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.

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!

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.

Hernia Surgeon Pic

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.

Birthday Run Update

Last week on Tuesday, I went with my whole family to meet Jajja Rille and the team visiting from Laurenglen Bible Church in Bukwo, Eastern Uganda. We drove for 8 hours to Kapchorwa where we had to leave the car and take a motor cycle(boda boda.) We took it for 4 hours climbing Mount Elgon on the worst roads I have ever experienced.

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I sat on a boda with baby Rille and Graham, and it fell on our way back. Thankfully,  no one was hurt because it was riding very slow on the bad roads. The ride was worth it, meeting jaja Rille and the LBC team, and the kids thought the boda ride was adventurous. Bukwo is where our gold medal runners come from, and it is 6,000 feet above sea level on the slopes of mount Elgon. I trained on the same road they did and kids kept calling me Kipsiro (one of our goal medalists.) The amazing views are spectacular there.

On the way home, we passed by Palisa which is a little town .  Last year, we spent a month teaching Evangelism, and one of our church members went back to his village and shared the gospel; around 20 people came to know the Lord. In his village, there wasn’t a church nearby, so they started a Mercy Church plant praying under a tree. I was able to see them and talk with them, they had over 50 people there. They made up a structure out of corn husks and they were excited for it. I shared the story to Mercy Church on Sunday, and they are excited about going there and encouraging our brothers and sisters.

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This past Wednesday, was my birthday and my run. That morning I started out scared, I had never run 33 kilometers and friends were waiting and some sponsored me to run. I feared disappointing them, but I was confident in the fact that I had trained enough. I was joined with over 50 friends, and we started off by praying. Some of those who attended were non believers but they just loved running. Most of my friends ran 10k, and 20k with me. The speaker of our sub-county joined the run, along with Pastor Wilson, Vena and even my boys who joined in the last 5 kilometers. We had a dance work out class for about a hour and a half hours after running. I ran through a 10 k loop 3 times and on the first time we had to take a different root to make up for the 3 extra kilometers. My biggest encouragement was meeting my friends walking and running along side the while share funny stories with them.

 

 


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I am thankful to God I finally made it to the finished line.

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We have so far raised about $2,5

00 in pledges and cash, and I am asking you to give towards this cause. Our goal is $20,000 to buy an X-ray and build a room on code that will keep radiations in. To give, you can use the link below.

https://www.childrentolove.org/give

Please feel free to share this blog to friends and encourage them to give.

Thank you for your support.

 

My Birthday Wish: Part 2

Saturday morning, I started serious training for my birthday run on August 1st. It will be my first time to run 33 kilometers, and I am doing it so we can get an X-ray Machine at Mercy Medical Center. This X-ray would be the only one in our sub-county of 26,000 people.

I ran 24 kilometers through Mende sub-county and through the more rural places where we stay. It’s a great run through some nice forests and I get to see monkeys. As I run, in my heart, I pray for the community, and I meet good people and kids who cheer me up and run with me some miles.

Mende has only one public secondary school which means if you lived where I stay, and your parents can’t afford private school, you will have to walk 7 kilometers to the school and 7 back every day. Some of these kids join me in my run. While on my run, I come across many mosques and witch doctor shrines, and sometimes I find witchcraft stuff laid on the roads. This breaks me and I pray for the light of the gospel to continue to shine in this community and for more Mercy Church plants in these areas.

This past Sunday, was Mercy Sunday. Our sponsored kids and I shared about the work at Mercy, and we showed videos with the goal of challenging the church members to serve the least of these. It was a joy seeing these kids up on the stage serving God, and at the end, many people’s lives were blessed.

I am raising $20,000 to buy an X-ray machine and build an X-ray room at our medical center by running on my Birthday. For each kilometer, you can sponsor me by giving $10. You are also welcome to join me on my run. I will be setting off from Mercy Medical Center at 6:00 am on my birthday August 1.

There are two ways you can give:

1.) You can write a check to Children to Love, and in the memo write Mercy X-Ray.

Children to Love International

P.O. Box 9575

Bakersfield, CA 93389

2.) You can give online at this link: https://childrentolove.givingfuel.com/give-now

My Birthday Wish

It has been a while since I last updated this blog. A lot has been going on, busy with ministry as usual. We hosted our dear friends from Austin and Los Angeles. We did a medical outreach, and we were able to see 120 patients and give them free medical care. We were also able to take our kids to a park where they were able to swim, have fun and also visit a nearby Zoo. The kids loved it, my highlight was William, one of our special needs kids enjoyed playing in water and it was hard to get him out.

My boys are now on school break, and Vena is spending a lot of time home with them. We are focusing on teaching them house chores this break, and we have also talked about sending them for Music school. We are looking at different Christian schools around as we plan to switch them to a new school next school term.

This afternoon, my heart broke for Ritah (real name reserved for privacy,) a young lady 20 years old. She grew up as an orphan, as her parents sent her into the city to find work. She stayed with a male family friend in the city, who at first offered free housing. Later on, the guy took advantage of her and she conceived. He became very abusive and would beat her every night. One day the guy came, he took everything that was in the rented house and abandoned her there with the pregnancy and went to an unknown place.

I met her about one month ago at the Worship house when she came for prayer stranded. She had complications with her pregnancy and needed care.

I am so thankful for all your support towards Mercy Medical Center. We were able to take her in, and she was able to get the required medical care. With a lot of complications and by the grace of God, she gave birth to a baby girl via C-Section two days ago at the medical center.

The baby was first managed, but was later referred to our national referral hospital for more care. Yesterday evening, I received the sad news that the baby passed away.

My heart breaks for the mother. I ask that you would be in prayer for this young lady as she is still at Mercy Medical Center recovering. She does not know about the sad news yet because of her health condition. Her blood pressure is not stable, and according to tradition the baby was buried yesterday.

I am thankful for the staff at Mercy Medical Center who did their best. If she had been in a normal center the chances of the mother also losing her life would be high. I thank every one that gave towards the operating room when I celebrated my 31st birthday.

As I celebrate 33 years, I am challenging my self to run 33 kilometers. For $20,000 we can buy an X-ray machine and build an X-ray room at our hospital. This will be the only X-ray machine in our sub-county, Mende, with a population of 26,000. We are located along Hoima road, one of the major highways, and we receive so many accident cases. We have to drive them at least 5 kilometers away for an X-ray and bring them back which is painful for them. I am asking you to give a gift towards this cause. By the grace of God, we can put an end to this in our community.

There are two ways you can give:

1.) You can write a check to Children to Love, and in the memo write Mercy X-Ray.

Children to Love International

P.O. Box 9575

Bakersfield, CA 93389

2.) You can give online at this link: https://childrentolove.givingfuel.com/give-now

Thank you for your continued prayers and support.

Happy Easter!!

Our kids are having school break. For those who have extended family, we send them to visit and build an attachment as we work towards reuniting them. Those who don’t, we send them to families of church members to visit. The village now has a few kids around.

Mercy Church celebrated one year last week. I can’t believe it’s already been one year and how fast we have grown. We now have a permanent sanctuary built in the community where people have lived in fear of witchcraft. The building is a sign of assurance that the church is here to stay.

What excites me the most is story after story of lives that God has transformed by the power of the gospel this year. Ashlaf, a young man from a Muslim family, is a testimony of the gospel changing lives. It all started when his sister joined the church, and later on, when the rest of her family started attending. They joined a life group and started praying for their family and salvation of their brother. Before Christmas, last year, he gave his life to Christ at Church and is now a committed follower of Christ. I had the honor of baptizing him, and he is now serving in our sound department. He had dropped out of school because his mother could not afford to pay for him, but this year, through prayer, God provided. His uncle committed to pay for his school fees, and he is now back in school. His dream is to become a mechanic.

We had a huge celebration for our one year, and we had over 1,000 people in attendance. We rented 700 more chairs on top of our 450 chairs, and the church was packed. We invited people in the neighborhood and our sister church, the Worship House. Pastor Wilson preached and several musicians and choirs gave special music.

We organized a medical outreach to people in the community. We were able to treat 100 people for free at our medical center in 6 hours.

Pray for us tomorrow as we will be having baptisms. We have also invited many non-believers to come to church.

Pray for safety for our kids as they are out for school break.

Happy Easter!!