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Ibrahim’s dream came true!

A ROWAN family in Uganda in front of the new home that was built for them.

Do you remember Ibrahim from the post we did last April? He is one of 16 siblings who were taken in by their grandparents after their father’s passing. Before his passing, Ibrahim’s father had started work on a home for the family, and it was Ibrahim’s dream to be able to finish what his father started.  

A grandfather with 4 of his grandchildren standing next to a broken wall in Uganda

With the help of his sponsor and other supporters, ROWAN was able to build a new home for Ibrahim and his family! What a beautiful and joy-filled day it was when Ibrahim and his siblings saw their finished home!  

 

Despite all that Ibrahim has been through, he continues to carry a spirit of gratitude and love. In speaking of his sponsor, Ibrahim recently wrote, “Dear my beloved sweet sponsor it is my joy and happiness to extend my sincere gratitude of appreciation for the love and care that you have shown me ever since you chose me for sponsorship, indeed l want to express my inner happiness and feelings towards the golden gift of a house that you have managed to construct for me and my family, may the almighty God bless you so, so, so much.

 

A young man playing dancing next to his new home in Uganda

 

It only takes $3300 (USD) to build one of these homes, and we are hoping to build more homes for our ROWAN families. With your help, we can do just that. If you are interested in donating to our next house-building project, please click here.

 

Thank you to all of those who helped us make Ibrahim’s dream a reality. Your sponsorship and donations left a lasting impact on the lives and hearts of Ibrahim and his family.  

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

What is the job you were given to do?

Logos for members of Uganda Unite

Last Thursday, August 19th, the 2021 Uganda Unite Summit was hosted via Zoom by Kelsey Hargadine and ROWAN.  We had representatives from 12 different organizations and over 40 participants in attendance.  It was an incredible summit filled with inspiration, messages of hope, and information sharing between organizations.  

We were fortunate to have Bob Goff as our keynote speaker for this year’s summit.  Bob’s words of hope and encouragement were so inspiring!

Some of the messages that stuck out to those in attendance were:

“Don’t let setbacks stop you from doing something.  Do what you can.”

“Don’t engage in every fight.  Be picky about issues you want to take on.  You don’t have to swing at every pitch.”

“We have to decide when something burns down in our life –  when something goes wrong – not to let it distract us. Don’t give up.  Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing.  Finish your work.  Never give up.”  

“Know what you want.  Why you want it. And what you’re going to do about it.  Figure these out, and you’ll run your race.”

And my favorite:

“God just wants to surprise us.  The story is not where we are the victim or that we are the hero. It’s that we are a participant.  Show up – fallible as you are and bring everything you’ve got because this is something worth doing.”  

So many nuggets of wisdom!  It was such a wonderful and uplifting way to start this summit.  

Following Bob’s remarks, two breakout sessions gave the participants a chance to share their organization’s work in Uganda and talk about the different challenges they are facing.  So many insightful ideas were shared during these breakout sessions!  

To close the summit, Kelsey Hargadine, Co-founder of ROWAN, discussed the impact the COVID-19 Pandemic has had on the people of Uganda.  During this discussion, Kelsey shared that Pastor Paul, Rowan’s Co-founder, and his wife had been in the United States when the COVID-19 Pandemic began to impact the U.S. in mid-march of 2020.  Their planned stay of a few weeks became a stay of nearly five months due to the travel bans that were put in place.  These five months turned out to be a really special time.  Pastor Paul and his wife were able to truly rest for the first time in their lives.  Through that rest, creativity began to flow, and Pastor Paul and Kelsey were able to come up with new, creative solutions for ROWAN, its programs, and the people we serve.  

When Pastor Paul and his wife finally returned home, they carried with them a new sense of calm.  Recently, Pastor Paul was speaking with Kelsey and sharing with her some of the hardships, roadblocks, and issues that ROWAN and its members are facing during this second wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the subsequent lockdown when he paused and said, “But Kelsey, I have joy.  I have never had this much time at home with my family.  I am getting to know each of my children, and I love getting to know them.  Yes, there is a lot going on around us, and there are so many hard things, but this family time has been so wonderful.”

Pastor Paul then asked Kelsey to share the following message at the Uganda Unite Summit:

“Tell them that COVID is a checkpoint for us.  That this is an opportunity to take inventory of what you have and value the relationships and families that you have.  COVID will come and go.  But how will we look back at this time?  Take it as an opportunity.  An opportunity to spread hope.”

I love that. 

 “An opportunity to spread hope.” Or, as Bob Goff said it, “Faith expressed in love.”

 

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

Uganda Unite

child in a wheel barrow

ROWAN has been operating in Uganda since 2007.  During that time, Kelsey Hargadine, the co-founder of ROWAN, has encountered many other organizations that work in Uganda but have a US base in Colorado.  In 2015, Kelsey came up with the idea of starting a collaborative organization called Uganda Unite.  The sole purpose of Uganda Unite is to help promote a sense of unity and togetherness across the Colorado organizations that work in Uganda.  There are currently over 20 organizations that participate in Uganda Unite.  While each of these organizations varies in terms of their work in Uganda, they are all united in their goal of trying to be of help to the Ugandan people.  

People laughing   

Uganda Unite holds yearly summits that allow members of these organizations to share the successes and challenges of their work.  In addition, these summits are a way to help encourage and inspire those who attend.  The 2021 Uganda Unite summit is coming up in a few weeks and, after the year the world has faced, the organizers of the summit have worked hard to create a summit filled with hope and encouragement.  The keynote speaker for this year is the always-inspiring, hope-building, best-selling author, Bob Goff. 

Bob Goff

Bob’s messages of love and hope are what we all need more of, and we can’t wait to hear the message he has prepared for the summit.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous effect on the people of Uganda.  The organizations operating in Uganda have faced a year filled with setbacks and roadblocks as they try to help the people there, but they have not given up.  They continue to choose the path of hope and love.  They continue to show, through their actions, the power found in a collective sense of kindness and humanity.

We are looking forward to this year’s summit and the chance that it gives us to learn from and with our fellow Uganda Unite members!

people sitting around a table

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

Food is Life!

 

While the pandemic has brought hardship and struggle to the world, some of us have fared better than others. Many of us have been able to shop online for food and other things, with front door deliveries. We have made use of curbside pickup and Instacart shoppers. And most of us have been able to shop inside grocery and other stores as needed. I am grateful to God for the relative ease of feeding my family during such a hard time.

 

Our friends in Uganda are facing something wholly different. Due to rising cases of Covid-19 in country, Uganda began a 42 day lockdown on June 19. People may not leave their homes unless for medical emergencies. This has put people in the ROWAN villages in a dangerous situation as they have no way to get food to sustain themselves for this long period. ROWAN asked for your help and you came through! Last week, Paster Paul and our ROWAN team (under the watchful eye of Security officers) were able to distribute food to our widows and orphans. 

Maize and beans made ready for distribution outside at Mwanga Hall of Hope.
Pastor Paul and Isaac Malinga, ROWAN Board Chair, witness the food distribution process along with police officers.

Without the generosity of donors this would not have been possible. And we’re not done yet! To sustain each person through the lockdown we need to purchase and deliver more food. Please consider giving, anything you can, to our Food to Families campaign, and help us be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ to our faithful widows and orphans in the villages who need to eat. All of the money raised from this campaign is going toward the purchase of food supplies during the COVID-19 lockdown.

 

Their faces! Happy beneficiaries of food send thanks and God’s blessing to donors and sponsors.

Pastor Paul just sent this message:

 

“Good evening to you all,

Thank you for your prayers, we made it.  Everyone was excited with the food given to them—God Bless you all abundantly.

 

You may wonder why we didn’t use the Bus.  The first point was that the Kilos were too many for the Bus, secondly the roads are too bad for the Bus when packed with food, thirdly the police we had didn’t allow us because when you carry people in a Bus it can easily spread the virus, so that is why we had to use the truck.

 

But the most important thing we thank God is that we were allowed to buy food and we were able to distribute it to them.

 

Thank you so much for your help.

Talk to you soon.”

 

Pastor Paul Nyende

 

Being hungry and not being fed takes a toll on the mind, body, and spirit. Thank you for continuing to help us alleviate this most basic need for our Ugandan brothers and sisters in Christ. He is the bread of life and we give Him thanks! 

Post Author: Shelly Casale

Tightened lockdown and miracles

A man happily driving a bus in Uganda

On Friday, June 18th, President Yoweri Museveni announced that Uganda would be going into a new 42-day full lockdown.  During this new lockdown, vehicular travel of any kind is prohibited.  Only essential workers or those in need of medical care are exempted from this travel ban.  In addition to all the closures announced in the earlier lockdown, President Museveni set a new 7:00 p.m. curfew for all Ugandans and mandated that all shops must now close. 

These new restrictions coupled with rising COVID-19 infections only add to the increasing hardships the people in Uganda are currently facing.  ROWAN is committed to doing all we can to ensure that our widows and orphans have the food they need during this lockdown.  Our Ugandan team is currently working to procure the needed food supplies and distribute them to our ROWAN communities.  This has been no easy task however as police have been stationed on every corner of the villages to prevent people from leaving their homes.  

Pastor Paul refused to be deterred though.  He said, “I will not give up, tomorrow I will try another person.  Pray with me.  I cannot sit back and watch my people suffer.”  ROWAN posted Pastor Paul’s plea for prayer on our social media accounts and we know that many of you joined us in prayer for our Ugandan family.  How do we know this?  We know because we had a miracle occur.  Yesterday afternoon we received this message from Pastor Paul, ” This is so, so, so good.  Our God is so exciting.  He is so good.  He answers our prayers.  Do you know what? The man I talked to, he has been able to order the district officials who are in charge of the lockdown operations to allow me to buy the food and distribute it to the people.”   What a tremendous blessing!  Thank you for the prayers you sent for softened hearts and help for Pastor Paul.  

Please keep praying for our ROWAN family and for all Ugandans.  If you can, please consider making a donation to our Food to Families campaign.  All proceeds from this campaign go directly toward the purchase of much-need food supplies for our widows and orphans.  We are so grateful for each of you who stands with ROWAN in prayer, support, and love.  

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

Food to Families Campaign

Child in Uganda carrying a basket of maize on their head

It’s been nearly two weeks since Ugandan President, Yoweri Musevini, announced that the country would be going into another lockdown.  The timeline given for this new lockdown was 42 days, but many believe that the current restrictions could last for much longer given the number of COVID-19 cases and the lack of vaccines in Uganda.  

Empty classroom in Uganda

When the new restrictions were announced, ROWAN began working to put together a plan that would allow us to help our widows and orphans during this new lockdown.  After much thought and prayer, the board felt that the best course of action for ROWAN would be to provide our widows and orphans with food distributions during this time.  To this end, we recently set up a new donation campaign called Food to Families.  Every dollar donated through this campaign will go directly to the purchase of food goods that will help ensure that our widows and orphans are fed during this time of quarantine.  In addition to the money raised through the Food to Families campaign, ROWAN’s board made the decision to move our budget around from our sponsorships and put that money toward buying food supplies for all those under our care during this lockdown.  

We are grateful to those who have already donated to our Food to Families campaign as well as those who make donations through sponsorships.  Your generosity is making a tangible difference in our ROWAN communities.  We also want to give a huge shout-out of thanks to Little Man Ice Cream for their very generous donation.  Because of the generosity and love shown by all of you, we were able to send $13,000 to our Ugandan team for the purchase of food supplies.  

Crops growing in Uganda

Food prices in Uganda keep increasing and ROWAN is working hard to ensure we are ready and able to distribute food goods to our widows and orphans throughout this lockdown.  With your help, we can make sure none of them go to bed hungry during this time of quarantine.  

All photos in this post are by Bob Ditty

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

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