God Connections in UgandaRich Stigall
By Dr. Alison Barfoot, GO Africa’s Executive Director
One of the things I love about GO Project’s vision is the focus on building the capacity of the local church to care for her children. In eastern Africa the Christians are already caring for many orphans from their relatives who have died untimely deaths. Every family – and, I mean every family – is caring for children from relatives.
The problem is that there are more orphans – more abandoned and abused children – than can be absorbed by the traditional, cultural way of caring for orphans through the extended family. So, if the relatives are overburdened, the next best people to care for children are the church.
Enter GO Project. In GO Africa, we work with local churches to help them imagine a way they can care for even more children, especially those at the end of the line who have no one and nothing.
But, if families are already overloaded in caring for the orphans of their relatives, how can they sustainably care for even more children? It shouldn’t surprise us that God has His people all over the world. They are in Kansas City, Texas, Tennessee…and, even Kampala, Uganda.
I first met Gloria in 2010 at the Lausanne Congress in Cape Town, South Africa. As an American living in Uganda, I was part of the Ugandan delegation to the Lausanne Congress. Before one of the workshops began, I introduced myself to a lovely young African woman sitting next to me. She said she was Gloria and was from Uganda. I was happy to meet her, but puzzled because I didn’t remember seeing her as part of the Ugandan delegation. That’s when she told me she was a missionary serving in Nepal, and, even though she was Ugandan, she was attending the Lausanne Congress as a member of the Nepali delegation. So, I was an American attending through the Ugandan delegation, and she was a Ugandan attending through the Nepali delegation. God’s Kingdom is wonderful!
Fast forward eighteen months, and I’m sitting in a new coffee shop and restaurant in Kampala enjoying a tropical fruit smoothie. The owner was circulating among the customers and looked at me and said, “Do you remember me?” It was Gloria. She had moved back to Uganda with a heart and passion for caring for the most abandoned and abused children in Uganda. The only way she could find the resources to support them was to start a business, whose profits could be used to care for children.
That was the beginning of a partnership between GO Africa and Endiro Café. Joe Knittig, GO Project’s CEO was recently visiting Uganda with Mike Fox and Ed Barber, a Board member of GO Project. During lunch, we officially signed the Memorandum of Understanding with Gloria and Endiro Café – a local partner who longs to see more of Uganda’s children cared for by the church. We are so excited to see how God is going to use this partnership to bring hope to children, and also to encourage other business owners in the church to step up and embrace Business as Mission in the pursuit of caring for all of God’s children.