Paul & Helen Shepherd
with Esme, Martha & Tabitha
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Latest prayer points
- 29 November 2019
“We have now have a fuller team here in Kotido with us. Bruce and Christine, from New Zealand, started with us in 2017. They live more rurally about one hour away from town, and they have been working discipling Christians in some of the village congregations. Destiny, with us for the next year, is homeschooling the girls superbly. Dirce, a nurse from Brazil, arrived last week and is getting stuck into learning Ngakarimojong… Praise the Lord for our team, the encouragement that they are and their passion to see the Karimojong know Jesus.”
- 25 October 2019
The Shepherds have recently returned to Kotido after Home Assignment in the UK. “Give thanks for a really warm welcome [back]. Please pray for us as we get back into ministry… that we’ll be wise and strategic in our thinking, and that of all the good things that are available for us to do that we’d do the best. Pray for an open door for the gospel in the villages. We’re seeing a bit of a hunger for the word of God outside of town. Pray that there will be an open door particularly among the elders, who hold the cultural tie to the villages.”
- 6 September 2019
Paul & Helen will return to Uganda next week after a few months’ Home Assignment. “Home Assignment has given us space and time, to think and prepare, so we’re feeling refreshed and have been able to get some great perspective on our work and priorities when we get back… This Home Assignment we have been reminded of the primary reason we live in Kotdio in the first place, we are there because there are so many (>98%) of people in Kotido who do not have a relationship with Jesus, who are not trusting in him to cleanse all their sins and who will not get the joy and blessing of spending eternity with him. We are there to share that good news, to support and encourage the church to share the good news amongst all, and to encourage and build up those who do believe to continue in faith and to share it with others. Please pray God gives us strength to do this work and please pray he blesses it and many strong and faith churches would grow and be planted amongst the Jie of Kotido.”