April 2017 Akigyeno Update

We have some pictures that about a month old now but it's been hard for for Pastor Philip to send us the pictures.  The network is poor in Karamoja.  

Below is a picture of the start of the Classroom block.  They dig a trench which is about 2-3 feet deep and then they will start the brick laying to start the walls.

Below are pictures from the future pit latrine.  It's massive but it is going to have 10 stalls for the children to use and 2 stalls for teachers to use.

We hope to have more pictures very soon!

Blessings,

Becky

Update on Akigyeno Nursery & Primary School

Progress has been slower than we anticipated because well this is Uganda and communication is difficult and slow.  I was in the United States from September 2016 - January 2017 trying to find work to support me and my family.  Unfortunately, the ministry and school suffered for it.  Communicating with Karamoja is best by phone and it's too expensive to call from the states.  We tried our best but it really needed to be in person meetings to get things accomplished.

I returned with a mission team the last week of January and we held several meetings about Akigyeno while in Karamoja.  We agreed with the engineer/contractor with a revised plan for the buildings.  We agreed to start with a building that will be 3 classrooms, an office and storage room.  As well as a building for the pit latrines (toilets without the toilet).

We agreed with the engineer based on the funds that we have raised that we could start the construction and we would continue to pray for the remainder that we'll need to get the school open and operating.  Our revised budget is that we need $50,000 in order to finish these buildings and have the funds to keep the school open and operating for the year.  

To start we will have the youngest classes of Baby, Middle and Top which are essentially Pre-K in America.  Over time and as God provides we will add more classes for Primary 1 up to Primary 7.  There should be a maximum of 30 kids in each class.

We have raised just about $14,000 to date.  You may remember that there was anonymous donor who agreed to match up to $10,000 so we were going to be at $24,000.  Unfortunately, that donor has come into a financial problem and informed me this week that they will not be able to give us that money.  We are really sad to get this news but remain hopeful that God will provide.  We pray also that God will replenish the donors as they had the heart to give initially but Satan got his nose in the way.

Serving God in ministry is not easy and when we do what pleases God is often means that we upset Satan.  Over the years many things have happened that make me know for sure that the enemy is trying to destroy Ezekiel 37 Ministry.  I’ve been in a vehicle that rolled 3 times on the way to Karamoja.  Myself and others have been sick prior to a mission trip or while on the trip.  Cars have broken down, things have gone missing, etc.  Satan tries to distract us and deter us from what our calling is.  But we serve a mighty, powerful and loving God protects us when we call on Him, heals us when Satan attacks us, and who is going to see us through to the end.

The bible tells us “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatian 6:9 

It is hard not to get tired and doubt whether we are doing the right thing.  But one thing I cannot lose is HEART for the Karamajong people.  I will not give up on the children who deserve an opportunity to go to school.  They are what drives me.  Seeing the faces of the parents light up when we tell them the school is coming.  Seeing the smiles on the children’s faces as they have been yearning to learn but have not been given an opportunity.

Below are some pictures and video of the plans for the school and what progress they made while we were there in Karamoja.  I am waiting for more pictures to show what they’ve gotten done in the last 3 weeks.  But I have been told they bought 20,000 bricks!

We need new ideas of how to help this school proceed.  Some are selling candy bars in Ohio.  Some have had yard sales.  I think the possibilities are endless but it’s almost impossible for me to do from Uganda.  If you have an idea don’t be afraid to share it with me.  We welcome any and all ideas, prayers, and support.

May God bless you and your families.

Blessings,

Becky Sekamanya - Executive Director & Missionary

"For we walk by faith, not by sight."

"For we walk by faith, not by sight" from 2 Corinthians is definitely true for this period in our lives.  Never did I think that my life would be like it is now.  Ten or even five years ago I would have laughed if you told me that I would be living in Uganda, married to a Ugandan born-again Christian Pastor, have an 11 year old step-daughter, a 10 month old baby boy, and be the Executive Director of a non-profit that is trying to improve the lives of so many people in a far off forgotten land. 

I had a great paying job.  Worked for some really wonderful doctors.  Not were they only good doctors but amazing men who were mentors to me as well as my bosses.  Two of them are the ones that led me on mission trips to El Salvador and then Uganda.  I owned my own home, had my own car, could come and go as I pleased.  Everyone spoke the same language as me.  I could go shopping any day and time that I wanted and purchase whatever I wanted.

Life now is so different...almost completely opposite.  I have a job online that gives me only 5 hours of work a week, we rent a house, I can't/won't drive here, most people do not speak the same language as me, i cannot go shopping any day or time that I want and I cannot move about freely.  Life as a missionary family is not easy...

So why do I stay?  Why do I do this?  Because I believe wholeheartedly that it is what God has called me to do.  He blessed me with a wonderful husband, step-daughter and son.  He is using me to change the lives of so many people not only in Karamoja but also in Kampala (the capital where our church is).  

Our church is located in the slums of Mulago-Kampala.  You have to navigate through narrow alleyways, cross many open sewer lines and small burning trash piles to get to it.  Every time I pray not to trip or lose a sandal as I’m crossing those line drains.  Our church is full of youth who need to be counseled and encouraged and be shown how to lead a Christian life in a country full of witchcraft and old African traditional ways of thinking while also being introduced to the internet, Facebook and Whatsapp and all the negative and worldly things that can shape and change their paths in life.  We also need to get adults in the church so that they can help sustain it.

Then there’s Karamoja.  People do not go to Karamoja.  The Ugandans in the cities think negative things about the people of Karamoja.  They look at us like we are crazy for going there.  They ask questions or make comments like “Do they wear clothes?” and “I heard those people have tails.”  Like they are wild animals or something.  I find myself educating Ugandans about their own people.  Some have even asked me if I need a visa or passport to go to Karamoja.  Karamoja is part of Uganda...these are also your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. 

Foreigners do not go to Karamoja because it’s hard to get there and who is going to tell them about it anyway?  Most churches or organizations that send teams to Uganda are in the bigger towns and cities.  Why?  Because most of those pastors went to America at some point and shared about their church, school, and/or village and the church in America felt called to act.  Others get support when visitors come to Uganda with a mission trip and develop a relationship with them.  Those teams are not going to Karamoja because who is going to tell them that Karamoja exists?  The people and pastors of Karamoja do not have access to the internet.  Most don’t even have electricity or even a mattress to sleep on.  So how will the world know about them?

Someone needs to fight for these people.  Someone needs to be willing to go to where people do not want to go.  Someone needs to speak for those who cannot be heard.  Someone needs to be here to talk to the people (young and old) to help lead them to Christ.  Someone needs to be willing to stand firm in what God has called them to do.  I am that person.  My husband, Abdu, is that person.  We know what God has called us to do.  We know where our heart is.  We know what we're supposed to be doing…

It is interesting because most pastors we know have a school (and church) that generates income for their families.  Most of those schools were built and supported by American or European churches/organizations.  Abdu and I have used our savings to build a school as our own family business and we are praying that it will fill quickly with paying students so that it can sustain itself and our family.  The dilemma for my husband and I is that we have 2 ministries. We have our church plus the school that we built and then we have the Ezekiel 37 Ministry in Karamoja.  So how can we fund-raise or raise awareness for both?  My heart is Ezekiel 37 and Karamoja.  His heart is Saved to Serve Worship Centre and Kakoni Christian Junior School.  The struggle is real…We have children in our church who should be in school but their parents, usually single mothers, cannot afford to pay for school so the children are sent home.  I have an endless line of children in Karamoja who are not in school because their parents cannot pay for them either.  So what should we do?  I don’t know really…we just continue to pray for wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and courage.

All of that is why it is unbearably difficult to accept the fact that I’m going back to America to get a job in order to support our family financially until the school we have built starts to sustain itself and our family.  I’m leaving the church behind, I’m leaving Karamoja behind, I’m leaving my husband and step-daughter behind.  It was by far the most painful and difficult decision to make in our young marriage.

Jeremiah 29:11 is my favorite scripture and the reason our baby is named Jeremiah.  It says that the Lord has the plan for us.  A good plan.  A plan not to harm or hurt us.  The plan I had for myself 5-10 years ago is not the path I am on right now.  God has put us here at this time for a purpose.  We stand firm in the belief that He is going to do mighty things for Saved to Serve Worship Centre, the people of Karamoja through Ezekiel 37 Ministry, and the Sekamanya family.  What an amazing testimony we will have to share at the end of this...

"For we walk by faith, not by sight."  2 Corinthians 5:7

Blessings,

Becky Sekamanya