2016 Summer Missions to Uganda!

"For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed." 
Isaiah 61:8-9

Our deepest appreciation to all of you who have made AMI’s Joyful House of Refuge in Uganda a reality by praying for us, supporting us, and donating resources to the project. May God richly bless you!

Our summer mission began with Mukarabe departing on July 11 to lay the ground work for a successful mission, coordinating our different partners and infrastructure. The rest of the Makinto Family (George, David, Paul, and Joel), Cindy & Hannah Akiyama, and Pastor Dave Hino followed several days later. The Makintos’ arrival day coincided with the last day of the refugee group’s stay at Pastor Alex’ residence, where they had been hosted for more than one year, and we were able to move all together into Joyful House of Refuge on July 23, 2016.

In preparation of the official inauguration of JHR on Saturday July 30th, landscaping and outdoor preparations were projects where both refugee and mission team combined muscle power to enlarge and flatten the space in front of the house to be able to receive the large number of invited guests expected for the festivities. We worked with Bombo Pentecostal Church catering services, which provided tents, cooked, and served delicious food to make the inauguration a tremendous success. More than 200 men, women, children and city officials from the community came to witness the joyful event, in which Pastor Alex Ojera masterfully presented the Joyful House of Refuge to the community. Besides dances, praises, songs and food, the highlight of the event was undoubtedly the moment when 4 of the attending members of the public, some of them Muslims, gave their life to the Lord Jesus during Pastor Alex invitation.

On Friday August 5, the adult members of our mission team started early in the morning to visit the Nakivale Refugee Settlement, located about 160 miles west of Uganda’s capital city, Kampala. It is the second largest refugee camp in Uganda, organized by the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). Over 30,0001 Burundians dwell amongst the 115,0002 refugees from East African nations. Many refugees, especially Congolese, have been there for decades with little chance of returning to their home countries or resettlement outside of Africa. Newly arrived refugees are given rudimentary equipment like a digging hoe, machete, and a UN plastic tarp and are left to their own devices to build a house for themselves and their family. Two days later they can line up to receive their monthly food rations consisting of dried corn, beans, porridge, and oil. There is little contact between the refugees and the UN establishment, and the Ugandan government, though graciously providing land and minimal food commodities, is not encouraging contact and integration of foreign refugees into Ugandan society. Life is hard in Nakivale

It was the first time to East Africa for most of our mission team. And what a wonderful experience it was as we all found the local community to be representative of the best of what Africa has to offer: welcoming, natural, uncomplicated, and with a quality of human relationships that rivals the best in the world. Ugandans are very kind and warm and it’s a point of honor to make visitors feel welcome.

Our visit was not without challenges: besides the nightly mosquito attacks and the scarcity of electricity, which only works sometimes, some refugees are still battling with trauma and what Pastor David Hino calls the "orphan spirit": Being suddenly and often brutally pulled away from home in tragic circumstances disconnects the mind from the immediate circumstances and leads to sometimes erratic and irresponsible behavior, including substance abuse. Trauma counseling needs to be an essential part of AMAHORO INTERNATIONAL's outreach to the refugees. However, the challenges did not overshadow the joy of our overall experience!

We are excited about what God is doing with Joyful House of Refuge and we hope you will continue to partner with us!