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
- 13 June 2019
The Shepherds are currently in the UK on Home Assignment. “We have great news that a young lady from Canada is hopefully coming to Kotido in September for one year to help us with homeschooling. Please be praying for her to raise the financial and prayer support for her to come and that God will be preparing her to serve in Kotido.”
- 26 April 2019
The Shepherds are currently on their way back to the UK for Home Assignment. “..keep praying for the Karimojong. Pray that they would know and love the risen Lord Jesus. There is a lot of nominalism in Karamoja, and people might know of Jesus but genuine belief in the risen Lord Jesus is rare, so pray that God would continue to grow his church here and that many would turn to Him. Pray also for rain and for peace. There’s been a lot of little cattle rustling and tit-for-tat killings where we border another tribe to our west, and there’s been no rain for about six months, so people are really starving here and we’re seeing a lot of malnutrition cases. So pray for rain, that it would bring food; and pray for peace.”
- 8 March 2019
“It’s seven weeks until we leave Kotido to start making our way back to the UK [for Home Assignment]. We’re in the middle of handing over lots of ministry things, especially to do with the Health Centres, doing lots of training and making sure that people understand how things should be going. Paul has been handing out and working with quite a lot of audio Bible plans. They’re little solar powered devices that he puts different books of the New Testament on that we’ve got recorded in Nkarimojong. And he has been training people – God promises that when his word it never comes back empty, so he has been trying to sow the Word out there with people who can’t read and don’t have access to it. Pray for us as we begin to prepare to leave for four months – by the time we come back it will be closer to five months! Please pray for us all to adapt well back into UK life and that our reverse culture shock would be mild. It’s going to be especially tough for Tabitha and Martha because they have no real memory of the UK, so please pray especially for the kids.”