One of the fun things about partnering with our sponsors and donors is the creative ways they come up with to give! A recent example of this creativity was Tim Hutchinson's 70th birthday party. Tim decided that instead of having his guests bring something for him on his birthday, it would be more meaningful for him if his friends gave Buyamba Love Gifts to the kids in Uganda. Tim was not new to Buyamba, for he is a worship leader at Calvary Chapel Conejo Church in Thousand Oaks, CA, and he has been involved with sharing Buyamba with others for years. He and his wife, Kathy, are also faithful sponsors of a boy named Jonah Kalumba, who goes to God Cares School in Kampala, Uganda, and is in the 4th grade.
Tim and his daughter celebrating his birthday
Tracy Lynn, a Buyamba representative, hosting a sponsorship table
We were happy to be a part of Tim's big day. We were able to highlight some of our "Buyamba Love Gifts," such as a goat named "Surfer Dude" (to represent Tim's lifetime love of the sport). There were other choices of gifts his guests could choose from, such as a cow, chickens, school uniforms, shoes, bibles, and even a child's sponsorship could be given in honor of Tim's birthday.
At the actual party, Tracy Lynn, a Buyamba representative, was invited to set up a "Buyamba Table," highlighting a few of the students we needed to be sponsored and the additional Buyamba Love Gifts that his friends could choose from. Some guests had contacted us directly weeks before through Tim's birthday invitation and had designated a Love Gift to Buyamba. We sent Tim a Buyamba Birthday Card for each gift to say that a donation had been given in his honor on behalf of a particular guest for a specific Love Gift chosen with care.
Tim’s efforts were fun and productive, for among many gifts were 11 goats, 5 bibles, shoes, a child named Samson sponsored, and many general gifts to help the children given in Tim's name. Tim loved the part that his friends were excited about giving, and some who are not Christian got involved in the ministry he cared about.
Now that's CREATIVE!
We love partnering with our sponsors in their creative efforts! Call the Buyamba office if you have an idea about how to share Buyamba. If we can send a representative to be present at the creative event, we will try and be there or send one of our volunteer representatives to host a table.
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!"
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.
Through volunteering, not only do I get a sense of joy for service, I also have learned and continue to learn life lessons every time I’m in the office. The office has given me a safe place where I can be myself, love others, and truly do some amazing work. Julie is someone who I highly revere, and I hope to be an ounce of the person she is one day. She has the biggest heart and is so loving to everyone and everything. I have found a personal mentor in Melissa. Not only has she been an amazing superior who teaches me every time I’m there, she is also a great friend. It is the people and their huge hearts here at Buyamba which fuels this organization to thrive. Without the God-driven kindness of everyone here, it would be nowhere as successful as it is. I hope that people will see the amazing work Buyamba Uganda is doing, and that their hearts will open wide to the children of Uganda, just as mine has.
We're so thankful for our volunteers like Makena. Buyamba only has two full time paid staff members and there's more work than two can do. A lot of our work gets done by volunteers who give of their time and talents. If you're interested in volunteering with Buyamba once a month or on a regular basis, please let us know!