In the aftermath of war, World Challenge’s partners are bringing hope to the widows who were left behind.
The year 2007 marked a dramatic change for the people of Uganda. For the first time in decades, those living in the northern Gulu region would experience peace.
While that may seem like the distant past, the effects of the war still weigh heavily on those who lived through it. Decades of war and instability left countless people in poverty. In the Gulu region, over 40 percent of people live on less than $1.25 a day.
Despite poverty and instability, hope is rising in these regions as the gospel continues to take root. Terebinth Ministries, one of World Challenge’s partners, was founded to bring lasting hope to this region by caring for peoples’ physical needs, sharing the gospel, and discipling new believers as they grow in their faith.
Meeting Needs and Making Disciples
Kent and Rebecca Nolley, the founders of Terebinth Ministries, recognized a need for ongoing discipleship in Uganda. Evangelism was happening across the country, and the Nolleys wanted to help new believers grow in the knowledge of God and deepen their faith.
One of the ways they do this is by caring for widows and orphans.
Uganda has experienced decades of war, and the region where World Challenge’s partner works was consistently targeted for much of that time. Those casualties, along with the spread of disease, have left countless women widowed. They were left to care for their children, and often the children of friends and neighbors, on their own.
Women in this position often turn to unhealthy ways of making a living. Some resort to prostitution, while others sell alcohol or work as witch doctors.
Letting Go of the Past
One of those widows, a woman named Josephine, made her living as a witch doctor. Even faced with Josephine’s closely held beliefs, volunteers from the local church sought to reach her with the message of the gospel.
Kent Nolley said, “We knew that Christ would reach her when the church was caring and loving her as Christ asks us to.”
Josephine joined a Widows Ministry program, where she received regular food packages and weekly discipleship from her local church. After only three months, she gave her life to Christ.
Josephine made the choice to give up her idols, and her former life, for good. Even though she had made her living as a witch doctor, Josephine was ready to dedicate her life fully to God.
In the following months, World Challenge’s partner was able to reach out to Josephine’s daughter, who had fallen into prostitution, with much-needed supplies and the opportunity to hear the gospel. Like her mother, she came to know Christ. Today, both women are part of the church, where they are receiving discipleship and learning more about God.
Thanks to God’s work though this ministry, lives are being changed. Kent Nolley said, “It’s the Holy Spirit that opens governments up and opens the land up to hear his Word of God. And if he’s opened it up in such a way as he has already in Uganda, then he has a plan for Uganda.”