I’ve just returned from a trip to Africa that I’ll never forget.
If you’ve been following the series on my blog, you know that the experience was incredible, and God is working miracles in the lives of thousands of people—from Zimbabwe to Uganda.
The journey began in Zimbabwe where my young friend and Liberty University (LU) graduate Albert Mavunga is doing extraordinary work with AIDS orphans. As a native of Zimbabwe, Albert has a passion for reaching the next generation of young people who are growing up in the midst of tragedy.
After he graduated from LU, Albert returned home and implemented sponsorship programs through World Help to care for and educate hundreds of orphans.
The children I met had next to nothing before Albert found them—no parents, no home, and no hope. But you wouldn’t be able to tell by their faces; they were smiling from ear to ear.
Nine-year-old Lancelot quickly became my new best friend. He was happy, healthy, and thriving—all because of the generous help of sponsors.
Albert and his staff are planning for the future by investing in sustainable projects like raising chickens and growing crops. With newly built clean-water projects now in place, the potential for growth is tremendous.
Albert’s passion for full-circle development through serving both physical and spiritual needs has inspired the surrounding community . . . and day by day, the future of Zimbabwe’s children is growing brighter.
Next, we headed north to Uganda, a nation terrorized by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and plagued by poverty for as long as I can remember.
We visited Destiny and Good Samaritan Children’s Homes. Each of these programs care for thousands of children, the majority of them are orphans. Most have been affected by the AIDS epidemic or the terror of the LRA in some way, but they now have the chance to grow up in safety, and experience the joy of childhood.
Each of these children has been given a second chance through the gift of sponsorship and is being encouraged to invest in their communities.
Over 100 students from Good Samaritan planted a church and are now leading hundreds of local people to Christ. Former Children of the World choir members were even leading worship in the service—it was such an incredible moment.
Senior Vice President Tom Thompson and I had the privilege of delivering the commencement speech for 150 students at the Sandy Sansing Vocational School in Gulu. These students—former child soldiers and mothers—were lifting their hands in celebration and dancing in their graduation gowns.
Equipped with hands-on training and expert instruction, these graduates will re-enter the community as promising welders, beauticians, seamstresses, and mechanics. Just think—these young people have been restored from unimaginable suffering and trauma to become Uganda’s next generation of leaders. The hope that fuels them is reviving what evil tried to take away.
Right before he was killed in a tragic car crash, my dear friend and ministry partner John Michael Mugerwa told me about his vision to begin an Operation Baby Rescue program on the campus of Destiny. Abandoned babies were often left on the doorstep of his church—Saint’s Gate—many on the verge of death.
Today, over a year later, John Michael’s vision is being carried on by his wife, Evah. Called “Mama Evah” by the thousands of children she cares for at Destiny, this incredible woman has rescued babies off the streets of Katwe, one of Uganda’s worst slums.
John Michael’s legacy of building a better Uganda is rebuilding a nation that many would say was a lost cause.
There’s so much more I could tell you about my trip. You can find detailed daily posts about our experience in Africa by viewing my recent posts.
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Our team will be traveling to India and Nepal in less than a month, and you won’t want to miss getting an inside look at what your support is accomplishing.
Thank you so much for your tweets, Facebook posts, blog comments, emails, and messages of encouragement during my time in Africa. They mean the world to me . . . and I couldn’t ask for better supporters.
Don’t forget to stay tuned for next month’s India and Nepal blog series!