Friday, August 8, 2014

It is a small parcel of land.  Small, but with fantastic potential.

Not far from either the Nile River or Lake Victoria, and with less than five acres, it seems to be pregnant with opportunity.

Originally, it was half the size of its current size and was just a piece of land without a specific purpose for Next Generation Ministries.  It appears the blueprint is being drafted during the farm's development. The ultimate purposes remain unknown, but the foundation seems clear.

It is a project that has great potential to affect its surrounding community.

Yes ... there are more than a dozen dairy cows on the property.  And, the cows should produce calves and milk .. resulting in capital.
Mother & her baby near the farm

But, what we have notice more than the agricultural potential are the people of the community surrounding the farm.  Mostly women and children. When a few of those photos were posted on Facebook, a friend of NGM noticed. She wondered, "Do all the children have clothes that are torn, tattered, and worn out?"  Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Resources are scarce.  Food comes before clothing.

This inquiry resulted in the first of several donations.  These contributions enabled Next Generation Ministries to purchase clothes for the children. Another donor contributed money to feed hungry children.

Rebecca & Robyn making home visits near the farm
A need was recognized and resources were given to meet the need.  This is a common occurrence with the people associated with NGM.  A medical team came last January and they sponsored a free medical clinic for the people surrounding the farm.  They also purchased food to distribute.  Several of the men bagged food and organized the distribution.  A line formed and 2 kilos of rice and 2 kilos of beans were given to each person ... along with a small bag of salt and sugar.  Dozens of hungry people were fed.

Robyn, Rebecca, & Morgan assessing needs
Some associates of NGM were commissioned to go to the market and purchase clothes for distribution.  These distribution efforts never needed to be promoted.  The van simply carried the clothing out to the farm.  When the van comes ... the children come.  When a child is given a set of clothes, the word spreads like wire fire. Soon there were many more children than clothes.  So, just like the medical team does assessment of the most critical needs, the same was done for the children and their mothers.

This system of food and clothing distribution met some needs, but the system of distribution didn't seem to foster relationships. Relationships are the foundation for the work of Next Generation Ministries in Uganda. It was time for the process of distribution to be revised.

Happy girls with new clothes
Three young ladies currently live in the base house of Next Generation Ministries in Jinja.  They willing responded to the opportunity to develop relationships between Next Generation and the people living around the farm.  They decided to make home visits.  A plan was developed to go home after home, meet the people, and assess the needs of those staying in each home.

One of the girls, Rebecca, is a national which gives her advantages. She speaks Luganda, knows the culture, and recognizes subtle things which escape Westerners.  She also has compassion for children growing in difficult circumstances. She sees her own childhood experience repeated over and over again in the stories of so many living near the farm.

Rebecca made the initial trip to the farm and compiled a list of individuals, family structures, and apparent material needs.  Robyn and Morgan joined her in subsequent visits.  And, relationship began to form.

Changing Uganda ... One person at a time!
The well known adage, "It is better to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish," fits the objective of NGM. There are various explanations for the poverty and deplorable living conditions in Uganda.  Public policy will never change those conditions.  People have to be worked with one person at a time. Change a person and you can change a family.  Change a family and you can change a community.  Change a community and you can change a nation.  But, there are no shortcuts.  It all begins with one person.

This approach is difficult and slow.  Relationships are challenging and sometimes messy.  But, we are committed to live what we believe.  And, we believe that changing Uganda begins with changing one person ... at a time.

Please pray that our presence on the farm not only provides employement and income for NGM and her employees.  But, pray that our presence there will simply be one more venue in which we can manifest the goodness, grace, and glory of God.

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