As we looked around the Kampala slum, we saw so many men, both young and old, sitting around, doing nothing, or drinking and playing games.
In this slum, former child soldiers, victims of war and their families live in absolute poverty. Originally our heart for the people in the Acholi Quarter slum had been for the women and we had started Biblical trauma counseling with a small group of them.
However, God began to direct our attention to the men, many of whom had once been child soldiers. More than 11,000 of them came to the slum for refuge from the Lord’s Resistance Army and to escape the trauma and stigma of war. Many were left traumatised by their experiences.
They had also lost the opportunity for education and were stigmatised by their families and communities in the north as “rebels.”
We felt so strongly that God wanted more for them. We decided to canvas the men in the slum and invite them to meet us at a church one afternoon. More than 300 showed up to meet us! We introduced ourselves and then shared that the love of God is for them as well as their wives.
We shared how God values and sees them and wants them to become great fathers and husbands. We invited them to be part of the ministry we were providing in Acholi Quarter.
To our surprise, we began to see men weep. One after another the men would rise up, share their thankfulness that God had seen and heard their cry for help.
Through the tears, the men shared with us how other non-government organisations had focused on empowering their wives with skills training or sponsoring children. The men felt they had been left by the wayside.
They shared with us the pain in their marriages, especially from those men whose wives had left because they felt their husbands had nothing to contribute to the family.
We knew in that moment, that God had led us to become a family-focused ministry. We know that God values each member of the family and that each one has a role to play.
We see that by investing in the whole family we are investing in generations to come. Our hope is that as we restore dignity and identity in Christ to mothers and fathers that their children will be positively impacted for generations to come.
As we serve not only in Acholi Quarter but also deep in the villages of northern Uganda, we are seeing the positive impact of focusing on the entire family. As we remind both women and men of the love of God and the good future he has planned for them we see renewed vision, commitment and hope for the future and reconciliation in families.
We are so thankful for how God is using us and our Ugandan partner, ‘I Live Again Uganda’, to reach these people for Christ!
For more workers to come forward to help mission in Uganda
For the men of Kampala's Acholi Quarter to know Christ and become his disciples
For families across Uganda to hear the good news of Jesus
By SIM misson worker Tricia DeBoer, founder and
director of Africa Arise, a project of SIM Canada