Uganda (MNN) – Communities in Uganda are being transformed by the Gospel and are pulling away from witch doctors.
Africa was once called the dark continent because it was thought by Europeans to be unknown and mysterious. According to Dean Vander Mey from Set Free Ministries, it can still be called the dark continent today because of the sexual abuse that plagues the continent.
Join us as we begin part two of our two-part conversation about how God is transforming communities in Uganda! Click here to read part-one about new Christian school.
Witch doctors remain a prevalent issue in many parts of East Africa as the only source of medicine many East Africans have access to. In Uganda, there are 645,000 witch doctors, including 7,000 in the areas Set Free works in.
Vander Mey reports that witch doctors sexually abuse 90 percent of the children taken to see them. “When you get abused and traumatized as a child all the way through until you’re a teen and as an adult, there is such fear that the whole place is held by fear.”
Sexual Trauma and Transforming Lives
The prevalence of sexual abuse and AIDS has also made Uganda a country of children, with over half the population under age 18. The average adult in Uganda only lives to be in their mid-to-late 50s, and the country has a high birth rate. The spread of AIDS has contributed to the nation’s life expectancy and death rates.
Set Free is making it a priority to spread the truth of the Gospel to these communities and free them from this cycle of sexual abuse. By providing both truth and basic resources, this also removes the power of witch doctors.
Vander Mey says, “We call upon God, we get you good medicine, [and] we’re going to love you back to life. We’re going to care for you, we’re going to love you, and we’re going to disciple you. And now you have a whole new generation of Christ followers who will be disciples of Jesus Christ. They will no longer have that fear they had before.”
Once communities hear the Gospel and have access to better medicine, they turn away from witch doctors. Increasingly, Vander Mey reports, witch doctors in these areas are losing business and moving away.
New School Brings New Opportunities
Set Free is helping communities by keeping children in school and away from the risk of human trafficking and witch doctors.
The ministry sponsors many schools in Uganda and is also working on building a high school of their own. In four years, Light Academy and Vocational Center will be open to 1,200 new students.
Light Academy is a Christian high school and boarding school that will also teach students about career skills.
Vander Mey says, “We want every one of our young people to know how to do jobs so that when they leave high school, they can be gainfully employed immediately.”
He adds, “We teach not only the children, but we teach the communities [too].”
Donate to Set Free and sponsor a child for just $20 a month.
“With that $20, we will make sure that child gets fed, clothed, and has a Christian education from age five to 20,” Vander Mey says.
Continue to pray for Ugandan children and the communities around them. Pray that they would be freed from the cycle of AIDS and abuse, and that they would hear the Gospel. Pray also for Set Free as they build Light Academy and open it to new students.
Header photo courtesy of Set Free Ministries.