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Friday, October 23, 2009

Mercy Uganda Banquet

It is my privilege to guest blog for Laura about the Mercy Uganda Banquet held last night.

My husband and I met Veronica Nakyewe, director of the Comforter Pregnancy Center in Kampala, Uganda, for the first time last night and what a delightful, sold out for the Lord woman.  

She's suffered so much and yet done so much for the Lord, that I stand humbled and amazed to realize she is 6 months older that one of my sons!  Just a child in my eyes.

At the banquet, Veronica gave her testimony and I hope I recount it accurately as I attempt to retell her story!  

First, here is a picture of Veronica speaking at the banquet.

Veronica was born December 1, 1976 in a small village in Uganda.  That was the first miracle God did in her life.  Her mother did not want her to be born.  Veronica's mother visited the village witch doctor and she drank something he gave her which was supposed to cause her to abort.  However, the Lord had other plans for Veronica's life.

Veronica was born as her mother tried to get from their tiny village to the hospital....before she could board the bus, Veronica was born!  In spite of all her mother had done to abort her, Veronica was born a healthy baby with the exception of her legs.....they were very misshapen and as a result she has always used a cane to walk.  Veronica grew up in a remote village where there was no running water or electricity.  Another miracle was that she didn't contract a life threatening infection.

Because of her disability, Veronica did not attend school.  She was destined to grow up uneducated and disabled. She stated that she thought the future was for other people, not for her. Oh, but that was once again not God's plan!  A group from Norway came into Uganda with the specific purpose of educating children with disabilities.  Seventeen children from Veronica's district applied.  The group could only choose two from each district.  Yes, Veronica was chosen!  As a result, she went to school in a larger city and was educated.

When Veronica graduated from school, her mother did not want her to come back to their village and so for a time, Veronica lived away from her home and her family.  Veronica knew nothing of the Lord at this time, or anything about being a Christian.  She actually wanted no part of church.  People would invite her, but her answer was always no.

Veronica loved music and one day as she passed the church, she paused outside to listen to the music.  As she explains, when a preacher or anyone in authority tells you to do some in Uganda, you do it without question.  The pastor came out and said to Veronica.....what are you doing out here?  Come inside!
She reluctantly entered the church and tried to sit in the back so she could slip out, but the pastor insisted she go to the front.

As Veronica listened to the sermon , she felt it was her life the pastor was talking about.  She thought her colleagues had told her story to the pastor.

The next time she came back to church, the same thing, it seemed as if the pastor was preaching of her life.  She felt something change in was Jesus calling her to Himself.  She knew God had a plan for her life, but she wasn't sure what that plan was to be, so she kept on doing her job as she had been.  She immersed herself in the Bible and learned everything she could to know Him.  She found she had a hunger for the things of God.

Veronica says there are many abortion clinics in Uganda, but if a girl cannot afford to go to one, there are other people who help these girls to abort their babies. Many, many girls abort their unwanted and unplanned pregnancies in Uganda.

In 2002, Veronica's younger sister found herself pregnant and wanted to have an abortion but didn't have enough money.  A friend told her she knew a woman who would help her.  During the attempt to abort her baby, Veronica's sister bled to death.  Veronica was in church when someone came to tell her that her sister had passed away.  Veronica was heartbroken as she traveled to her home to be with her family.  As the oldest child, she was now responsible for her sister's other children.  Once again, she felt that God had a plan for her life and she knew she would like to help girls and save their babies from abortion.

Veronica found help during her journey to have a place girls could go and learn how to save their babies.  God was working out His plan for her life.  During that time, Laura and her husband Mark, traveled to Uganda with a mission team from our church, Covenant Presbyterian Church in Panama City, Florida.  Our church has been involved with Uganda for many years and teams travel there every year or so.  I think during that trip and following trips,Laura and her husband started feeling that pull to serve, however God wanted them to, in Uganda.

During that time, Veronica emailed Laura and asked her to help her help girls who wanted to keep their babies.  At this point, Veronica had started a pregnancy program.  She knew it needed to be more and prayed about what to call the center.  The word comforter came to her several times.  Veronica asked God to show her with no doubt that the pregnancy center should be call comforter.  The next time she went to church, the pastor preached about the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.  Veronica had her confirmation.  She started the Comforter Pregnancy Center.  The building she was renting in the city of Kampala was put up for sale.  Veronica again talked to Laura and they came up with the 152 Program.  The building was for sale for $152,000.  The plan was to find 1,000 people to give $152.00 to raise the money to buy the building.  They had until the end of October that year.  With the help of many people and the help of churches in Florida, Texas, Alabama and Arkansas all the money was raised just before the lease ran out and they were able to buy the building!  God's work never fails!  Through further donations, they were also able to buy an ultrasound machine so that the girls who came there could see their babies and understand that there was a life they were carrying.

I think Veronica said they have been able to save 327 babies from abortion and have counseled many, many girls in Uganda.

Please join us in praying for this brave woman who answered God's call and has gone wherever He called her!  It has been an honor to meet Veronica Nakyewe!

Below are more pictures from the banquet.

These are things made by the people of Uganda.  All proceeds from these things go right back to the ministry in Uganda.  Even the beads you see are handmade from paper! 

People finding seats and reading the pamphlets about Mercy Uganda and it's mission.  The men had to put up additional tables!

More of the handmade beads from Uganda.

The hand woven baskets and hand made wooden frames are beautiful!

Sam Kasimbo, a pastor in Uganda, talking with Veronica.   Sam and Veronica met in the United States, he pastors a church in a suburban area and Veronica works in Kampala which is a large city.  I think Veronica said there were about three million people living in Kampala.

Laura, director of Mercy Uganda, introducing Veronica.

Veronica and Sam.

Covenant's pastor talking with Veronica.

In the background our pastor of missions leaning on the cabinet, talking with Sam.

Veronica holding Laura's grandson. 

One of the great blessings for me at the banquet was seeing a young woman that I worked with at the local pregnancy center.  I haven't seen her in over a year and had lost contact.  What a pleasure to see her and hear how God has moved in her life! 

God is always moving.  Mercy Uganda gives all the glory to God for the work done in Uganda.  Through Veronica and her ministry, His work is being done not only in the lives of young women in Uganda, but in the lives of people around the world. 

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