(The following blog post is a copy of a letter written by Man Up and Go's CEO, Jeff Ford, to Man Up Champions, along with a video made on the ground during the latest Man Up trip to Uganda. We encourage you to watch the video and/or read the letter to see how you can help continue the Super Saturday Feeding Programs in Uganda.)
When Man Up and Go first visited Masese III (a slum neighborhood in Jinja, Uganda), we listened to the dreams of Andrew Wakabi, a pastor who had been ministering in the community for several years at that time. He spoke of a day where the children from this area, many of whom had one or no parents, one pair of clothes, no money for school fees, and an otherwise hopeless future, would attend a private Christian school where they would not only get a quality education, but would hear about the hope found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ as well.
At that time, we stood on a vacant piece a land and listened to the vision of a man who had been compelled by God to minister to the people of Karamajong when very few others would. This tribe, who had been displaced from the rural north and now lived on a government-allotted slum, sang songs about their “despised” status as outcasts far from home. Pastor Andrew envisioned a place where these outcasts could make a new home, and in 2009, launched Home Again Ministries for that very purpose.
God saw fit to start shaping this dream into a reality, and Bethel Junior School started as a one-room school in the fall of 2012 to begin the education process among the community of Masese III. Five years later, the school continues to expand, and now close to 140 children receive a quality education with a Christian worldview from the 17 staff who are employed there.
The children receive more than an education. In June of 2015, Man Up partnered with Convoy of Hope to ship a container of nutrient-rich foods to feed the students. This economically efficient method of feeding guarantees the students at least one good meal per school day, whereas they may have received only one meal per week prior to the feeding program’s inception.
Not only that, but Home Again Ministries has been using the food as an outreach each week in a program they call Super Saturday. For three hours each Saturday, volunteers of the ministry provide organized physical play, a hearty portion of food, and a bible lesson to any children in the community who want to come. Approximately 200 children came the first week, but the word quickly got out about this ministry. As of May 2017, over 700 children were attending Super Saturday each week! We praise the Lord for this tremendous blessing of His favor upon Pastor Andrew and his staff as they serve as the hands and feet of Jesus in Masese III.
Since June of 2015, Home Again Ministries has fed 97,965 children with this program. The impact is actually much greater, as much of the food was shared with our partner in Pallisa, Kerith Children’s Home. We estimate the total number of mouths fed at over 170,000 in the last two years - praise God!
With that said, we are writing to report that the food has completely run out. As we learned of this news in May, we set in motion another container of food to be shipped by our friends at Convoy of Hope. At the time of this writing, the container is literally in route to the port of Mombasa in Kenya. Convoy has graciously allowed us to pay “net-90,” meaning we do not have to come up with the funds until August 15th. However, while the food has been completely donated by Convoy, the cost of shipping it still looms.
Because we own the shipping container in Uganda (which sits on the grounds of Bethel Junior School), we do not have to pay this approximately $3500 price tag. We will unload the food from the container on the truck and load it into our existing container. Because of this, we estimate the total cost from door-to-door, including taxes and fees to import and transport across the Kenyan border into Uganda, at $15,000.
Man Up and Go is committed to partnering with Home Again Ministries and Pastor Andrew in Uganda, and we believe feeding the children, many of whom come from single-parent homes, gives us a strategic advantage in lessening the amount of fatherless children in the community. By educating the children at Bethel Junior and feeding the kids each Saturday, Pastor Andrew’s church in Masese III has burgeoned to over 600 weekly attenders as moms (and some dads) come to hear from the man who is doing these good works for their children. As discipleship happens in the local church, lives are being dramatically changed for the better.
The long-term end result? Less orphans, more families.
As previously mentioned, we have until August 15th to pay our bill with Convoy of Hope. Will you commit this matter to prayer with you and your family to see what God might have you give? As the Lord leads (willingly, with a generous spirit, not begrudgingly), please give your online donation HERE. Choose "Feeding Program Uganda" from the drop-down menu.
We thank you in advance for your support, your prayers, and your sacrificial giving.