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: email@example.com
Latest prayer points
- 21 August 2020
“Pray for the cholera outbreak – there’s been over 100 cases now and at least 10 deaths. However because the local government hasn’t managed to get a sample to the main Uganda laboratory for confirmatory tests the outbreak has not been declared and government/WHO response is still minimal. Pray this week it can be confirmed and the various support from government/NGOs can come to contain this outbreak, pray for the staff we work with who working very hard to care for the patients and pray that the community education regarding water safety is adhered to. Covid is also starting to rapidly increase in Uganda and we’re in the peak of our malaria season which will only increase pressure on the health system here.”
- 17 July 2020
“Sadly it looks like we might have a cholera outbreak in the district. Moroto district to the south of us is just getting on top of one. On Thursday we had two samples test provisionally positive and we’re waiting for confirmation. We have nine patients currently recovering from severe dehydration but are worried about a large outbreak due to broken boreholes, open defecation (there are almost no toilets or long drops in Karamoja), many getting water from waterholes and lack of understanding about cholera. Pray for this to be brought under control without loss of life, pray for communities to be careful of water and sanitation, pray for us as we help educate health care workers and communities and pray that in this on top of COVID communities would seek hope in Jesus and not the ancestral gods.”
- 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.”