When Bright Hope comes alongside to suport a church, the end goal is always to get the church to a place of self-sufficiency. Before we start working with them, we must first set goals for how long we think it will take and make a plan on how to get there. Reaching a goal of self-sufficiency is not something that happens overnight, but rather it usually takes 5-10 years. You can imagine, it’s really exciting when a church finally reaches that point!
Today, we are celebrating, because a church all the way across the world in Uganda has reached that goal. We were privileged to play a role in the development of Timuna Restoration Church and are excited to share some of their story.
In 2006, Pastor Sam and his wife, Teddy, came to the Nakaseke community of Luwero District to preach the Gospel and plant Timuna Restoration Church. Right away they were struck by the vulnerability and great needs of the community.
There were no protected water sources.
Very few children attended school.
The elderly were abandoned.
People were living in abject poverty.
Nakaseke was highly affected by the civil strife that took place between 1980 and 1985. There was loss of life, destruction of property and infrastructure and an overall absence of hope. At that time, over 20% of the children in Luwero District were orphaned and the economic situation was alarming.
Health care costs were the biggest challenge for the community, as families were dealing with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In addition, Pastor Sam sought to empower the community through farming, but there was a lack of motivation within the community and therefore a great dependency on the church. The church did the best they could to help vulnerable families around the community with what little they had, but it just wasn’t enough.
Yet change was on the horizon and help was on the way.
In 2015, Bright Hope began working with Restoration Church, taking church leaders through the Family Empowerment Initiative which included workshops on Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD), farming, maintaining finances as a church and as individuals, child advocacy, family empowerment and discipleship. In 2016, momentum built as a very generous and faithful Bright Hope Ally became heavily invested in the support of Pastor Sam and his church.
Inspired by the all the encouragement brought on by Bright Hope and their supporters, the leaders at Restoration Church were excited about their training and eager to be the hands and feet of Jesus within their community. Believing it was the role of the church to care for the community, they drew up a plan to share what they’d been learning.
With the training underway, Pastor Sam commented that their community was getting “better and better every day… and because of Bright Hope’s programs many families [were] no longer lacking food.” The church was able to distribute maize and bean seeds to multiple families, which helped improve on food security, increase family income and create stability among families.
The support that Restoration Church received though Bright Hope ultimately aided the church in preaching the Gospel, and as a result, many have come to Christ—just one of the many things we have to celebrate.
At the end of 2019, during Bright Hope’s annual pastor leadership conference, the church partners recognized Pastor Sam and his wife as the first pastor and church in Uganda to graduate from Bright Hope support! Restoration Church is now equipped to lead their own community ministries.
We are so grateful to see what great things can be done when people like you react to the Lord’s calling. Because we impacted a local church in Uganda, they are now ready and resourced to be a powerful light and help to all in their community.