The Rugumba’s – Finally Home!!

It’s been four months since we finally came home from California. Rille, the boys, and I returned home first, and Vena and Zoe joined us later. Thank you to everyone for your prayers and support during that journey. 

We found a lot of things changed, but we are thankful that we are finally settled in now. Rille started school and the other kids resumed school.

During the school break, we had a wonderful opportunity to go and stay at friend’s home. We were able to enjoy a short family vacation near a lake.

With the ministry’s standard operating procedures in place, our school has reopened and about 75% of our kids are at school. We now have 251 kids attending Mercy Christian Schools.

We have continued the construction on our learning center near Mercy Church. We have completed the ground floor, and the center includes a library, computer room, musical school, a science lab and several classrooms. Currently, we are working on finishing the classroom floors. 

We are still continuing to rescue many children. One child we rescued, Little S (name not revealed for her privacy), a six year old little girl, is always on my mind. Her father went to work and left in her the community by herself. This is very common as many parents cannot afford baby sitters, so they will just leave the kids to play by themselves. Little S was found sexually assaulted by an unknown man, but we have rescued her and she is now living at our transition rehabilitation home (Mercy Village.) At the village home, she is able to receive care and protection. Little S started school and is meeting with Vena to receive counseling. When she first arrived, she would run away any time she would see a man. Nowadays, my heart fills with such joy as I see her playing joyfully like other kids. 

Last week, we rescued 6 girls. One of the girls was baby Blessing. Blessing was found abandoned in a long drop, toilet hole. We are thanking God, that after being in there 2 days, she was found alive. 

On the same day we found Blessing, we also rescued 5 girls with special needs. They were found staying in an illegal shelter that the government shut down. 

Please pray for them to assimilate well in the new environment. 

We have opened up a new home at our village to accommodate for the increased number of kids.

Last month, we hosted a team of professors and students from Corban University, in Oregon. They help provide formal training to 42 pastors at Mercy Church. They also participated in a medical outreach, and we were able to see over 80 patients, who are unable to afford medical bills. We were able to share the gospel and offered them free medical care. 

We are currently looking for sponsorship for close to 50 children that are in our care, but are not sponsored. I am asking you to consider sharing this email/blog with friends and help us get these kids sponsored. Sponsorship for residential kids is $100 a month and $40 for our non-residential children.

You can also make a one time gift to our sponsorship fund to help us trace these children’s families and provide for these children. The link below will direct you to our sponsorship page.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

https://childrentolove.givingfuel.com/sponsor-a-child

Learning How to Love my Neighbor During this Pandemic.

We are faced with a global situation no one has ever imagined and has changed how we live life.

First, a quick update about my family. Vena started having Chemo treatment this week. It will take about 4 to 6 months. It is hard being away from her. Your prayers are appreciated.

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Just like many counties, so far we have had 2 months of lock down; public transport and private transport are both banned, and we have a curfew of 7pm, where no one is allowed out. If any one breaks these presidential directives, you are tried for attempted murder.

As a pastor and social worker, it is hard not to meet with people in person. We are doing church differently on social media, and we are also playing sermons on local megaphones that play around the community. We have also installed some by the church, this way we are reaching more people with the gospel than we have always reached in the past.

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We have had the honor to distribute over 800 food packages to some church members and other vulnerable people in our community. One story that touched me, was an expectant mother who came to our place starving and having nothing to feed her kids. We were able to provide for her and pray for her. Men are abandoning their homes because they cannot afford to provide for them.

For the 2,000 children living on the streets in Kampala city who used to beg from people, now that the city is empty, their lives are at risk. Our city government, with the help of NGOs, put up a shelter for close to 200 street kids where they went for quarantine. They contacted us several days ago, asking us to look for a safe place for these kids. We have been able to admit 11 boys, after they were quarantined and all tested Negative.

They come from different backgrounds, and some have been on drugs. I intend to spend more time with them and share the gospel and help in their rehabilitation journey.

Please pray for me and my team.

We have had to opened up another house to house these extra kids. I am looking for $3,000 to help furnish their home, to buy beds, chairs and other household items. I ask you to pray and give towards that.

Second, we are looking for ongoing sponsorship for these boys, their sponsorship is $100 a month on this link https://childrentolove.givingfuel.com/sponsor-a-child

 

Thank you for your continued prayers and support!

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.

Preparing for Fall Trip to USA

This coming week, my wife and I will be traveling to USA. The purpose of this trip is to visit our supporters, share updates and raise money for renovating Mercy school so that we can meet building code and build 4 more class rooms.

The school will start running by February next year, and around 150 of our kids will join this school where they will have quality Christ-centered education. We have already started recruiting good teachers.

I will be traveling to Michigan, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Austin, Baton Rouge, Washington D.C., Iowa and Chicago in the next 3 weeks. If you are available to meet me or you have some one you know who you could introduce me to, please reply me back and we can make plans.

A few weeks ago, after waiting for over a year, our tractor arrived from England. We are so excited, and our staff is learning how to use it. We plan to use it on our farm, and people in the community have already started contacting us about hiring it. We intend to hire it out the community and raise extra money to support the ministry and care for the tractor when it breaks.

Tractor

We are always looking for new opportunities to reach the youth in our community. Last Sunday, we had a free dance concert, and we hosted over 500 youths from the community at Mercy Church. The gospel was presented to them in a music dance performance.

Please pray that the seeds that were sown into their hearts will bear fruit.

 

Friday night, I visited Mohammed; he was our neighbor about 16 years ago, when we planted the Nansana Church under a mango tree. We would witness to him, but he was negative to the gospel. The church later moved to the main road, and he moved to Bukasa, near Mercy Church. Three weeks ago, I met him and told him that we had planted a church near by, and he promised to visit. Since then, he has been coming to church. We went and prayed with him at his house, and at the end, he and his entire family gave their lives to Jesus. I feel so encouraged to never to stop sharing my faith; God is able to save anyone.

Pray for him and his family that they are able to grow in the Lord.

Mohammed and Fam

Answering the Need with the Church

There is always a need. A need for Christ and a need for hope and love. A need for emotion, spiritual and physical healing, and the truth is, there will always be a need. We saw this need in our community, and we decided to do something about it.

About three years ago, we started our medical center to help prevent people from dying, but we saw the need was greater than just physical healing. We saw people needed spiritual healing as well; they needed prayer, and they needed hope, so we decided to plant a church.

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On March 5th, 2017, we had our very first church service, and today, almost a year and a half later, we are reaching almost four hundred people and one hundred kids every Sunday.

Before we even had our first service, the witch doctors in our area heard we were planting a church and came and cursed our land and us, but the Lord is the Victorious King and their curses held no power against the King of Kings.

Through Mercy Church, we have seen how the Lord has worked and moved in people’s hearts. We have seen healing, we have seen growth, and we have seen at least 400 people give their lives to Christ. To God be the Glory!! No curse can withstand what the Lord can do!

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Our vision for the church doesn’t just stop with this church plant, we have plans to grow bigger and to plant more churches throughout Uganda for the Kingdom of God. There is much darkness throughout the surrounding areas near Mercy Child Care Ministry, and our goal is to bring light to such darkness through the church. We want to see people healed physically, emotionally and spiritually, and so our goal is to continue answering the need in the communities by planting more churches and medical centers.

Right now, with our goal to plant more churches, our plan is to raise up spiritual leaders. We currently have several different ministries that are dedicated to discipling people. We currently have a children’s ministry, youth ministry, Evangelism, women’s ministry, music ministry, an usher’s ministry, the marrieds ministry and life groups. Along with the several different ministries within the church, we also have classes where we are teaching people business, sewing and English. We have plans for a parent class and an elderly group.

Our intention with these ministries and classes is to raise up leaders and to give them more opportunities to serve God; not only that, but with these ministries, people are building life-long relationships and growing together and that is our hope through them.

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Every day our church grows more and more, but there is still so much darkness in our area. We want to see even more people surrender their lives to Christ. Through our different classes and our bank, we are reaching people who are unsaved by allowing them to join and to receive help.

We also are doing many outreaches throughout the community. This week we had a Hernia Camp at our Medical Center; we hosted 3 retired surgeons from UK who joined 20 Surgeons from Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi. They taught them modern techniques of Hernia operation, and we were able to offer over 80 patients free Hernia surgery. Most of them were dying from pain and were not able to afford surgery.

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We also held outdoor gospel meetings in the surrounding villages and over 200 people gave their lives to Christ. We baptized around 50 people last Sunday. One of the kids we baptized was Hawali, a little Muslim boy we found abandoned, and we rescued and brought to Mercy. He came to me and asked me to baptize him, that he had decided to follow Jesus for the rest of his life.

People need Christ, they need love, and they need hope, and we believe we are answering their need through Mercy Church. God has moved in so many lives, and it is so incredible to watch these lives be forever altered. We pray that Mercy Church continues to share the Light, to share hope, to share love, and to share Christ with the people of Uganda.

Please continue you praying for the new believers to grow in their faith.