Although the drive to the Village of Latordore is long, (3 hours from Gulu), it is always an uplifting experience to visit the Village Learning Centers.
After reaching the town of Kitgum, we turn onto a dirt road for the next hour. As we pass through each trading center along the way, memories return of the time when there were IDP camps during the LRA war. We thank God for the development and that lives seem more normal now. I use the word ‘seem’ because daily movements and activities do not depict what is going on in the hearts and minds of people. Over 20 years of living through that horrible war where children were abducted and murder and rape were common, leaves deep worldview shifts and scars. Thus our mission in teaching children the truth of God’s word and introducing them to Jesus through their daily school curriculum, thereby helping to shape a Biblical worldview in them.
We turn again at the trading center called Orom. Then suddenly the distant mountain range is no longer a massive blue shape, it is now upon us in detail. It is beautiful, so much so that we have to slow down to view it every time we come. As we approach our turnoff to the school, we can see a waterfall stepping down between two hills of the mountain. It has been told to us that the water is so cold there that cows won’t drink it.
Our visit interrupts the teaching as the children turn to greet us. So we do not stay long in the class. Afterwards as the children file out and disappear in serpentine streams going home, our three educators, Paul, Oscar and Andrew sit with us in the shade of a tree. Almost without prompting the stories begin. Fred Lukulala, the Kenyan missionary serving in this area, also joined us.
The stories were recorded but to write them all would be too many pages long. I’m afraid our readers would not finish! We will share some of them, though.
The Roots to Fruits Christian Curriculum has helped them to solve one of the biggest obstacle they have faced here. This village, and in a few of the surrounding areas, are a people called the Okutia. We knew their language was not written but as the educators have learned in the last year, the children come to school speaking a mixture of 4 languages!!! Meaning, the words they use to communicate are a combination of lwo (Acholi), karamajong, okuti, and kiswahili. It is impossible to teach as the educators speak only lwo and English, but much more than that, Andrew pointed out that “people think and operate their culture through their language, so if this mixture is what they know, then the information they receive will be limited in understanding”. There is no set pattern to this manner of communication, yet they all understand one another!
The Educators began to explain that using the RtF Language Development they were able to help them understand a single language (Lwo) and then begin to use that language to learn phonics, reading and understand English. This took most of the first year, so now in the second year, the children are able to learn some of the other subjects.
One of the parents who is a teacher himself, has a child in the Village Learning Center, and has two older children in the local Government school a few kilometers away. He came to visit Fred and told him that the younger child attending the VLC is very different from his other children in a good way. Not only in academics but in behavior and attitude as well. He wanted to see if he could bring his other children to the Village Learning Center.
Oscar shared with us that he and Andrew took a long journey up into the mountains and came upon a village there where the people spoke Lwo (Acholi), but had not heard of Jesus. Could it be possible that there are many people in these remote places that have not heard the gospel? The children in this village on the mountain do not go to school because there is no school?
As we stand now, our support is very low. We are even struggling to pay the salaries of our small staff. We are in desperate need of prayer, support and donations to continue this work of Our Call Missions, developing the Roots to Fruits Curriculum and sustaining the current Village Learning Centers. Please join us and give.
There are several ways to support the Lord’s work through us here in Uganda:
- Sponsor a staff member: (Shepherd’s Staff Mission Facilitator account #6062)
*Jeremiah Olara—Manager, $100 per month (already partially sponsored)
* Alyssa Joy— Curriculum coordinator, $250 per month
* Six Security personnel— $150 per month each
- Monthly support: general daily operations costs. (SSMF #6062)
- Roots to Fruits Curriculum Development (SSMF #6062)
- Keith and Lisa– personal living costs. (Shepherd’s Staff account #6052)
As a sponsor you will receive quarterly updates and testimonies of your partner in the ministry and how the Lord is using them. They will be praying for you, their sponsor (and they are all very faithful in that), and you will be able to pray for them in specific areas of their life and work.
How to give
For all of you who desire to partner financially:
- Checks made out to Shepherd’s Staff Mission Facilitators
- For Lisa and Keith, place #6052 in the note place
- For Our Call Missions, place #6062 in the note place Mail to:
Shepherd’s Staff Missions Facilitators
6739 Academy Rd NE Suite 320
Albuquerque, NM 87109
Go to ‘DONATE’ type in Keith and Lisa Coggin, or Our Call Missions