Uganda (MNN) — Several years after the end of the civil war, Northern Uganda is still struggling to rebuild, and Christians are working to bring the country a deeper hope than the world has to offer.
John Rouster of Every Child Ministries says that as a result of the 20-year Kony civil war, the villages and infrastructure of Northern Uganda were destroyed.
Over two million people were living in Internally Displaced People Camps (IDPs) where it was unsafe even to get food.
During this time, ECM helped the IDPs by sponsoring children and providing for basic needs. The UN helped provide food for the people while they waited for the war to end.
“When the government told the people to go resettle after the 2006 peace compact, they went back to villages, but there was no well and no village to go to,” Rouster says. “So we’ve actually helped with building houses and a lot of different aspects of helping the people resettle in the areas where their villages originally were.”
For water, the villagers have to travel many miles for unsafe river water.
In 2011, ECM sought to address this issue. They drilled two wells in Uganda, and this year they’re drilling two more.
It is a humanitarian aid effort, but Rouster explains that it goes much deeper than that.
“When we go into a village to help them with water, it just opens the door [so] that we can present the Gospel, and the people are very receptive.”
As the ministry works alongside villagers, Rouster explains, “We’re able to present the Gospel with the people. They really are very open to hearing about the Christ and salvation message.”
However, it isn’t an easy task to drill wells. “We are drilling the well by hand, and it’ll take one to three days. So far, we have tried five holes and hit stone. So we are on our sixth hole for today, and we’re praying that the Lord will give us a breakthrough,” Rouster said last Friday.
ECM uses hand drills because it provides more interaction with the villagers, and it is more economical.
ECM shared an update about the team on their Facebook page after the first day of drilling when two drilling heads had broken. “Please join us in praying that God will guide them to the right place to drill and give everyone perseverance until the job is done,” the post said.
Over the weekend, God answered in a very special way.
On the seventh try to find water, Rouster suggested they drill by a big anthill. Bugs need water, right?
And he was right. They had finally found water!
Continue to pray for the team as they look to drill the second well for another village.
For Uganda in general, Rouster requests, “Pray that the door would stay open in the North.”
Right now, Uganda is a great mission field. “I’ve not had a place yet where we have worked in Northern Uganda where the people have been unreceptive to the Gospel,” Rouster says.
You can also sponsor a child for a small monthly amount. Rouster says they are looking for sponsors for nearly 150 children. The sponsorship helps pay for the child’s education and reduces the financial strain on the family.