Pastors we are supporting and their evangelistic zeal is simply breathtaking and very humbling. They live on faith and share the gospel wherever they go.
We were not travelling with Tearfund or ACET and we were not staying in guest houses but in local homes so there were times when Eve & I felt vulnerable and exposed. We FELT the prayer that was being offered up for us and there were times when Eve especially had to dig deep.... But she did and I was very proud of her!
We praise God that we have been able to see and hear the difference that Love Africa is making for oursleves.