“When will this be over?” No matter where you are today reading this now, know that you are not alone in your questions. What started as short term solutions are forming into year long plans, while our mission has not changed, our methods of ministry have changed significantly.
Currently, the virus hasn’t hit Uganda too hard but it is beginning to spread. With no realistic way to practice social distancing and less than ideal sanitation, the President of Uganda fears how a widespread outbreak would affect the country. While we continue to pray for the people of Uganda and remain hopeful, we agree with the country’s leadership that it is wise to proceed with caution. As of right now, all schools in Uganda are still closed.
With all of the daily adjustments that have come with this pandemic, we know that encouraging each other to keep moving forward is needed now maybe more than ever before.
In a typical school year, our mentors visit with our student’s families regularly to keep them involved in their child’s education and to empower them as parents. These visits have laid a foundation that has proven crucial for the success of our ministry this year. As soon as the regulations due to the coronavirus allowed it, our mentors picked right back up with visiting the homes of our students. At first, the purpose of the visits remained the same: to deliver encouragement and check in on our families. But as the months went by with all of the schools still closed, our strategies began to pivot. In an effort to keep our students up to date with their learning, the mentors brought along teachers on their visits as well. Every three weeks, our students get a new study packet prepared by their teachers at home, as well as devotional packets to replace the devotions they would have been doing with their mentors at school. The mentors and teachers check in on them and help them stay on top of their studies and to pray with them. We’ve heard stories about students getting together to study, and students sharing their devotional time with their families and neighbors!
In the midst of all the changes we see God’s hand guiding us each day showing us that the Gospel continues to give us hope! Below is a sweet story from Jocelyn Jacoby, one of our family mentors, about a recent home visit.
“As we continue to visit our students at their homes, I think about when Jesus entered Martha’s home (Luke 10). Martha was so worried about getting everything done while her sister, Mary just sat and listened to Jesus at his feet, and Jesus praised Mary for it. It reminds me that us being present in others’ lives is so important to Jesus. During the past home visits, we saw how important being present was, to not only our student but their family.
Recently, we were blessed to have a few teachers join us as we visited the students and their families. As we drove around the corner of one of our boy’s homes, we heard the jajja (grandma) cheering as she welcomed us to her home. The boy we mentor ran to greet us and we told him that some teachers were behind us and are coming to visit too. His face lights up and he says “Wow, I knew that you (his mentors) cared about us but I never thought the teachers could take their whole day to see us!” As we visited with the family, the jajja continued to thank us over and over again. She thanked us for visiting the family but also for our investment in her grandson as she’s been seeing amazing changes in him that she’s so proud of! After spending hours talking and laughing, we prayed with and over the family. By the end of the day, our boy told us that he now knows God cares for him as he’s been praying for us to come, and he has seen God answer his prayer! We are so thankful we get this opportunity to be present in their lives, even in this uncertain time.”
Please be in prayer for our staff and the communities we serve as we press on navigating these new challenges.