Greetings dear friends and family,
As many of you know I have officially finished 18 years of schooling and have a degree in Social Work from Ryerson University to show for it! The last four years of my life have been full of amazing conviction and beautiful brokenness, as God has opened my eyes to see a world in need. In learning extensively about the needs of society as well as witnessing first hand the effect that a few unfortunate circumstances can have on an individual’s life, I know that I am called to a life of service to those less fortunate. I have seen and therefore I am responsible. I have never heard the voice of God so clearly as I have while in the company of my homeless friends on the streets of Toronto. I truly believe that through my experiences over the past 4 years God has been preparing me for an adventure that will be a lot more demanding, stretching and time consuming.
Just this last month, through an organization called Emmanuel International, I have been informed of a great need in Northern Uganda in a village called Pader. The people of northern Uganda have endured a tragic, long-running insurgency for over 20 years of war by a rebel group called the Lords Resistance Army (LRA). Peace is only 2 years old in the region. However, a lot has happened throughout these nonviolent years and today's Northern Uganda is dramatically different than it was back in 2006. The majority of internally-displaced people have returned to or near their homes due to the improved security situation. Now that the conflict has subsided there are a number of sizeable needs that have arisen. A recent drought has resulted in crop failure across the region leaving the people dependent on the distribution of food aid. Another issue is that the previously abducted children are also too old to go back to school and are desperate to get on with their lives and to become self-sufficient. A lot of their parents were killed in the war or by the AIDS epidemic and the children have been left behind with a definite lack of direction, instruction and resources. I look forward to working with and empowering local peoples to be able to help themselves.
There isn’t one specific task that I will be assigned to, rather a diverse description of duties that will entail, working as a psychosocial worker with the HIV/AIDS population, youth worker – teaching life skills and implementing a “why wait” program in 12 of the local schools, counseling child soldiers in hopes to reintegrate them back into their families/community and ultimately sharing the message of Jesus Christ through different platforms such as sports (soccer) and music.
Emmanuel International has worked out a projected budget for each month that I am there of $2,300. This includes immunization, travel to and from Uganda, insurance, food, lodging and other costs associated with living in Uganda. It has been suggested that I make 3 months of support my fundraising goal ($6,900) to travel there and get the project underway. Meanwhile, we continue to pray that the application for a grant from CIDA would be forthcoming in which case I will extend my stay in the region accordingly.
One thing is for sure; I cannot accomplish any of these tasks alone and prayer support is the key to overcoming obstacles both physically and spiritually. Please prayerfully consider joining me on this mission to Northern Uganda. Together we can make a difference in the lives of a few which will set in motion the potential transformation of many. If you are able to make a commitment to pray and/or give financially please let me know or inform Emmanuel International by returning the enclosed pledge card to the address indicated. You will be included in my contact list and receive my regular updates if you wish.
Thank you for your friendship and willingness to make a difference. Any funds over and above my basic requirements will be put into the projects of supplying goats for each village household and school uniforms and supplies for the children.
Blessings to each of you,
For His name and renown,