Welcome to the April version of our Newsletter
I am delighted to present you with the first newsletter in a couple of years not dominated by the context of Covid19.
It has been a busy time at the Projects; schools have re-opened for lessons and then closed for holidays, the annual Pastors and Leaders Conference has recently taken place, we had a visitor from Germany, a book launch and the arrival of Ernie Bayton for a 9 day visit after such a long gap.
The Kijjambu Family
As we have reported previously, the triplets, Gabriella, Debbie and Peggy, have been diagnosed with sickle cell disease. All are on treatment and responding well except for Peggy who has experienced some difficulties. All are now at home having had a couple of spells in hospital during the past few weeks.
Priscilla is well and she is pleased to have received her first end-of-term school report.
Gabriel and Deborah continue to work tirelessly leading the project at Luwero.
It was another joy to welcome a visitor from abroad for the first time in years. Manuela, a nurse from Germany, spent several days with us and joined in all aspects of the Projects.
Pastors and Church Leaders’ Conference
Gabriel, in conjunction with local pastors from the Luwero Pastor’s Fellowship, arranged a Pastor and Church Leaders’ Conference at short notice. This was the first conference for two years and took place between 18 and 24 April and, as you can see from the photos below, it was well and enthusiastically, attended. We had over 600 people in attendance and by God’s grace everything went well. Bibles were given out to those who didn’t have them. Ernie Bayton was able to travel out to join us to teach a 12-session series, on the book of Nehemiah, throughout the week. It was a joy to see Ernie among us again preaching and worshipping.
Book Launch – Knowing and Doing
Friends may recall the book, Knowing and Doing, by John McQuoid. Copies of the book, translated into Luganda by Bush and others, were given out during a launch event at the Pastors and Church Leaders’ conference.
The first full school term for two years has just ended. Pupils are currently on holiday for the Easter period. The new school terms begins on 9th May but some S4 pupils will return earlier in preparation for their year-end exams. Most of the primary school pupils returned after the two year interval caused by coronavirus lockdown restrictions. A few secondary school pupils failed to return for various reasons.
There is a national teacher shortage across Uganda. During lockdown many teachers found other employment and have chosen not to return to teaching when the schools reopened. Luwero had a full complement of teachers for the first term and a full staff meeting took place recently to assess teacher needs for next term.
Most sponsored children returned to school for the first term. Their end-of-term reports and photographs will be available towards the end of the month and will be sent out to sponsors with any necessary updates.
A special thank you to Bush for providing the photographs for this newsletter.
We ask that you continue praying for:
- the Kijjambu family, particularly Gabriella, Debbie and Peggy
- the school, the pupils and teachers
- a good crop this year.
Welcome to the February edition of our Luwero Newsletter.
Coronavirus infection rates in Uganda are decreasing and are currently averaging 42 cases per day. Uganda has recorded 163,000 cases in total with 3,580 deaths. A vaccination programme is currently in place with some 15 million doses of vaccine having been delivered. This is sufficient for 16.9% of the population. Whilst there has been a relaxation of restrictions across the country, some are still in place.
Nationally, school pupils returned to schools on 16th January: however not all children in Luwero have returned. There are various reasons for this and we are working with Gabriel to establish the actual number of returners. We are also awaiting details of sponsored children to establish who have or have not returned so that we can update their sponsors. We will do that as soon as it is practically possible.
Great efforts have been made by the team at Luwero to ensure that all coronavirus protocols have been properly implemented to ensure the safety of both pupils and staff. One of the problems being encountered is the lack of teachers. This is a national problem and has been brought about by the pandemic and closure of schools for the past two years. Teachers during that time have had to find other work and a significant number have decided to stay in their new employment rather than return to teaching. Some of Luwero’s former teachers have returned but there are ongoing staffing needs still to be met. Please pray for the schools, in particular for adequate staffing and the protection of the school community against coronavirus.
Until recently the family have all been well. However, Gabriella, Debbie and Peggy recently developed some health problems. Gabriel and Deborah sought medical advice from the local hospital and it would appear that all three are thought to be suffering from “sickle cell” disease and were admitted to hospital. The latest news is that Gabriella has responded to treatment and is improving, Debbie is on a support machine and Peggy has been admitted for further investigation. Please remember the whole family at this time in your prayers. We are in regular contact with Gabriel and have assured him of the prayerful support of his friends and partners in the UK and elsewhere. Our Board will bear any medical fees which he and Deborah incur.
For a short period during December 2021 our RBS bank account was not accessible. This was due to a breakdown in communications between the Bank and the Trust: the matter was resolved within a few days. We have written to all monthly donors who may have been affected. We ask any donors who would normally have donated by Standing Order between 13th and 21st December to check their bank statements to see if they have been affected. In the event that your Standing Order was rejected we could ask you to contact your bank and make the necessary adjustments. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.
Farm and Land
In December of last year 200 acres of land suitable for farming became available for purchase. Gabriel was heavily involved in discussions with the vendor and the UK Board regarding its possible purchase. The discussions straddled the Christmas and New Year holiday period during which time the vendor secured a higher offer for the land and it was sold.
Because of the high level of investment involved, and in order to ensure transparency regarding further land purchase at Luwero for farming purposes, the UK Board are putting in place arrangements for a Due Diligence check to be carried out by an independent agricultural expert based in Kampala. This will provide an independent audit on any land under consideration for purchase and will be quite separate from the normal legal and practical surveys which are ordinarily carried out. The due diligence is to be carried out for the UK Board in order to protect Gabriel’s position, satisfy the UK Board regarding the suitability and practicality of purchasing the land for its intended purpose, ensure accountability to our supporters and to satisfy any government appointed bodies such as charity overseers and tax authorities. regarding the investment.
2022 Luwero Calendars
Thank you to all of our supporters who purchased 2022 Luwero calendars. Around 250 orders were received.
We ask that you continue praying for:
the Kijjambu family, particularly Gabriella, Debbie and Peggy
the school, the pupils and teachers
We have just received news from Gabriel that Deborah is unwell with diabetes and that baby Debbie has scalded herself with a cup of hot water.
Gabriel is presently at the hospital with them. Please pray for a speedy and full recovery for both Deborah and Debbie.
President Museveni has sanctioned the easing of some coronavirus restrictions recently, due to the decline in infection rates. A second wave of infections which began in May has eased, but not all businesses have reopened. Only about 4.5% of the population have received two Covid-19 vaccinations. Sadly, there is a reluctance amongst some Ugandans to accept the vaccine due to misinformation and rumours widely circulated on social media.
Bomb Blasts in Uganda
Earlier this week (Tuesday) two bomb blasts occurred in Kampala, killing 6 people and injuring 36. The bombs were detonated by suicide killers, one near the police headquarters and the second near the Ugandan parliament buildings. Responsibility has been claimed by an Islamic State group. Gabriel has messaged,
“We don’t know the intentions of these people but the Lord will see us through”.
Two explosions also rocked Kampala earlier this month, killing at least three civilians in what police described as a co-ordinated attack by extremists. Three suicide bombers also died in the blasts. The explosions caused chaos in Kampala as terrified residents fled the city centre. The explosions occurred within three minutes of each other and both were carried out by attackers carrying explosives. A possible attack at a third scene was foiled by police who pursued and disarmed a suspected suicide bomber. One explosion was near a police station and the other on a street near the parliamentary building: the subsequent fire engulfed cars parked outside. At least 33 people are being treated at the city’s main public hospital and five are critically injured.
It is now possible for up to 200 people to gather together for worship at Church services. Luwero Church holds 3 services every Sunday. The gospel is still being preached every day via loudspeakers. Bible studies are held every Wednesday and prayer meetings every Friday. Many are giving their lives to Christ and fifteen new converts will be baptised in mid-November.
The Primary and Secondary schools continue to be closed. In his last presidential communication the President said schools will reopen in January, when all schools workers have been vaccinated. The majority of the population are not yet vaccinated, so we pray and hope that by January schools will resume.
Some of the children in our schools lost their parents due to Covid and other issues. Sponsored children are all with their relatives or guardians, and Gabriel has kept in touch and has been supporting all of them. When schools reopen, updated lists of the sponsored and non-sponsored children will be reviewed because Covid has caused many to move and scatter.
Gabriel tells us that, “We decided in faith to start doing some renovations of the school buildings” in anticipation of the children returning. Renovations have been ongoing, eg repainting, repairing broken walls, blackboards, verandas, desks and chairs, etc.
The Ugandan Economy
The economy has not yet stabilised in many areas of life. Most people in the local area are struggling financially to make ends meet. Deborah and Gabriel have helped in a variety of ways, but sometimes the needs are too great and too many.
Construction work at the boys and girls dormitories had stopped temporarily because of the scarcity of workers in building industry. Prices and wages had gone up. Gabriel asks that we pray for wisdom in the ‘new normal’.
Gabriel’s visit to eastern Uganda
At the beginning of November, Gabriel was invited by local pastors to travel to eastern Uganda to speak at a three-day seminar dealing with church planting and growth. Whilst there, he looked into the possibility of planting another church. More news will follow.
Farm and Land
Plentiful rain, which is good for most of the crops, has meant that beans were destroyed. However, bananas and maize are doing well and hopefully a good harvest will be reaped in February. The animals are in good condition and have lots of good grass to keep them going. Gabriel has identified 200 acres of prime farming land for sale, and has been in contact with the owners to explore options. Our Trust has set aside some funds for land acquisition, as and when it becomes available, to develop a farm in its own right to both support the project and provide a source of income.
2022 Luwero Calendars
2022 Luwero calendars are now available. The good news is that we have been able to reduce the prices from those reported in our last Newsletter, to keep them the same as last year. The prices for wall calendars is now £9.00 and desk calendars are £5.00, plus a donation for postage and packing where appropriate. Calendars can be ordered via this website, by email at [email protected] or post from our office address.
Greetings from the team
Gabriel, Deborah and the team at Luwero send their heartfelt love, thanks and appreciation to you all for all you have done for us in Luwero.
Thank you very much friends, brothers, sisters and partners in the work of reaching out to the lost, emptying hell and filling Heaven in Jesus’s Name. May the good Lord bless and keep you and love you and your families. In Christ Alone we put our Trust.
God bless you all.
Gabriel, Deborah and the Luwero Team
We give God all the Glory for we are still alive. We pray and hope you and your family and friends are also well. We are all fine in Uganda.
We ask that you continue praying for:
- the Kijjambu family,
- the pupils, teachers and their families,
- church leaders,
- the crops and livestock at the farm,
- the people of Uganda as they try to cope with the effects of terrorism and the attempted destabilisation of their country.
- all of Africa, as people continue to cope with the effects of COVID-19 and the negative impact it is having on their lives.
A big thank you to all sponsors for continuing to support children and their families throughout the coronavirus emergency.
Gabriel has maintained contact with sponsored pupils. He is organising practical support such as visiting children, providing maize and other food to families, advising on school work to be done at home and subsidising families and teachers where needs exist. Where direct contact has not been possible, financial gifts sent by MoneyGram via mobile phones have been made. Your sponsorship and gifts have made all of these things possible.
Gabriel will arrange to oversee the distribution of Christmas gifts to sponsored children. The normal arrangements of sending a suggested £10.00 donation for your sponsored child will continue for those of you who are able to contribute.
If you do not currently sponsor a child and would like to, or would simply like to send a donation to support the provision of Christmas gifts to the children, please contact Krysia Cruickshank, the Child Sponsorship Coordinator, via the Contact link on this website.