While we have all had to make sacrifices during the COVID-19 crisis, the situation is far worse countries like Uganda. Gentle Shepherd is in partnership there with the International Centers for the Deaf (ICCD), a locally based organization serving deaf children aroudn the world.
Did you know that in third world countries, most deaf kids never learn a language? Many live in silent isolation – overlooked, neglected and abused. Some cultures, and even their own families, believe they are cursed or place little or no value on their lives.
Through ICCD, Gentle Shepherd has sponsored deaf children in Uganda to attend school, where they are housed, fed and given a chance to learn sign language, gain a voice, “hear” the gospel and receive a Christian education.
Not long after schools closed here, Ugandan schools were also forced to close and the country went on full lockdown. More than 125 students, including some of our deaf kids and orphans, were left stranded with no family or home to return to.
Even though classes were no longer in session, the children were permitted to stay at school. But the dramatic decrease in revenue from tuition fees and other sources meant that they had very limited funds and were able to only provide one meal at the end of each day, and on some mornings a small bowl of posha, a common root ground into a paste.
When Gentle Shepherd became aware of the need, we stepped up our funding to ensure all the children are getting three healthy meals a day and sufficient medicines to take care of their health needs.
Please join us in praying for these precious children and their pastor, Paul Wandera. His primary school in Jinja, Uganda serves more than 300 children, including more than 125 deaf kids.
Follow-up note: Before realizing that I had already posted an article about these children, Don Eckenroth sent an email out to the staff about them. It was so touching, I wanted to share a few of the comments he made:
“I just want to thank you all for the superb job you all are doing in the midst of this Pandemic. I couldn’t ask for a more dedicated and compassionate staff. What a blessing you are to Kim and me and to our patients and their families.
Over the past few weeks our primary emphasis has been on dealing with this pandemic and you all have responded to the call in the most professional way. I also wanted to let you know that while we have been focusing on the crisis at hand, our mission work continues on.”
After telling us about the children, Don ended by saying, “Whenever you get stressed out and maybe discouraged during your day, just remember that all your hard work is not only is bringing joy and hope our patients and families, it is also taking care of these precious children!”
I think I can speak for my co-workers and say that his message and our mission work mean a great deal to each and every one of us. Because Don and Kim “Live to Give,” we are blessed to serve alongside them as the hands and feet of Christ — at the bedside and beyond.
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