|Kampala taxi traffic|
|Paying customer with a few chickens|
Products of our Western culture, we assumed that the "gods" of education and wealth would solve some of the circumstances of the African culture. We began listing the widows we met and assembled sponsors from the States. Americans are compassionate and generous. The appalling lack of these dear women brought instant donors and the funds were transferred to our contact every month. He was a pastor, but without a conscience ... like most people who have grown from a witchcraft environment that yielded pervasive lying, stealing, and deceiving. By 2004 it was obvious that he had not only used large donations for personal benefit, but had been taking advantage, from the beginning, of the weakest and most needy: our nine widows. He gave them a small amount of oil, sugar, flower and other food essentials to keep them dependent on him, but keep most of the money for himself.
|Sissy, Regina, Margret, Florence, Sarah|
These nine widows, equipped with just enough courage, broke free of this "pastor's" intimidation and we began to support them directly. Our goal was not fo create a lifetime conduit of financial assistance, but to help each of them to progressively become self supporting. Our dear friends Arthur and LaFonda Dunlap had a great passion to be directly involved and helped the widows with their initial income producing effort. LaFonda and a friend also taught them the ways of God of love, unity, integrity, and basic business principles. As of several years ago, all financial sponsorship ended as each widow was able to care for their own needs. It is more gratifying and life changing. Corporately they bake and sell wedding cakes. They also rent wedding gowns to brides.
|Regina's deteriorating mud house|
I have a lot left to learn. I'm convinced that those who have a heart after the Father's heart will have a passion for the poor and vulnerable. James called it "pure religion." But, the sponsorship idea of helping sometimes ends up hurting. Since those initial days of mistakenly thinking money will solve poverty problems, I have been in class to learn the ways of God to genuinely encourage, equip, and empower the poor and vulnerable. Among other resources that helped develop a better sense of how to do this was a book titled When Helping Hurts.
Capital is always a challenge in a genuinely poor nation with few resources. I want to do all that I can to help these women with their desire to prosper and be self-reliant. I am not a business person by nature and my experience is limited. I love to connect people to people just as our motto communicates .... A River of Relationships Connecting Resources To Needs. If you would like to come alongside any of these widows with any type of resource, would you please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let's see what people can do together that couldn't be done apart.