Uganda (MNN) – For those living in poverty, government COVID-19 restrictions are more than a setback; they mean real physical struggles. The poor in Uganda are no exception.
Bill Passons with AMG International says, “One of the challenges that we’re having, is that we still serve a very vulnerable people group. Most of the people groups, most of the people, that we serve are disadvantaged and live in poverty. Lack of access to work, not being able to move around to be able to get things that they need is a real challenge.”
Passons says that with the Ugandan lockdown currently extending to May 5th, people used to living meager paycheck to meager paycheck are hit especially hard. As in other countries, all travel and business has been halted except for necessities such as pre-approved visits to supermarkets and medical facilities. AMG’s nursing school and child and youth development center are both shut down as well.
Continuing Food Ministries
However, work is not at a standstill. With studies and public gatherings suspended, AMG has sought new ways to serve. Through coordinators at the development center, they network with families in need, keeping in touch about pressing needs and changes in job status.
Children were served meals at the center when it was still open. Without the possibility of physical community, one concern has been getting food into the hands of those who still depend on that meal. Passons says, “With our kids not being able to come to the center, because [of] the laws not allowing us [to come] together, we’re seeing a great need to be able to try to get food into the hands of the families of the children that we serve.
“And so where governments are allowing, we’re petitioning the government as a charitable organization that is meeting social needs to allow us to go into the communities and distribute food rations to families in need. In some places, they’ve been very willing to allow us to do that.”
Offering Hope to the Poor
Yet even with special permission for AMG to continue to serve, the poor are often facing what seem to be insurmountable struggles with the lockdown. Passons acknowledges that the social distancing and lockdowns are necessary, but adds that these measures put the poor and vulnerable at even greater risk in Uganda and around the world.
For many, these times feel desperate, yet with Christ there is always hope. Passons says the Church’s unity in the Spirit is now joined by a common physical pain as well.
“As we look at this virus and the disruption it’s having around the world, one of the things that we’ve been able to do is just pray for one another,” Passons states. “You know, this is new territory for all of us. So just pray for God’s strength and God’s wisdom. We know as believers that as we keep our eyes focused on Him, that He can give us peace in the midst of even tragic circumstances.”
Passons urges the Church to pray for the poor in Uganda and around the world. He also encourages Christians to look for ways to get involved with the poor in their own communities. Respect the government’s authority, but seek to have the compassion of Christ and be His hands and feet where possible.
Christian work does not stop worldwide because of COVID-19. AMG is still active and aiding the communities they serve. All of that takes resources.
Passons says, “If you do feel led to give through AMG, we’ve set up a special fund for COVID-19 response. So if you have a desire to help, you can just send donations just with that notation, and we’ll get that get that headed to make an impact in one of the fields we serve in around the world.”
To help AMG continue their work in Uganda, click here.
Header photo courtesy of Feed My Starving Children on Flickr https://bit.ly/3bkmu8w