I’m not sure who found who, but after a recent writer’s conference somehow Mu and I got connected on Facebook, and I’ve been chatting with her most days since. She asks after my family every time, tells me how she’s been praying for me, and wishes me well on any endeavor. Precious!
But when I ask after her, she tells me of her life and the lives of the women and children she serves in Jinja, Uganda. They are hungry. Thirsty. Without medical care. Many without homes. She teaches these women about the love of Jesus every single day even as she tries desperately to meet their immense needs.
Last week, she told me about a very young woman having to do horrible things to get food for her children. Yesterday, she told me about a little girl who got bitten by a dog and needs three rabies shots, which are $50 each. I don’t know if she was able to get all the shots.
Recently, Mu told me about a house that was available for rent, which would have been incredible for them. But they could not come up with the money and that house is now long gone.
All of these things are insurmountable on her own, and yet she is unwavering in her belief that God has and will continue to provide for them. She praises Him throughout our conversations.
Her faith is astounding, and honestly, I feel … almost ashamed. I often say or think, “I’m broke.” But today, as I looked around my home, my heart broke. That her life has made an impression on me is an understatement.
Mu told me about Journey Community Church in Texas and she connected me to Stacie. Stacie and I have also been speaking regularly, and I asked them both to write their stories. First Stacie, then Mu (Rachael), share their hearts.
TENDER LOVE ORPHAN CARE
I first learned about Tender Love Orphan Care in Jinja, Uganda, about four years ago when a friend posted about the orphanage needing funds for food and rent. I felt compelled to ask more about it, and so I decided to reach out to Dominic and Racheal (Mu) and get to know more about them, the children, and their situation at the orphanage.
Dominic and Racheal are Christians in a country where Christianity is not accepted. But because they went to hospitals to pray for the sick and spend time with them, people began reaching out to Rachael and Dominic when someone passed away, and often would tell them about the children that had just been left behind. Dominic and Racheal sensed God leading them to take these children in. That is where it began. Some of the children they took in were dropped off on their doorsteps and others were found living on the streets.
This is a couple with children of their own and no extra money. This orphanage has zero government funding, but Dominic and Racheal are simply being obedient to the Lord’s call on their lives.
The day that I first learned of the orphanage and spoke with Dominic and Racheal, I learned that it would cost about $1 per day to feed one child. The total for all the children was $40 per day and they could not afford it. The children never knew if they would have food to eat that day or not. I also learned that they were 4 months behind on their rent (a simple 3 bedroom house) and were about to be evicted.
I immediately knew that God was telling me to give to this orphanage. I fell in love with them without hesitation. I told my husband about them and their needs knowing that God would need to lead him in the same way He led me. So I prayed and asked God to do just that. The very next morning, as my husband was headed to work, he turned and said, “Send the orphanage the money that they need!” My heart exploded with joy! I just love it when God shows His work in ways you can see it so clearly! That was the beginning of the last 4 years of loving Dominic, Racheal, and the now 40 children of Tender Love Orphan Care.
God has opened doors to raise money to support these children. They make bracelets and purses and mail them to us so that we can sell them here. These children are not lazy. They pride themselves on doing their best in school. They have talents and skills and yet they are looked down upon for simply losing their families and having the title “orphan” attached to them. The children do not have any hope of being adopted locally because the higher class look down upon them and do not want to adopt them. Even worse, international adoptions had to be shut down because monsters were selling the children after adoption so that their organs could be harvested.
My family and I began making shirts and different items to sell to raise additional funds. Our church recently made this orphanage our international ministry so that people could “adopt” a child financially and have a safe place to give their offerings for the orphanage. It’s amazing to watch God work and I have had the absolute privilege of seeing the most joyful smiles on the children’s faces despite all of the obstacles they face.
My prayer is that God continues to bring new people like you to know and love these beautiful children and to joyfully give to help meet every need for every child.
THE STORY OF TREASURED VESSELS
Hi! My name is Racheal Muggaga Achen. I am a mother of 4 daughters, and married to Dominic Mugagga. I live in Jinja district of Uganda.
I have a story about seeing young girls neglected, forgotten, broken and some giving up on life, then finding a reason to rise up and be the ray of hope to uphold the sanctity of their lives through the mission, aims and objectives of Treasured Vessels Girls’ Center.
In this district the teenage pregnancy rate of 25% is worrying. Young mothers in this area risk poor maternal and child health, being isolated, attempting abortions, failure to continue with school, and poverty.
In 2018, a need arose for a center for girls and women at risk, which we founded and named TREASURED VESSELS GIRLS’ CENTER. Treasured Vessels became an NGO that gives girls and women at risk an opportunity to be empowered with livelihood skills, compassion, medical treatment due to abuse and domestic violence, and to be the whistle blowers against the vices that teenage girls, teenage mothers, and women face in Uganda.
For almost three years, our intervention of being a voice against the plight that our target groups face has been noticed. When you look at me and us, know that we represent the side of teenage girls and women who might be broken, wanting to give up on life, to be and stay angry at the world and everyone around them because they are not being heard.
We make them know that they are valued by those who will see them, who will listen to them, and we remind them that love starts by loving yourself like the ground loves the water. Nourish yourself by letting GO of the past and WELCOME the light and energy of love, kindness, strength and acceptance of Jesus.
It is now 2022, and our impact has been felt. However, we have many challenges which include the lack of a house facility which can help us carry on the mission. We need more financial supporters to partner with us in acquiring a house that will help in empowering women to serve as offices, therapy rooms, counseling rooms, skills training rooms and records offices for Treasured Vessels. This will give the girls and women opportunity to transform them from being depressed and suicidal by seeking and getting therapy and empowerment.
We believe that charity and service to others is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—but charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever. Hebrews 13:16
Angie here again. I know this was a very long post, but I hope you stuck with it to the end. There’s so much more I could say, but I will leave you with the notion that these women and kids are truly “the least of these.”
Praying for my friend Mu,
If you would like to know more about the children of Tender Love Orphan Care in Uganda or Treasured Vessels Girls’ Center, Stacie would love to talk to you and answer all of your questions. You can find her on Facebook at Stacie Graves Schmidt and/or Neverending Hope Ministries. She uses both pages to talk about the orphanage and post the items that are being sold to fundraise for them.
If you would like to give, there is a secure site to give to through the church website: https://www.aboutjourney.info
Select “Giving” then “Give Here,” and then you will choose “Tender Love – Uganda” as the FUND you’re giving to (you will receive a tax deduction form for your giving once a year).
Journey Community Church, located in Lumberton, Texas, is a small, nondenominational church that loves to serve others for His Kingdom.