By Mutabaruka Aphrodis – Seira Community Churches, Rwanda
Thank you for joining us in prayer! Our church members are doing what they can to help others in their communities, visiting the sick and providing food for families in need. They keep leaders and each other informed as to what the needs are and how they may pray for each other. Since we are unable to meet in person, we have been holding conference calls twice each week to share the Gospel. So far, we have averaged 100 people on each call! More than 20 families were supported in the last two weeks through HIM. We want to share two of them with you.
The Muhirwa family became members of our church in 2012. Olive became a widow in 2014 after her husband was killed in a motorcycle accident. She is active in the choir and is in charge of taking care of visitors in the church. Her two sons are also involved in the children’s choir and attend primary school.
Olive previously worked in a printing factory, but has been jobless for the last six months. As you can imagine, life has been difficult. We have been able to provide the family with basic food supplies like rice, beans, cooking oil, and charcoal. Olive loves to give back by cleaning the church during the week.
Thomas is a leader of Rukumberi church. He and his wife have six children. Their life at Rukumberi is hard because they rent a house, which means they do not have a plot of land to plant crops. People is this area are very poor. Though the church is very active, they are unable to support their pastor. We are grateful to be able to help provide for them and are thankful for Thomas’ commitment to spreading the Gospel.
The Kerith Ministry family and our community would like to thank God for His protection over us and for using you to support us during this trying moment. In the midst of all the challenges that come with COVID-19, we want to let you know that we are doing well health wise and spiritually.
Through HIM donations, we have been able to support more than 300 families during this time with food, salt, and soap.
Halima (seen here with Mercy Mwesigwa) is a widow who lost her husband to HIV/AIDS. She lives a few blocks from Kerith in a grass thatched house with four of her grandchildren. We were able to help her with food that will last her two weeks. Halima has challenges to sustain herself and her grandchildren since she does not have a piece of land to cultivate her own food. Halima has taught us to have faith in the Lord even in the hardest times like these. Halima received Christ three years ago after having been a Muslim all her life. We ask that you pray for her that the Lord will meet the needs of her life.
We were also able to assist Goretti, a widow who lost her husband six years ago. Her family lives in a ramshackle, grass thatched house; and she singlehandedly struggles to educate and feed her three teenage children. I met Goretti during our community outreach on Parenting God’s Way for single mothers. Like many other widows, she cannot earn any money because of the lockdown. We were able to provide food for her family. Our long-term plan for Goretti is to employ her as a trainer of our teenage children, women, and single mothers in tailoring and sanitary pad making. We are trusting God for five sewing machines to be used in the training. If we get the machines, we will be able to train more women like Goretti.
Kerith Ministry is also providing counselling and prayer to families that are facing hard times feeding their families and paying bills. Others are facing domestic violence due the challenges in the families. Because of the restrictions of movement, we do this by making calls, and those we cannot reach by making a call, we make a short visit.
Kerith Health Centre is also providing medical support to people that are facing health challenges and cannot afford the costs. We have also provided free maternity services to the delivering mothers to help reduce the maternal mortality rate, which is on the rise due to the lock down.
We want to thank God for His unending love, care, and protection to all our friends and ministry partners.
New Fish Farm
We are excited about our new fish farm project. Fish production is the third largest income generating activity in Uganda. Over the last two years, we have been studying fish farming to see if our land is suitable and if it would generate both food for our children’s home and some income for self-sustainability of our ministry. Our findings gave us the encouragement to embark on this project.
We are employing locals to help in the excavation of the land and construction of the farm, giving them new skills they can use to provide for their families. Once the farm is yielding, we can easily move to a larger scale operation since the property is adjacent to wetland.
Our objectives with this project are to improve the living conditions of our community, to promote biblical values of work and conservation of the environment, and to contribute to the income of Kerith Ministry. To that end, we anticipate that we will sell approximately 75% of the fish raised, while the remaining 25% will be consumed in our children’s home.
By Rajendra Yellamelli – Sion Assembly Church, India
Because of the COVID-19 crisis, the government of India has taken the strict measure of instituting a compulsory 40-day lockdown of the entire nation. During this great hour of need, SAC has stepped in to offer relief services. Adhering to all safety and hygiene measures, we are safely providing food and water to people across our city of Vijayawada (with Government permission).
We have a team of chefs and other volunteers in place for cooking, packing, and distributing meals and water to people on the roadside, the homeless, and others in our city. We were forced to stop just a few days ago as virus cases are increasing, and government and police are no longer allowing us to distribute food packets. We will begin serving again as soon as restrictions are lifted and we receive permission from the police.
We met Kishore (seen here with some of our team) while delivering food packets. He is from Delhi and was working as a cook in a hotel in Vijayawada. The hotel has since closed, but he cannot go back to see his family because all transportation is shut down. He has been sleeping on the pavement by the roadside for 30 days. With tears in his eyes, he told us how happy he was to receive his food packet and that he is so thankful that we were able to help him.
I praise God for the safety and protection of our SAC families and SAC pastors. No one is stricken with COVID-19. Please continue to pray for us and the work we are doing in helping the people through this difficult situation.
Thank you so much for your prayers and your strong support to our people. We would not be able to do our work without your help. May God bless you for your prayers and support.
Our ministry in Myanmar encompasses many different areas – orphan care, a Bible college, evangelism and church planting, and vocational training. While numerous lives have been impacted, there are still many that have never heard the name of Jesus. Thank you for your continued prayers and support as we work to make His name known in Myanmar.
U Kyaw Soe
Pastor KP met U Kyaw Soe as he traveled house-to-house sharing the good news of Jesus. U Kyaw had been sick for many years, but no one would care for him. Even his family abandoned him. KP began to visit regularly, bringing him food and praying with him. U Kyaw questioned why KP would care for him when no one else would. KP replied that God loves all people, and I love you in Jesus name. U Kyaw accepted Christ, and has been completely healed.
Clean Water One of our church planters, OT, travels to unreached villages in rural Myanmar to share the Gospel. He provides training for digging and maintaining wells, bringing clean drinking water to the community. He is then able to share the love of God, and many are coming to Christ.
Hla Hla Yee Our women’s training program is a great way to reach women in the community. It allows them to learn skills they can use to better provide for their families and allows us to share about the love of Jesus. Hla Hla Yee struggled for many years before she came to our training program. As she learned the basics of sewing, we began to teach her the word of God, praying with her, and encouraging her. When she saw Jesus reflected in the instructors, she wanted the peace and love that filled them and accepted Christ as her Savior. Now she is helping to support her family by making products from recycled plastic bags.
With over 300 churches and 200 pastors, UBC has seen tens of thousands of lives transformed through the power of Christ. In their own words, believers share their testimonies of His faithfulness.
Pastor Maisha Joseph I was born in Masisi village in October 1969. Before accepting Christ at age 22, I was deeply involved in sin – drinking without control and visiting prostitutes. I joined the rebellion group and became a soldier.
A pastor came to visit our camp. He preached the word of God from Matthew 28:19-20 and told me about the goodness of God. Five days later, I left the rebellion group and went to the village where the pastor had a church. I testified there of what God did for me – He spared my life! Just two days after I left the rebellion, 67 of my former colleagues were killed in an attack by the government army.
I totally believed in God and started doing the work of the Lord in the church. Two years later, I was married. I studied and became an evangelist. I have since planted nine churches, one of which I pastor. I thank God for everything He does in my life!
Janne Muzuka I was born in 1972 in Nyabibwe village. My mother died when I was two, and my father took another wife. By age 14, I began a terrible life of prostitution in a drinking establishment. I was used by the owner to make money for her, but was too poor to support myself. If I continued to work for her, I was able to have food and a place to sleep.
When I was 17, Pastor Habarurema came to my village and preached in an open-air meeting. His words touched me deeply. When he asked who was ready to repent of their sins, I was the first one. In front of everyone, I repented, but I was too well known by everyone in the village. They didn’t believe that I would follow Christ. The pastor arranged for me to move to Goma where I started my new life in his home. I am now 26 and married with four children. I am the president of the women’s group in our church. God has truly restored my life!
We are privileged to introduce you to a man who has been greatly impacted by the ministry of UBC. His story, which he shares below, is one of redemption, hope, and full reliance upon Jesus Christ.
I am called by the name of Hagumishuti Eilya. I was born in Rutshuru territory in Nyanzale village in the Democratic Republic of Congo on June 23, 1975. I am the third born of my family. My father was married to four other women, and my mother was the second wife. She was very jealous of the other wives and children. She used to train us to grow into conflicts with the other children of my father and consider them as enemies. At age 11, my two older sisters and I were trained by our grandmother in witchcraft. She wanted us to poison our brother and become the leaders of our family.
In an effort to try to control my father, my mother introduced him to drugs. She supplied him with drugs to keep him in our home so that she would have access to all of his income. She did not want the other wives to have anything.
At age 14, I was in secondary school with my brother, Nelson, the son of the first wife of my father. I used to run races with him at school. By the end the school year, he began to win all of our races. My mother was totally jealous of that. Nelson and I would tend the family goats in the afternoon. One day, my mother and grandmother gave me a banana that had been poisoned and told me to give it to Nelson. I gave him that banana, and I ate one without poison. After tending the goats, we each went back to our homes.
About an hour later, someone came running to our home to say that Nelson was about to die because of complications in his belly. My father, mother, and grandmother ran to check on him and instructed all of us children to stay at home. After a few minutes, I decided that I needed to join them. Nelson was my friend, and I knew that I should not have given him the banana. I had to try to remedy this problem. When I arrived, I was met with many people weeping. I told my father and the neighbors present what I had done. They gave Nelson traditional medicines that caused him to vomit the poison. Fortunately, he survived.
My mother and grandmother were immediately captured and beaten by the villagers. They both died two days later. I, too, was beaten, but my stepmother intervened. She was a Christian and knew how I had been impacted by my mother’s teachings. She wanted me to live with her and attend Sunday School and church. I went, but was insulted by all the other children because of what happened. No one would be my friend. I learned about Jesus and was mentored by Pastor Ushindi. At 16, I was baptized. There were still very few people that would accept me. I began to fall away from my faith.
At 19, I decided to join a rebellion group in our village. During the war against the government army, I was captured and put in prison. I was there for one year and four months before I escaped, fleeing to the town of Goma. I met a woman and got married, but I continued living in a very sinful way.
In September 2017, I met Pastor Kazaviyo while I was working. He started telling me about the news of Jesus Christ. I told him that I know all that. He asked me if I had received Christ in my life. I said yes and that I have been baptized since I was 16 years old. He asked me why I hadn’t continued to serve God in church. That really made me stop and think. When he saw that, he continued to question me. I told him all about my life story and the devastating things that I had experienced. He comforted me and gave me a new hope in Jesus Christ. He invited me to his church, where I began to learn more about Jesus and grow in my faith.
I am now an evangelist and share the hope of Jesus with others. The Lord has blessed me with a wife and five children. The Lord has cared for me, even when I had done so many terrible things. I am grateful for the ministry of UBC that helped me find God and His purpose for my life.
Greetings in the name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are all doing fine in the Lord. We thank God for the continued partnership in prayer and material support. We praise God for richly supplying for our needs in every way as we serve him here in South Sudan. It has been an exciting year, and we have seen God do great things. We have and still are continuing to connect to many villages and many people hoping to build bridges from our hearts to theirs over which Christ may walk into their lives. We are anticipating yet another exciting year and we are hoping to make a greater impact in the scope of our ministry. We are hoping to do more village to village campaigns, conduct our first pastor’s and evangelist’s conference, and help our mission leaders have a more clear and succinct plan on building their teams and developing those they lead. Our immediate needs therefore focus on things that help us achieve our next phase of goals.
We are hoping to have the first pastor’s and evangelist’s conference in late January or early February. We have been bringing our key leaders to be part of the Pastor’s Conference in Kenya. But for the coming year, we are bringing none because we felt that it is time for our ministry to discuss things that are more specific and unique to our situation. We also want to cast the net wider to include mission leaders’ disciples into the program. The conference is expected to bring about 20 to 30 pastors, leaders, and evangelists from two major tribes that we are reaching – the Diding’a and Toposa. It shall be a vision casting conference where we hope to have our missional leaders, along with their teams, draw a grand plan of the next 10 years for their mission hubs with mid-term, short-term, and immediate plans clearly spelled out. We shall also be introducing The Timothy Initiative training where leaders are expected to train about six or more “Timothys” in one year.
To make this conference possible, our ministry shall provide transportation, accommodations, and facilitate the materials for the conference and training. We hope to have one or two guest facilitators/speakers. Our budget for this is $1,500.
We are planning to have more village evangelistic campaigns. The team from the main hub shall be backing up the efforts of our missional leaders in reaching their specific areas. In most of these remote places, there are no houses to accommodate a team of six to ten people at a time. We therefore hope to purchase tents and some sleeping bags to support our remote outreaches. We need at least 10 for a start, with a total cost of $1,000.
To accommodate our missional leaders during trainings and conferences, we would like to add additional rooms to the veranda of the house at our main mission hub. We are expecting to have regular training sessions that shall bring our missional leaders to our main hub at the same time. We therefore wish to have reliable rooms for our missional leaders to provide accommodation to them during our meetings/training. This will cost approximately $6,000 to $6,500.
We also have additional needs that we are earnestly praying God to meet. One of the pressing ones is the need for clean water in Nanyia village. This is home to our legendary woman of faith, Martha Lokwale. On numerous occasions, Martha walked 21 kilometers to speak with me about the people in her village and the need for the Gospel. Two years ago, we met and prayed about starting a church in her village. Recently, 25 people were baptized there! She constantly reminds me of the suffering of her people. We humbly ask that you pray with us that this need will be met. Drilling a borehole is about $14,000.
We are thankful for the dedication and courage of our Pakistani partner, Omega Ministry, who continues to share the Gospel amidst threats of violence. Recently they held a seminar for pastors and church members to specifically encourage them. Over 250 people attended this special session.
Please pray for them as they hold three crusades in different cities in late November and early December. These meetings are intended to both encourage believers and reach those who have not accepted Christ.
Ongoing needs for the Pakistani pastors include monthly support and motorcycles. Having transportation is of vital importance for pastors to be able to effectively reach more people. They typically minister in multiple areas and moving from place to place can be challenging. Currently, it costs $2,200 to provide a motorcycle to a Pakistani pastor. Beyond transportation, monthly support is also important so that pastors can focus on teaching and preaching. Most serve in very poor areas and are unable to gather adequate support from local congregations. Depending on the situation $50 to $100 per month can make a great difference in the life of a pastor and their family.