Needs are Met and Seeds are Growing

This month in our theme #GoGrowChange, we have been focusing on the topic of “seeds”—ministries that have started in the past year or few years and are beginning to take root and grow. I encourage you to listen to Jade Metz, WGM missionary to Uganda, as she talks about the Diginity Project. Nathan and Jade serve in pastoral training and compassionate ministries. 

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Dignity Project AGM 2016 Report by Jade Metz

“Shortly after our last AGM in December 2015 Caroline Ouma, Winnie Mugisha and I distributed 75 Dignity Project Kits to new and expectant moms on the maternity ward at Naguru Hospital and the Kisugu Clinic. We prayed with the families and even got to name a couple of babies!

“In January Caroline Abbo and I were invited by Rev. Martin to put on a Dignity Project training at his church. The ladies had been using the products for a few months and were eager for us to teach them how to make the reusable pads. Twelve woman attended the training!

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“In February Chalapi Uganda hosted a Dignity Project training in Kasese. Fellow missionary Meg Rambo, visitor Andrea Vinluen and I trained 50 men and women. Chalapi aims ‘to see a better living environment and dignity for prisoners, ex-prisoners and the underprivileged population.’ It was a perfect fit! We trained the attendees as well as distributed 50 Dignity Project Kits. The following day we went with a group from Chalapi to distribute kits and Bibles to 16 inmates in prison. On that day God showed me that this project is not about the pads, it’s about teaching vulnerable women about Jesus! The pads are a way for me to get into places to meet with women who feel like they are too far from God’s reach. Twelve women gave their life to Christ that day! May God be glorified!

“From April to June I spent nearly every Thursday volunteering at Butabika Hospital training 4 patients. The director shared with me that the women were using cotton wrapped in gauze during their periods and that he wanted the women who were mentally able to use our products. Every Thursday the women and I would work on one step of the pattern and perfect it. I read my Bible to them while they worked on the pattern. They loved listening to me read and would ask many questions about the Scriptures. One of the patients that I taught was Anita, Idi Amin’s daughter. Once again, God put me in a unique place to share the love of Christ with women who felt hopeless,
ashamed and outcast. What an awesome God!

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“In May I distributed 150 kits to expectant and new moms on the maternity ward at Naguru Hospital. The moms and nurses on these maternity wards love these products! In June four of the women from Reverend Martin’s church came to my home to celebrate! They had been practicing their sewing skills for 5 months and wanted to show me their completed pads. We enjoyed a meal together and played yard games. They shared with me that they are now making the pads to use as a ministry tool for the
young girls in their community. God is good!

“God is so creative! I’m so grateful He uses simple things like reusable sanitary pads to reach His children!”

The Flourishing Seeds of Tabitha Ministry

Linda Spriegel shares how the seeds have flourished in Tabitha Ministry, an outreach in Kenya that started as a small Bible study. Read on to learn how God has and is continuing to use this ministry to glorify His name and bring new believers to His kingdom. All photos credited to Linda Spriegel.

“Heading to Kenya in 2005 with my physician husband and our three children to homeschool, and not terribly excited about our ‘little America’ destination, I asked the Lord, ‘Please give me a few women who are hungry to study Your Word, and I will be happy.’ God was gracious. Within two months of landing at Tenwek, a departing missionary asked me to continue to disciple two Kenyan friends after she left. Thus began my first Bible study. Rachel and Anna were illiterate and did not speak English, or Swahili, which I had just studied. But they had a hunger for God’s Word and a delight in singing and meeting together.

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Original Bible study

“Enter Peris, whom we had hired as our cook. She filled the much-needed role as my translator and began to grow herself as we four studied the Word together. It wasn’t long before the news of our study spread. More women came- from their vegetable stands by the hospital, from their gardens nearby, and from farther away. Most of those who came were literate but did not have their own Bibles. So, we looked for funds for Kipsigis Bibles to award them if they learned 17 Scripture verses. God’s Word was entering deeply into their hearts.

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Recipients of Bibles

“When we reached the six-month mark of having our studies, we had 50 women crowding into our living room each week. So, we divided them into village groups. Each group sent their leader and assistant leader to our home for the weekly study. Then these leaders went and taught the lesson in their villages. The groups were closer to home, and more women were able to attend.

“A year later, the number of studies had grown to the point that we had 50 leaders coming to our home each week. Again, we divided them; this time into hillsides with ‘overall leaders.’ These top leaders studied the Word with us each week and then went and taught their leaders, who then taught their members in their villages.

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Kipisorwet leaders’ training

“Obviously, women were hungry to know God and His Word. Some had been in the church for years but had never studied the Word on their own. Others found Christ for the first time in these groups. All were drawn to Jesus. You see, women are often marginalized in Kenyan culture, and they were surprised to read how important they were in God’s eyes. Studying the Gospel of Luke, we began by studying Mary, Elizabeth, and Anna—women of great faith whom God loved and used in His plan. As we continued through the Gospel, we noted the women whose lives were changed by Jesus, the role of women in Jesus’ ministry, and His love for them. The ladies were almost embarrassed to recite one of our early verses from Isaiah 43:4: “You are honored and precious in my eyes, and I love you.” They couldn’t wrap their minds around this amazing attitude of the Almighty God toward them.

“Fast forward 10 years. Peris is co-director with me of Tabitha Women’s Ministry, a network of over 250 Bible studies over the hillsides around Tenwek. We have added another layer of leadership to the studies and have 300 women teaching God’s Word at the different levels each week. They get no remuneration for teaching; they volunteer for the sheer joy of sharing with other women the truths of Jesus they have discovered. The studies continue to expand, on their own. Over 9,000 women have earned their own Bibles, and over 2,500 are presently involved in the weekly studies.

“The ministry has also developed a compassionate outreach aspect, coming alongside local churches that want to help their neediest with house projects, gift cows, or field help. We have partnered with local churches to build 200 homes and to present 150 gift cows to needy families. These visible demonstrations of God’s love have had an impact on many communities, drawing even more people to Christ. And local churches are accepting their responsibility to care for the poor among them.

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Widow receives cow

“Back in 2005, we could never have envisioned what God would do with one small Bible study with two illiterate women whose language I did not speak. It was not my strategy, but the Lord went before us and we followed, and He continues to produce much fruit.”

 

 

Seeds of The Print Shop

This month, during our #GoGrowChange theme, the focus will be on seeds—ministries that started small but have grown in recent years. The story below focuses on The Print Shop in Uganda. Kenneth and Delight Hopson are missionaries serving in Uganda, and Kenneth runs the shop. Continue on to read about how God is working in and through the services The Print Shop provides!

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(Story and photos provided by Kenneth Hopson.)

“Impact Notice: The Print Shop is a printing outreach that produces Christian literature for ministries that are affecting Africans’ lives in and around the country of Uganda. Wow! That’s the word that comes out of me when I realize how this print shop operating in a garage is reaching different tribes and cultures of East Africa, in many languages, for the gospel’s sake.

“The Print Shop makes an impact that reaches far beyond words printed on sheets of paper. The printed Word is powerful; it is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. When ink is put on paper, the paper is put together to make books, and the books are shipped to an organization ministering to a tribe that is receiving the Word of God for the first time—that means impact for Jesus! Can you imagine being able to read the Bible for the first time in your own mother tongue, learning about how Jesus can transform you into a new creation in Christ?

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“This impacting ministry once was only a dream in my heart after Jesus saved me in my early 20s. I learned about printing in high school, never imagining that God could use a printer anywhere or for any reason in His vast kingdom. But that is exactly what He has done. God called me to serve Him with what talents I had, and the best way I could think of to do that was to do what I loved—printing. After applying to serve with WGM, God gave me the desire of my heart and called me to East Africa to serve with an existing printing ministry in Tanzania in 1997. For four years, I learned about printing in another context and another world. Those four years turned out to be invaluable to me, preparing me to one day begin a brand new printing ministry in Uganda in 2004.

“That is when The Print Shop began. Those early days were spent printing pastoral training lessons and other materials for WGM. My wife, Delight, was beside me, often helping me collate around our dining room table. Slowly I began to receive requests from Christian ministries in Uganda to print their materials. This started with Heritage International School, where Delight has been ministering for many years and where our three children—Kaleb, Austin, and Emilee—have attended. A “chance” meeting here or a secondhand “happenstance” there brought more ministries to The Print Shop, asking if I could print their materials that they needed to reach Africans to whom they were ministering.

“The work was sometimes so much that I came to realize I could no longer keep up. I began asking others to pray with me for someone with integrity to help me. I needed someone who had a heart as I did—to reach people by printing materials for God’s glory. In His perfect time, God answered many prayers and brought to me a young Ugandan man named Leonard. Leonard didn’t know anything about printing, but he had a servant’s heart, which I so desired in an employee. I taught Leonard how to print with passion, because what we are doing is so important for God’s kingdom! Leonard learned and learned well and has now been with me for two-and-a-half years.

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“The number of ministries that we are able to print for has grown very much and has now reached into Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda, and Burundi. The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania are also future possibilities! The number of languages in which we have been able to print is also many. The number of tribes and souls impacted so far? Only God knows.

“This is what God can do, and this is a daily reality in The Print Shop. We help to advance the kingdom of God by printing the Word of God; discipleship materials; Bible studies; books about Christian living, stewardship, marriage, parenting, prayer; and many other items, making it possible to place printed pages in the hands of real people. That makes my heart pump! I hope it moves you, too, and encourages you to pray for Leonard and me daily so that The Print Shop ministry can continue to grow, reaching more and more lost and spiritually hungry people for Jesus’ sake.”

WGM can help you get involved in Uganda ministries like The Print Shop. Visit wgm.org/uganda for more information. Another way you can get involved is by praying. Will you pray that The Print Shop will continue to grow and become a shining beacon for the gospel message, reaching people who desperately need to hear His Word?