Rylan Aaseby (right) and a Ugandan high schooler study the bible after his classes at Kakungulu Secondary School in Bombo in 2006. Though little phrases like “knowledge is power” litter the Ugandan school system, very few receive the kind of education that is empowering.
The G.O.D. International East Africa team in Spring 2011. This group of people (along with several others not pictured) have dedicated their lives to serving the poor and underprivileged in East Africa. They are a multi-faceted development team with skills that include business development, sustainable agriculture and building, midwifery, health services, primary and biblical education, and more.
Laurie Kagay, instructor at the Institute for G.O.D. International, offers a bible course on the book of the Psalms to Kenyan and Ugandan cooperatives in 2011. Students learned about poetry and song as a healthy means by which to process through experiences of injustice, and how God’s ear is attuned towards those who have faith he will answer, even in the midst of suffering. Training cooperatives in biblical education is a priority of ours in all regions. Thus far in East Africa, our cooperatives have completed three college-level biblical education courses.
Skylar Aaseby and Gregg Garner visit the Molo transit camp in Kenya in 2010. This camp was a result of the post-election violence that happened in Kenya in 2008. A transit camp is quite similar to an IDP (internally displaced peoples) camp, but they are technically supposed to be on their way out (in transit) to rebuild their homes and lives. Sadly, most are afraid to return home, or do not know how to start over. Our organization has funded the construction of eight homes that have allowed individuals in desperate need to move out of the camp, and mobilized young people from the camp to work together to build these homes for the most vulnerable people in the camp.
Rylan Aaseby and a local youth work to demolish an unsafe church building in 2008. The church was made of sticks and mud, with tin sheets on the roof, as is common construction in Uganda. The team then constructed a multi-purpose center where the church could meet to fellowship, as well as offer other programs to the surrounding community.
John Gatanga, Reuben Ndwiga and Erastus Kanjogo are some of our oldest contacts from Kenya. They have partnered with us since the early 2000s, including joining us on mission to Uganda, where they stand in this picture. Gatanga reflects: “No one else would have taken a chance on me. But with G.O.D. Int’l, I have learned the Word of God and become someone I never knew I could be.”
Pastor Tom Muyomba (steering the canoe) was one of our initial friends in Uganda. Tom was a fisherman who first became interested in Jesus because he was also a fisherman. Jesus’ teachings transformed Tom’s life and allowed him to start over 50 churches in rural Uganda. These churches are visited, taught, and encouraged by our teams that frequent Uganda, many of them in rural fishing villages.
In rural Uganda, many churches and schools meet under the shade of trees because they lack a building sufficient for the number of people that congregate. The presence of God is no less present in this humble abode. Dozens gather beneath the shady tree for songs, testimonies, and a bible study during a bible conference.
Celesta Bargatze and Ashley Moore facilitate a wound care seminar for local children in Bombo Uganda. Because so many children don’t have shoes, wounds and infections on the feet are commonplace, and can be fatal. Cleaning out and bandaging wounds, though seemingly minor to those in the West, is a necessary step in returning children to health. Celesta Bargatze (left) takes the child’s vitals in order to gain insight into other health needs.
Children in a fishing village in rural Uganda go to the lake to gather water for drinking, bathing, and cooking. On average, children walk 3-4 miles to fetch water for necessary daily tasks. Often times, their water sources are unclean, so after such a journey, the water has to be boiled before being of use. The inefficient process of obtaining clean water leads to the lack of sanitation and subsequent diseases that regularly plague the people there.
Jesus teaches us that we’re responsible to help make the world a place that is inviting to children. Investing in the next generation is crucial in development efforts. Here, Stephen Ownby, spends time with a group of children in Kenya, investing in them through conversation. Many children lack role models due to absence and loss by disease, and having someone who they can talk to and rely on is imperative to see children become healthy, ethical adults.
Women throughout the developing world sit in marketplaces up to 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, trying to make a living selling their food, which they can’t afford to eat themselves. Most often, each vendor sells the same products as the ones on either side of them, limiting the effectiveness of the market for those who sell. Matoke (pictured here) is a type of banana and one of Uganda’s most popular foods.
In the Nakasongola region, the lake is central to the people’s livelihood. Children often become participants in getting a livelihood for their families, often missing school to do so.
Skylar Aaseby was one of a team of men who contributed towards the construction of the triplex, a transitional housing structure for our development workers in Uganda. The triplex was made of Compressed Earth Block. A man's full body strength is required to compress the brick through the brick press. The process requires five men, who together are able to make a brick in two minutes, for a total of 200-300 bricks per day.
Francis Lubega, G.O.D. Int’l East African cooperative, explains the process of making Interlocking Stablized Soil Block bricks. ISSB bricks are more economical and ecological than local mud bricks that require burning and often crumble. Lubega is trained to build with ISSB as he thinks it can benefit many people in his community.
This structure was constructed on our property to function as a temporary meeting structure for large group gatherings. When our entire community in East Africa gathers, there are over 50 people present. The covering gives us the opportunity to host bible studies, meals, and entertainment for everyone.
These young people enjoy listening to bible teaching. In the past few years, our community in East Africa has expanded to include a group of youth who are hungry to learn God’s word and eager to know how to benefit their community by living lives in service to God and others.
Rylan Aaseby preaches during weekly bible studies for our friends. Peter Kimbugwe translates. Teaching God’s word is one of the most important things we do in East Africa. A biblical education empowers our African cooperatives with the ability to know right from wrong, good from evil, and to participate in bringing more good into their world.
Peter Kimbugwe and his wife Cissy have been serving with G.O.D. Int’l in East Africa for over a decade. They have six children (five pictured here). Peter is one of our main cooperatives. He regularly hosts our teams when they are on the field, and translates during bible studies and meetings.
Francis Lubega and his wife Annette have been serving with G.O.D. Int’l in East Africa since 2007. They have four children: Rebekah, Victor, Rachael, and Micah. Francis is a builder and an educator and Annette is raising their children, teaching them the Word of God.
Our triplex was constructed using local resources and materials, as well as techniques that can be duplicated by the surrounding population. We seek to be innovative yet effective in our approaches to building. Here, Cameron Kagay and Francis Lubega make concrete countertops for one of the homes. Having a counter keeps women from having to bend over to do all of their food preparation.
Kosma Adiyebo was an old man who lived with East African team member John Nyago’s parents since before he was born. They took him in and provided food and accommodation when he had nowhere else to go. He died this past February. He was a kind, hardworking, and God fearing man.
Grace Aaseby and her husband Rylan decided to send their eldest daughter, Ezrah, to school in Uganda during an extended stay in 2013. Interested in her daughter’s education and the education of the other children at her school, Grace became involved and was happily accepted by school staff to teach English lessons. Understaffed and underpaid, teachers at this particular school were on strike for extended periods of time in 2013, a scenario that is all too common, preventing children from receiving the education they need to develop their minds.
Brynn Buchanan teaches primary school students in a slum about the importance of hygiene and sanitation. Millions of people in Africa suffer and die from water and hygiene-related diseases. Instruction in simple hygienic procedures can save lives. Children are often most susceptible to spreading disease, so educating them in proper preventative measures, like hand washing, ultimately affects the well-being of entire families.
Students in a primary school in Bwaise, a slum on the outskirts of Kampala, Uganda’s capital, arrive at school eager to learn, but are met with the challenges of little resources, crowded classrooms, and few teachers to facilitate their education. Ashley Moore, an East Africa team member and graduate of the Institute for G.O.D. International, taught primary students English during an extended stay in 2012.
Ashley Moore, trained as a literacy worker through The Institute for G.O.D. Intl’s Linguistics Program, teaches a women’s literacy class in Bwaise, a slum area on the outskirts of Kampala, the nation’s capital. According to UNICEF, 22% of adult women in Uganda cannot read or write. Here, Ashley uses an adult literacy technique called to guide women in creating and reading stories that are applicable to their lives, enabling them to participate in their world through literacy.
Nyago John, native of Uganda and current student at the Institute for G.O.D. International, visits his nephew at boarding school during a visit to Uganda in 2013. Having Nyago as part of G.O.D. Int'l's development efforts in Uganda is invaluable. He has a great concern for children to receive the education they deserve, and helps correspond with students through our scholarship program.
In the local area in which G.O.D. International serves in Uganda, 6 out of 10 boreholes were found to be broken or improperly functioning. G.O.D. International community member Joshua Kurtz instructed cooperatives Peter Kimbugwe and Francis Lubega and four other men on diagnosing issues and repairing boreholes, which empowered them to provide reliable water sources for approximately 2,500 people locally.
Recently, G.O.D. International built on land we’ve purchased together in Uganda. Desiring to create buildings that are structurally sound and use local resources and available technology, Ugandans and Americans worked together to learn and utilize innovative techniques for building. Here, they work together to prepare the land for building, using manpower. Utilizing their own strength, skills, and innovation, instead of heavy machinery, creates a method of building that is replicable by even the poor, and allows community cooperation for the task of building.
Simon Peter (left) and Tom Mayinja are young men who have been participating with G.O.D. in Uganda since 2010. During this time, they have not only gained skills in building safe structures and innovative agricultural techniques, but they have also received education in the word of God for development as individuals. Eager to learn how to live lives that are pleasing to God and be a benefit to their neighbors, Simon Peter and Tom are human beings being built up by the Word of God.
Birungi Patience is one of our educational scholarship recipients. In Uganda, only 30% of girls reach the 10th grade. Since 2008, G.O.D. Int’l has supported Patience to go to school, affording her the opportunity to learn and thrive. She is a bright girl who displays leadership skills and excels academically.
Quinn is the daughter of Lawrence and Josephine Ssemakula. She is a lively, intelligent middle schooler who suffers from sickle cell anemia. Many children in East Africa with the disease experience a poor quality of life and die young due to lack of medical care. Because of the diligence of her parents, who are empowered to care for their daughter’s unique needs, and the generosity of G.O.D. International and its supporters, Quinn receives the nutritious foods and routine care she needs and thrives at home and at school.
Lawrence Ssemakula and his wife Josephine have been serving with G.O.D. Int’l in East Africa since 2007. Together, they have three daughters, Quinn, Genesis, and Genevieve. They are school teachers, Lawrence specializes in special education, and Josephine also functions as a school nurse. Their family plays an important role in meeting the health and educational needs of the G.O.D. International community in Uganda, and serve out of hearts of service and love for God.
Prudence is the daughter of Erastus and Wanja Kanjogo in Kenya. They served with G.O.D. Int’l in East Africa for over a decade. They have two children (Prudence is the oldest).
Reuben and Anne Ndwiga have been serving with G.O.D. Int’l in East Africa for more than a decade. They have 2 children, Praise and Prince. Reuben is a farmer and translator. He also makes fuel-efficient and smoke-reducing rocket stoves for his neighbors. Anne is busy raising their children and caring for their home, and aspires to become a midwife.