Sunday, 21 November 2010

Saving Life

Are you perhaps looking for an opportunity to care for a child who has been orphaned? Juna Amagara (translation: Saving Life) Ministries is looking for sponsors for children in western Uganda. We have been very impressed with everyone we have met who works for this ministry (and we are so thankful for the role Juna Amagara missionaries played in our adoption story).

$35 a month can provide the funds necessary for an orphaned child to go to school. Please take a minute to look at the pictures of these children waiting for sponsorships and prayerfully consider if one of them is waiting for you.

One of them has been waiting for us! We have been wanting to sponsor a child in Uganda for a while now, but had a previous commitment to a young woman in Bolivia. Monday we got a letter in the mail announcing that the community that the young woman lived in was "graduating"- they no longer need intensive aid- and thus our sponsorship commitment was coming to an end. The next day we got the email from Juna Amagara about sponsoring an older child (coincidence? I think not), and promptly filled out our paperwork. We are so excited to find out who we will be matched with and to begin a relationship with them.

From Juna Amagara's recent newsletter:
If you go to our website sponsorship page, you will find 20 children waiting for sponsors. Most of these are teenagers, some of them 18, 19 or older. Why, you may wonder, are these kids needing sponsors when other orphan care organizations offer only small children, ages 5 and older?

Rev. Ben offers this answer:

"Given the opportunity of promise of a better life and hope through education, teenage orphan boys and girls who didn't get a chance to start school early because their parents had died and there was no one to give them a glimmer of hope earlier until they heard of JAM, their pleading for help is: IT'S NOT TOO LATE FOR ME TO START STUDYING, PLEASE GIVE ME A CHANCE! Then ugly reality stares you in the face that these teenagers who have lost all or one of their parents and all sense of security gone, and if they are girls will soon lose their virginity and innocence due to rape or sexual exploitation as they look for support and survival, a sense of exciting assurance wells up in our guts that ALL IS NOT LOST for these precious ones once IF they can get sponsors to get them into JAM Programs. We have seen it happen that age ceases to be a deterrent for these teenagers and with ambitious gusto they pour their youthful wits and strengths to studying hard.

"There are kids like these all over Uganda. Growing older with no education leads to all kinds of problems, the greatest of which is HOPELESSNESS. That's why we run Youth for Survival Conferences around the country - to give hope to those we cannot bring in to the program. We need to tell them that with God, ALL IS NOT LOST."

Indeed, seeing a tall young man in class with small children seems odd, but to him, a 16 year-old going through primary school, is the chance of a lifetime, a drowning man grateful that someone saw him in time and threw a line.

Sponsoring a young child is perhaps a 15-year commitment. But many people would like to see a "return on their investment" much earlier, say 5 years or less, watching a child gain enough education - reading, writing, arithmetic and English - to support him or herself in that time. Sponsoring a teen will do that. And when you come to Uganda, you can hug someone your own size."

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