November Update

Thank you for your continued prayers and support.

With your support, we were recently able to distribute food to 300 families in the Karamoja region. We identified a local church there that we have partnered with to process the food distribution. We sent one of our church elders and some church members to represent us.

So far, we have made two food distribution rounds to people in Karamoja. It has been a joy seeing the smiles on their faces, as this has been an answer to their prayers.

Recently, Vena and I recently had the privilege to visit Manchester, United Kingdom for a 10 day visit. We had a wonderful time there. I spoke at several churches, and we had 8 children that were sponsored. Thank you, God. It was also a good time for us to be away and reflect on why we do what we do.

Upon coming back, we found our daughter Rille sick with Malaria. She is now on medication and is getting better, but she has lost a lot of weight. Your prayers are appreciated.

Around 16 years ago. We rescued this little girl Hope and her brother who were living on the streets of Kampala. After years of rehabilitation, she was able to find a job and started life as a decorator.

Last week, we had the privilege of hosting her introduction ceremony (this is the African wedding) at our place as we were her parents. Her husband is a pastor; they have been doing ministry together, leading a church of Ugandans in Dubai. They’ll be wed soon, we continue to pray for them.

Over the years, we have reached over 700 children. Some of them were invited for her function. It was a good reunion, and it is always a joy to see these kids grown up, as good citizens, making a difference for Jesus.

This past month, we had the privilege of visiting with the Minister of Gender Labor and Social Development as we picked up our home approval renewal certificate. Homes that do not meet standards are de-registered, but we thank God for His continued favor. Our home ranked best in the last assessments.

After 3 years of hard-work and inspections, our primary school was finally registered with the Ministry of Education and Sports. We are continuing to finish the school and create more rooms for the boys housing area. Our goal is to grow the school capacity to 500 children by end of next year.

Uganda is currently having an Ebola outbreak; four districts are under lockdown. We have not had any cases close to us, but please pray with us that this epidemic ends.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support.

The Plight of Eastern Uganda

Today as I turn 37, I want to thank God for the gift of life. By the grace of God, I was called into ministry 20 years ago. Currently I’ve helped plant 4 churches, started an orphan children’s home, that’s rescued close to 1,000 children over the years, a christian school that is educating close to 400 future leaders and a medical center serving the Mende community. All by the Grace of God.

I could not have done it without my wonderful team of 70 committed staff, ranging from social workers, medical staff to teachers and our board members. I have grown to love them, as they are like family to me. They always go out of their way and sacrifice a lot daily to share Jesus and put smiles on people’s faces.

Special thanks to the CTL board and all donors that continue to pray and send us on this mission field.

Two of the churches we planted are in Eastern Uganda, Pallisa and Kasodo. Last month, I was there for the commissioning of Mercy Church Kasodo.

Currently, north eastern Uganda is experiencing a famine. In Karamoja, a region in north eastern Uganda, IPC acute malnutrition analysis indicates that 91,600 children and 9,500 pregnant women/breastfeeding mothers are acutely malnourished and in urgent need of treatment. 900 people have died to hunger in the last five months, including many children and elderly people.

The famine has been caused by the prolonged dry seasons, which are expected to last until next year, but also because of the rise in fuel prices. It makes it very expensive to transport food from other parts of the country to this side. This news seems not to catch the world’s attention.

This month our church is praying and fasting; it is not easy spending 20 hours just drinking water. My heart goes out to people that live in that state forced by lack of food to the extent of death. God has blessed us so much that we have too much food, and some of us are learning how to not eat too much so we lose weight.

For my birthday I am requesting three things:

  • Take a moment and pray for the elderly and the children in Eastern Uganda and Karamoja.
  • Please consider giving any amount. I will organize with my team and we will do food distribution in partnership with our church in Pallisa and will connect with churches in Karamoja region. That small gift will make a difference.
  • Share this so the world will know what is going on and more people join in the fight.

To give online please use this link and put in Memo Uganda Food Relief.

https://childrentolove.givingfuel.com/give-now

I have been blessed to see God touch so many lives

Celebrating A Beautiful Life

Hasifah (Muslim name meaning Wise), one of our kids recently went to be with Jesus last week on March 12, 2022 at 8am.

She was born on April 13, 2008 at Mulago Hospital. Mulago is Uganda’s national referral hospital that offers free treatment paid for by the government. Hasifah’s parents were both Muslims living in Katanga slums, one of Uganda’s largest slums.

At the time of her birth, doctors were striking because of low and delayed payments from the government, and they were not attending to their patients. This was Mama Hasifah’s 4th child and based on her health condition, doctors had advised that all her kids were to be born by C-section. She could not afford to pay for a private hospital and ended up staying at Mulago.

She developed complications and no health care personnel was there to attend to her for several hours. A doctor finally came and helped, but at this point they thought she was going to die. She was rushed in for surgery and was later admitted to the ICU. At first, they thought Hasifah had died, but later on they found out she was still alive and took her to the special care unit.

As a result of these conditions, Hasifah developed special needs and Cerebral Palsy.

We met Hasifah and her family in the slums nine years ago, when the mother was one of the ladies in our micro loans program. We started sponsoring Hasifah to help pay for her therapy, treatment and supplementary feeding. Later, with the support of one of our donors, we built them a decent home next to Mercy Church and Mercy Medical Center and they left the slums.

The entire family gave their lives to Christ and currently go to Mercy Church. At some point, Hasifah’s mother has helped take care of many children from Mercy and they have even adopted Dalton.

God has used Hasifah’s life and death to minister to many of the family members and because of her, many have come to know the Lord.

We held a funeral for her at her family burial ground. Pastor Wilfred shared Hasifah’s life story, preached about the story of the rich man and Lazarus, and then presented the gospel to her family members, most of whom were Muslims.

A day later, Mum Hasifah came giving a testimony of how many family members had accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior after the message shared during Hasifah’s funeral service. They are asking us to consider planting a church in their village, a predominantly muslim village.

Join me as we celebrate the beautiful life of Hasifah.

New Year Celebration in Uganda

End of year service

When I was a child, I always tried to stay awake until midnight to celebrate as we would usher in the new year. At midnight, we would bring out our Christmas tree and burn it. People would start hitting drums and cans to make a lot of noise; those who had guns would shoot up, and people would run on streets burning used car tires. People would drink and feast at night, but it was also a time when some people would be violent and break into homes and do all kind of things.

The trend has changed since 2000. Churches started having End-of-Year night services, so that people can enter the new year in prayer.

New Year Celebration is the most attended service in Uganda, more than Easter and Christmas.

At Mercy Church and the Worship House, we held our third End-of Year service. We had fireworks, as we ushered in the new year. At Mercy, we had over 1,000 people in attendance, and at the Worship House, over 20,000 people attended. The venue was so full that security had to stop people from coming in.

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This service gave us an opportunity to share the gospel. We had a time for prayer, and we prayed for people. Several people came to me drunk, and they wanted to give their lives to Christ and they wanted to stop drinking in the new year.

Pray for them that they will grow in their faith.

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Thank you for your prayers. I came back from a wonderful family vacation in Jinja; it was good to spend time with family and rest.

It has stopped raining in the past few days and construction work has continued to move on fast, and I know we will be able to be done before school starts.

Happy new year!!

Christmas Update

In Uganda, a country with a fast growing population, most pastors do not have formal Bible training. Churches are growing, but at the same time, there is a rise in the amount of heretical teachings spreading throughout many Ugandan churches today.

It has been always my desire, that we get a way to help train pastors. So about 3 years ago, I contacted Corban University in Oregon to help train, but they had a lot going on then. However, God later opened a door, and they agreed to provide training to 50 pastors, free of charge. Corban University will be sending their ministry school professors for two weeks, twice a year, for 3 years.

At the beginning of this month, we had the opportunity to host 50 pastors from all over the country at Mercy Christian School. They came to learn about how to study and interpret the Bible. Mercy Church elders and pastors have been a part of this, and it has been such a joy to see how much they have learned.

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Mercy Church, in two years, has planted two churches, and I see more church plants arising in future.

For Christmas, with the help of gifts from Children to Love, our kids gave out gifts to some staff and needy people around the community. It has been a joy seeing our kids give.

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We have started working on construction at the school. We had to take off the roof on one of the original buildings since it was not up to code, and we are also remodeling the building by creating more windows and ventilation space. We are also in the process of building a house for long term interns.

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For our school break, we sent out most of our kids to their extended families. However, for those who don’t have extended family, they have been sent to be with our staff and church members. I currently have a total of 12 kids at my house.

Ways You Can Be Praying: 

  • Pray for safety of the kids this festive season.
  • Heavy rains have slowed down our building progress, please pray for good weather so that builders can build fast.
  • Pray for more finances to help finish upcoming building projects.
  • I am planning on taking a vacation with family to Jinja this Christmas season. Pray that we have a relaxing time.

August 2019 Update

It is now school break in Uganda. I am thankful to God that our school has run successfully for seven months now! Our school term ended with 122 students. We have learned a lot and the kids are enjoying school. When one student was asked what he thinks about his school, he said, “It is like home!” I don’t remember feeling like that about school; in fact I hated school.Two students, JeanPeace and her friend, even asked to stay an extra week at school so that they can get extra help with math. We praise God that our students love to learn.

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We had a team of 8 interns from Biola that helped our kids catch up on their classes at the end of Term 2. They were able to provide one-on-one attention to the students who were struggling and needed extra help. Our kids have learned a lot and grown in their faith, and I even had the privilege of baptizing 17 of them this term. Praise God!

Molly and Jesse Furrow came last week and they will be staying with us for the next two and a half years. Molly is a teacher and will teach English and Math in P1 and P2. Jesse will be working as the Physical Education teacher and sports coach. We have started working on our soccer pitch and basketball court. Leveling the field has been more expensive than initially expected because of some unexpected difficulties with the water table and the ability to get dirt locally. We are praying the Lord provides the money to finish this project.

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Early this week, our church sent a team of missionaries to Mercy Church Palisa, which is located in the rural, east part of Uganda. Vena, Graham and I joined the rest of the team in the middle of the week. We stayed in huts, preached the gospel door to door during the day, and in the evening, held an outdoor meeting where I shared a word. Hundreds of people gave their life to Christ, and we had the privilege of baptizing 94 people!! Please pray for these new converts that they may grow in their faith and that God will use them for His glory.


On Monday evening, as the village church members were waiting to receive our team, it rained heavily and their grass thatched church fell. We are so grateful that in our time there, we were able to erect a new structure for them to use as a church that has a tin roof.


Thank you very much for your prayers and support. Please be in prayer over each of these names as they all gave their hearts to Jesus and were baptized. We praise God for each of these names.

 

Here is some more pictures from our Palisa Mission

End of School: First Term

This week has had its ups and downs; our kids did their end-of-school term exams two weeks ago, and then school ended last Tuesday, and they all picked up their report cards.

Last Sunday, one of our kids, Swabra, lost her biological father to AIDS. Doreen, our social worker, went with her to the village about six hours away to attend the funeral. What breaks my heart the most, is that Swabra’s dad died a devout Muslim. I had a few opportunities were I was able to share the gospel to him, and the family was so touched by the love Christians continue to pour into Swabra.

Since he comes from a devout Muslim family, the burial had to be done right away. We found out after his funeral, that he had two other daughters, step-sisters to Swabra. Shamira Babirya who is 13 years old and Quruthum Kiiza who is 11 years old. Their mother had died, and they were living in Katanga slums with their dad. A few months before he died, he sold his small shack and all his property to pay for his treatment. He took his girls from school so that they could care for him.

Since the father passed away, no family member was willing to stay with his daughters, and they came to the decision to marry them off. This is a common practice in rural Muslim communities, where young girls are offered into marriage to very rich, old Muslim men. Doreen could not allow that, and she brought the girls back with her. We have decided to take the girls in and give them a Christian education at Mercy Christian School.

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Last Thursday, after a prayer service at the Worship House Church, two kids were reported abandoned. They were sent to the police and Social Welfare office, and finally, they were sent to us. Both have special needs and are non-verbal. We have not given them names yet, but I have decided to name them Micah (meaning humble) and Asher (meaning happiness.)

Micah is a hyperactive, 5 year old boy, and Asher is a young girl around the age of 12. Asher can’t talk but seems to listen. We will have specialists look at them and identify their specific needs.

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Ways to Pray:

  • Pray for Micah and Asher, as we search for their family and  that God will lead us on the best way to share his love with them.
  • Pray Quruthum and Shamira. They have been raised as Muslim, but pray that they will come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
  • Pray for the above kids to get sponsored.
  • Pray for safety and health of the kids. Pray that our kids will let their light shine.

Ways YOU can help:

Please share this blog and email to help us find a sponsor for each kid. If you would like to sponsor, please email me back or email Liah at liah@childrentolove.org.

It is now school break until May 17. For kids that have extended family, we have sent them to visit their relatives. For children with no know family, we have encouraged church members to take them into their homes for holiday visit.

April Update

It has been a while since I last blogged. A lot has been going on and am excited to share with you all.

Finally, Mercy Christian schools started. We now have 120 kids attending our school, most of them are the kids Mercy has been sponsoring in others schools. The kids are so happy. We are providing them a Christ centered education, but at the same time, teaching them practical life skills like computer, sewing, and music.

Mercy Church made two years. I am so thankful to God for how He has grown this church in such a small time. We had a big celebration and invited Pastor Wilson and the choir from the Worship House; they joined and encouraged us. We are now praying about planting another church plant in Bakka village.

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I had an opportunity to visit the United States with my wife to speak at the Children to Love International Banquet (our US Patner 501 c 3) in Bakersfield, California.

This was a good time to connect with some of our friends and supporters as we also visited Oregon, Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas and Orlando. We were away for one month. It was a great time visiting friends and making connections with churches. We took some days and went to the beach which was relaxing, but we missed our kids so much. WhatsApp Image 2019-04-04 at 10.10.59 PM(1)

I was also able to see Ruby, Josephine and Jonah, these are some of our kids that were adopted but now live in Oregon, California and Denver. They have grown so much adjusted well in their families and they are deeply loved.

Jonah

Since the beginning of this year, we have rescued the most number of kids, we are now at 20 kids. I will share with you Adam’s story; he is the newest child at Mercy.

Adam was found abandoned in a swamp by himself; he was rescued and later brought to Mercy where he is now thriving. He is just about 2 months old, and I can’t wait to see how his life will unfold. We have began to search for his family, but for such cases like this, there is a high chance of failing to find his relatives. If are unable to find them, our next step would be to find a local family to adopt him.

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Please pray for the following.

  • Pray for social workers as they look for these kids families.
  • Pray for more local families to step up and adopt these kids.
  • Pray for more child sponsors. Just like Adam, we have many kids that are not sponsored and for $40 and $100 a month you can sponsor a child.
  • Pray for more financial provision, we still have some pending construction projects at the school like paving the compounds, leveling and construction of the play grounds and we still need financial support.

Happy New Year!

Happy New year!!

The last few weeks have been the busiest weeks I have ever experienced. Our school is set to start at the beginning of February, and our HR was tasked to hire staff. The first set of interviews did not go well as we had many applicants, but few met our standards, and I began to panic as time was running out. Thank God, we were able to do massive advertisement again, and we had another set of interviews which helped us get the teachers we need.

It has been stressful and sometimes I felt lonely, but I got encouraged each time I prayed and let God take charge.

My parents and sisters came to my home, and we celebrated Christmas together. We shared the day with our staff that was working such as our medical staff, Baby Home Mothers, and Security Guards, and we also shared it with our patients that were admitted to the Medical Center.

I took a few days and vacationed with my family after Christmas and that was energizing. In times when I am done, I just imagine the thousands of kids that will walk through this school, know Christ and be nurtured to become Godly leaders that will impact our country, and I am so humbled that God has called me to be a part of it.

A few weeks ago, nothing was up at our school, but I am thankful to God that we have built six classrooms, and they are now on the roofing stage. It is not just about the buildings, each day over 20 men come and work on our site, and I see 20 families that are cared for because of this building project. We have bought bricks from local villagers, and they are thankful to earn money so that they can feed and educate their families; our local businesses have also been boosted because of the cement and supplies we continue buying from them. Thank you for your prayers and support. Our goal is that the school will be done in 3 weeks pray for me.

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Our annual camp starts today; we invited all the kids that we sponsor to come to the Village for 3 nights. We will be sharing with them from Romans 12. We are blessed to host a team from Chicago that will be helping us in the camp, and will also be doing a medical outreach as the team has two nurses and a doctor.

We continue welcoming in new babies at the village, and each day we receive referrals for babies that need to be rescued. This breaks my heart knowing what these kids go through, but I am thankful we have a safe place where they can be. Our last set of kids that we rescued are twins, Kato and Wasswa. They are currently at the national referral hospital to receive treatment for malnourishment.

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Please Pray:

  • Pray for Kato and Wasswa that they will be fine soon.
  • Pray for good weather that our builders are not delayed.
  • Pray for me and my fellow staff that God will give us strength in this time.
  • Pray for the Camp that our kids will be transformed by the power of the gospel.

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The Rugumba Family on Family Vacation!

What Happened This November

It has been a while since I last posted.

Lots of things have been going on, and I would love to keep you posted. My trip to the USA went well; Vena and I got to meet friends and supporters.

On my visits, I share about what we do and why we do what we do. I get to step out of the leadership of Mercy, and as I am away, my senior managers lead. I am always encouraged and energized seeing what God is doing and has done at Mercy in just a short time. Can you imagine that 7 years ago that was just a bush and we were caring for only 30 kids? Today, we have grown to over 200 kids, a Microfinance serving over 500 people, a medical center that saw 6,000 patients last year, and a church of close to 500 members growing in Christ. Only God can do such a thing. Thank you for all your support and prayers.

We had a tragedy here in Uganda when a fishing boat, turned into a boat cruise, capsized. Over 120 people were on board, but only 27 have were reported to have been rescued. Most lost their lives because they had no life jackets and did not know how to swim. Our nation is mourning over the loss of these young middle class business men and women that passed on. One of our church members lost a sister and her Fiancée in this incidence. As I have been thinking and mourning over that, I am so thankful that on my trip to the USA, through Market of Hope, an event organized by LBC church, we were able to raise enough money to give our kids swimming lessons through out the year as a life skill.

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We also raised enough money to start on the remodeling of our school and building more classrooms.

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This past Friday was Worship Night; this is an annual event we organize, where we invite the nation for a night of prayer and worship. Normally, we do it in a stadium, but this time we organized it at the Worship House, our main campus. We had a very big turn out, close to 20,000 people attended and our overflow section was filled, so many people stood around.

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Friday was declared a national mourning day for families of those that died in the boat tragedy; we spent time praying for them at our worship night. We had special musicians, from all over the world that performed. Jack Cassidy, from the United States, who was on the Voice TV show last year came and performed. He is staying with my family for the next two weeks.

On Saturday, we had our staff, Isaac and Tracy’s wedding. Isaac works as our accountant and Tracy is a physician assistant at our medical center. I had the honor of doing their wedding, and the reception was held at Mercy Church.

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Last week, we had a national MTN marathon, I missed running it because I was preaching. After my birthday, some of our staff that participated discovered that they could run, and three of our staff participated. Mujuni, our security guard, placed seventh in the half marathon race, out of the thousands of people that participated, including professional runners from Kenya. This was his first time to participate. We plan to start a running team at Mercy as running has become a part of our lives.

We held our first set of staff interviews for Mercy School. We want to employ 10 teachers, and we have already hired 7 out of close to 100 applicants. We are advertising again and have interviews scheduled for the end of the week, where we hope to get the remaining 3 and a head teacher. At the end of December and January, we shall start having teacher training.

Prayer requests:

  • Pray that we get the right teachers to be selected on our team.
  • Building has started, so pray that our builders get work done fast and nice before February when our school year begins.
  • Pray for more money to come in to enable us finish building and furnish the school.