So what has been happening as of late here in Uganda? Hmm… Well this morning we went to the Compassion International site here in Arua, and talked with those in charge of it. A few days ago we were also able to visit a World Vision site in Offaka, which was about an hour and a half drive from Arua. We were speaking in Offaka, and then as we were pulling into town we saw the World Vision there, and during one of the session where Kevin and Jessica were teaching, Jessica and I ducked out and visited the office there. In talking with both Compassion and World Vision and seeing them on the ground here in Uganda, I feel even better and more confident in what they are doing, and would continue to encourage people to sponsor kids through these organizations. It seems like World Vision uses most of the child sponsorship money to develop the community around all the kids who are being sponsored by building wells in the community and doing other community projects that improve the situation around the children. They also do some with school needs and such, but it seems like the personal attention for each child is less than with Compassion, at least with the two places we saw. Compassion had much more of a focus on the child sponsorship’s money going directly to the child through school supplies, programs, medicine, family development and empowerment, and other things. So coming away from it, I’m not sure which one is better… it seems that they each meet very big needs in different ways, but I was definitely encouraged to see that local Ugandans were being empowered within these communities to improve the lives of the people there. They both seem to be very indigenous, being rooted in the community and having a great understanding of the needs there, rather than some Americans coming in and calling the shots when it doesn’t really meet their needs. So feel good about sponsoring through these organizations, as I have seen them on the ground and see their effectiveness. We hope to visit Compassion again on a Saturday when they have all of the kids there for the weekly program.
I was told about how north of Arua there is a very strong population of Muslims with few Christians there. It seems there are some attempts at ministry, but that these people are pretty resistant to the gospel and closed off to outsiders. It continues to break my heart that places like these have so many people who don’t know about Jesus and will die without ever having the opportunity to know that they can be saved from their rebellion against God. So when I first heard about it, I asked if we could possibly go to visit the area and see what it was like, because I am very interested in missions to unreached people groups. And it now looks like it is going to happen, as we are scheduled to go this Friday to Arringa, though we won’t be teaching or doing much it seems because it is just not a safe place for Christians. Of course ministry needs to be done there, but not by people who are just coming for one day. This type of place requires long term investment in the community, especially in Africa where relationships and community are so important. But please pray for us, as this will be my first time ever in a situation anything like this, where you could get in trouble for being a Christian and a fully Muslim area. And pray for these people, and that God would sent His workers there to share with them the good news, that they don’t have to try to earn His love, but that is was paid for.
Also this week we will be visiting the local hospital, a college, and a prison. It will be a welcomed change of pace from the normal programs that we have been doing. Doing the same program over and over, and always being in front of people can become emotionally tiring, and I think we were starting to feel it pretty hard.