We are in daunting times. People are sick. Others are taking care of their loved ones who are badly off, while others have lost their loved ones, their jobs, their livelihoods and so on.
However, much we may try to say we can be strong and will overcome the pain, at some point, one can break down. The situation is not normal at all and it’s taking its toll on so many of us, emotionally, mentally, physically and financially. We can’t pretend any more that is well.
Knowing that your loved one is very ill, in pain, holed up somewhere and you can’t extend a helping hand physically and emotionally is so draining, so daunting. Being ill and you’re locked up somewhere where no loved one can reach you, you’re fighting it all alone, is very painful. We can’t pretend any more that we are strong. We need one another now, more than ever before, yet our hands are tied.
But we can do something. One, let’s kneel before our Almighty God, the giver of life and pray for protection, for all those that are going through emotional, mental, physical and financial distress.
Pick up your phone, call that friend, that relative, that workmate, and find out how they are doing. Talk to them and give them hope and strength. It helps a lot.
Send a message to them and find out how they are anytime. It helps to know that whatever pain, trouble you’re going through, someone out there cares.
If they are experiencing some financial stress, share with them the little you have. Don’t wait to get a lot to be able to share. Even 5k ($1) or 2k (50 cents) can do something for someone in distress. It could be all that is needed to save a life. It can buy a strip of paracetamol, a liter of milk, a glass of juice or a few fingers of matooke (banana). Don’t feel shy sharing the little you have. It takes the burden off someone’s head.
But you can only manage to do that if you make an effort to keep in touch with people, of course through a phone call.
This disease is not only affecting people’s health. It attacks from all corners mentally, physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, financially, and all that. Let’s be compassionate, let’s offer the little we can, let’s be there for one another, give love and care, and above all let’s pray for one another, give love and care and above all let’s pray for one another. Covid-19 is real, but we can conquer the monster if we stand up for one another.
Easter is a time of celebrations for the risen Lord Jesus Christ. He triumphed over death and today we are assured of eternal life. It has been tough for those who lost their dear ones over the past due to the pandemic and other health related issues but our hope is in Jesus Christ to see them again. These words of 1 John 2:17 can be an inspiration for you “the world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
Here at Square Ministries Africa, we celebrated Easter in an unusual way. On Easter Eve/Holy Saturday we visited elderly families with Easter hampers. It was good to pray with them and to give them at least good food for a week as they celebrate the risen Lord. What joy and blessings while encountering them, I can tell you if you have supported Square Ministries Africa, know that you have so many intercessors praying for you. These women (most of them) are abandoned by their families or they see family members once in a while, seeing somebody with care, it is just beyond imagination. May God continue to give them more years to live. We are planning to be offering essential services to them as God provides.
We would like also to thank you for your prayers for the seminar of pastors and their spouses. We would wish to conduct it in mid-May, keep us in your prayers as the preparations are underway.
Once again God’s blessings for your prayers and support
Square Ministries Africa is happy to announce the good news of the concluded semi-virtual training on August 23 -29, 2020. The training followed the COVID 19 pandemic restrictions as follow: – For any meeting to consult the local authorities and the police in the region for supervision. – To wear face masks for all people in training. – To avail soap and water for hand washing at the venue. -To provide sanitizers in and at the entrance of the venue. To observe social distancing of all people. – To avoid people to be accommodated at the venue.
In order to comply with the above, we formed five centers in the entire Diocese of Bukedi (Anglican Church) where 250 people (clergy and lay) were trained on the following topics: – Theology of Work in Spiritual Formation and Mission of the church. – Theology of Work in Social Economic Transformation of the Church. – Theology of Work in Church Leadership.
The spirit of God was moving and also too much of sanitizing and hand washing at the meeting places. We appreciated so much the smooth cooperation of the Diocesan and Square Ministries teams to have a whole week working in harmony and prayers. In fact as the Bible says the harvest is plenty but the workers are very few.
Briefly, our aim was to pray with the church men and women as we empower them with something to do at home during this unpredictable time of COVID-19. We were able to leave behind a seed-animal, in which in every center they are going to rear animals which will reach to everyone within one year. How it works is simple, they either rear birds (hens/turkeys) or pigs, after the first production/generation they give to others the offspring of chicks or piglets. It is a must for the recipient to provide a very good shelter for the animal and Square Ministries Africa is ready to provide the animals.
At the dawn of this disaster, I mentioned about how prayers can change things and how God is testing our faith of leaning on him always.
This time I would like to share with you what is happening around Square Ministries Africa. Can we sit and pray only? Or we need to be active as we pray. In most African countries there is ease on many activities with precautions but the churches and schools from nurseries to Universities are still shutdown. Some people are predicting that they will re-open when COVID vaccine is under operational. Very sad indeed for those two sectors !!
In the midst of sharing with the little people have especially food items, at Square Ministries Africa, we have taken an initiative to reach out to the elderly. Some people visited need spiritual help and others need economic and medical interventions. We registered some alarming medical cases which need quick action. Due to lockdown people were not able to access medication or lost their income to buy medicine. I will continue to update you on this as the intervention unfolds.
The successful story is for the widow, Irene, appearing on this blog (scroll down the page to ‘Meet some of our Beneficiaries’) we met in 2016 at the beginning of the ministry. Her husband went to the UK for greener pastures but unfortunately he died few years later without seeing him again. Her life became so difficult with several children (7) she had to look after. When Square ministries met her she was in a small rented room with her two children (staying with her) and four grandchildren. We took her for tailoring course after which we gave her a sewing machine on loan. Ten months later she completed paying back.
After the course and getting her own sewing machine she decided to go back to her village and somebody gave her a shelter for free of charge. We visited her several times and we found that she was having a piece of land. We encouraged her to start a small house of her own to be fully independent. She managed to build a foundation and started on brick wall. Unfortunately the lockdown had not allowed her to continue building because there was no way to make money with her tailoring business. In the midst of lockdown the owner of the house where she was staying, due to challenges he was also having, he needed his house back and he alerted her to evacuate as soon as possible. Three weeks ago we went to see her and we found her in a quagmire state, we tried to gather some money and paid for the building up to the roof, so that she can have somewhere to live.
When I went to see her just this week she told me “God has sent you at the right time because I was wondering why all these problems are happening to me and now I have seen, God’s timing is always the best, with or without windows and doors we are shifting in this house next week. The grandchildren who were with her turned to each other and said “Oh that is how God works!!”.
Dear friend, this message comes now as an appeal to see if you can help us so that we reach out to so many people like Irene. It has not been my culture to request money but in the midst of this pandemic I would wish you to be a blessing to someone. Technology has done it, now you can send as little as one dollar to a mobile money with no extra charge. It has been so difficult to send money through a bank account where they charge over 30 dollars and really this is a lot of money which can buy a piglet for a widow. Just give as you can afford. Any money you send will be accountable for and you will receive a report of how it was used. Let’s join our hands in prayer and in action in the midst of a global pandemic and God’s reward will fall upon us, and to our descendants.
Allow me to thank those who were able to pray with us and also supported the ministry in monetary terms. At least Irene’s house is roofed, we are now working with her and her children to finish up other things remaining for self-esteem and ownership. In case you have a heart to help please you are welcome we can help many people with your participation, “One by one makes a bundle”.
How to send money? Go to www.sendwave.com and register/download the app and follow the instructions. For more information you can contact us on email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
God blesses a cheerful giver from a generation to generations 2 Cor 9:6-9.
I am now speechless, I do not know how to begin this message, but in time like this, it is where we see God at work.
This last Sunday was the first day of family service due to the ban of public gatherings. Our service went on very well in which we did a duplication of what we do at Church where all members of the family participated (a preacher, offertory, choir, children’s corner etc). What amazed me is that the young ones enjoyed it so much to the extent that every morning they are knocking on our bedroom door asking whether we are having our church service again!! Of course for them they do not understand what is happening and may be having Dad and Mum one preaching another singing in a sitting room is their first experience!
Here in Uganda so far we have 18 cases as for Friday 27, and several quarantined mostly from outside of the country. Today it is our second day in the lockdown whereby public transportation including Bodabodas (motorcycles carrying passengers) are not allowed for two weeks. Other movements can be done in a private car not exceeding 3 passengers.
I do not know how the gravity of COVID-19 looks like in your country but around here people eat because they have worked for that day. Stocking food is not a common practice either you get it from your garden or the market. If the problem persists we do not know how we shall survive.
My question is how can I intervene in this situation, I have been thinking of providing food items for a day to the hungry but another thought came in to give Bibles to those who cannot afford them (In case you know an organization which can provide that gift please send us a note).
25 years ago, bugs/mosquitoes invaded our village and we didn’t know what to do, we organized a day of prayer and fasting in different churches. To my surprise different people including myself dreamed having insecticide spraying all over the village. The following morning we found that all the mosquitoes have disappeared.
You have heard about the wild locusts which invaded East Africa. Just last week I was charting with someone from the area I thought it was affected and he said, “Locusts came to our village thinking that the worst has just come, helicopters had been hired, special soldiers had been deployed to spray them, but with prayer, one day we woke up and there was no single locust you could see around, they all died a natural death.” Today as I write no story of locusts!! Amazing!!
The way it came it is the way it will go, let us pray as we follow the directives from our church and state leaders one day we shall wake up and hear that Covid 19 is no more. There is a lesson God is teaching us worldwide, let us pay attention to his message. This sickness is for all categories of people small and big, rich and poor, kings and slaves, the powerful and the weak in fact no one is spared.
On Sunday in our home church we shared Exodus 4:1-6, God asking Moses what he has in his hand. A staff can be a snake and back to a staff in one second as long as it is God saying it. This week I called my pastor back home and he said, “Daniel in Lion’s den, perhaps one lion was his mattress another his pillow and another his blanket we don’t know exactly what happened down there, the only thing we all know is that he was picked out unharmed ”. Whatever you are going through you are here to leave a story behind.
Friends God knows what is happening let us listen very well to what he is communicating to us in such time as this.
In the early days of 2016, a Mass Communication student at Uganda Christian University (UCU) identified a family that needed urgent help. He was staying at a Hostel located in Bugujju – Mukono where the widow identified as Jane and her family lived.
As unemployed student, he had nothing much to offer but small things like sugar, blanket, bedsheets and some of his clothing.
During his time of service as a volunteer in the Communications and Marketing Department at UCU, he worked with Patty Huston a passionate lady from USA working for Uganda Partners.
Patty introduced Lhwanzu to Rev. Emmanuel Mukeshimana the head of Square Ministries with a vision of reaching out to the world’s needy with the love of Christ in East Africa.
In a nutshell, Lhwanzu shared the widow’s story with Rev. Emmanuel. He was willing to help and immediately, the two visited the widow and found out more challenges she was going through as an old woman who is going through poverty to raise her children amidst conflicts within the family.
The starving widow was married to a husband who later died of HIV/AIDS in 2005. “I spent so much money when my husband was sick, his first wife did not put any effort, it was me responsible,” the widow narrated. “I am so lucky I did not get HIV, what would I have done with this kind of poverty?” she wondered.
The widow is staying with her four children with three grandsons.
The first born ended her studies after senior 4 with no hopes of getting more fees for further education. The family could not even afford to take her for a short course. She later conceived and currently she has 3 children.
The second born is a young brilliant girl who completed senior 6 and got stuck. She is now working in a restaurant as a waitress to get a coin for a day.
The last two are still in school, “I can’t explain how I get over 1.5 Million for both of them every term,” she said as she wiped off tears off her cheeks.
Before the husband’s death, he wrote a will that could benefit this widow of taking 60% of his property and the first wife taking only 40%. But she received nothing from this through family wrangles.
Square Ministries came in to give a hand. The non-profitable organisation is starting to implement her dream with a piggery project that will help her get some income to support her family.
“I am so thankful to God that I found hope in square ministries,” the widow confessed.
The widow stays in a very old house that leaks whenever it rains. “We wake up in the night whenever it rains because sometimes the water fills up the children’s room,”
“We can’t sleep whenever it rains at night due to tension,” one of the children narrated.
“She looked so much stressed after mentioning this and made me feel like I could be able to solve all the problems this family is going through within the blink of an eye.” The Reverend revealed.
What can you do to this kind of situation? The story will continue in the years to come as God uses his people to help a widow such as this. Square Ministries has helped her to build a pigsty and gave her an expecting sow hopping that very soon she will begin getting a support from the project.
In case you would like to have impact in somebody’s life like this contact us on email@example.com
SMA, a Non-Profit organization taking care of the needy in East Africa is proud to partner with whoever has a heart to reach out. After reading this report you can contact us for more details how you can be involved. See the power point pictures here SMA POWER POINT REPORT 2018
1. Evangelism through piggery
Three years ago we identified Mary a widow living with her three grandchildren (12-10-4). Her biggest problem was to have a decent pigsty which does not smell to replace the old one which was not environmental friendly. Her neighbors really hated her pigs due to air pollution (smelling). This year SMA was able to build a decent pigsty which can accommodate 16 pigs. “I have seen God’s love through this ministry, I could not think that people can really support you without a bribe. Whoever comes here wonders how I got this pigsty I tell them, ‘it is God’ because I never knew these people” declares Mary after receiving her new pigsty. The pigsty will help Mary to rear enough pigs to provide for her family and to educate her grandchildren.
b- A sow and piglets
The question SMA has been battling with was how to intervene in the life of somebody living with HIV/AIDS. Dorothy (nick name) has been living with HIV for more than 15 years, she has two children and one grandchild all living with her. When approached she showed an interest of rearing pigs. SMA bought for her a sow named Grace ready to give birth. In fact after three weeks the sow gave her 7 piglets. As Christian lady she is willing to touch the surrounding community, she will give three of the piglets to her neighbors so that they all share the love of Christ “free given free give”. The giving off springs will continue in that partner and we shall see how it goes in the years to come.
2. VOCATIONAL SPONSORSHIP AND TRAINING
a- Tuyizere Paul (23)
Paul is an orphan who was left when he was 5, SMA has been helping him from Primary to Secondary. After finishing his A level, SMA has taken him to a diploma course in hotel management in Kigali (Rwanda) for one year and half beginning this September. We hope that when he finishes he will be able to get job in the hotel industry in which he will be able to take care some of his siblings.
b- Vocational school finalists
This year we were able to have two groups from 101 Vocational School. These are the people who finish vocational training and SMA trains them in microfinance. SMA gives them a package to startup of sewing machines or basic materials to use out there. Every money given out to them is paid back so that other members of the group benefits from it. The training takes five weeks. The first group of 8 people had a training in June and two people received the fund. The second cohort of 5 people got their training in November as usual two got the initial fund. So far by now SMA was able to have three groups including the one of last year. And we have trained a total of 20 people.
In Micro-loan scheme, we have two categories of people, the ones identified as independents and those who emerge from vocational schools.
On independent ticket, this year we had one person, who successfully paid back the loan and we are to increase the amount of money next year from $ 200 to $ 300. Here we are to note that we do not go beyond $ 500 to an individual beyond that we help them to go to the banks. We have a long waiting list next year of this kind of loans.
Those who are emerging from vocational schools, we have so far 8 members from three groups. Two of them have finished to pay the loan back and they are waiting to go on the independent ticket next year. The way this loan works, is that after a training of one month as indicated above two people are chosen in each group and they are given loans. As they pay back that money goes to the third, then to the fourth and finally to the fifth. Each group is not more than five people. They are given $ 130 which is paid back in ten months.
4. Community intervention
In the community intervention, we visit people and pray with them. After making friendship we talk about challenges they are facing in life. It is in this case that sometimes we give them pigs/piglets or build pigsty. This year we have embarked on providing water to those who did not have it. It is in this case that we were able to provide tap water to two families. One is a family of 4 headed by a widow. And another is a family of 9 where a man walked away due to the striking poverty in the family. We are planning to do more of these next year because the need is rampant.
In education, SMA was able to send two students to school. Due to finances we give them partial support and request the family members to come in wherever they can. One is in Rwanda (a University student who contributes for herself ¾ of her tuition through selling calling cards and mobile money business) another is in Uganda (a young girl whose mother provides scholarships and SMA gives tuition to the school, she is in senior 4).
6. New MoU signed
SMA this year has signed with another vocational school in Mukono District a MoU in which the school gives students training and SMA provide them skills and funds to begin with life after the training. The SMA curriculum has three phases: 1. Training them the basics of life based on Christian models. 2. Visiting them in their homes and work places for encouragement and prayers. 3. Providing refundable funds for materials with no interest instead teaching them how to save on their own. As part of the partnership SMA will be sending school drop outs to this school for training as well as providing a package to the finalists through FBI.
Prayers for next year
1. Three hundred training of pastors and their spouses in UGANDA
2. Supporting more children for vocational training
3. Providing different materials to vocational training finalists
4. FBI in business and in agriculture/micro-loans
5. Animal shades for different communities (piggery stalls, poultry etc)
Of recent I traveled to the Holy Land. My purpose was to learn the Biblical stories while allying them with geographical sites where they happened.
I moved up to Bethlehem, I even touched the Silver Star spot where I believe Jesus Christ was born. I went ahead to Nazareth where Jesus spent about 30 years working with his earthly father perhaps in carpentry workshop or doing some masonry in building people’s homes to earn a living.
What struck me most was being around the ‘Sea of Galilee’ where he spent three years teaching, preaching and healing various diseases. The stories are so fascinating but when you are physically there you wonder if they really happened. If you desire to be spiritual all along, you would be praying to God to fill you with the Holy Spirit so that you do not go back home the way you came. (Mine is a personal experience therefore I will not reveal my secret to you now).
While at Square Ministries Africa, recently, I was moving around meeting various people. As a pastor some were telling me “pray for us Father!” Yes I do pray often for them and God hears our prayers.
I was struck again with the thought of this young lady whom I knew about 20 years ago, at a tender age. I normally urged Sara Gasengayire 32, to be careful with men so that she will have a very good future when she gets a right man to marry.
However, things turned upside down, she approached me and said “Reverend I am no longer the person you expected me to be because I am diabetic and it has reached to the stage where my kidneys are no longer functioning.”
I told my wife to spare sometime and pay a visit to her. We were very well received by the family members, and we went ahead to her bed side. She narrated, “Reverend I developed complications necessitating initiation of hemodialysis which is required two times a week to maintain my life. The dialysis is done at the National referral hospital and it is expensive requiring up to 200 USD every week.”
I wondered how long this lady will live in this kind of situation with no other source of income. She depends entirely on the family. The doctors have recommended that the best solution for her kidney is a transplant which is a definitive treatment for her condition. Unfortunately, Uganda has no transplant program and relies on other countries like India to carry out this procedure where Gasengayire must go.
One of her relatives has agreed to donate the kidney but she needs 35,000 USD to India. It is where now spirituality conflicted with the reality. What came to my mind was “If Jesus would have been here today, the situation would have changed automatically.” My wife and I contributed towards her weekly expenses and prayed for her for God’s intervention according to his will.
There is a campaign to raise 35,000 USD for her kidney transplant if you have an idea perhaps some organizations which can reach out or your personal contribution towards kidney transplant/weekly expenses please let us know on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
May God’s will be done in the life of Sarah Gasengayire!
Happy women’s day (if your country celebrates it).
As a teacher and a pastor I have been wondering how we can bridge the gap between the so called “Scholars” and the “ordinary people.” The scholars here I mean those who are educated with a bachelor degree at least and the ordinary people is the common men and women who live on farming and small businesses. In African context the second category is full of women of different types (widows, needy, single mothers etc).
I have been teaching a class called “Theology of poverty” to different cohorts of students doing development studies but always the question was “How can an educated person reach out to the poor with love of Christ?”
It might sound strange to some of you depending on which sphere of the world you find yourself in, but here in global south, it is not easy for those with a bachelor degree to live in a remote area where there is no electricity, water, and other basic needs.
Two years ago, some of my colleagues and I came up with a decision to make a difference from others, we started a ministry called “SMA” (Square Ministries Africa) we decided to leave our comfort zone of being a scholar and we went out to the community to share the love of Jesus with those in need.
In many activities we do, we identified a widow with three children who was desperately in need but very hard working woman for several years. She rears pigs.
Through SMA a friend of mine after healing her story, wanted to put a smile in this woman’s face in providing a very good pigs stall. I know some of you love to eat pork like me and to others love to make money out of it. The love of pigs is from my childhood because partly I did my primary and secondary education through pigs I used to look after during holidays.
From this experience, my friend through SMA has touched this woman by providing a decent pigs stall. She is saying that she will never forget how God can use a stranger to “touch where was hurting her most”, through this decent pigs stall she will be able to rear 18 pigs at once and able to get enough income for the family.
On the physical aspect it is what I can share with you now and on the spiritual journey with her it will be next time or when you are around you can pay a visit to her.
As I conclude I would like to request that if possible you can be a partner with SMA in this campaign to provide decent pigs stalls to at least 100 vulnerable/poor people in East Africa, mainly women. There are three ways to be involved: 1. Prayer, 2. Buy a sow (a female pig ready to give piglets). 3. Building a physical pigs stall. The remaining aspects of supervision, follow up and spiritual outreach will be done with SMA staff.
INTERVENTION IN THE COMMUNITY
SMA started working officially in Feb, 2016 with a pilot village located in
Kawuga, Mukono Municipality. Among other things found in that village were people who did not have enough to live on, to send their children to school and with no income to make their ends meet.
SMA is still working with those families one by one as giving guidance and prayers to them as much it can. It is in this regard that Irene 59, a widow was identified as a zealous woman who in case she gets a support she can sustain her household of 6 (two children and three grandchildren).
After assessing what she can really do well we decided to send her in a tailoring school for a period of three months to be extended in case she shows interest to learn how to sew properly. She had been possessing an ordinary sewing machine which she could use in sewing people’s clothe patches. This time she wanted to learn much more how she can be able to make real dresses for women and why not making men’s outfits.
Her ideas were so brilliant, SMA asked her if she could really contribute to her dreams. She responded positively that she will be meeting her transport to the vocational school (A distance of 3km one way about $ 1 per day).
Irene has been in the school for three months and her life has started to change dramatically, recently towards the end of her term, SMA visited her school to see how she was doing. To our surprise, the principle of the school told us that, Irene is a land mark among others actually today, she is having many customers at home because her skills have improved so much.
What next to Irene?
When asked what she thinks about her future, she said that she is aiming at accessing a multipurpose machine which will help her to do various designs at the customer’s wish. SMA has chosen her to get that machine for her end of September and she will be paying back at the end of October (each month she will be paying back a tenth of the total cost to finish up after ten months).
Please pray for Irene to finish her classes well this September and if possible to extend her training to other three months. She has a dream to have her own house as a widow to be able to contribute towards her grandchildren.
TOUCHING LIVES OF YOUNG PEOPLE
The SMA aims at providing school fees to the needy children of different backgrounds in East Africa. We support them in Secondary Schools, Vocational Schools, and Universities. The beneficiaries are to sign an agreement with SMA that they will be able to sponsor another person after they have finished. This helps the organization to generate another donor after long run. The parents or guardians are supposed to help wherever they can like providing shelter, food and sometimes materials to the children depending on the assessment done by SMA staff.
The SMA provides spiritual, moral, and physical follow up from homes and schools to assure that holistic development of these children is in the right direction.
The Story of Doreen
Square Ministries Africa got to know Doreen 24, early 2014 through her local church leader. She is a fifth of six children from her mother (she is from a polygamous family). She dropped out of school in 2012 when she was in senior two because the mother could not meet the school requirements yet the father was not willing to pay for her on top of mistreating the entire family. The father has been in prison for 16 years released in 2010.
Much as she dropped out of school, the passion and interest for school kept on burning within her where she continuously said that one day she will go back to school if God makes a way for her. She worked as house girl saving some of the little money she was earning, hoping that if she gets some money the father would support her and her dreams to go to school become true. But all in vain the father still refused to support her instead he increased mistreating her. This discouraged her and felt hopeless to the extent of committing suicide. As SMA followed up with her story and progress regularly, when it reached to this point, Square Ministries Africa decided to support her to go to a vocational school doing catering. She was enrolled in January 2017.
SMA has a commitment to take her through for two semesters, she will get her certificate of Level 1 in November. The renewal of taking her to another level will depend on her performance and commitment.
Please pray for her for wisdom and discernment for her next stage.