A Widow, Two Orphans and a Banana Grove

A Widow, Two Orphans and a Banana Grove

Andreas Steffensen – May 22, 2017

Restoring Life, Soul and Family in Northern Uganda

Grace, an elderly widow, was struggling to survive. “I tried to grow crops, but nothing seemed to progress,” she says. “I was unable to earn much money.” Times were so hard Grace thought she might die.

It was a desperate time for many in northern Uganda. The economy was in tatters after 25 years of civil war, with hundreds of thousands living in displacement camps. When people returned to their villages, many had lost the skills needed to put food on the table; they were used to being fed by relief agencies. In addition, hygiene practices were unhealthy. “We lived almost like animals,” Grace says. “I used to relieve myself on the ground in the bush. I dried my plates on the ground, and the chickens stepped on them. The plates would be covered in flies.”

Looking to help, Pentecostal Churches of Uganda (PCU) called on World Poverty Solutions. Bishop Bonny Obua, who oversees 300 churches, says the group hoped WPS would provide oxen and plows. But it became clear this kind of aid wouldn’t solve the communities’ many interrelated problems. Together, PCU and WPS leaders explored whether God had provided other, local solutions to the crisis.

After much discussion and prayer, the path chosen was—a thorough strategy that WPS and other ministries employ in impoverished settings. Local teams trained by WPS offered villagers education in agricultural techniques, hygiene and spiritual and physical health. Eight years later, 17,000 have received training, solving both the food crisis and bringing countless families into new relationships with Christ.

That includes Grace. Her life and home are shining examples of God’s transforming power. “I was shown the best ways to grow crops,” she says. The banana trees she planted provided both food and income, and soon she developed a full grove. “I earn much more money now,” Grace says proudly of her new metal-roofed home, which replaced her grass hut. It is shaded by banana palms and orange, jackfruit and papaya trees. Grace also has a latrine, a hand-washing station, a place to air-dry dishes and another to dispose of garbage.

As Grace grew in faith, she understood that God’s blessings are meant to be shared. So she used her extra income to adopt two orphans from the community and put them through school. Both have graduated and are now married. Grace no longer fears starvation and poverty. “You counseled me that I was going to live,” she says. “Now I am living and strong.”