Children & youth – focused on people

It’s December and Donna Morrison from Martin’s Memorial Church, Stornoway has already been in Uganda a year. Here she fills us in on what she has been doing to help reach young people…

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Amazed and thankful

I am serving in a Ugandan Christian NGO called Dwelling Places (DP) as “Deputy Director of Finance and Sustainability”, which means that I oversee the Accountancy, Procurement and Sustainable Business arms of the organisation.

I am amazed and very thankful at how well I have settled already. I live and work in a lovely neighbourhood and I have made great friends. Ugandans are probably the friendliest people I have ever met!

One of the highlights of my week is helping lead a newly formed youth discipleship group in our local community. I love meeting outdoors with them as night falls and the stars come out, getting to know them and seeing them grow, and at times start out in their relationship with Jesus.

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Donna Morrison from Scotland, with two of her colleagues from Dwelling Places.

Focus on people

My main focus while I am here is to do on the job training, passing on skills and experiences to the team I manage. I have a great team, although recently the main person I was training to one day succeed me as an accountant, got a job offer he could not refuse and left. This was obviously not in my plan, and it has made things a bit more challenging, but I trust that God has a greater plan in it all.

There is lots of scope to improve the way we do things but I want to remain focussed on developing people and not just processes. This is more time consuming and makes me feel quite inefficient at times, but I hope and pray it will be worth it. That is after all what discipleship is all about – people. Sharing Jesus and hopefully demonstrating in every area of life what it looks like to be his follower.

Reaching the Karamojongs

Dwelling Places works hard to reunite street children with their families. Here is one such story…

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The Karamojong are an people group of agro-pastoral herders living mainly in the north-east of Uganda. Their language is also known as Karamojong or Karimojong, and is part of the Nilo-Saharan language group.

Karamoja is located in the northeastern part of Uganda, a day’s drive from Kampala. The land there is so dry that agriculture is almost impossible, famine and drought are common. The region is filled with insecurity caused by rampant cattle raids, during which many people, especially women and children, are killed. This, alongside the poverty, has forced many Karamojong families to flee.

When Michael reached the streets of Kampala from Karamoja, his family were destined to sleep in shipping containers for 0.30 cents a night, and forced to beg on the streets so they could afford accommodation and food. Begging turned into a way of life. For Michael this story has a happy ending, he was found during a street outreach by Dwelling Places and ultimately he has returned to the Karamoja to live with his grandmother. Dwelling Places is working to give many more Karamojongs a happy ending, reaching them with alternatives to begging, and most importantly, with the gospel.

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