Enough of the endless stream of bad news in our Covid-19-affected world, let’s read some heart-warming encouragements! The below is a selection of transformational stories from J-Life in the community of Ciya, an area decimated over the years of war:
Remember Arcade from my last newsletter, who looks like a 10-year-old but is in fact 19? He’s had his surgery in the capital, against all odds. He’s now fit and well, and itching to get on with his education. Fantastic!
Last Easter, we shared Theogene’s story. His parents had been murdered and he and his brother were destitute. We helped them out with rabbits and aubergines, and even though he’s just a young teenager, he’s made a viable business out of it. He pays his way and is excelling at school. We’ve built them a house, and they are secure and thriving, and full of gratitude. Love it!
Street-smart and influential, Mama Mugisha is a natural-born leader. Poverty forced her into prostitution, through which she contracted AIDS. Meantime she had 5 children, all from different fathers. When a microfinance project came to Ciya, her leadership was recognised and she ended up spearheading it. She developed eight different businesses, but then agonisingly lost every one of them in the 2015 crisis. When she came across J-LIFE, she had an encounter with Jesus, and renounced drinking, smoking, and prostitution.
One day, J-Life community teacher Elias asked her to join a group building a house. “Who’s it for?” “We’ll see.” She got stuck into helping the others, only to find at the end that the house was given to her! She told us: “I’m so grateful to J-Life for rescuing me from the indignity of the Devil, and giving me true dignity. People used to say to me that I would never amount to anything, let alone have my own house. I thought I was destined to always live in rented shacks. Now look at me! Receiving that home was one of the best moments in my life, and J-Life also now support my children’s schooling. I thank God!” Wow!
The nearby community centre that we built has struggled through lack of electricity. This has meant, among other things, that many children have suffered from eye problems because they had to do their homework by candle-light. Not any more! The centre is now connected to the grid, and the community’s just thrilled!
In February, I visited Boudesie and other ladies in their literacy class. I asked them to raise their hands if they couldn’t read this time last year. Hers and a number of other hands went up. Now she can read and write, and praises God. Her backstory contains so much pain, which only magnifies the joy now. She tells us:
“Before I came to Jesus and learnt to pray, I had so much pain in my heart. My first husband was shot and killed, and my second husband died as well. When I became a widow, the grief overwhelmed me. I have four children and I couldn’t fathom how I would raise them. I used to cry out to God and ask Him how my life would turn out as I couldn’t read or write. My youngest child aged 5 lost his mind, but now by God’s grace is healed. Today I don’t pray for another husband. I ask God to continue to protect me and my family. I have experienced healing from the trauma and pain, and I head up a ladies’ Bible group of ten women. I am so thankful for J-Life because they’ve helped with school fees as well, and uniforms, and when I’m sad I can open the Bible and read and feel my heart be uplifted. May His name be praised!”
I hope they encourage you. Thanks for standing with us. May God sustain you through any challenges you’re going through.
Grace and peace,