Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10
It was a typical late afternoon in Uganda. It was market day, so many had come to the village centers to buy goods and visit with friends. Because the day was coming to a close, many were packing up and heading home. But October 11th was anything but ordinary for the people of 5 villages. Their lives were about to change forever. They had no idea that the river had breached above their land, and a flash flood carrying boulders, trees, and a tremendous mudslide would affect over 12,000 people, leaving over 800 homeless and without food or water. It happened in moments. Mama's lost their babies, swept right out of their arms. School children on their way home would be swept off their feet and drowned in the raging mud and debris filled waters. Entire families would be gone in an instant. In the end over 150 would be missing, and not found. Their bodies lay deep under the heavy mud, in a mass grave. Only about 40 bodies and partial bodies would be recovered.
But this is just the start of the story. You see, in this part of Uganda, people farm all of their own food. They live off the land alone. When the land gave way, all of their crops were gone, leaving nothing to eat. Nothing. Animals were not spared by the flooding. Their clean water sources were contaminated and buried. Their homes flattened or so damaged and filled with mud that they can no longer even go inside. The little they had, completely wiped away. Gone.
There is no insurance in this part of Uganda. When your home is gone, that's it. And now, people are scared to rebuild and the government wants to relocate them off of their ancestral land. This is the only place they have ever lived. Many have never even been to the city, and have not traveled far from home all of their lives. And though relocation sounds like a viable option, the people are not sure that the land they will be brought to will even be fertile. At this moment, everything is uncertain. They need our prayers and help.
Hands of Action leaped into action. Moses went to survey the needs, and worked closely with officials to determine the best way to supplement what the government and red cross were able to do. Due to limited resources, these organizations were able to do little. They brought water purification tablets to help kill contaminants, however the water left to consume was still filled with mud and debris. It was determined that clean drinking water purification units, soap for washing and preventing the spread of disease, and cups would be the most urgent need we could assist with.
Moses assembled a team of our top students to serve in this disaster zone, bringing not only physical help but supplies and prayer to the people. Our brave students delivered 100 water purification units and other supplies to the weary people of the tragedy.
This is a part of our discipleship program. Training our kids to not only pray for others but to respond in tangible ways to the needs around them. Our kids are mentored in looking outside of themselves, and even when times are hard for them we encourage them to pour out the love of Christ to those in need. These kids, many of whom are orphaned or abandoned, are learning that giving is better than receiving. They are learning to care for the widows, respond to emergencies, and to even build homes for the homeless elderly.
When you support our ministry, you support this initiative. When you sponsor a child, you are doing so much more than providing for their food and education. You are providing them with an opportunity to know Jesus! And you are providing them with mentoring and discipleship opportunities to encourage them to be the change that Uganda needs. They are learning to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those who are suffering. It's so powerful. We believe that an ARMY is rising through our school. And we truly believe that this Army will change Bududa and Uganda and quite possibly the world.
One of the places affected by this tragedy is this school pictured above. The flood waters washed through it, and all but one student survived. This school is mourning the loss of their student and of the supplies. Can you imagine going back to school after experiencing this kind of trauma? Our pupils and staff lead this school in prayer while serving there. God is redeeming all that was lost. This school will go on.
As a way to encourage the students, our kids passed out new notebooks to replace those that were lost. In Uganda, having notebooks is essential to your education because there are not usually text books available. Students take notes and create their own text books from those notes. Now they at least have that much to begin again.
Please listen to the story from our top student Membo, as she talks about her experience serving those in the disaster zone. Keep in mind that this is a 7th grade child. We are so proud of our kids, their poise, maturity, and ability to speak English. Thank you for supporting Hands of Action International. What you are doing is changing lives and the ripple effect is growing. God Bless You!
To support Hands of Action, you can donate on our website www.handsofactioninternational.org
- Jenn Anderson, Excutive Director of Ministry