Published by Jonathan Smith on Tue, 1 Oct 2019 00:00

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with brooks and streams and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills…’ 

When you think of Africa, you might think of hot desert plains, lions, zebra and maybe famine we see on TV. Whilst this may be true of large parts of the continent there is a whole belt of countries in mid Africa lying on the tropics where it is lush, green and fruitful and where it rains most days during rainy season.

  In 2017, for my theological college summer placement, my family and I visited one such African country - Uganda - where we stayed at a Church Army/CMS project called the Bungokho Rural Development Centre (google BRDC Uganda), located in the east, near Mbale. Settling in on campus of the vocational college and primary school, the students were delighted to see five Brits in the house right next to their classrooms. We witnessed first-hand how 100 students here, for around £70 per year, were grateful to be able to study a three-year apprenticeship in their chosen trade and found hope of a better future.

It was a memorable few weeks but our Ugandan link wasn’t to end there. When I joined St Marks, by massive coincidence, a fellow congregant Ian Maxwell revealed he was working as director of a tree planting project at the very same location in Uganda! The reforestation project even had a tree nursery on the BRDC campus and amazingly we’d stayed in the same house!

 We shared stories of a country so beautiful, lush and bounteous but reflected that the true situation was sadly one of huge poverty which continues to blight much of the country through lack of education, medicine and infrastructure. More recent climate change has seen severe storms cause mudslides in the more mountainous area where Ian’s’ project had been planting trees. Many families had been left homeless as well as orphans and widows. Since this disaster he has helped support the formation of a new school in the area called the Busiliwa Faith School.

Sometimes God puts events or stories into our lives that we just can’t ignore. Remaining open to Gods prompting and asking His Spirit to guide us, we can be sure God will show us people who need our help the most. At St Marks, we felt that this Ugandan project was something worthy of our support this year. So, we hope to sponsor some children through education and provide additional support for the two primary schools and the college. It is a new and exciting link and one that we hope will bring us closer together with our brothers and sisters in this ‘good land’ we share. Watch this space about our support in the coming months.

 

Categories Word from the Clergy