God Story – KafunjoRich Stigall
The focus of GO Africa’s ministry is expanding to include partnering with the local church in the cause of orphan prevention, as well as providing a loving home for the most abandoned and abused children in the community. So, what does it look like when a local church embraces the vision of orphan prevention?
Increasing poverty accounts for a significant percentage of orphans. Parents may be forced to abandon their children because they can’t feed them or educate them. Or, the despair of poverty is so great that one or both parents may take to drinking too much of the local brew.
When alcoholism enters the picture, so does adultery which typically leads to HIV infections. It also often introduces domestic violence within the family. The wife may leave her husband, and the children are abandoned in the process. The little money that might have been available for a school uniform or scholastic materials is dedicated to feeding the alcohol habit. So, the children suffer even more.
The Church of Uganda is one of the significant partners of GO Africa in Uganda and oversees thousands of primary schools. In rural areas, the Church of Uganda is also blessed with a lot of undeveloped land. So, GO Africa is piloting an orphan prevention ministry by leveraging the undeveloped land at Church of Uganda churches and primary schools. The first pilot location is in southwestern Uganda in a community called Kafunjo.
The orphan prevention program in Kafunjo is called “The Father’s Table.” Everyone, especially vulnerable children, is invited to The Father’s Table and to enjoy the abundance of the Lord. The Father is the giver of all good things, and around His Table, the family gathers to His honor and glory.
When the idea of The Father’s Table was first presented to the Kafunjo church and school leadership, we shared three Scripture verses:
- Isaiah 25.6: “On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine – the best of meats and the finest of wines.”
- Psalm 23: “…You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…surely…I will dwell in the house of the LORD [Father’s House] forever.”
- 2 Samuel 9.10b: “And [you Mephibosheth] shall always eat at my [King David’s] table.”
When we got to the first Scripture verse, the Lord led me to emphasize “On this mountain…” meaning not only Mount Zion, but also the small mountain of Kafunjo. By the time we got through the third Scripture verse, the Holy Spirit fell on us through the power of His Word. The room was so full of joy that everyone just started clapping!
The church has set aside 15 acres of land to grow crops to develop a lunch feeding program to feed all 500 children at the school…who typically get only one meal a day in the evening. In exchange for preparing the land for planting and weeding, the parents earn credits toward a school uniform for their child, which is made at the Kabale Father’s House Sewing Centre. We call it “sweat pay” as opposed to “cash pay.”
Dan is a nine year old boy in Kafunjo who has been sent home from school every year for the last three years when he tried start first grade. The reason? His father could not afford to buy him a school uniform. Dan’s mother deserted the family a few years ago because of poverty, and the father is struggling to feed, clothe, and educate his two children. Now, with The Father’s Table ministry through the local church and its school, Dan has a uniform and has successfully started first grade. When the time for harvest comes, the children will also be eating a hot meal a day, from food grown on the church’s land and cultivated by the parents in the community. The father says, “I am so happy Dan has a uniform and can, at last, stay in school. Surely, I won’t fail to provide books for him.”