Robinah Kibeedi is the project officer for the orphans and vulnerable children community empowerment project in Uganda.
Uganda’s Mukono district, just outside the capital Kampala, was once an area notorious for witchcraft, child sacrifice, trafficking, robbery, rape, and murder. Samaritan’s Purse is actively working in this area through the orphans and vulnerable children community empowerment project, a main component of which is reaching out to groups of women—often who may be the only breadwinners in their homes—to bring spiritual and physical transformation.
Samaritan’s Purse echoes John’s prayer, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 1:2, NKJV). In other words, we not only seek the health and physical wellbeing of these women in Mukono that we work with, but we also seek their spiritual growth. Both are essential.
We work to transform these women and their families by discussing basic hygiene and sanitation practices, looking at lessons on biblical parenting, and developing their abilities to manage finances at a basic, household level. We help them to buy school materials for their children and give them the tools and seeds they need to start growing their own vegetables to improve their family’s nutrition.
Through a small seed grant that Samaritan’s Purse provides, these women also learn how to start a small business and how best to use the skills and resources they have. All of this is guided by biblical principles while we share the Gospel and love of Jesus.
To me, our work with these women is like a bride-to-be waiting for her partner to propose to her. We aren’t the bridegroom—God is! We’re just the bearer of His gifts, His love, and His fellowship. As I make the long visits to meet these women that are just like me, I think of them anxiously waiting like a bride-to-be does.
She wonders when the sender of these gifts and this love will ask the all-important question. She prepares to say yes. We tell them, “Even more than we do, God loves you so much that he gave His only son for you…and He wants to know your answer. Will you receive Him? Will you say yes?“
I asked this question after about nine months of visiting the women and sharing with them, not just about how to deal with their physical needs but also about Jesus. I wanted to give these women a chance to respond to the love of God they have seen and experienced firsthand.
It was a great joy to see 152 arms raised up in six days! From the gift of agricultural tools, school materials, and money to start a small business, Samaritan’s Purse has the joy of giving the much greater gift: knowing God personally.
In Mukono, the crime rate is steadily reducing as the number of people coming back to a living faith has increased. But we aren’t just about “winning converts.” We stay in these areas, making sure that fellowship groups continue long after people have made a profession of faith; we want to build long-lasting, transformed communities.