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."

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