We Are The Missionaries Of Africa
There’s an ancient Chinese proverb that states: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”It’s a popular saying. It’s been used on billboards, advertising labels and even as messages under bottle caps. In fact, I don’t think I can count how many times I’ve heard or read the proverb somewhere.
But when the statement is applied to the needs of children -- children who are desperately poor and without anyone to care for them -- it causes me to consider the impact we can make on an entire generation.
Please let me explain.
Recently I received a letter from Fr.Sebastian Benyumiza. Fr.Sebastian is a priest who lives and works in Kiryandongo, in the Masindi District of northwestern Uganda, EastAfrica. Fr. Sebastian’s mission reaches out to some of the poorest people of the world. But in addition to those who have lived in Kiryandongo all their lives, the area is also home to tens of thousands of men, women and children who have come to the area seeking safety . . . refugees from Sudan, the Congo and even Kenya.
“There are so many problems here,”Fr. Sebastian explains. “Diseases such as malaria and AIDS have claimed an untold number of lives. As a result, the average age of those living here is about 15 years old. By far, the overwhelming majority of those living here are children -- children who have had to watch their parents and friends died. In their short lives, they have seen more suffering than most of us would in an entire lifetime. I am hoping we can do something about that.”
“While the treatment of those who are sick is one of our primary concerns here,”he continues, “the other major concern is malnutrition. And in many ways, it is because of hunger and poor nutrition that so many people become sick. That is why it is a problem we must address -- and quickly.”
"A number of people in this area who own land have offered land for us to use for growing crops and for the grazing of livestock. Unfortunately, though, in order to grow enough food to feed the large numbers of people we need assistance in getting started."
“As I write this letter to you, there are nearly 100 young boys -- most of them in their teens -- who are willing to plow parcels of land large enough to grow food to help feed those who are hungry. The young people have cleared the land -- removing stumps and large stones that would be a hindrance. But currently we have neither plows to prepare the ground for planting, nor oxen to pull the plows.”
Fr. Sebastian goes on to write that if the community had the plows and oxen they needed, they could begin to grow enough food not only to feed those who are hungry, but they would even be able to sell some of their crops to purchase more seed and to sustain the farming operation.
My friend, is there some amount you can send to help the young people in Fr.Sebastian’s mission purchase the oxen and plows they need? The cost of just one pair of oxen is $620. One ox costs $310. While I know we cannot possibly raise enough money to buy all of the oxen and plows needed, I am hoping we can send at least $31,000 to help purchase oxen, plows, seed and other farming equipment as well as help some of our other missions throughout Africa.
“Please- is there some amount you can send to help the young people in Fr, Sebastian’s mission?”
As refugees, so many of them have already witnessed devastating trauma and suffering. How wonderful it would be if we could reach out to these boys and girls -- young men and young women -- to give them a chance to live healthier lives . . . and eventually support themselves and their families. Whatever gift you can send, please know how much I sincerely appreciate your kindness and generosity. God bless you for all that you continue to do for the poor!
Your Missionary Friend,
Denis P. Pringle
Director of Development