‘..impacts beyond those that were anticipated’
Thus begins a report from Shalom Reconciliation Ministries (SRM) which received funds from a legacy gifted to CMS Ireland. The gentleman who left the legacy would probably say the same thing were he to see the array of activities and lives transformed through his generosity.
So, how were the funds used?
SRM works in Kotido, north east Uganda, with children who have lost their support networks. SRM staff provide for their basic needs and invites them to be part of a community, motivated by faith. The legacy grant was used to furnish and equip a multi purpose youth centre. This has enabled computer literacy classes, an educational lending library, a study centre, classes in book binding, tailoring and music as well as Bible study facilities.
During lockdown with schools closed, children have continued with studies and some of the university students were able to sit exams remotely using the centre’s computers.
Rainbow Mike of SRM enthuses:
"The value is far beyond what was monetarily invested.. [it is] a blessing to my heart to see our youth going to school…learning skills…creating jobs for themselves. One thing I smile about is seeing 10-year-old kids making clothes for themselves!"
The parable of the sower comes to mind: ‘other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown’ (Matthew 13:8)
Save Life Ministries in Koboko, Uganda, also applied for funding. We were able to respond because of those who have left legacies to the society. Seme Peter Christ’s Own is a young man gifted with vision and energy. He is concerned for the impacts of lockdowns: the closure of churches in the town and the refugee camps, the number of teenage pregnancies and young people wandering around aimlessly.
Working with a small team from Koboko archdeaconry, discussion groups and interviews will be organised in the camps and a series of Christian radio programmes made and broadcast on topics relevant to young people. Programmes to mentor and bring hope, programmes teaching Christian truths.
Seme Peter commented:
"I know that if mobilised and organised young people can bring about great change in their lives and in society."
Plans are afoot to offer skills training courses – soap making, tailoring, hair dressing, carpentry, to run mission outreach activities and to facilitate community dialogues around current issues such as gender and identity based violence, reproductive health education, Christian patterns for family life and discipleship. These things will be possible when lockdown ends but will require funds.
Revival Centre, Matugga, Uganda has also received legacy funding. Over the past 20 years, a church, primary and secondary school, community centre and clinic have been established, offering services to the community particularly focusing on children with limited family support. Bishop Ivan Lugolobi leads the community with love and irrepressible faith. Earlier this year a dispute over the land title was raised, threatening all the infrastructure and activities of the Revival Centre. This was potentially disastrous. To resolve this a new land title had to be drawn up and legal fees paid, necessitating considerable expense. With no funds in the kitty, Bishop Ivan appealed for help.
Thankfully, entirely due to a generous legacy, CMSI was able to send a gift and the land dispute has been resolved. The Revival Centre can continue to nurture children, offering education, health care and introducing them to Jesus.
All three of these programmes are surely examples of ‘impacts beyond what was anticipated.’ Gifts, given in faith, blessed by God, producing a plentiful harvest!
‘Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.' (John 12:24)