Lessons for the World from Corona Crisis

The world has always trusted in Military Might; each day trying to invent a better weapon and testing nuclear weapons. The world has trusted in science, fame and money. Major sports games have been cancelled; bars locked down. This is a time when all these gods that our society has worshipped cannot help people. They cannot give people hope.

As believers,we have hope. In the midst of hard times, He is with us.

We know that God is above this situation and will get us through it.

The second lesson, we are learning is to live by faith. One day at a time. No one can tell what the future will be, but as believers we trust in a God that holds our future and we can trust in Him.

For parents, working at home, this has given us an opportunity to spend time with our kids. I enjoyed leading Sunday service with my family and preaching to them a message of hope.

This is a time for us to spend more time in prayer and the word, as we grow in the Lord.

I encourage you to limit the time you spend watching the news and spending time on social media; most information will create fear and anxiety in your heart, but rather listen to the Word of God and let God speak to you. The word of God gives us hope in the midst of storms of life. I slept listening to Psalms 91 on my phone, and I was encouraged.

God will protect and watch over us in this season.

Philippians 4:6-7 Tells us not to be anxious about anything but in every situation pray and give thanks.

Pray for the medical workers in Italy.

Pray for the hundreds of people that are dying, so that they know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

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Strength in Trials

This week am attending the Shepherds’ conference (a pastor’s conference organized by John McArthur)

I have learned a lot about God’s love from different speakers, and He allows us to go through moments and trials because He loves us and He wants to grow our faith. In James 1:2, He tells us to count it all Joy when going through trials.

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For the past 3.5 weeks, I have been visiting the United States. This time, I came with Vena and the boys; we have visited supporters and spoke at churches in Oregon and California, and I had the privilege of preaching at Corban University. We have had a wonderful visit; the kids went to the ocean and sea world which they have loved. One of our supporters booked us a hotel, and Vena and I went away last weekend to Santa Barbara.


On the other side, a day after I had arrived, I found out I had malaria. I went to hospitals here, but did doctors did not seem to know how to treat malaria, as they gave me Malarone which is a prevention medicine. My situation worsened; my doctor in Uganda mailed me medicine which took about a week to get here and when I took it I was better.

Vena has been having pain and we arranged to see a doctor while on this trip. They ran several tests, including a Pathology report that revealed she has stage 1 breast cancer. This has hit us as a family, but we know God is in control, and He loves us and will give us the strength to go through it. The doctor says she will have surgery scheduled on April 1st, and then 6 weeks of radiation. I am flying back with the boys today, but Vena will stay. CTL and the hospital have helped us apply for insurance to help with the bills, and we are waiting to hear back.


In Uganda, by 2006, we had only one cancer radiation machine that broke down, and it took two years to get the two machines we have now. In a country of 40 million people, it is hard to use them and receive treatment. After seeing a local specialist, we have been informed that because of high numbers of patients waiting–it would take a patient at least 2 months for them to be able to start on radiations.

Here is how you can pray for us

  • Pray that Insurance to be approved.
  • Journey mercies as I travel with the boys today.
  • Comfort and strength especially for Vena as she won’t be with us for a while.
  • Vena is trying to find a local Christian school to volunteer at while she is waiting and is on treatment, so that she doesn’t get bored. But, also so she use her time here to learn new things that she can bring back to our school in Uganda.

Thank you for all your support and prayers.

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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!!

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.