Our journey began in May of 2014, when we attended a choir performed by orphans from Uganda, at the Birchwood School. Our family returned to see them in St. Croix Falls with the Outcast Youth Group. God used these two events to set in motion, the amazing call Has has placed on our lives.
Just twelve weeks after the first concert, four of our family members were on our way to Uganda (Todd, Jen, Tyler and Brianna), to seek what God had planned for me. During our week stay, God poured an amazing, yet overwhelming vision into my heart. He showed us His heart to end baby abandonment. He also revealed to me, Jenn, that in order for us to accomplish this we would need to move to Uganda. This news was quite emotional for us. During this time he also told us to start a non-profit and gave us the name Woven2Gether, based on Psalm 139, “I wove you together in your mothers womb.” The seeds were planted.
Upon returning to the states, God began asking us to return to Uganda for one year so He could show us what He had planned for us. So we moved our family to Gulu, Uganda for the year of 2016. While we were there, God continued to work out His vision He planted in our hearts in 2014. We established a U.S. non-profit, 501 C(3), called Woven2Gether, the very name God choose for us. God also opened our hearts to receive a much bigger picture of what He had planned for us in the future. Not only did He want us to work to end baby abandonment but to also work to end abortion and minister to broken families. His heart was to use us to raise up Christ Centered families that will glorify Him and value life. Throughout 2016 and 2017, we diligently worked to start a foreign non-profit organization in Uganda, also called Woven2Gether. We received final approval from the Ugandan government in December of 2017.
Why we are being sent….Abortion and abandonment are both illegal in Uganda, however ,even though punishable by prison sentence, occur every day. Mortality rates for mothers due to abortion complications is 20%, 1 in every 5 mothers dies. Self induced abortions, mom ingesting toxic substances, has even higher mortality rates. Crisis teenage pregnancy rates continue to play a huge role in crisis level abortions and baby abandonments. In one government hospital alone, there are 350 teenage births per month. Local statistics show that up to 26% of these girl mothers die due to delivery complications. Factors that increase unplanned pregnancies amongst women and girls are rape, incest, sex trafficking, prostitution, lack of access to education, forced marital pregnancies (polygamist culture) and many others. The Acholi people of Nothern Uganda have endured great tradegy during a twenty five year civil war that ended just recently, in the early 2000’s. The Acholi people now struggle with a 85% unemployment rate amongst men, high orphan numbers, and high numbers of displaced peoples. These are contributing factors to the high abortion and abandoment rates. I am being called to be proactive and not reactive.
We are being called to front the issues that God has placed on our hearts. To be proactive instead of reactive. The work will be hard and trying but we know with God all things are possible and with Him we can do all things.
We will begin confronting these issues, by starting a pregnancy help center and a local house church. We have secured the building for the Wove2Gether Pregnancy Help Center in Uganda. At the center we will be offering free ultrasounds, birthing, marriage and parenting classes, discipleship and post abortive healing classes, job skill training and domestic skill development. We will also be offering an earn to learn program where they will earn points for each class they participate in. They will use the points to purchase necessary items like food, charcoal, baby items, clothing, and household items. Partnering with the local hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and health centers to create a crisis referral program will help to connect those who are faced with unplanned pregnancy and are at high risk for choosing abortion or abandonment with support that they need.
We are also partnering with a local sports ministry to help create connections with the local youth and adults of Gulu. Through this partnership we will be able to create relationships and build trust so that we will be able to pour into their lives to show them the love of Jesus, opening the door for us to be able to disciple them and help them create healthy God centered life styles.
In June we traveled to Uganda to finalize construction details on the pregnancy help center and connected with the gentleman who runs the sports ministry (my landlord for the center, God is so good). We are currently awaiting approval for a five year permit to operate.
In November, Jen returned to Uganda for the first time by myself. The Lord, gave me great favor with a local hospital and I was able to collect statistics for abortion and abandonment numbers for girls ages 12-19. My heart broke for the babies and young moms who have been deceived into believing abortion was their only answer. Over 100 girls per month go into this hospital, one of four, to have infant remains, left from the abortion, removed. O God send me!
We would be so grateful for your prayers as we walk towards letting go of all we know to follow God and go to Uganda to do His work.
We thank you for your love, prayers and support as we prepare for this amazing journey. We are trusting God to meet all our needs in Christ Jesus. This is just the beginning, Ekyalintandikwa.