Dear Beloved Partner,
Season greetings in mighty name of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, I pray that this Christmas season is filled with the beauty, love and joy of Christmas. As the management and staff of Mercy Link Foundation Africa, we would like to send our warm Christmas greetings to you, your staff and family. Through this message, we also express our utter most sincere wishes for peace, happiness and prosperity in the year 2015. We are so o having partnered with you through 2014 in taking the gospel and spreading the love of Jesus to different communities and regions of the country.
We are so thrilled that we are have ended the year better than we begun it having achieved more than we had anticipated thanks to partners like you. It’s on this note that we are excited to brings to you our last ministry activities through the month of December praying that it will bring you even much greater joy and keep the spirit of Christmas burning in you.
THE COMMUNITY CHRISTMAS PARTIES
Christmas at Mercy Link is a time to give and share with communities in partnership with different organizations, communities and individuals. Through these expressions of love, we bring the true meaning of Christmas that God so loved the world that he Gave His only begotten son (John 3:16). As a ministry, we celebrate Christmas with the disadvantaged and share the love of Christ with them. This Christmas season, we had the opportunity to do so with three different groups of children; Juveniles at Naguru remand home, Kampiringisa Rehabilitation Centre and Bulange children’s community club.
Naguru Remand Home and Kampiringisa Rehabilitation Centre Outreaches
These are two of the biggest Juvenile facilities for child offenders and the homeless in the country. Located in the centre of Kampala and in Mpigi districts respectively, the facilities were set to rehabilitate children ranging from children serving sentences for different crimes committed ranging from theft, manslaughter, drug abuse, drunkenness, crimes related to being idle and disorderly, child street beggars, homeless children rescued from the streets (street children), any other kinds of children in need of rescue.
In our pursuit to reach and share the joy of Christmas with the children, we organized Christmas parties at the facilities in partnership with the Christian Indian community in Uganda, OneHope Uganda, Julies Heart Foundation, Movit and different individuals and partners like you. We distributed Christmas gift hampers, food, snacks and drinks, humanitarian items (clothes, shoes, beddings, cosmetic etc.), Cut Christmas cakes, danced in the midst of games and fun. A Christmas movie was after shown at one of the facilities at Kampiringisa which crowned the whole celebration. A total of 476 Juveniles and 23 staff were beneficiaries of these Christmas parties.
The Bulange Children’s Club Christmas Party
The children from and around Bulange community were also beneficiaries to this event. Together with the Indian community, we reached 153 children at the club and shared Christmas gifts and snacks together with the children. The celebration was further hyped by the presence of Santa Clause who shared with the children the message of Christ after presentations from members of the Indian community. To crown the celebration, every child was given a gift hamper to carry home as a Christmas present.
A total of 629 children and 33 adults were reached through these programs. 421 children surrendered their lives to Christ and a consignment of 650 booklets, 40 tracts, 10 Bibles, and humanitarian items were distributed through the program. Thanks to your generous contribution.
We have been involved in two major trainings this month. These trainings were organized to pave way for the upcoming ministry activities next year. These included the Consultative vision casting Meeting and The Church Planters Training.
The Church Planters Training
Mercy Link Foundation Africa in partnership with CH Global and GOYE Africa have taken on the initiative to promote and establish a rapid increase of indigenous Churches among unreached people groups that are capable of sustaining, evangelization and discipling their own communities. The initiative is to be coordinated and run by trained local Church believers within a specific people group through the church planters program.
The five module church planters training program was initiated in December 2014 beginning with a five day Module 1training program with 30 leaders from six different regions of Northern Uganda, Western, Southern, Eastern, Central and the West Nile region. The trainees comprised of leaders from the Anglican, Pentecostal, evangelical and Baptist backgrounds with a vision to transform and cause change in their communities.The overall vision in this initiative is to produce “A LIVING CHURCH IN EVERY COMMUNITY, PLANTED BY ORDINARY BELIEVERS WHO ARE EQUIPPED WITH PRACTICAL SKILLS AND TOOLS”.
At the end of this program, the church planters had been equipped with knowledge and skills on effective church plant with the main emphasis put on Evangelism addressing questions like Is Evangelism Biblical? What is the most effective way to do evangelism in your local area and why? How do you meet people and talk about Jesus? What should the personal character of a church planter be like?
The church planters program launched is deemed to be a success based on the attitude and zeal the church planters left with. With a population of 34 million people, although 70-80 percent of Ugandan’s claims to be Christian, the church is rife “with dependence and corruption within churches, mega churches preaching prosperity gospel, high levels of violence in communities, high death tolls from AIDS to Malaria, a variety of Muslim insurgencies in the western part of the country – creating an increased need for the church to rise and bring hope to the community.
The Vision Casting Consultative Meeting
We were privileged to engage our different ministry partners, friends, churches and organizations in the first ever vision casting/ consultative meeting at Kampala Evangelical school of theology. The meeting involved a total of 64 individuals from 13 churches and 10 organizations. Through the meeting, we shared on children ministry and highlighted the different ways through which children ministry can be used as a bridge between the church and the community. Through this, we also showcased different curriculums, children materials, and programs we have started to and how these have impacted the communities.
Through this program, we also had 6 different organizations showcase their services and products including the OneHope Uganda, Family Life Network, KiBO Foundation, KEST, Teens For Christ and the 4/14 window. The purpose of this program was to bring together the local church/ministries and different organizations so that they would share different ideas, services and resources and better reach and serve the communities. Through the program, we had moments of interactions among the different stakeholders, and partnerships formed to better effectiveness in the different ministries. Thanks be to god for this initiative and the different stakeholders in the program.
THE COMMUNITY FILM OUTREACH
We have had the privilege to show the Jesus film five times this month. These have been done in four communities around he country. These include Nsoono in Namayingo District, Bugiri District, Kitigoma in Jinja District and Kampiringisa in Mpigi District.
Two of these movies were shown in a school setting with students one at Nsoono Child Development Center and at the Victory Church children and youth Conference in Kitigoma Jinja. Three of the other shows happened in the communities involving participants from those communities whereas one particular movie happened at the Juvenile home in Kampiringisa Rehabilitation Centre. The shows begun with distribution of children Booklets, tracts and other Christian literature to the masses in the community, a special session of praise, worship and short inspiration stories for the children; and then Christian music and audio invitation through the PA system during the set up. The movies attracted a total of 1,893 people.
Through the shows, a total of 937 people came to the saving knowledge of Christ. 1200 children booklets, 800 tracts and booklets distributed. As a measure to effectively follow-up the new converts, we partnered with the community churches to do this being that the converts’ come from these communities.
THE PURITY CAMPAIGN
We took the purity campaign program to Jinja this month. Being that schools have been closed for the year, we have not had the opportunity to reach more children other than at the Victory Centre Church jinja youth conference.
The conference was organized under the theme “Preparing the youth for the Future.” The theme clearly falls in line with the purity campaign program. And so to do this, we engaged the youth ad children in a sexuality discussion where we highlighted different aspects in sexuality including Sex and its Misuse, the purpose of sex, and when to engage in sex. Through the discussions, we encouraged the youngsters to abstain from sexual practice and wait until marriage. This is a great step in a district where child sexual abuse are common with defilement being the highest form of child sexual abuse according to adult respondents that participated in a recent survey, at 47.4% for adults and 33% for children. This is closely followed by use of a sexually suggesting language (bad language) at 19%, fondling (bad touches) at 13%, CSEC at 10.3%, exposure to pornography at 6.3% and exposure of sexual organs by adults to children at 4%. These statistics clearly portray how necessary this program needs to be undertaken in this district.
A total of 73 youths were reached through the program and of these 23 gave their lives to Christ having invited them to commit their lives to Christ. We also encourage them to commit themselves to staying virgins until marriage. In so doing, they signed the Love waits commitment cards and thereafter dedicated themselves to staying single until marriage.
THE PRISON OUTREACH
Typically people in prisons are poor and struggle with related issues such as addiction. There is another characteristic, however, that has not been well recognized. A disproportionate number of prisoners come from families where at least one other family member or relative was incarcerated. Women charged with offences differ significantly from their male counterparts. The average female offender is between the ages of 20 and 34 with an education of less than high school. Two-thirds of these women are mothers and two-thirds of them are the sole caregivers of their children. Similar percentages of women have unaddressed physical or mental health problems. This therefore leaves the lives of these children and families at a fix.
This Christmas, we decided to celebrate the festival with the women at Luzira prison. With a total of about 150 women, we reached the prisoners with the gospel sharing the hope and Joy of Christmas. Coupled to this, we also carried along humanitarian items, gifts and a Christmas cake to share with the inmates. In the course of the celebration, we shared the Gospel and 71 women gave their lives to Christ. This as then followed by a session of cutting the Christmas cake, eating and drinking and distribution of the humanitarian items.
Besides this outreach, we were also involved in other prison outreaches to Bugiri prison, Luzira prison, Murchison Bay Prison, Kirinya men and women prisons and Kasangati Prison. A total of 6,422 in mates were reached and 3,134 surrendered their lives to Christ, 6,500 booklets distributed, and consignments of humanitarian items distributed.
Kampiringisa is a children’s home/facility built to cater for the rehabilitation of children. It caters for children got from the streets (street children), child offenders, and any other kinds of children in need of rescue. Today, the facility caters for about 500 children of Karamajong origin rescued from the streets having been used to beg for money, children serving sentences for different crimes committed ranging from theft, manslaughter, drug abuse, drunkenness etc, and street children arrested for being idle and disorderly. All these are kept at the facility meant to help rehabilitate them.
Among the many challenges faced at the institution is the challenge of effective rehabilitation. There is little planning around the welfare, rehabilitation or ongoing training of the children in care at the centre. Although vocational training rooms were constructed, they appear not to be equipped or in use as the children wander aimlessly around the complex with little or nothing to occupy them. This could possibly be because there are not enough staff with the right skills and motivation to mind the children; hence service provision to the children suffers.
For this reason, starting 2015, in addition to our Tuesday visits to the centre, we are considering on starting a discipleship program(s) with the children at the centre. This program will engage the children in different bible related topics and lessons. Coupled to this, we will also introduce life skill, vocational and purity campaign programs as we look at affecting the lives of the children holistically. With the backing of the administration we believe this will help cub on the crime rate in the city and make the nation a better place being that almost every street child gets to be brought to this centre in their life time. In other wards is a perfect catchment area for such a program. So please pray with us in this area.
We still believe God in these areas in which we pray that you will stand with us I prayer
· Believe with us that 2015 will even yield greater results that 2014.
· Continue praying for an increase in our Budget: Pray that God will avail us with more funding to help us meet our targets and reach the new communities.
· Mission Car (4 Wheel Drive): We still believe God for a missions car that would enable us reach these communities at a cheaper cost being that renting these cars is so costly with our budget unable to meet the costs.
· Believe God with us for even new partners.
· Reach and establish our programs in new districts in 2015
· Continue with the church planters programs
Thank you once more for your prayer support and all the vital encouragement it brings into any ministry. We look forward to serving with in the year 2015.
God Bless You