Africa
Inland Mission

Paul & Helen Shepherd

with Esme, Martha & Tabitha

Sent from St Clement's Church, Manchester

Paul & Helen have living among the Karimojong people of Uganda since January 2017, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

80% of Uganda is engaged in agriculture. The healthy economy of the 1960s was crippled in 1972 by the expulsion of the Asian business community, and then virtually destroyed by tyranny and wars. It has steadily improved since 1992. Under previous government regimes there were restrictions on persecuted Christians, but there is now freedom of religion.

Karamoja is the poorest region in Uganda and the Karimojong carry the stigma of having the lowest status among Ugandans. They live traditional cattle-herding lives in small communities scattered across a harsh landscape. The villages – manyattas – are surrounded by dense walls of sticks to prevent cattle raising and to keep outsiders out.

Among this group of almost one million people, there are relatively few Christians, even in spite of the fact that churches can be found in some large towns. Sadly, most villages still remain untouched by the good news of Jesus Christ. Even in places where Christianity seems to have a place, the reality is that it is often nothing more than a veneer on the face of traditional African spirituality. This is due to the common belief that Christianity is incompatible with the Karimojong way of life. There is widespread alcohol brewing and consumption, family systems are often polygamous, and many people continue to worship ancestral gods. When someone becomes a real follower of Jesus they are often rejected by their families and evicted from the village.

The Shepherds live with their team in Kotido, northern Karamoja, and mostly work with the Church of Uganda. Helen helps to run the church health centre in Kotido, treating and praying with patients, training and mentoring staff to deliver Christ-centred healthcare, as well as doing some admin. She is also involved with the youth choir and youth Bible study at the church in town, helping to inspire the youth to proclaim Christ in all they do.

Paul does a little medicine in the government health centre in town, but spends most of his time discipling rural church leaders and believers. This involves teaching the Bible in ways oral learners can understand, helping believers to create local Scripture-based songs and equipping leaders of small churches.

Paul & Helen are continuing to learn the local language of Kotido as well as home-schooling their three girls, Esme, Martha and Tabitha.

Could you partner with the Shepherds in this work?

Partner with the Shepherds

The Shepherds work in Kotido, Uganda among the Karimojong. They serve through healthcare whilst working with the local church.

If you would like to partner with the Shepherds in your prayers, gifts and practical support, please download and complete this form and return to Freepost RTJH-JRZE-XXKX Africa Inland Mission, Halifax Place, Nottingham NG1 1QN.

For any queries, please email: donations.eu@aimint.org

 

Latest prayer points

  • 12 June 2020

    The Shepherds are currently involved in the frontline response to Covid-19 in Karamoja. “Pray for us as a family – we’re fairly tired at the moment, Helen [has had] her MSc exams this week, we’re still fairly busy with Covid, other medical work, discipleship work and health centre administration (Helen). Pray for endurance, for us to be depending more on the Lord and less on ourselves, for wisdom in how to rest, for us to still have compassion and show his grace to others. and for us all to have patience even when we’re tired. We sang the song, How Firm a Foundation in our little church on our compound [on Sunday] – pray that in this time our dross will be consumed, our gold be refined and that the Lord would be sanctifying us through it.”

  • 7 May 2020

    “In Kotido we make up 50% of the doctors in the district for about 250,000 people. So we have been very, very busy! We are part of the task force that’s looking after the district, so we’ve been doing a lot of training, a lot of investigating of what might work in Kotido compared to other more resourced areas like Kampala. We’ve been working with other staff within the district at the other health centres to see what might be possible in our district. It’s led to some really nice new friendships, particularly with one guy, Abdullai, who we haven’t really worked with before. Pray for us in that, that we’ll take opportunities to witness – we’ve been able to go into facilities in the district that are really in the bush that we’ve never managed to get to before, we’ve never had a reason to go to before, and all of a sudden we have open access.”

  • 13 March 2020

    In the Autumn, the Shepherds will leave Uganda to prepare for a new assignment. “Team life is going well and we are enjoying leading the team. We had a great time on team day recently sharing some of the church planting methodology we learnt about in Nairobi and we’re currently trying to firm up a more long term strategy for the Kotido team. Currently, though, there is no one to take over from us as team leaders – as much as AIM are looking and praying. At times it is tempting to think it’s our fault or that we are abandoning the team and the work here but please be praying we trust that God knew all this and will work out His good purposes here in Kotido. Pray also the he will provide the right leader for the Kotido team at the right time.”

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  • How to engage with the Bible - The Bible has been available in Ngakarimojong since 2010. We asked Caroline what happens once a people group have access to God’s Word in their own language?
  • When suffering sends you home… - God had different plans, bigger dreams, and he walked me along a path that involved trauma, loss and ill health requiring treatment and surgery in the UK.
  • A new song - Music can stir the soul and as scripture is the food of the soul we wanted to create some scripture-based songs to connect with the hearts of the Jie.