The beginning was about as bad as possible. Six years old. No mother. A father who could be gone on a two week drunken stupor. A younger brother and sister to care for. No food unless he was able to catch fish ... which he could sell for other food items. No neighbors for miles around. Regular brutal beatings whenever his father did show up.
It was a miserable childhood beginning of life ... with no promise of it ever getting better.
William Faulkner said, "History is not what was but what is."
There is a continuity between what was and what is. Looking back is one way of helping define the present. And that is what I want to attempt to do in this blog.
|Typical loading & unloading boats bound for the islands|
|Robert Sityo - Founder/Director|
Fountain of Hope Ministries
Repentance drove Robert Sityo back to Jinja where I met him as part of a Youth Empowerment event. During those two weeks my job was to bring faith to life in the lives of the next generation. My strategy was to identified the Goliath's of Uganda. It was obvious that some of the prominent giants in the land were poverty, malaria and HIV, polygamy, witchcraft, corruption at every level, human sacrifice, unemployment, broken families, a fatherless nation, and the orphan spirit. The voices of these giants tormented the whole nation and erased any hope for change. That is the way it appeared. But, I came preaching hope for change ... and faith in the next generation. I saw them as the Davids of the day ... with the assignment of slaying these giants.
|Fountain of Hope High School Campus|
But it's good to know where you have been so that you know where you are going. Robert contextualized the good news of Jesus by offering a superiority education for the children of Bukeeka. He loved the children of the Muslims, who opposed this "born again." And, soon, they came to love him. Change began and arrived in a big way.
Beginning with just 7 students in 2005, Robert founded Fountain of Hope School. Opposition continued. Some ladies once prepared to stone Robert and me. The local chairman reported us to police and political leaders. Those who cooperated with the school were threatened.
|NGM Driver, Peter, with Robert on campus|
First a look at the recent present. Today Fountain of Hope is a full primary and secondary school with over 1,200 students enrolled. It is the BEST performing school in the district. The church congregation grew from Sarah to over 500. Robert has planted 8 other churches as well. He conducts a small bible college and dreams of a university. He has led thousands of people to Christ and discipled and mentored dozens. Though unable to produce biological children, he and Sarah parent 18 children who had no family.
And ... where is Robert today?
|Oklahoma Ranch with Don Neufeld|
Robert's effective leadership is evident. Graduation from this course of study will be in December of 2015. The primary and secondary school continue to operate smoothly in his absence. The church is in the hands of capable leadership. And, by the grace of God, Robert and Sarah will be able to see each other several times during the next 16 months.
While I was in Fairview, Oklahoma, the past ten days I was privileged to fly Robert from Chicago to Oklahoma City. We shared life together during the past weekend. He, and many of his friends from there, were delighted to reunite on this side of the world. They celebrated the amazing privilege he has been given to study in America at one of the most prestigious liberal arts colleges in the States. Please feel free to contact Robert while he is in the States. He would love to connect with you.
|Sharing at Fairview MB Church|
It has been an awesome 10 year relationship. And, this is where Robert is today!
Sityo RobertCell phone: 630-785-7023
501 College Avenue CP 4366
Wheaton, IL 60178
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org