My visit to Northern Uganda

January 10, 2024

Sharing hope and encouragement

Following the trip to Central Uganda, Robert Mulumbi and I took an 8 hour drive into Nothern Uganda and the city of Lira to meet WIN Global Family Leader George Amoli. Rev George is a Canon in the Church of Uganda and oversees many churches across Nothern Uganda.

This trip was to be a series of great surprises. Our first visit was to the Jesus The Way Primary School, where we were greeted by the whole school who had lined the streets and were singing us a welcome as we arrived. On arrival I was told that this day was their Prayer and Dedication Day, a highpoint of the school calendar, and as such, this is the day that parents also visit. The school chaplain along with a guest speaker, leads the parents and other dignitaries in a service to mark the end of the academic year, and this special time just before the national exams that are held for the last primary school year group. This is an important time for the students because after this they will leave their primary schooling and go on to secondary education or vocational training.

This was my next surprise – I was to be the guest of honour, and was required to give the final speech! By the time it came to my turn to speak I decided to talk about the name of the school – ‘Jesus The Way’ Primary School. I spoke about Jesus being The Way, The Truth, and The Life (John 14:6). Afterwards, Rev George gave those in attendance the opportunity to respond by choosing to give their lives to follow Jesus Christ; many children and parents responded. There was much joy with celebrating and dancing, and the whole community shared a meal together.

Of course visiting the school I got to see and speak to some of the WIN sponsored children, and to hear about their lives and hopes for the future. I also met with the board of the school and saw the school’s accounts, which showed their accountability for keeping good records. It was a privilege to meet a recent addition to the board, Dr Nicholas Okuru, a wonderful medical doctor who is working alongside Rev George and bringing his healthcare and administrative skills to help the team running the school.

With a sense of anticipation, I finally got to see (and touch!) the first of the new beds that have been purchased with funds from our WIN supporters. To see the delight and gratitude on the faces of the girls who are now sleeping in them was a very emotional experience. Huge thanks to everyone who has contributed to this worthy cause, it is making such a difference.

Following the visit to the school, Rev George took me to a number of other speaking engagements. Firstly, I spoke to a group of about 25 church leaders from across the area. Many of these leaders are pastoring in the context of severe trauma in their communities following decades of war in Northern Uganda with a rebel militia group, the Lord’s Resistance Army. The LRA abducted over 30,000 children to fight for them, and frequently forced the children to kill or maim their own families. Abducted women and girls often became the wives of LRA leaders, suffering rapes and assaults. I heard harrowing stories of the effects of this trauma on family life, even though the rebels left Uganda over a decade ago. It was a privilege to encourage the leaders, who are faced with so much need all around them, both emotional and physical.

On the Sunday I spoke in the church where Rev George is based, at both the 6.00am and 8.00am services – an early start, especially as it was a two hour drive from where we were staying. The services were vibrant and joyful, with lots of dancing even in such poverty. I preached about the Kingdom of God coming near (the content of the ‘good news’ that is read in the gospels; people were encouraged by the Word of God and experienced His love in the services.

Lastly, we visited a group of older people (all over 60), who had been inspired by Rev George to form a community group that shows the practical love of God to those in need in their community. World in Need originally provided funds to help this group get started, and it is such an encouragement to hear what they are doing. Among the important activities they undertake is sewing sanitary towels for young women. They also provide catering services for funerals, as this is one of the biggest financial burdens on a family in their culture. Hundreds of people often attend to pay their respects to the deceased, and the family are expected to provide food. I was able to speak to them and encourage them in turn as they show the love of Jesus Christ to those around them. In return I was blessed with the huge honour of receiving a staff from the group to say thank you.

These are just some of the ways in which your money helps these communities and individuals. It really is an honour and a joy to visit with the World in Need Global Family to see what a difference our supporters make to the lives of all these people, and the hope that you bring in otherwise, desperate situations.


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