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Hope Makers

A woman and her family by their home in Uganda

On Wednesday, we shared stories of what life has been like over the last year for Namulawa, Beatrice, and Florence – members of our Ugandan ROWAN community.  Today, we want to share some year-end thoughts from Robina and Anet.

A woman and her five children in front of their home in Uganda

Robina shared that 2021 was a ‘unique experience in my life, the family, and the community at large.”  She felt a great deal of fear about the COVID virus and all the unknowns surrounding it.  Robina wrote that COVID lockdowns imposed by the Ugandan government caused her business to come to a standstill, making it impossible to purchase basic necessities for her family.

A woman and her daughter in Uganda

Anet shared that she struggles with increasing poverty due to COVID lockdowns.  She also worries greatly about the children, especially the teenage girls, who were sent home due to school closures.  Anet wrote that she hopes that schools reopen soon and that when they do, they will have special programs to help the children get back into life as they knew it before the pandemic.

Like Namulawa, Beatrice, and Florence, Robina and Anet shared their gratitude for the help they and their families have received from ROWAN throughout the last year.  Both women wrote of the difference ROWAN’s provision of food, safety equipment, and other necessities made for their families. They also shared their thanks for ROWAN’s educational materials, virus education, and counseling services.  Each time ROWAN was able to step in and help, it gave Robina, Anet, and their families hope, a much-needed commodity in times of struggle.  

This Christmas season, ROWAN has chosen hope as our focus.  Our Blessing Basket campaign is all about giving hope to our Ugandan families.  Hope in the form of having their immediate needs met with food and educational materials and hope for the future in the form of seeds to plant. Once planted, these seeds will become crops that can help each family start 2022 on more solid ground.  Christmas 2021 One Act of Hope Campaign

We are so excited and grateful to say that we are now over halfway to our Blessing Baskets campaign goal!  Our goal is to provide 400 families with a Blessing Basket and, as of this post, we have received enough donations for 230 baskets!  If you are interested in purchasing a Blessing Basket or learning more about this campaign, click here.  

Thank you to all those who have donated to our Blessing Basket campaign!  You are hope-makers!  In a world that can feel cold and lonely, you are spreading love – one act of hope at a time.  

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

Challenges and Hope

a woman and her children in Uganda

As 2021 draws to a close, members of our ROWAN community in Uganda have been reflecting on what the last year has looked and felt like to them.  This week, I wanted to share some of their stories with you.  

Namulawa K. shared that one of the hardest things about this past year was her father’s death.  When her father passed away, Namulawa was unable to attend his burial due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions put in place by the Ugandan government.  Being unable to attend her father’s burial service has been a very hard and painful thing for Namulawa and she struggles with it every day.

A mother and her 10 children in Uganda

Beatrice K. told us that the restriction of movement and school closures have been the hardest things for her.  Before the pandemic, Beatrice sold ripe bananas to the schools, but this income source went away when schools shut down.  Beatrice said that her family has struggled with the increased poverty and a lack of food and other basic necessities. “Life,” she says, “has been very hard.”

Two women sitting under a tree in Uganda

Florence Y. shared that for her, the increased levels of poverty and fear and the significant number of deaths have been very hard to deal with this year.  She worries about the children who were sent home due to school closures and fears that they may never return.  

2021 has been a challenging year.  There is no denying that.  But amid the hardships of 2021, there has also been hope.  Namulawa, Beatrice, and Florence all shared that ROWAN has been there for them and their families throughout their hardships. Each of them expressed gratitude for the much-needed safety items, basic necessities, and food supplies that ROWAN provided them with over the last year.  These provisions helped them know they were not forgotten amid their struggles.  

We at ROWAN are so thankful to each of you who have sponsored, donated, and prayed this year.  Your donations, prayers, and love make a difference in the lives of many!

If you are looking for more ways to help spread love and hope this year, our 2021 Christmas Blessing Baskets campaign is now live.  Each Blessing Basket contains 40 pounds of food, educational supplies, basic necessities, and seeds for the families to plant to help them get a more solid footing in 2022.  We have set a goal of earning enough for 400 Blessing Baskets by the 20th of December, and with your help, we can reach this goal!  To learn more or to purchase a Blessing Basket, please click here.  

Christmas 2021 One Act of Hope Campaign

Thank you for standing with ROWAN and the people of Uganda!

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

One Act of Hope

Woman in Uganda holding a basket of food on her head

“If you can’t feed 100 people, then just feed one.” – Mother Teresa

Christmas 2021 One Act of Hope Campaign

The need for food is something all of us share. For some, however, this basic need is often in short supply. This is why, for our Christmas campaign this year, ROWAN has selected Blessing Baskets as our focus.  

 

Each Blessing Basket contains:

40 pounds of food

A Frying pan

Sweet treats

Seeds to plant

Educational materials for children

 

These items will help our Ugandan ROWAN families meet basic needs and give them a solid start to 2022.  

 

By donating $85 for a Blessing Basket, you are helping sustain an entire Ugandan family through lockdowns, weather catastrophes, uncertainty brought by a global pandemic, and the political chaos that continues to plague the region.

 

Our goal for the Blessing Basket campaign is $34,000, which, if reached, will allow us to provide 400 families in Uganda with a basket of much need supplies along with a huge dose of hope.  To purchase a Blessing Basket for a ROWAN family, click here.  With your help, we can reach our goal of helping 400 families by December 20th. 

 

Let’s make this Christmas one of abundant blessings – one act of hope at a time.  

 

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

News of increasing violence in Kampala

Police in Uganda behind crime scene tape

The end of October saw Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, under attack.  On the evening of October 23rd, people in Kampala were out enjoying an evening meal when an explosion rocked the city center.   Then less than 48 hours later, another explosion targeted a bus traveling from the capital to western Uganda.  Investigators believe both bombings are the work of rebel Allied Democratic Forces, a known affiliate of the Islamic State.  After the Islamic State released a video claiming responsibility for the bombing on the 23rd, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni called it an act of terrorism.  

In an interview with VOA News, Fred Enanga, a Ugandan Police Spokesman, said that three men with ties to Allied Democratic Forces, the ADF,  had been arrested on suspicion of setting up the attack in the city center.  Police say that three men entered the eatery with a bag containing an improvised explosive devise, set the bag under a table, and left shortly before the explosion. This explosion killed a 20-year-old waitress and caused several other injuries to people within a 5 square mile radius.

The bus bombing on Monday, October 25th occurred as the bus was leaving the city.  This blast caused one death and several injuries.  Police say that the death was that of the young man who carried out the attack.  While there have been no clear claims of responsibility for this bombing, Ugandan police believe it to be another attack by the ADF.  

The Allied Democratic Forces strongly oppose Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his government.  They are based in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo and have been slowly expanding into other countries in the region.  In a press conference following the bombings, Fred Enanga told reporters that investigators believe an ADF sleeper cell exists in Kampala and that prior to the bombings, police had arrested 13 suspected ADF members.  

We at ROWAN are standing with the people of Uganda in praying for peace in the nation and for comfort for those affected by these bombings.  

Photo by Associated Press

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

Facing the food crisis together

Group of people in Uganda standing behind bags of food

Conflict, climate catastrophes, and the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed people in East Africa to a crisis-level food shortage.  According to a report by World Vision, over 7.8 million people in the region are facing starvation, and an additional 26 million people in the region are living on the brink.  The United Nations reports that over 12.8 million children in East Africa are severely malnourished.  

Large-scale flooding and an inundation of desert locusts in late 2019 through 2020 caused crop devastation and led to a sharp economic downturn.  When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2021, it only exasperated the continuing food crisis with its lockdowns.  Farmers could not tend to or harvest crops, and people living in urban areas in eastern Africa became stranded with limited food access.  

According to an article written by Godfrey Olukya for AA News, members of the Uganda parliament have begun urging the government to move some of those living in urban areas back to their rural villages where they would have better access to food supplies.  When questioned by AA News about the food crisis, Thomas Kapo Kigozi, a local leader in Uganda, said, “Many of us are either starving or on the verge of starvation.  Police have blocked all roads to the city center.  We are asking the government to provide us free transport to take us to our villages.” 

ROWAN continues to work to help the people in our Uganda villages as they face this food crisis.  Recently, Kelsey Hargadine, a founding member of ROWAN, held a birthday drive that raised close to $4000 for additional food supplies for our Ugandan members.  And last week, Kremmling Community Church gave ROWAN a $5000 donation for much-need food supplies for our widows and orphans in Uganda.  We are currently serving close to 400 families in our Ugandan villages, and these donations will allow us to give each family around $25 for the month.  While $25 may not seem like a lot to some of us, it means a great deal to those who receive it.  

Two women sitting near a bag of food 

We are so grateful for each of you who have donated to our food campaigns.  In addition to helping provide much-needed food supplies for our Ugandan families, your donations are letting each of them know they matter and are loved.   

All photos courtesy of Bob Ditty.

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

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