Buyamba’s latest effort in Uganda to deliver food to our student families was not easy. The Dongo family and helpers went into three villages to reach out to God Cares families living in slum areas where food is scarce, and heavy rainfall has caused flooding. Last week, they were able to reach 110 families in the villages of Bukasa, Nabutiti, and Kitalanga. The next two weeks will see hundreds more packages delivered.
The Buyamba Team was well received by the families. Students ran to meet them wherever they went, screaming and embracing. The leader of the village of Nabutiti got on a loudspeaker and announced, “God Cares is here! They are here!” The team delivered food packages and visited with each family. Each package had a variety of food staples that would keep a family fed for 3-4 weeks.
The families shared their stories and pointed out the damages that had occurred. Whatever the situation, the God Cares Team prayed over them, encouraging all to keep their eyes on the Lord. Worship emotionally explained, “The children and their families felt so loved, and they were so grateful. It was so hard to see many of them in desperate situations.”
In the past two weeks, Buyamba shared a total of 169 meal packages in two different delivery efforts. The food was a blessing to those identified student families from God Cares School that are struggling during the lock down period with the basic need for food.
Ugandan Schools did not start in May as we had hoped, and now our students are waiting, like many students here in the United States, to start school. Yet, Buyamba's mission remains the same, to educate and disciple our children, and that looks a little different during this season. Still, we are finding creative ways to meet the needs of our Buyamba community.
God Cares School's administration and staff are finding resourceful ways to educate and feed our students, sharing the gospel in action as we deliver and provide meals for a week for families in need. We continue to pay the teachers, and we are connecting with students to set up an educational plan for as many students as possible, knowing that many will be required to do national testing when they return most likely in September.
We are grateful for all of the sponsors who have stood with us faithfully and to those donors who have also come alongside us to help feed these families. Together, we are standing as a force of support both here in the United States and Uganda.
As we continue to endure this season of separation, we see God clearly at work through many of you! Our sponsors and donors are standing firm in faithfulness in their giving, and it has resulted in keeping the ministry stable during these uncertain times. Some of you had even stepped forward to give extra for food for the students' families who are homebound in the slums, and others who are doing well at this time have intentionally given more to make up for others who are not able to give.
One long time Buyamba sponsor, Jason Fielder, explained, "My wife and I are both teachers and blessed to have a job right now, and we can give more as others maybe can't right now, so just give us another child to sponsor!"
We received a hopeful report from our Buyamba administrators in Uganda as far as the low number of COVID-19 patients in the country. Ezra Dongo shared that the containment has a lot has to do with how quickly the government locked down the borders of the country when the threat of the virus first broke out. The numbers have not increased for days, staying at 54 cases with seven recoveries and no deaths, which is a good sign. However, to be sure of its containment, President Museveni has increased the stay at home order to extend to May 7th. Uganda does not have the medical system to deal with any massive outbreak. The extended days means school will not start back up again until that time.
With both Buyamba offices remote right now, the letter communications are at a standstill, but the communications process will start up with the schools reopening - hopefully on May 7th. We have received letters at the Buyamba office and will get them to Uganda as soon as possible, and student letters will be written when the children return to school and are settled back into their routines. Please continue to pray for them during this time.
A Video Message from Julie Dimas and Worship Dongo
Please take a moment to watch the video above featuring Buyamba's Executive Director, Julie Dimas, and Executive Director in Uganda, Worship Dongo Byakika, as they offer updates concerning actions being taken in the ministry both in the U.S. and in Uganda in light of COVID-19.
The Ugandan government ordered all schools to close for a month, making reopen day April 20th. This closure was a shock to the God Cares School administration because there wasn’t even a case of COVID-19 known in Uganda when this directive came (although there are 33 currently upon this writing). Schools across the nation were closed, and that included all 900 boarding students at God Cares High School.
Worship Dongo reported that many of the students did not want to go home, and many were crying. It took encouragement and prayer to help all leave. Many students went home to the slums and into a situation where there may not be enough food. The Dongo family is there helping the most desperate families with food for many families were unprepared to have their children back home.
The Buyamba office has gone remote, and the staff and many volunteers continue to work at home, for there are many different tasks involved in running the ministry, and each worker knows their area well. Donor support has been wonderfully steady. We are following the Lord’s lead to be at peace and to continue to stand as always with those we love and support in Uganda to the best of our abilities. There is and will be adjustments, but we are trusting in the Spirit to lead us in the right direction as we ask for wisdom daily and
give over our concerns to the Lord, who is more than able.
Our Focus During This Time
Buyamba is God’s ministry. We have grown and adjusted under his directives, and this time in history is no different. Our focus now is two-fold…. one, on you, our Buyamba Family, and also on the community of God Cares Schools that we serve in Uganda.
SOME OF YOU HAVE ASKED... how you can help beyond sponsorships and building support ... our new need is simply funds for rising FOOD COSTS. This rise is prevalent everywhere in Uganda because they are dealing with the locust problem in the north and the virus situation throughout. You can give on our donate page, as usual, designating "FOOD" in the note area intended for your designation.