The outbreak of COVID-19 continues to impact upon Bible Societies and their work across the world. In Uganda, gifts from churches to the Bible Society have ceased and Bible sales have plummeted so there is literally no income. Most staff have had to take a 4-month unpaid leave break, but despite this they are still trying to work and minister. In partnership with the government they are promoting listening to Audio Scriptures, Trauma Healing courses, and Braille Scriptures for the Blind. They are also supporting many clergy, who now have no income, with food parcels. Give God thanks for Simon Peter Mukhama, the General Secretary, and the staff at the Bible Society of Uganda. Please uphold them as they work in a very challenging situation.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, many African governments have now closed down public gatherings, including churches. Many Christian radio stations are providing free airtime to pastors; radio dramas are being produced for oral cultures on the topic of the prevention of the coronavirus; some are setting up helplines for their communities to help the most vulnerable. One partner station has opened up airtime to the Muslim community to give advice to their followers, not allowing them to preach Islam but as a way of showing love to the whole community. Pray that many people will witness these as salt and light and begin a journey with Christ.
Viva, and its partner network in Uganda, CRANE (Children at Risk Action Network), is empowering local Christians in Kampala to work together in collective action to change the lives of vulnerable children, and make a noise to influence the city leaders. One area of work is in rescuing children from situations of particular risk, such as the streets, child labour or child trafficking, and reuniting them with their families following a period of rehabilitation. Pray for vulnerable children who are supported by this ministry; that there would be a marked difference in their lives, not only in the short-term, but for many years to come. Pray for great diligence and organisation by all the leaders of training programmes, which are supporting social workers, church leaders, and families to be more effective in helping children.
Please pray for the first phase of the construction of the Fields of Life Vocational Training Institute in Gulu, Northern Uganda. The ground breaking ceremony took place in June and we pray that the construction will go as planned, and pray for all involved in building and supervising this exciting project. Please pray for the wonderful donors who have helped make this phase possible and that we are able to raise the funds to complete this project.
One in ten girls worldwide miss school simply due to menstruation: 1.2 billion girls and women do not have access to basic sanitation and hygiene. In Uganda, 86% of girls often miss school or drop out for lack of sanitary products. Pray for the “I AM GIRL” project as it dispels the stigma with education and practical solutions.
In 2015, the Fields of Life (FOL) Alumni association in Uganda was set up by a group of FOL formerly sponsored children who want to give back as they once received. Together, they raised the funds needed to build a school in Karamoja, North Eastern Uganda, one of the poorest regions in Uganda with one of the highest illiteracy rates in the country. Please pray and give thanks for the Fields of Life Alumni who opened the new school in January 2019. Pray also for the teachers and pupils as they settle into a new environment and work hard to deliver quality education in this region so that the young people in Karamoja can complete their education, achieve their dreams and become change makers in their families and communities.
Emmanuel International partners with the Janani Luwum Theological College in Gulu and the Bishop Lee Rayfield Leadership Training Centre in a small rural centre near Pader Town. They train lay church leaders for their local congregations in rural Northern Uganda. As such, they are the “boots on the ground”, sharing the gospel and discipling new believers into Christian maturity. Pray that these pastors will complete their theological training, to be grounded and deeply rooted in biblical truth; and that they would gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the power of the gospel.
The Karimojong live in northeast Uganda. Armed conflict, often stemming from cattle raiding has left unresolved animosity and the current ‘peace’ in the region is the result of a significant army presence. While many of the Karimojong will say that they are ‘Christian’, this does not usually mean a transformed life. Many factors hinder the church there from fully engaging in the Great Commission and as a result the Karimojong are often categorised as an unreached people group. Doctrinally, some churches seem focused on religion or prosperity, and the presence of mature Christian leaders, able to teach and disciple others, is largely non-existent.
Babies born to mothers in refugee settlements are at risk of malnutrition and can suffer due to a lack of medical care in the camps. Good nutrition is especially critical during the first 1,000 days of life to allow for normal development. Medical Teams International run a maternal and child nutrition programme which provides food and immunisations to the children. Please pray for the health of expectant mothers and those in refugee camps with young children. Pray that, through work of NGOs, children will grow up healthy and happy.
Pray that the Ik would have more access to God’s word as it is translated into Icetod, the Ik language. Pray they would fully understand who God is and what Christ has done, and that they would wholeheartedly love, worship and live for Christ alone, instead of fearing evil spirits or men. Pray also for godly Christian leaders among the Ik. Many of the church teachers have been away for training. Pray that this training would be useful and that the teachers would come back excited and encouraged to be faithfully sharing God’s word with those God has entrusted to them.
Emmanuel International runs a menstrual hygiene project in the Pader region in Northern Uganda. This project aims to help girls be equipped to stay in school beyond puberty. We teach them to understand and accept their periods and issue them with washable pads and underwear. Alongside this support, we teach from the Bible that each girl is important to God. To date about 12,000 girls have received support. Please pray that the girls will get to know God more closely and will be able to stay in school for longer.
The remote area around Uganda’s Lake Victoria, called the Ssesse Islands, is inhabited by poor fishing communities. Evangelist Sam Sapwe flies there regularly to encourage the growing church, once organising a picnic to encourage them. “It broke my heart when I spoke to the pastor and he told me they had been feeling worthless. [But] when he heard that these people were coming from so far away [it] showed them that they mattered and were loved!” Pray for Christians facing the challenges of life in remote communities with many social problems. Pray that God would strengthen them, and help us to remember to pray!
Schooling is now available to all children in Uganda, even in the war scarred North, but with unpredicted effects. Girls between 11 and 15 with menstruation can lose four days a month. How can they cope at school? There is no money for sanitary materials and no parental heritage with this problem. Falling behind and dropping out to face early marriage becomes highly likely. For nearly three years, Emmanuel International has been providing knickers and washable sanitary pads to nearly 10,000 girls, to allow them to remain in school for longer. The mission’s aim is to affirm the girls’ value in a culture that often doesn’t, with the message from Psalm 139v13: "God made you who you are, you are important to Him". Pray for these valuable girls to know this deeply through this important ministry.
Only a quarter of girls in Uganda complete their primary education. Many drop out of school because their parents prioritise sons and can’t afford to pay daughters’ fees, and one in three Ugandan girls become mothers before reaching adulthood. In Kampala, Viva and its partner network are running 20 Creative Learning Centres that provide crucial catch-up education for 4,000 marginalised girls with the aim of getting them back into mainstream school again. Pray that, as these girls get help with their numeracy and literacy and learn life skills, they would grow in hope and confidence.
For many, land is their livelihood and as such it is also the source of many disputes. The Ugandan Christian Lawyers’ Fellowship (UCLF), supported by BMS and LCF (UK), deal daily with disputes arising from contracts, inheritance or family breakdown, where land-grabbing and eviction are a common consequence. Through mediation and the legal process, UCLF are able to support the return of rightful owners to their homes, and registration of land titles. Please pray for those in UCLF as they seek to share the gospel while seeking justice for their clients.
Three Ugandan policemen have become Christians in one village and the number of children raped each month has dropped by over 90% in another, thanks to safeguarding training written by BMS mission workers. Praise God for working through the Guard, Guide and Grow training, and pray for the policemen to have an ongoing impact on their village.
Eight tiny Ugandan towns have come alive at night thanks to a solar power project carried out by BMS World Mission team, turning the church into a place to socialise, study, relax and, of course, learn about God. Attendance and outreach in these solar panelled churches has grown by an average of about 88% in the last year and new friends include Catholics, Anglicans, Jehovah’s Witnesses and those of other or no faiths. Many go to charge their phones or study and while there they are introduced to Jesus Christ.
An alarming story hit the UK headlines in October. An undercover reporter travelled to Uganda and, posing as a businessman wishing to ensure the success of his venture, was introduced to a witchdoctor who assured him that there was one method which would guarantee his prosperity. This method? Child sacrifice. Until about three years ago, this practice had all but disappeared in the country. But then, coinciding with a boom in Uganda’s economy, it started to re-emerge; seemingly, many clients were members of a rich new elite desperate to preserve their wealth. As is so often the case, children living in poverty, on the streets, or with little adult supervision are particularly vulnerable to being kidnapped for this terrible purpose. Let us pray this week for these children to be protected, and for God to transform the hearts of the people involved so that the practice of child sacrifice will be stamped out once and for all.
Hundreds of orphaned children roam the streets of Uganda’s capital. Most have drifted in from rural areas - mainly northern Uganda, a region blighted by decades of civil war. Some are former child soldiers and the rest come from nearby slum areas following family breakdown - through HIV/AIDS, poverty or domestic violence. “It’s hard to believe that there is a God when you are eating from the garbage,” says Caleb Rukundo. Caleb, once a street child himself, now runs Amahoro (an East African word for peace) which provides centres of refuge for almost 100 destitute children and young people in Kampala. The aim is to offer the children loving communities with a sense of home, where they can learn life skills and values from peer mentors and church volunteers. Pray for all those involved in Amahoro: for God’s guidance in reaching and nurturing children who have suffered such damage in their formative years.
The Lubigi Wetland in Kampala City acts as a natural reservoir; it controls floods, is vital in replenishing the River Mayanja that drains into the Nile, and is rich in flora and fauna. Despite all this, it is being degraded by clay mining, planting of eucalyptus trees, livestock farming, over-fishing, industrial pollution, human settlement and the growing of agricultural crops. The national water and sewerage corporation has recently begun to construct a lagoon in the wetland, drawing attention and resistance from civil society organizations and key public opinion leaders. Pray for the protection of the wetland.
The one constant in most homes in Uganda, whether in the towns or the villages, is a radio blaring in the background. In a rural society access to newspapers, the Internet and even mobile phone networks can be limited, so radio is seen as a crucial tool in reaching the widest possible audience. Pray for Christians who are seeking to use radio programmes as a means of communication - whether it is announcing details of an upcoming meeting, providing education on healthcare, or sharing God's word from the Bible.
Population: 37,873,253 (2014)
Official languages: English, Swahili
GDP (PPP) per capita: $2,155 (2017 est.)
Life expectancy: 54 years
Religions: 42% Protestant, 42% Catholic, 12% Muslim, 1% indigenous beliefs, 3% other religions