Guest post from Jodi Jackson Tucker. This summer, Wendy Cheek – a long-time Orphan Sunday Coordinator in Michigan – shared an email with us that brought joy to our hearts. With her permission, we wanted to share it with you, too:
My family just returned from a 2-week trip to Uganda where we were visiting a dear missionary family. When they first arrived in Uganda, they were serving in Soroti where they met and became very close friends with Pastor Fred Alimet and his wife Ruth.
Fred is the pastor of Jesus the Way Ministries church in Soroti. We had been hearing about Fred and Ruth since our friends first got there, so we were excited to have the chance to meet them Sunday morning at church.
At the end of service, Pastor Fred got up to share with the congregation about a conference in Kampala he recently attended that greatly affected him… and he went on to share his vision for his church, congregants, and community to raise up for the orphan.
He talked about CAFO, and Orphan Sunday, and the idea that it’s the church’s role to step up for these children, and everyone has something to do. He shared his vision of meeting with other churches to collaborate and work together, and he shared the assurance that our God would guide this vision.
This reflected a great change in Pastor Fred and Ruth’s plan – for the Lord had already placed the burden and passion to help orphans on their hearts. (Ruth is an orphan with a very hard story). Their plan HAD been to “take this on themselves” as a personal mission, but CAFO really showed them that scripturally, this is not what we are called to as individuals – it’s what we are called to as the body of Christ.
This hit home, and will have great impact on their community as Pastor Fred reaches out to other pastors in his community to share this vision. He told me this morning that he has 6 churches now that are planning to have Orphan Sunday events in their churches and they are meeting together weekly to pray over the orphans.
God is so good. And what a precious gift of encouragement it was to me that the Lord should see fit to have my family sitting in the congregation on the very Sunday that Pastor Fred chose to share this vision for the future of their church and the children of their community.
Fred and I talked for nearly 2 hours after the service about what is already being done there locally, and how we can support each other as ‘co-workers’ for Orphan Sunday. (He thought it was a hoot when I called us ‘co-workers’ because am also a regional coordinator back home).
I was able to speak into and affirm CAFO’s teaching, the role of his CHURCH to wrap around families that were called to bring kids home or mentor, etc, and the power of churches working together. We brought great encouragement to each other that day, and have continued to share thoughts, ideas, prayers and support online.
All that to say, thank you for the amazing work you are doing in Africa to bring change through God’s kingdom. I wanted to encourage you by sharing the story of Pastor Fred – one man who heard the vision and is passionately driven to bring it to his community of Soroti, Uganda.