Village Evangelism


One of our biggest challenges was when our Wamala church (Back to the Holy Spirit Church BHSC) asked A V M to help them become a missions church. With help from the youth at Westminster Chapel in Bellevue, WA, the needed equipment to allow BHSC to go out on 5-6 mission trips per year was purchased and 7 new churches have been planted and scores of people saved and baptized. Some of the villages lacked any spiritual light and now the people are being discipled and given a copy God`s Word. Also provided is needed clothing and more.

This new Christian declares his faith to his community by water baptism, symbolizing the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Making sure every new believer receives a Bible is an important goal for Africa Village Ministries.

Evangelism is reaching out to people with the love of Jesus.

Unreached People Groups of the Continent of Africa

Here is a list of of African people groups who need to be reached before Jesus' Second Coming, courtesy of the Joshua Project.

Map of the 54 Nations on the continent of Africa

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.  Psalm 96:3

Ask of me and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Psalm 2:8


Project Michael's Heart

Bringing Bibles to the 54 nations of Africa

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light.  Isaiah 9:2a



Stories about Village Evangelism 

1) Bringing Joy to the World

2) Cow Redemption Day


1) Bringing Joy to the World

In many African villages the spirits of superstition carried through generations grip the lives of families and imprison the members in a satanic web. Only the knowledge and power of the Holy Spirit can release people from these savage beliefs. 

When a defective child is born in the village, the neighbors will question whether or not evil spirits or a curse has been placed on the family living in THAT hut.  Some people respond by burning out the family or driving them someway, out of the village.  A simple solution is found by some by taking the defective child to the bush and allowing the wild creatures to devour it.

Bowembo, a man in his late 30s, (himself severely crippled by polio) serves the Minister of the Disabled for Uganda, Honorable Florence Nyiga Ssekabira.  His job is to locate physically and mentally challenged children who are removed from society by their families. By keeping his ear to the ground he can listen to gossip throughout the villages and thus able to discover these marginalized disabled people. Fatima, a mother in a village, kept her baby girl (with Cerebral Palsy) in a hut built especially for the purpose of hiding the child from the village. Mike and Bowembo went to visit Fatima.

Mike asked to have the infant put in his lap. In the 90° weather he was surprised to find the baby ice cold.  Straw and mud huts are very well insulated and remain cool even when the sun is at its zenith.  Mike asked, "Fatima, do you ever bring this baby into the sunlight to get warmed?  "  Her reply was ,"No."  With the passion and concern that only Jesus can plant in your heart, Mike told the family, "God has brought me all the way from America to tell you that this child is a very special child of God. She was created in God`s image.  The very breath she breathes is God-breathed. This child needs to be brought out into the sunlight, physically, mentally and spiritually.  She needs to meet people and be touched by friends and smiled to by passers-by.  She must be treated like she is the most important baby in the world.  Because that`s what she is - a precious gift from God"

Mike explained that though the child has severe deficits, she has potential and it is this family`s responsibility to help her grow in a healthy environment.  Keeping her in the hut is not healthy  Fatima had 2 teen age girls who were so helpful and responsive to Mike`s questions and concerns, that when Mike asked Fatima (a Muslim woman) if she had ever accepted Jesus as her Savior, the 2 big sisters replied, "We are Christians".  Fatima responded, "No I am a Muslim".  The family group asked Mike if they could sing songs for him to show their appreciation for his coming to their village.  "Of course!"

Bowembo spoke softly into Mike`s ear to translate the words from Luganda into English.  The songs were about Jesus! After the songs Mike said to Fatima," Fatima, when you sing about Jesus, your face just lights up.  Imagine what would happen if you had Jesus in your heart.  Would you like to ask Jesus into your heart today?"  Fatima quickly replied, "Oh yes please."  So with Bowembo`s interpretations Mike led Fatima through the sinner`s prayer.  When finished Mike said, "I understand that when Muslims become Christians, they change their names.  Is this true?  May I choose a new name for you?" Fatima heartedly accepted her new name of "Joy".  Bibles written in their own language were given to each family member.  The 2 girls said that now they could have their very own Bible study since they each had Bibles.

Four weeks later, upon arriving home in America, we received a hand written letter beautifully composed in English by the oldest daughter Sarah.  It stated that Joy was a changed person and a different mother.  Not only did she remove the baby from the hut, but she daily walked around the village to show the neighbors and get a good dose of vitamin D at the same time. A repeated request from Joy to her village friends was that they address her by her new name.  The daughters reported that they have their own Bible study every day.
God, please give Joy and her children the strength to continue to grow in your word, and be lighthouses to their village.  Thank you, Amen.

Isaiah 55:12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Dr. Marie Meaney
Africa Village Ministries


2) Cow Redemption Day: A story of deception, reconciliation, and grace.


1. A Call for Help
2. Answering the Call
3. A New Home
4. Mammas Julie and Amy
5. Settling in
6. Rumours and Unsettling Truths 
7. Emergency Trip 
8. Reconciliation 
9. Cow Redemption Day

Hebrews 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.

Chapter 1 - A Call for Help

Please note, VP means village pastor One February morning 2005, on a drizzly grey Seattle Thursday morning, Mike received a phone call from his dear Ugandan son, Pastor Paul Ssekabira. Paul proceeded, with his voice sounding somewhat unstable and emotional, to relate in the next 20 minutes of how our evangelistic team, just returning, had encountered a heart breaking situation in the little village in Mubende district. The village pastor there (VP) told a story and proceeded to show the team the 50 children that lived in the village without any parents. They were orphans living in the bush, sleeping under verandas, stealing food where they could, looking sickly and generally pestering the village families with their antics. As he showed various ones to the pastors they were left with a terrible picture of child abuse, exploitation of a slowly perishing group of youngsters. One 6 year old girl actually had a bald spot on her head where she had repeatedly carried water for individuals. Children such as Boy Jake age 8 was living in the bush, existing only on roots and berries, being beaten and kicked out by his alcoholic grandfather. His parents were long dead, from HIV/AIDS. His skin seemed to just hang over his skeleton. White fungal patches were on his head, and whatever hair existed was the typical rust color that accompanies severe malnutrition/starvation. Distended stomachs resulting from enlarged spleens irritated by repeated bouts of malaria, was a common sight. Jackson (Kirabo), his name meaning "gift" , a 10 year old boy was labeled as crazy. The village people and pastor assured the team he could only be cared for and his mental problems mitigated by care and treatment in a mental asylum. Fevers, running noses, coughs, congested and labored breathing, conjunctivitis were all readily evident to any observers. They were regularly being exploited and used in many ways by villagers who considered them to be pests underfoot. When the VP told our pastors from Wamala that his own heart was broken for these orphans and he needed help for them to survive, their hearts were equally overwhelmed by the sights and stories. These orphans had become a burden to the whole village. Pastor Paul arrived back home with a telephone call to Mike as his first business. He told what they had observed in their 2 week evangelistic crusade and the earnest appeal from the VP. After speaking with Paul for many hours over the days, Mike could only say, "We share with you the concern of all for these children, but we do not know what to do right now other than to pray for God`s wisdom and direction." All days Thursday, Friday and Saturday Mike and Marie shared with friends and prayed as to how to respond. By Sunday morning it was all we could think about. At the Bereans Sunday School Class (Westminster Chapel grandmas and grandpas) when the leader Ron, asked for prayer requests, Mike asked them to pray for wisdom for us regarding these 50 orphans.  

Chapter 2 - Answering the Call

At the close of the class people were showing great concern and asking many questions of which we knew no answers. One member of the class, our co-worker, Marilyn, spoke up and said, "What is there to pray about? There is only one thing we can do. We have to rescue these perishing children, however we can. Let`s pass the hat right now and send them money for food and medicine." The very positive and seemingly quick fix to a huge problem seemed reasonable. The money collected,$500.00, was wired Monday morning to Pastor Paul to purchase survival supplies for these 50 orphans i.e. maize, medicine, sleeping mats, blankets, clothing. In 2 days Paul had received the wired money and now took all the purchases in a small truck to the village to distribute to the needy ones. He had sufficient quantities for each child. The day he returned to the village with the supplies, the sky was dark with thick clouds, lightning and rain coming down in torrents, a typical Ugandan rainstorm. The roads, already rutted, became small lakes ready to gobble up the small white pick up truck carrying the life saving supplies. After many times getting stuck in the mud (not an unusual African predicament), the village people, children included, joined in to help deliver the much needed goodies. Each orphan child was given their portions. To document this very special day, Pastor Paul took a picture of each child group, standing in front of a hut or building, proudly and thankfully displaying the gifts given them. These photographs were developed and immediately posted from Uganda to Bellevue Washington within one week. In fact, it was only 2 weeks later that we, with great joy and thanksgiving took the pictures to the Sunday School class to verify that their donations had turned into life saving supplies. As time went by and God revealed to us that we needed to rescue these perishing children, the communications to and from Uganda increased and plans were hot and heavy as to how to care for these precious children. Paul made regular trips to visit the children. He became increasingly alarmed as he brought home disturbing stories and related them to us. The children who had received the supplies complained to Paul that all their goodies were being stolen by the village adults so they could give them to their own children. There seemed to be no fair way to distribute the continuing flow of supplies. The deteriorating physical condition of the children was so evident to Pastor Paul that he determined that somehow we needed to remove those children to another place where they would be safe from exploitation, poor health and sad living conditions. This whole process proceeded from February 2005 until August 26th of 2005. In the backs of our minds was the nagging question, "Where could we take these children for a safe haven?" Three years previous to this situation we had joyfully constructed the John T. Miller II Resource Classroom in Wamala Uganda, a village located halfway between the capitol of Uganda, Kampala, and the International airport, Entebbe. The building of that classroom was a vision conceived down the hill at a little papyrus hut church. We stood there with the congregation and pointed up the hill, saying, "Let`s ask God to help us build a resource classroom that can serve the whole community and be a "lighthouse" on the hill. The Rogers family in Bellevue Washington built the structure as a lasting meaningful memorial to their beloved John who had recently died of AIDS. This established school would also serve as a legacy for the Rogers family children to fulfill in their lives as they each personally served God in Uganda. The original vision was just for one classroom, but since then it has served many purposes. And now the little rooms defined as "offices" would be the receiving place for perishing orphans.  

Chapter 3 - A New Home

So the plans were made to bring them down, but there was only room for approximately 15, or more if we put 2 small children in one bed sleeping toe to toe. Paul now had to play "God" as he selected 15 or so children out of 50. It was the "or so" that Marie called "orphan creep". The original became 17, became 20, became 25. How in the world was he to judge who to bring. We spoke extensively over the phone. Bring the most vulnerable of the bunch to begin with. Bring the sickliest, weakest, most exploited. We sent Paul the money to go to town to buy triple bunks, mattresses, blankets, pillows, towels, soap, food clothing, wash pans, cooking pans and lots of medicines. This was funds gathered from many sources, but mainly from our home church Westminster Chapel of Bellevue Washington. They had stood behind us in all our missionary ventures and were always faithful to enable us to fulfill our visions for Africa. Then Paul called upon the people of his church, the Back to the Holy Spirit Church of Wamala, to gather moms, dads, cooks, matrons, nurses, security guards. The big day arrived. In a large van Paul made the 3 hour long bumpy ride to the village. VP and Paul chose the most needy of the lot. There were legal implications to this process. The closest of kin or friends had to sign a registered document giving permission for each child to leave the village and become the responsibility of Pastor Paul. In a culture where children are regularly abducted and sold into slavery this legal step is essential. The signing adults which consisted of village adults and chiefs (Local Council, Regional Council) stated and signed that these children were orphaned and that they could be taken to a place where caretakers would educate, heal, feed, love, nurture them physically and spiritually. All the way down from the village the children vomited as they had never ridden in a car before tonight. They were nervous and scared. They knew and trusted Pastor Paul who they called "daddy". One can only guess as to what was going on in their minds during this trip. Some day we will interview them when they are older and ask them this very question. They arrived fresh from the village with their "village" stomachs. That is, only the basic foods, not always nutritious, but filling for sure. That would be matooki (green bananas cooked), cassava a root food, maize served as porridge and tea. Hopefully they would soon receive the balanced diet they needed with daily milk, vegetables and fruits and meats. Arriving at the JTM school late at night they were greeted by many adults who were committed to caring for them. By the flickering flame of the kerosene lanterns each child was greeted, washed, given clean clothes and shown to their beds. That night they went to sleep in a proper bed with a roof over their heads for the first time in their lives. The 2 local church women who became their "Mamma" stayed with them that night and faithfully from then on for approximately 1 ½ years. Mike and I arrived in Uganda the next day and found the 17 kids dazed, in shock and probably wondering where in the world they were. Immediately the Wamala church family began the tedious task of removing chiggers from the feet, applying creams, lotions and medications to the dry scaly skin. Trips to the doctor were a daily procedure. Dispensing Tylenol, cough syrup, de-worming pills, antibiotics went on for months. Each child was taken to the local AIDS clinic (Mildmay) where they were tested for HIV, hepatitis and other debilitating illnesses. Two children proved to be positive for HIV/AIDS. This required extensive training for the matrons/mammas so that they could handle these potential time bombs living so closely together. When Mike and I first greeted this motley crew, our main desire was to enfold them, show them and tell them of Jesus` love, all the while being quick to touch, hug, smile and affirm. We spoke through Pastor Paul as interpreter, to explain to them just who we were, why we were there and the great purpose God had for them. I read to them from Psalm 27;10 where God promises to take up the cause of the orphan and become the parent for them. I explained that I myself, as a young child, was an orphan and this was the first verse I hid in my heart, after my mother`s death. I affirmed to them that God`s promises were sure and could be trusted. I wanted them to know we had some connection and that I personally could affirm God`s promises in my long life. Mike was able to explain to them the special blessing that was ours to have the very unique role of being their "Jajja" (grandmother/father). At first the difficult time we had was just knowing which children were in our group. Since the whole village group of children looked the same to us, I made head ribbons for all the girls and bow ties for the guys. At least this way we could quickly identify the 17 who were in our flock. One by one they came to me where I introduced myself, asked their name and then wrote it down phonetically. In some cases like Kambugahara, Nikoze and Winnie Jaclyn it took me days to learn to say. And to make matters worse at the very beginning they all looked the same to us so that we had to make name tags to hang around their heads in order to learn their names and lessen our confusion about who was who. At the same time we inquired as to their ages. Many didn`t know and Boy Magumba who we later named Boy Jake, told us he was 12. We were mortified to think that a 12 year old could be so physically underdeveloped. As a teacher my first thought was wow, it`s going to be a great challenge to bring him up in his education. A few days later when Boy Jake was being interviewed by our favorite Ugandan doctor, Immanuel Luyereka , he answered to him that he was 25 years old. Only then did we realize they had no idea how old they were. The main clues we used was dental development, general intellectual cognition and size. It`s fairly easy to pinpoint a child`s age when their two front teeth are missing. And they were all bald! If they were wearing a dress you had at least a 50% chance of identifying them as boy or girl. On the first day of meeting them the only smile came from Nikuze, a 9 year old girl. The others came up reluctantly, being very guarded. I wrote notes about each child, Mike took their picture and we documented everything we could to establish a baseline of information for them. By the third day, after many intimate conversations the threat of our white essence dissipated and they enfolded us. They relaxed with us, played and laughed spontaneously, all except for Henry and Simon, brothers 7 and 10 who kept their distance and blatantly showed they weren`t "buying" any of this love dovey stuff. They kept their distance for good reason which will be explained later. The funniest thing that happened that day was when they discovered they could use Mike`s wheelchair as their own personal wheelchair. They pushed each other, laughed and were completely caught up in the "joy" of this funny chair. Those were the best times of all for that wheelchair`s life. And it was none the worse for the wear. Just one more token of how God can use supposedly negative situations for his glory. The days were filled with all the joys of teacher and beloved students exploring all the layers, excitement, skills, motivations and colors of learning. The classroom was set up to allow children to gravitate to 8 different disciplines: reading, creating writing, math, social studies, science, art, music, health and physical education. Based on a heuristic teaching philosophy that established scriptural principles as the starting point, the days were full of fun and discovery not only for students, but for all the adults helping. When we set up a special work station to do a particular activity for the day such as painting, or cut and paste, writing, math tests, art, music, science experiments, the adults in the community almost pushed the children aside so they could do it. Obviously this part of their childhood had never occurred and they were excited like any kid to be able to participate in these fun activities. The entire floor of the room was turned into a painting table. Children and adults painted large colorful pictures to post all over walls, thus adding color, life and individual artistic creativity to the classroom ambiance. Designing building and equipping this classroom had become a full time job at home in Bellevue as we accumulated all the beautiful toys and educational equipment. Even the multi-colored plastic table toppers which we purchased at Party Time store joined into the total vibrancy of all corners of the room. It was definitely an "ahhhh, oooooo", response when first seeing the completed room. There was nothing else like it in Africa. The pristine condition of all the Fisher Price toys, the dozens of baby dolls and their furniture, the tens of thousands of colorful books, the puppet theatre, the classical music cranked up gave many swells of sensations to anyone entering the room. The soft periwinkle blue walls even gave the sense of embracing you as you entered. The ABC quilts, exotic birds, colorful giant tropical fish hanging from the rafters, even the scents from the burning Yankee candles invited each person to come in and have a "Eureka" experience in learning. Children were taking pride and showing great enthusiasm for learning and creating and inventing new ideas about the earth, Africa, America, animals, rocks, music. Doing simple floor puzzles, coloring and creating art and stories was energizing them in a way they had never experienced. Give a child some National Geographics, scissors, paste, booklet, pencil, chart paper, write out some English words he can copy down and let him go. He is engaged, growing and most of all happy with himself. As the days passed and attention was given to their health a very great thing emerged physically and psychologically. It took approximately 4 days before their skin lost its matt finish and began to show some glow and softness. After their daily bath they were covered over their entire bodies with Vaseline, Mamma B. faithfully "polished" her charges. After having eaten regular meals for a couple weeks they started to fill out a little, until within about 4 months they were looking very well nourished. The marked change in their personalities was evident as they took possession of their uniqueness i.e. their understanding that they were valuable, loved, cared for, and gifted by God. As they quickly learned English phonics they were soon reading writing and spelling. Math timed tests were the trick that instilled in brothers Henry and Simon that they were very capable and smart, to boot. They began reading books, writing stories, working in math books, riding the bicycle without falling, all skills showing not only themselves but their peers that they truly were capable children. Their appreciation to care givers, teachers, adults and most of all in their prayers of thanksgiving to God, was a great blessing to the adults observing this growth. Every day in the classroom we talked about God our creator, redeemer, father, provider, teacher. They learned to trust God and pray for each other. They were constantly reaching out to each other to protect, comfort and encourage. Many a time the bigger children would carry the littler ones just as a parent would do. A small child`s cry from falling down was met with children rushing over to help. It was truly forming into a loving family that cared for each other. Jackson Kirabo (the gift), who arrived a "crazy madman" was to turn into a gentle funny loving and responsive child after the dozens of chiggers were removed from his feet. A chigger enters the skin of the foot. It lives in the dust as a tiny flea sized creature. It grabs onto the skin, soon burrowing into the flesh and grows by feeding on the host`s blood. It grows to the size of a bb and becomes lodged into the host`s body as a parasite. Watching the big tough men from the church carefully taking a large safety pin and removing the sphere from each child`s foot was a picture of Jesus` love translated directly into human hands to do His work. Evidently the chiggers in Jackson`s feet were enough to drive him to the edge of insanity. Jackson became our good friend. In the classroom you could always find him with headphones on listening and dancing to the beat of my son`s songs. We always said that Jackson had a beat in his feet, a zing in his swing. Immaculate (Immy), 12 years old and the oldest of the children, came into the classroom as an academically dry sponge. In 6 weeks she learned all the English phonics, blending, reading skills and was reading in English in record time. She now loves to read books and write letters and stories. Today as a beautiful young woman she is a perfect role model for all the girls, big and little alike. Henry and Simon, the brothers who were so distant eventually came to trust and love us. As the children`s stories unfolded and we learned of their individual pasts, many stories of abuse from the people in their village were revealed. They would steal food and then the victims of their thievery would beat them and chase them away. The children grew in their own personal space and individual awareness. They were given many individual gifts such as Teddy bears, cars, books, pencils, crayons, notebooks, games, clothing, sports equipment. This gave them a sense of personal property, for themselves, and respect of other`s possessions. Since this was the first time in their lives they had owned anything, it was a huge step in their social development. One day Pastor David came back from town with a huge trunk for each child in which to keep their worldly goods. They painted their names on them and then decorated them with in their own artistic style. The children grew in intellect and spirit. Their ability to get along and form a strong esprit de corps was amazing to watch. Their days consisted of regular meals, safe sleep, dealing with bed-wetting, maintaining good hygiene and every night, worship time. Their ability to pray openly, express thanksgiving readily and contribute generously to the group`s well-being was amazing. For an outsider observing, it was like a laboratory experiment flourishing according to plan.  

Chapter 4 - Mammas Julie and Amy

As the children were growing, our board of directors of Africa Village Ministries reminded us (Mike and Marie) that we were only rescuing these children, not permanently taking them in as a responsibility of AVM. Besides being good advice this was essential to the mental stability of our ministry vision of education, disabilities and village evangelism. Although the orphans were a direct result of village evangelism and were now a full time educational project, this additional agenda item of caring for 50 orphans was, in practical terms, untenable for two older and physically challenged people. And so we prayed for the perfect person(s) to carry through this gigantic responsibility for this small troop. The children needed someone who could care for them in every way, i.e. physically, spiritually, emotionally. They needed a constant source of financial support, not to speak of all the trimmings needed to provide well rounded care. Making sure they had medical and dental care, all their supplies for school, school fees was just the beginning of overwhelming responsibility to take on. Julie Secrist who is wife and mother of 3 boys in Edmonds Washington had a full time career in real estate. She made a trip to Uganda in October 2005 with her sister in law, Amy Rogers, in order to help Marie further establish and promote the John T. Miller Resource Classroom. They had committed to helping Marie organize and work in the classroom to help make it even more effective. When they arrived, the place, as usual, was buzzing with delightful childish activities. Children were consumed with play: stringing beads, painting fish, playing house, building Legos, reading books, helping teachers, etc. When God gives a vision of what he requires of us, it is just a matter of time before He provides all the resources necessary to carry it through. This walk of faith continues to teach us not only to request great things and be thankful and awed and blessed but by the awesome substance of the answer. Without any exceptions, all our God-given jobs and visions have been followed by more than adequate and unusually abundant provision. This was true with the orphans and their care. We shared with friends the very unique gift God had given us in our later years - a quiver full of children ages 4-12. Julie was joined by her sister in law Amy Rogers to create and found a ministry directly dealing with these children. They named it HEED, each letter representing Help, Equip, Evangelize, Disciple. The verse that they claimed for these children in Isaiah 61:3 served as the picture envisioned for them. One of little children becoming strong trees was a powerful picture and challenge. When Julie entered the classroom where the 17 children were busy doing their favorites activities, her heart did a double flip flop. She crossed a line that day that changed her life, her family`s lives, her friend`s lives, her church`s life. She was "gob-smacked," never to return to the pre-orphan lifestyle. Within a few minutes of meeting the children Julie recalls knowing in her heart that these kids were why she had been called to come to Uganda way back in 1996. And now after just two weeks of the children living in the classroom, she had arrived to meet them. This Edmonds housewife, mother, realtor found her purpose. This is what God had created her to fulfill. Nine years previous, she had been moved by a television program featuring Ugandan orphans. Her heart was so stirred that she knew then that somewhere in her future, when the time was right to be able to temporarily leave her 3 young boys, God would connect that nudging of the Holy Spirit with a real point in time to realize this stirring of her soul. It nagged at her for 9 years and now she was face to face, with her beloved Ugandan children. In the next 2 weeks, Julie and her son Spencer, Amy and her daughter Lauren, lived orphans 24/7. They tenderly administered healing to all the "owies and boo-boos", soothed emotional wounds and imparted spiritual balm to children wanting the comforting love that can only come from Jesus. They were truly the Lord`s hands and feet loving these vulnerable children. When Julie returned to Edmonds she committed to the responsibility of caring for that ragamuffin band. She worked tirelessly to get sponsors for each of them. In fact, it took two sponsors for each child to maintain the expenses which grew exactly like we witnessed right here in the USA. They incurred expenses for matrons, nannies, dental care, medical, security guards, food, teachers, school fees. The need for funds never ceased as the children`s personal needs and ongoing education continued. Julie and Amy and the rest of us asked ourselves the vital question which anyone would ask: How long do you think we are responsible for these kids? We all decided that legally we needed to nurture them until they were legal adults or 18 years old. Of course, their continued education and general well-being would probably be top priority with all of us for the rest of our lives. We all loved these children like they were our own. And now they were our own. According to the official records and documents filed with the sovereign nation of Uganda, we were their legal guardians. Since the first day`s encounter Julie has been the faithful quintessential mamma to those children. She has made multiple trips to Uganda to follow through on the care of these children. She has enlisted the help of her church and many friends.

Chapter 5 - Settling In

The children lived at Wamala, the small village where JTM is located. Their living space consisted of classroom offices where they slept. The large classroom was where they attended school 5 days a week. The little papyrus hut church, torn down, was now replaced by the breezeway at the JTM school. Most of all they lived outdoors and played on the grounds surrounding the school. Because the land was actually a small mountain with a latrine, a lean-to for cooking and a play set with swings, bars, and a slide. It was difficult to play football (soccer) or any ball game as the balls always rolled to the bottom of the hill right onto the road. They ate, washed clothes, chased each other all on the side of a hill. It was fairly steep. When I would climb to the top to eat with them or just sit and play and talk I would sing, "Climb climb up sunshine mountain." They soon learned to sing it with me. When I wrote a story about them I entitled it, "The 17 Ragamuffins of Sunshine Mountain" They daily did their chores. They washed their own clothes and then lay them on the ground to dry. They bathed, brushed their teeth and put the Vaseline on their skin. They cleverly kept their own toothbrushes in an empty capped Rwenzori water bottle. They made their beds and swept the floors. They never entered the room without first removing their flip flops. For the adults from America it was like living your childhood all over again through the bodies and experiences of these kids. My greatest joy was in helping them and encouraging them to grow in their studies. The excitement of beating your previous timed tests showed something was definitely going on in those brains. Showing them how to be creative with paints, fabrics, story writing, and playing music on the keyboard was just plain fun. We always had the Ipod going and every child took turns listening. Just when the majestic song Gloria in Excelsius Deu would come one Gloria, then about 11 would come over and we would listen together and I would sing the refrain to her endlessly. She loved it, being so special and having a song of her very own. Last year when I saw her, she was a beautiful young lady and when the song came on she headed right for my lap so we could hear the beautiful song together. This time she was as big as me, but who cares. I took her in my arms like a little child and we giggled and listened together with the satisfied looks on our faces that only rich music can bring. We giggled like 2 teenagers. Coming to visit Mammas and Jajjas at the guesthouse was always open for multiple delights. Of course there was the spoiling, the attention, the special events like a bubble bath, and of course, actually using a flush toilet. They loved to sit at my vanity table where I let them use all the makeup and perfume and body creams. Jajja Mike was always generous with letting them use his computer, digital camera, DVD players and every gadget known to mankind. They always treated everything very carefully. They would return to him with an extra 200 pictures on the camera. Where else in the world could they do such amazing things. The muzungus (white people) had been generous and shown great care to them. They knew they were loved and were loving in response. When Julie let the 2 littlest girls have a shower/bath it was the paragon of delight and we even have video of it. American Express, eat your heart out, that`s PRICELESS! Julie gave them clothez (pronounced in 2 syllables) of her very own to wear. They knew they were so special. When Marie arrived last year in a wheelchair they delighted in pushing it as fast as they could down the long halls of Lweza guesthouse, with Marie in it. Marilyn caught this on video. All the special shoeboxes full of goodies for Christmas, school preparation supplies, love gifts and continual material blessings affirmed to them that there were people in the world who loved them. We always made sure that they understood this was a direct blessing from God to them. Occasionally the children would have a very special visitor. It was Pastor A, the VP who had cared for them from the beginning. It was he who had secured help that facilitated not only their survival, but their exciting and beautifully blossoming life and growth in their new home in Wamala. VP was in all the pictures that Pastor Paul had taken when he delivered the original supplies in early 2005. In fact, Marie had taken those very same pictures and placed them in a special album. One day in the classroom, sitting with each child, I pointed out the individuals. The kids told me the names of everyone and the names of siblings and how old they thought they were then at the time. The information was duly noted and written over the plastic covers which protected the individual photographs. This was a very special album that everyone loved as it documented very clearly how each of the children had been helped and selected and then brought to Wamala. The strange thing that occurred was that the entire album disappeared the day of the village pastor`s visit. It was a constant irritant trying to figure out where in the world that album could be. It was quite a while before the answer to this mystery was revealed. A very exciting day arrived when they all received their first pair of real shoes. Pastor David drew a pattern of each child`s foot and then set off to purchase 17 sets of shoes. He returned with sneakers, Mary Janes, Oxfords, high tops, and even some that flashed red lights when you run. We helped everyone put on their shoes on the correct foot and then they tried them out by running around for a great big 10 minutes max. For children who had walked barefoot all their lives, wearing these rigid things on their feet was like imprisoning their little tootsies. One by one they removed the shoes to return to bare feet. AHHHH! Later on, the local Rotary Club in Kampala bought each of them the regulation black shoes and socks that were compulsory for school attendance. Uniform clothing is required for all school children in Uganda and generally all over Africa. They would not consider attending school in regular clothes and because of that many children don`t attend school. For parents to have to purchase uniforms for their growing children besides paying the school tuition fees becomes prohibitive. The children had many special trips and events. They loved the Entebbe Zoo. They had picnics on the huge lawn at Lake Victoria. One day we celebrated everyone`s birthday. Since no one knew when they were born we assigned a birth date for each. The party was spectacular for them as they each had their own birthday card with a crisp new 10.000 Ugandan schilling note just for their own selves. We all ate cake, sang Happy Birthday to Us and everyone left on a sugar high from the cake and Cokes and Tootsie Pops. There were presents, games, photos The whole day was a real "hoot" and remains unforgettable. In Africa parents don`t read to their children. Children don`t own their books. We gave them all their own books. Showing children how to sit and enjoy a book was exciting. Reading out loud to them was the most fun for children and teacher (me). They learned to write their names, learned their phonics, read simple books, perform minute math tests, write creative stories, study the map, locate places, learn Bible verses, put together puzzles, play games, help the teacher, organize the toys and classroom materials, and best of all, learn how to learn. Every night before going to bed the children gathered to sing, dance, pray, praise and tell of Jesus` love for them. Every night, 365 days, it is dark at 6p.m. on the equator. With the aid of candles, lanterns and battery torches the children made their way to their triple bunks where they neatly folded their clothes, kissed their mammas goodnight and said their prayers. Outside their school office bedroom was their Mamma B, Mamma P and their guards, and of course all God`s angels surrounding them.  

Chapter 6 - Rumors and Unsettling Truths

As the months and years and days went by, there were constant reports about the children`s educational progress, their physical and spiritual development. Once in a while a story crept in that was unsettling, such as reports of canings, beating, bones around the neck. This was a cow bone strung on a string which hung like a necklace. It was intended to humiliate and then change behaviors. The discipline carried through by the matrons and teachers was traditionally African. These negative behaviors, we were to learn, were typical in the Ugandan culture. One day when I observed a child crying with a cow bone hung around her neck, I was mortified. I picked her up in my arms and asked why she was so upset. The teachers told me that she had responded to the teacher`s question in her village language instead of English. Needless to say I dealt with this with the teachers and matrons. We strongly advised them that canings and beatings were not consistent with our values in rearing and teaching children. I explained that the teacher is the one who should have a bone hanging on their neck. The burden is upon the teacher and their teaching skills to find ways to teach children using positive reinforcement, not negative punishments. If they are not educated enough to know how to motivate children and instill in them the delights of learning, then they are in the wrong business. Some children were acting out with negative behaviors. Ones whom we assumed were stable and dependable were displaying very unpleasant scenes of unacceptable behavior. I assured all the people in charge that if I were a child in their keeping, and I were caned, I would be the first to run away. After many phone calls and e-mails we had to fly to Uganda to see for ourselves what was going on. Meshing two different cultural habits regarding the Godly rearing of children became impossible to control from opposite sides of the world. Our trusted board member who is a mother, teacher, lawyer and Ugandan, was given full authority to go there and straighten things out. After many tears from the U.S. side and the children themselves, it was decided to remove the children from Wamala. The people in charge of them were fired and everyone was upset on both sides of the ocean. But this was not the biggest problem for all of us. The next year would reveal the tumultuous truth that begs this story of Cow Redemption Day. For now the children were removed to a Christian boarding school in the very center of Kampala. There they would be stable, although it was not the ideal plan we desired for them. We pictured them living with lots of space around, like in the country. It would take time for this to come about. For one year the children grew at their private boarding school. They thrived and grew spiritually and intellectually. Although the children were safe and probably as content as any other African child away at boarding school, it wasn`t the perfect setting we had imagined for them. Although the school itself was surrounded by a high fence and was secure it was located right smack in the middle of slums. One day while 2 of the older girls were visiting our friends who shepherd a large church in Kampala, they were acting a little depressed and it was obvious to the pastor and his wife that all was not well. They asked what the problem was. The girls` response was "We want to go back to the village and see our parents." What did they say? Visit parents? We thought they were orphans. What is the truth here? After intensive questioning and many tears the girls revealed that they were really not all orphans but did have a mom and dad in the village. Strategic questioning soon unlocked the answers to many questions we didn`t even know how to ask. Which children had both parents alive, one parent alive, or no parents alive. We had been completely deceived. But by whom? And what did the former caregivers know? Did the teachers and orphan "daddy", know? Did our pastors know? Did all the children realize this?  

Chapter 7 - Emergency Trip

Mamma Julie came by our house to break the news to us. I was putting away teaching materials and they were spread all over the kitchen table. The first thing she encountered was a large printed chart which had the verse on it "You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free." Of all the dozens of printed cards, this one happened to be on the top. She felt that this was a direct word for all of us straight from God. After various meetings with strategic board members the decision was made for Mike to go to Uganda. To get to the bottom of this mess and investigate all the burning questions we had, Mike made the trip in May 2008. Our biggest concern was to find out to what depth the knowledge of this deception had grown. Only meeting people face to face would answer and solve this huge web of lies. Within 1 ½ days Mike had his tickets and was off to Uganda. Only our pastoral friends who counseled us in this regard, knew he was coming. Mike needed to have surprise on his side and that he had. His job was to discover what was the truth, who knew the truth, and how deep did this deception permeate our ministry and ministry people. Being met at Entebbe International Airport by trusted friends and pastors who had originally discovered this problem was a sure foundation from which to start a difficult and tedious 2 weeks of investigation. Our friends there committed themselves to caring for Mike and helping him dig for the truth. They supported him in every way to make transparent all the mischief and deception. The very first question he had was of our pastors. If they knew and continued to hide the deception we needed to know. And so Mike asked Pastor Paul. He said he knew for a while, but feared telling us. This was all we wanted, the truth. It seemed that the most effective place to start was at the beginning of events, right in the village with the VP. A call was made to him to please come to Kampala for an important meeting. He arrived the next day, not having any idea was happening. And then he saw Mike. His response was typical with friendly gestures and the typical deference given to respected elders. In a meeting consisting of local pastors, Mike and VP, Mike asked the question "Were these children from the village, orphans or not?" And we wanted to know if a young girl named M was his daughter. VP clearly stated that all the children were orphans. In this group of now 25 children was that young girl, age12, named M. Mamma Julie discovered that M had been left behind when the VP sold his land and moved. She reported that she was an orphan who lived with the VP. Later she tested positive for HIV and it was then we learned she had been raped. She was not allowed to go to school because there was too much work to be done. She had come with the previously sold property as chattel. The farmhands had their way with her. Julie was horrified and couldn`t get her out of that place fast enough. The truth was that this beautiful girl was the daughter of VP and when VP and wife #3 had moved from one village to another, the daughter was just left behind as part of the deal with the property. Wife #3 said she didn`t like her so leaving her behind would not be difficult. We always questioned how any right thinking person could leave a young innocent girl behind as if being thrown to the wolves. We now questioned it even further. If M was the pastor`s daughter, how could he possibly leave her behind. M was one of the girls visiting Pastor W. when the initial truth was revealed. And now we knew, in fact, that the pastor of the village who facilitated the movement of the children , was her own father. We (AVM) could never reconcile within our hearts how a parent could give up a child to such a treacherous situation. We were to later discover the reason. VP had to move his 30 cows to a village 3 hours away. They had invaded and destroyed so much of his neighbors property that they asked him to move. That he did. He packed up with his wife #3, his 30 cows and went to the village we meet in the last chapter. Mike asked VP, "Is M your daughter? No, she`s my brother`s daughter" .Even after he was told that M said she was his daughter, he still denied it. Being unaccustomed to such blatant untruths the counseling group made a phone call to a 23 year old girl living in Kampala whom they knew to be one of his 10 children. The older sister was asked 3 times in 3 different ways to make sure she understood the question. Rather perturbed, after the third time she responded, "Look, I`m a born-again Christian, why would I lie? VP is my father and M`s father too." So now the pressure was on VP to confess that M was his daughter. She was not an orphan just like many of the other children in the village. For over 3 hours of questioning the VP proclaimed his innocence. And then for a 15 minute period of only local pastors and friends pleading with him to be truthful, he hung his head down and said, "Yes, I`ve been lying. For over 3 years I have carried this burden of deception .I was very afraid all the time, especially when I was hit by a car, that I would die and God would send me straight to hell." (So much for eternal security). "Will you ever forgive me?", he asked as he embraced Mike. "Of course I forgive you, but there are consequences to sin." Because of this systemic lie, all the children had been told to never tell the Americans that they had parents. If they ever breathed a word of this they would pay for it. So for over 3 years the little ones had been covering the truth. What a burden to place on innocent children. More children had been added to the original 17 because we felt it was in their best interest to be united with siblings. Julie brought remaining brothers and sisters down to live at Wamala. This was a very joyous and emotional occasion for all of us to see families united. During repeated trips to the village we still had not a clue that these children had parents right there. So now we knew that the whole village community knew of the deception. When we went to fetch new groups of children there was always a convenient "uncle" who was very grateful for relieving him of this burden. Even the local chief or Local Council (LC) was on hand to help us through this process. Only now in retrospect did we realize the complicit coordination of all strata of the village; children parents, pastors, LCs. To make things even more complicated Julie and her team in past trips had made sure to interview each child in the presence of the pastor, LC and adults. A legal document drawn up for each child was signed by the closest of kin and LC in order to properly document the legal movement of each individual child. The papers were then registered in the capital of Kampala. In a culture where children are kidnapped, sold as slaves and exploited in various ways, all the more reason for us to be above board in all our dealings with the children. Did the VP and LCs realize they had perjured themselves before their own government?  

Chapter 8 - Reconciliation

The VP`s confession to originating the idea and lie about the village children was only realized as he was cornered, then coerced. Mike had to figure out how to cleanse this whole convoluted and pervasive web of lies. The only way to deal with it was to confront the village people, undo and relieve the horrific burden placed on each child so they wouldn`t have to bear the guilt the rest of their lives. Everyone who had a part had to be confronted, cleansed, reconciled to us. Our most burning question was, had our own AVM team pastors known about this? If yes, when did they know? When we asked Pastor Paul, he confessed he didn`t know at the beginning when the children were taken out of the village. He learned of it a while back, he admitted, but was afraid to tell us, thinking we would abandon our mission in Uganda. When he was open and honest with us we told him that all we wanted was truth. We appreciated that he answered our questions directly and honestly. The first thing everyone, including ourselves, wants to know, is why would a pastor conceive of such a fantastic story. We believe that because the majority of people in the remote villages are so desperate for their children` well-being, starting with survival elements such as food, medicine and a basic education, that they are willing to put aside the things we value, like truth, in order to promote the survival and well-being of their children. This is seen in many African situations where outsiders, lovely caring people, from first world nations come in to assist the needy. Many beneficent turn cynical very quickly as they have to keep a firm grip on their wallets while at the same time pursuing a philanthropic and divine calling. When the VP asked Mike for forgiveness, Mike`s response was positive but anchored in reality. There were consequences to this misdeed.. Because we had taken care of all the needs of his daughter for a long period of time the ministry money had been used fraudulently and needed to be replaced. Funds for school fees, medical treatment, dental, clothing, on and on and on, were such that he would be required to replace this so that another child who is legitimately orphaned can be sustained. He agreed, but quickly reminded Mike that he had no money and absolutely nothing to offer for payment. In Africa a person`s wealth in the village is measured by the amount of cows one owns. Mike was told by someone who knew that VP had 30 cows. When Mike said he would have to sell one cow to pay his debt VP pleaded that he had only 10. The other 20 were owned by another person for whom he cared for the cows. Mike told him that in any case he now would have 9. Since one cow was worth about 600.000 Ugandan schillings ($300.00) then that would be fine if he sold one cow to repay the debt for the care of his daughter M, for 3 years. Then that would be adequate The real truth is that this doesn`t even begin to pay for M`s care, but that wasn`t the point at this time. Money wasn`t the only matter to be settled. The villagers who all were engaged in lying would have to be confronted, exposed, so the children could be freed of their burden. And besides there were serious legal implications that were outstanding. The government needed to have an honest and transparent retelling of this story. The next Sunday Mike and all principals met in the village under the gigantic braches of the baobob tree. The entire village was there to hear the news. LCs (Local Council, village chief) were there, families were there, and all the children happened to be there because it was school break time when all children return to their village for about 3 weeks. One at a time beginning with Mike, each person stated the reason, the problem and the remedy. The LCs and pastor admitted they had committed "small mistakes." Mike clarified it into real terms. Hundreds of people in America, multiple ministries, all the `children had been lied to and manipulated for almost 4 years. This massive deception had permeated each family and child. After the meeting the whole village came to apologize. Boy Jake`s grandma told Mike that she was especially grateful to Africa Village Ministries and Mamma Julie for all they had done to help in Boy Jake`s growth. He had filled out so beautifully, had learned so much in a short time and above all, he had grown spiritually. She said, "It is such a joy to see Boy Jake loving Jesus like he does." Mike asked if she had Jesus in her heart. Her negative response was all Mike needed to ask her if she didn`t want to be in heaven with him when they welcomed Boy Jake home. She realized her own need for salvation and right there she prayed the sinner`s prayer. After finishing her prayers she took a beaded crucifix off her neck and proclaimed, "I don`t need this anymore. All I need is Jesus" This seemed to be a token of how God was going to reverse this mess and bring it to his glory. This liability would somehow become an asset as in Romans 8:28. It would be "Beauty from ashes". Before Mike left Uganda to return home he reminded VP that the one cow was to be sold and the money used to help children who really needed help. We never intended to be remunerated for the other children in the lot. That was not the point of this reconciliation. In order for restoration to be accomplished we needed to follow through on the cow, as payment, little as it was. As Mike departed he reminded VP he would return August 4th and the first thing he would do is claim the cow price. And by the way, did he happen to have a photo album that belonged to his wife, Marie? We were soon to realize that just as the blind man who was healed in John 9:3 became sighted for God`s glory, this very convoluted tedious mess would work its way through so that the works of God would be manifest right in the villages and nation of Uganda.  

Chapter 9 - Cow Redemption Day

It seemed there was hardly time for the great Rolls Royce engines of the Boeing 767 to cool down before VP and his evangelist son were sitting in our living room at the Lweza Guesthouse which is the place we call home whilst in Uganda. VP had been true to his word. He had attempted to sell the cow locally and couldn`t. He was not able to take it across district lines to sell in the city because of quarantine laws. So there could be no sales and no cow price. Mike asked, "Could the cow be butchered locally right in the village? Would the beast yield enough meat to feed the entire village? " The answer was "yes". And there would be enough to feed more than one village. Because it could feed hundreds Mike asked him to have a feast celebrating with all the folks from the local village and others close by. Plans were made for Friday, August 22nd, 2008. The pastors and his village friends and congregants would prepare and serve the cow for a feast of celebration. The event was posted on our team calendar as "Cow Day". Just to make it clear, this village having the party is not the same as the original one from which the children had come. This was the new village where VP and his wife #3 had moved with the 30 cows. It had taken 3 days of walking as the cow clops to the new village in a new district. It was there that VP built a new little church out of sticks, mud and plaster. It was here VP would initiate his ministry after having left the mess behind him. Early Friday morning at the guesthouse while it was still dark, we all piled into the van for the 3 ½ hour drive to the village of Munsambya in Hoima District. After a long jiggley ride we all arrived mid-morning to see large crowds of people busily involved in preparing the feast. Mike had reminded VP to invite everyone - the poorest, the disabled, everyone, just like in Luke 14:12,13,14. Hundreds of adults and children, big and little, were surrounding the little mud church. VP had many fires burning with extra large pots cooking different portions of beef. In fact, they were about as large as a pot need be to hold one missionary. Some young women were winnowing rice to be served with the beef. Most startling to observe was 2 brightly attired women stirring a pot with 2 spoons the size of small oars. Covering the pot`s ingredients were gigantic green banana leaves slowly turning brown. They served as pot covers and so were removed every 15 minutes when the women would stir the gourmand`s choicest bits. It looked like long fat worms, but the truth is it was the entrails. Included in this mix was stomach, intestines, lungs and bits of organs. My mind was overwhelmed with the thought. Being a city girl I was never prepared for this. Just seeing the remaining bovine parts sitting around the venue was disgusting enough. Even the sight of the head with the gigantic horns was tempered by past sightings/trips to Montana and cowboy country. Nothing would be wasted from this beast. When we returned to Kampala we had with us the 4 legs, hooves included, as a gift for each pastor and the guards at our guesthouse. Some other lucky person would get the eat the head with all its delicacies. The women there were dressed in their finest bright colors. VP, as usual, had his sharply pressed slacks on, pastel shirt with a coordinating silk polyester tie. It always amazes us to see in the most primitive villages, the pastor emerging from the hut straightening their tie, looking spiffy and completely unaware of this cultural oxymoron. The incongruity of the sight is repeated over and over again. One day when I congratulated a young pastor on his appearance and asked how in the world he could look so well groomed without electricity he proceeded to show me his iron. Here was the secret of his Beau Brummel good looks. He had in his hands a gigantic, seemingly impossible to lift, antique iron empowered by hot coals. It was the kind our great greats used centuries back. Another of the oxymoronic situations found in sub-Saharan Africa. When it came time for eating the perpetual problem surfaced for Mike and Marie. How could it look like we were eating if we`re not. Marie`s ideas of having special cuts like filet mignon, t-bone steaks and other choice beef portions soon faded in the chaos of the moment. And as if to emphasize our predicament, our team members shamed us by not only eating one helping, but two! When you want to appear to be eating you push your food around the plate and when the host is elsewhere engaged you quickly slip a large portion of food on the lucky recipient`s plate to your right. This requires some planning. Once you pick out a young strapping growing burly young man you seat yourself to his left. You must notify him of your intentions so he is not caught off guard while you perform the deed. We tried, one forkful and the mixture of beef, rice, meat juice and bits of bones were more than we could handle psychologically. The truth was it wasn`t tasting bad but we had witnessed the preparations. City people should never watch sausage being made, or eat cow that they`ve seen hacked into pieces. After the dinner everyone gave speeches as is the custom in Africa. We passed out a case of Bibles and prayed a dedicatory request that God would freely bless this humble little church, the congregation and most of all, its new pastor, our own VP Only a few people that day knew the real reason for the great feast. The cow had served as a living, or dead in his case, lesson, to us all of a dept that was paid, once for all, at Calvary. Had the injustices been satisfied? We believed that it was, and that made it so for us. Through the entire process the VP`s family, members of the children`s village and all people had learned lessons of integrity. Their burden had been lifted. VP`s past was now water passed under the bridge and he had a new beginning in Munsamya village. In hindsight our thoughts proved to us repeatedly that we would have done the same things all over again. If there were children perishing then we would rescue them. This time we might asked more questions that we can only ask at this time in our lives, with the knowledge we have accrued. Only God could see into their hearts and motives. We would move ahead as God directed us. And how are we to accept this gigantic misdeed? Are we to become cynical and embittered? No, quite the opposite. In spite of all the lovely and generous sponsors who have maintained these little ones, we have great visions and expectations for their futures whether they are orphans or not. Isaiah 61:3 which refers to the restoration of Israel is our verse for these children. To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

Right now they are a thriving group of the most delightful assortment of God's children.  They are being cared for and are under the legal authority of HEED Uganda (help, equip, evangelize, disciple), an NGO in Uganda.  We are committed to seeing them through, to see each child's Godly potential realized.  Never has our love and hope for them diminished.  They are the next generation of missionaries that will go to all the corners of their country and to the world to bring the good news of Jesus' love.  We will see to that vision with them as we continue to nurture them.  Our last meeting with the children was in August 2008.  After reading an assuring and affirming love letter to them from Mamma Julie, we sang, danced, prayed, played and in unison they recited Jeremiah 29:11, boldly and without hesitation, "For I know the plans I have for you..."

Mukama Yebezibwe (Praise God)

The End..Not!

Marie H. Meaney Bellevue Washington October 26, 2008


Epilogue to Cow Redemtion Day

It is many years past the time of the rescue of the Myalirro orphans. They have grown up.  Shortly after the children were settled in Kampala area, the capital city of Uganda, a huge scheme of deception was exposed to Mike and Marie (see Cow Redemption Day).  We were at home in Bellevue when we learned of this scheme of deception and so Mike quickly planned an emergency trip to Uganda to get to seek and reveal the truth in this predicament and deal with all of the principals involved.  The story of this trip is In Cow Redemption Day.  It was important to Mike during this traumatic time that no one person be marked and vilified so that ministry to the children could continue onward.

It was with great relief that we received the following letter of apology from the local pastor to the Africa Village Ministries board:

Antone Lulwangwa a brother in Christ Jesus according to the grace of God.  To the brethren in the USA.  May the grace and peace of Christ Jesus our Lord abide with you.

Brethren, I am writing to you to repent before you to our God the Father for not telling you the truth in regards to the children.  I am asking for your forgiveness for the sinful act.  I hid from you the truth regarding my daughter Miriam whom I fathered in my third wife. But that daughter had no peace in the home.  That is why she was taken to the Myalirro Village where she was found and I moved to Kiboga
where I still live.

Brethren, I did not disclose all of those details to Pastor Paul Ssekabira or any of his fellow pastors.  I am asking for forgiveness for the acts relating to that child which has offended you and have hurt your ministry.  May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ abide with you.

Yours, Anone Lulwangwa.