ABWE Missionaries Meet the Needs of Hungry Ugandans

Along with disease, the pandemic has brought widespread famine to Uganda.

Surely all of us would agree that 2020 was not what we had expected or planned.

However, this year was not a surprise to God and his infinite plans for the entire world. “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). As things progressed early in the year, none of us knew what to expect as the airport, churches, and schools where abruptly closed here in Uganda. Yet, God has been at work all around the world, bringing people to himself and showing many just how utterly dependent we are on him. Uganda has been no exception.

In response to the threat of the virus, Uganda closed all international means of travel and imposed restrictions to limit crowds for several months. In addition to school and religious gatherings being suspended, transportation was limited to motor bikes and bicycles carrying only the driver (no personal vehicles were permitted on the roads). A dusk-to-dawn curfew was set, and the only businesses in operation were banks, food markets, and those providing essential services.

All of this translated to thousands of people unemployed with no immediate means to provide for their families. The government began food distributions in some areas to at-risk citizens, but a warning was issued that any public food distributions outside of those handled by the government would result in attempted murder charges. While these restrictions were meant to preempt a healthcare crisis this country’s hospitals and clinics remain ill equipped to handle, these draconian measures made the effects of the virus pale in comparison to the hunger which became a dire reality to many Ugandans. Amidst the national tumult, nothing about our call as believers to be a blessing to others had changed—to live out the gospel in our communities. However, the “how” certainly had changed.

The economic effects hit close to home when a sister in Christ told us that her children went to their garden to get food for the evening meal (from land she has been renting for sustenance farming) only to discover it had been stripped of the entire crop in the night hours. Over a year’s worth of work and two months wages worth of food—gone. To give generously was the immediate response from our family to hers. It quickly became a regular occurrence to have some passerby at our home asking for help of any kind. We handed out bags of rice, beans, bananas, and avocados from our garden, along with money for charcoal and soap, to the needy who arrived at our gate.

But for quite some time, we felt helpless to show mercy as it related to the larger community without dishonoring the limitations set in place by the president. We sought God’s wisdom and his answer became clear: continue to find ways to give generously. 2 Corinthians 2:10 says, “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.”

As a couple we prayed, “Lord what can we do? How do we care for those we don’t know, those who haven’t knocked on our gate but are in desperate need?” Again, the answers came. That very week God opened doors to feed the most vulnerable and to use his global church to be a blessing.

Through the Uganda Benevolence Fund and other monetary contributions, ABWE Uganda was able to financially partner with two specific feeding initiatives that distributed food to poor and at-risk families within the mandated government guidelines.

The first, Arise Africa Jinja Town Church—our neighborhood church—began shared food and supplies to church families in need, which then extended to the greater community. The second was Good Shepherd’s Fold, a ministry located in a rural village setting. In its initial distribution, GSF provided 20,000 kg of food, totaling 80,000 meals to 3,700 people in 750 households. Their second food distribution was equally reaching. Additionally, relief funds have gone toward major surgeries, malaria treatment, transportation to hospitals for medical care, and pre-natal care.

Thanks be to God for your generous gifts that have made these efforts possible! We thank God for using his church and for directing us in reaching out to our Ugandan community.

Editor’s Note: Support our 1,000 missionaries serving around the world and give to the Global Gospel Fund.

Caleb Mitchell

Caleb Mitchell serves in Uganda with his wife Alair and their four children. They desire to advance the Great Commission through ministry partnerships with the local church in Uganda that will result in church planting, leadership training, and missions movements to the glory of God. Support the Mitchell’s ministry.