Today, I want to share with you the precious testimony of Gabriel Lobu, our Karamoja Field Manager for Mercy Uganda. Gabriel is such a precious young man of God and a powerful witness to God's love, mercy, guidance, and provision in the lives of His children. We have heard Gabriel speak of his life and have often encouraged him to put it in writing. To think back about pain and suffering, loss and grief is difficult, but Gabriel was finally able to sit down and remember. His remembering is about the pain, but so much more too.....it is about the God who led him through that pain, and is using his past to touch lives today. I hope you will be moved by Gabriel's testimony. I know I was!(The pictures are: top-Gabriel with Kefa Sempangi, founder of the orphanage Gabriel grew up in; Gabriel with his mother in Karamoja; Gabriel with Henry Mello giving out clothes in Karamoja; and the bottom picture is Gabriel pumping water from a new well in Kokorio)
MY LIFE: By Gabriel Lobu
I am Lobu Gabriel Silva a Ugandan by Nationality, a Karamojong by tribe, born in 1982 in Bokora County Moroto District. I am a Christian loving God with all my heart because I know where he brought me from and strongly believe that he has good plans for me.
My father died when I was three years old and that was in 1985, after his death, life became completely difficult and very hard on our side. Our Mother had no job and no one could take care of us, when our uncle heard that our father had died, he came and shifted us from Karamoja to Mbale town and life some how changed, but unfortunately he also died after three Months and life became more harder than it was before because we were new in the area and mom was still jobless and had no money to pay for the house since we were renting. So mom started going around looking for the job to do and I could go with her dig in people’s gardens, banana plantations and they gave us some food and money which we used to pay for the house, but unfortunately we were forced to leave the house due to the failure to pay in time.
In the state of confusion, my lovely mom decided to go to the streets of Mbale town and started begging so that we could get something to eat and survive, so we eventually we made the street our new home. Mum took me to the streets because I was the only boy and she thought I could do much work than girls. As the situation worsened we could just go on picking food that people had thrown in their rubbish pits without minding about whether it was clean, poison free or not but as long as we could find something eatable in the pits and we call it a day. Tears flow from my eyes every time I remember those days of misery and I don’t know what to say but honestly speaking God has been so merciful to me, I don’t know what I would have done without him.
On the streets still life became harder even when the people who used to give us food and clothes became tired of us, neglected us and started sending us away yet we had no where else to go and nothing to do. Mum started to cry to people for help but no one could respond but instead threw food to us as if we were dogs but still we had nothing to do apart from picking it up since we needed it in order to survive. As the bible says that God always has good plans for our lives and he will never leave us neither forsake us, still though there were tough times but still my heart trusted in the Lord and he heard our cry. One day my brother (cousin) Philip came looking for us and he found us in the streets of Mbale town, Mum requested him to take us with him but he couldn’t because he was also staying in an orphanage home of which he couldn’t manage to take good care of us, mum kept on pleading to him and then he promised her that he will only take me to an orphanage home where he was staying by then. After some time, my brother (cousin) Philip came for me and took me in an orphanage home without even a shirt, this Orphanage was called Africa Foundation Children’s Home were I spent over 17 years.
After my Secondary level, I joined high institution of Learning and I did Brick laying (building) and then from there I went in a very big farm for training of about six months. After training I came back and started working for Mr. Rashid Luswa and Mr. Sam as a builder. Two years later I came up with a vision of helping young children who were
suffering, since I had no money I couldn’t do this alone because it was such a great decision to take. I prayed about it every single day that passed by and God is so great because he brought a very good friend of mine called Ronnie. Ronnie was one than willing to stand with me in terms of helping the children. At the moment Ronnie is like a brother to me because we have gone through a lot together and we have seen a lot. So I shared everything with him and since he is also an orphan he knew how painful it is and he was more than willing to help so we joined hands together.
Since we both had no enough money, Ronnie came up with an idea of going to different churches asking for spare clothes from people. As I was building, I used to get very small money but we could always join and go help the children who were orphans in Karamoja where I came from because this place is full of orphans who have no one to take care of them yet they also need care, love, support and they also want to grow up normally like any other child.
We continued looking for support from different people and praying so that God opens doors for sponsorship and connect us to the right people who will be able to stand with us. Surely God is so faithful he connected me to the godly family which is so kind, merciful and his name is Mark and his wife Laura. They have always been on our side trying to get us sponsors for the kids and indeed God is so wonderful because so far now a number of children have sponsors and are able to go to school.
I have witnessed people sleeping empty stomachs, dying of simple diseases, massive poverty which unable parents to pay for their children’s school fees and fail to provide to provide basic needs in the family. Tears always flow in my eyes every time I remember them in my prayers and always pray for them and when I saw them suffering I felt so sorry for them and felt down. I thank God every single day that passes by for the great love that he has for his people may be if it was not for his Grace and Mercy, may be we wouldn’t have been who we are today. (Ephesians 2:8-9).
My prayer is that the Lord opens up doors so that we can be able to reach out to the Nation and in different parts of Uganda and so that we can be able to get more volunteers.
May the Lord bless you a lot.
Lobu Gabriel Silva