When the news of the Covid-19 pandemic reached the ears of the Ugandan population, many had no idea how it was affecting the rest of the world until a national quarantine was announced. Masulita village was hit hard. First, families began experiencing hunger. Then despair hit.

About 40 kilometres northwest of Uganda’s capital is a village called Masulita. In this small and lively town stands Yesu Akwagala Masulita Worship child development centre. The brick and mortar church is in the centre of town, surrounded by homes and people from all walks of life.

Pastor Cyrus Nsubuga shares what he refers to as his Covid-19 pandemic 'God-story'.

“The church building has been closed during the Covid-19 pandemic but the church ministry isn’t,” he begins. The 54-year old pastor has served at the church for the last 20 years. His 'God-story' is one of giving to meet the needs of others and reaching out to many to extend words of encouragement. 



body-3.jpgYesu Akwagala Masulita Worship child development centre.

“I realised that the families we were encouraging had more than just spiritual needs: they needed food. Compassion came alongside us to support us in giving to this cause,” he says.

Ninety vulnerable families in the area were provided with food parcels. Cyrus also shared harvests from his own garden with the rest of the community. However, he realised that the food would soon run out and the community would still need help. He came up with a food security programme for every family to plant vegetable gardens that would sustain them for a longer period.

While families had gardens to plant food, they did not have seedlings because the pandemic had robbed them of their meagre savings. Compassion provided money for seedlings: maize, beans, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, and other seedlings. Cyrus and his ministry team distributed them to the children's families and other members of the community to produce and conserve food for everyone in the community.

Those who lived nearby joined the pastor on his farm to learn more about effective farming methods. “True religion is meeting the needs of others,” he says. “Our partnership with Compassion is a blessing. When they supported the food security programme, families had a sustainable source of food.”

Every week, children and parents visit the pastor's farm to learn more about farming. Afterwards, they return to their garden to put what they have learned into practice. “We were given avocado, bean, and maize seedlings which we planted in our garden," says Norah, a sponsored child. "We are starting to harvest the beans."


body-5.jpgPastor Cyrus's farm.

Victoria, who is also a beneficiary, says, “I planted watermelon, beans, maize, and potatoes from the seedlings that the pastor gave us. I learned to plant my own food and fertilize it as well.”

In a village where smartphones and televisions are a luxury, Cyrus had to find suitable means of encouraging the congregation and sharing the gospel with them. The community’s faith was starting to fade as many became discouraged by the effects of the pandemic. They needed to meet with their church leaders to pray but churches could not reopen.

Again, Pastor Cyrus took action. Now the community's basic needs had been met, he set out to minister to their hearts in as many ways as he could. With his wife Prosy, he made calls to different families every day and visited others. His ministry team met every week to pray for the congregation’s and community’s needs, while the associate pastor rode his bike to counsel people at their homes.

Cyrus believes God has provided opportunities during the pandemic for him to reach the unreachable. One of his special encounters was with three-year-old Hasnat and her grandfather. Hasnat is part of Compassion's programme. Her grandfather is a devout teacher of a different faith. Cyrus visited their family each week, taking food and sharing words of encouragement with them.

body-2.jpg
Children of Masulita Village.

His message to them was of hope during challenging times. The family welcomes the pastor to their home and has shared with others about how the church has been good to them. “Pastor has given us food and helped with other basic needs that we had. He has come to encourage us and we believe that we are loved by this church,” says Nalongo, Hasnat's grandmother.

Cyrus is convinced that when the doors of the church open, people of different faiths will visit. “I have seen God at work all my life, but even more during this pandemic. He has opened doors for ministry,” he says.


body-1.jpgPastor Cyrus and his wife, Prosy, in Masulita Village, Uganda. 

“I encourage every leader to stand by the Word of God. This is not the first time the church doors have been closed. We have seen worse in history but the Church will stand. God will hold us together."

Related posts

Three ways letter writing benefits you and the child you sponsor

Three ways letter writing benefits you and the child you sponsor

Thursday, 22 April 2021 — Kyle Davidson

My life is already so busy with my work and kids that it’s hard to find the time. I need to wait until I have more to say. My letters don’t really matter anyway. I don’t know if you can relate to any of these. If you can, you’re definitely not alone. And you’re not a bad sponsor. That said, writing letters have amazing benefits, not only to your sponsored child but to you! Let’s take a look at three benefits of writing letters to your sponsored child.

 

Read more

Sustainable agriculture transforming lives in Vanuatu

Sustainable agriculture transforming lives in Vanuatu

Monday, 12 April 2021 — Tearfund New Zealand

The key word is "sustainability". Instead of pouring money and resources into just the emergency needs, Tearfund's Farming and Enterprise partner in Vanuatu invests in a sustainable model that will hopefully outgrow the need for funding. An ambulance on the ground is unquestionably essential, but not nearly as powerful or effective as a fence on top of the cliff.

 

Read more

What are Self Help Groups and how do they transform lives?

What are Self Help Groups and how do they transform lives?

Thursday, 08 April 2021 — Kevin Riddell

Self Help Groups are a simple, yet highly effective way to help lift women and their families out of poverty. They also provide emotional support and teach valuable life skills. They help women access a better future and have a positive impact on generations to come.


 

Read more

Gisele

Gisele's salvation transforms her family

Wednesday, 31 March 2021 — Compassion International

Gisele's family were not Christians when she was registered into the Child Sponsorship Programme. After she gave her heart to the Lord as a young girl, her greatest prayer was that her parents would share her faith. This is a story of how God turned a trial into a testimony and answered her prayer.

*All names have been changed to protect identities


 

Read more

God honours a little boy’s big faith

God honours a little boy’s big faith

Wednesday, 31 March 2021 — Compassion International

Although seven-year-old Elvis wasn't scheduled to receive a Bible at his Compassion centre, he insisted until the staff gave him one. Since then, Elvis, whose persistent prayers for his father's salvation were honoured by God, has become an example of great faith to others.


 

Read more

Local staff in Burkina Faso and Thailand help sponsored children weather Covid-19 storm

Local staff in Burkina Faso and Thailand help sponsored children weather Covid-19 storm

Tuesday, 30 March 2021 — Kelly Burgess

Tearfund’s partner, Compassion, provides sponsorship programmes for vulnerable children in 25 countries. All of these countries have had very different experiences of managing life in a pandemic. It’s in this storm that our Christ-centered, child-focused model has been a safe anchor. Our programmes are facilitated by local church partners. These Christ-centred staff are dedicated to the community they know and love. They are their neighbours. It is this local connection that has been so crucial in enabling them to meet the needs of sponsored children and their families—right where they are.

 

Read more

A Modern Slavery Act for New Zealand, could help you shop guilt-free

A Modern Slavery Act for New Zealand, could help you shop guilt-free

Wednesday, 24 March 2021 — Claire Gray

As history can attest, Modern Slavery isn’t an injustice that any of us can tackle alone. To end modern slavery, we need a collaborative movement that addresses the issue from multiple angles. This is, in part, already being accomplished through our overseas partners and our research in ethical fashion. But, to further the movement toward Modern Slavery Legislation in New Zealand, Kiwis like you can have a significant role.

 

Read more

Show more