Two years ago, a man named Wilfred heard of a recently orphaned little girl in the slums of Kampala, Uganda. He went and found her and took care of her until I became her Mama.
Today, Wilfred sat in my home. I fed him soup and Southern cornbread, because it’s all this girl knows to do when she’s grateful.
*Pause for a Mommy Sob*
When he was ten, Wilfred’s family moved to the slums in Kampala. He had to change schools and there he met three other young men, who, by God’s grace, knew how to be leaders. Together, they began leading a fellowship of high school students under a mango tree. When they were 17, they began their church, which now has over 5000 members.
We visited Light the World one Sunday when we were in Uganda. It was joy-filled.
Wilfred’s passion is to minister to families and children in the slums. Together with his friends, they started a ministry called Mercy Childcare. Their goal is to take care of children and to minister to the broken families they come from. They are passionate about raising Uganda’s next generation to be leaders in their own country.
When we were in country, Wilfred drove us down hundreds of bumpy dirt roads until my eyes crossed I was so lost. He walked us out to the middle of a pasture and told us his vision for Mercy Childcare. He imagined a sustainable village that would give children from the streets experience with family life and skills they could use to earn a living.
He wanted a home for the babies to play safely, not in the streams of sewage and mud in the slums. And he was passionate that the goal be not so much about “getting kids off the streets” but helping them to never return to the streets.
We held hands and prayed over the land that Wilfred had already purchased in faith. That was a year and a half ago.
Currently, Mercy has 85 children in its care. 30 of those children live in the house that Wilfred originally built for he and his wife. When Mercy needed a building for the children in their care, Wilfred rented a smaller home for his family and moved 30 children into his family’s dream house. (This doesn’t include the 9 other children that live in the house with Wilfred and Venna. Venna likes to take care of the babies herself. She even cared for my Mira on occasion.)
Since we were in Uganda, Wilfred has finished building one of the homes on the land we prayed over. They are still working on raising the money for a fence, a borehole, and the toilets they need so they can move the babies to their own home with a married couple to care for them.
Wilfred’s vision is to build 9 more homes to hold 9 more family units of a married couple and 10 children. He will continue to help and minister to the families of children who are in Mercy’s care. With this ministry, he will be able to serve over 300 families and impact the next generation to be leaders in their country with the power to do good.
Let me be clear: Wilfred’s vision is unique. His passion is not to help all the children be adopted by American families (although sometimes, as in Mira’s case, it is the solution). His passion is to fix the broken families in Uganda. And while he helps these children, he wants them to be part of a family unit. He wants them to experience the love of a father-figure, as well as a mother, so that they can begin to heal the broken image of family in the mind of Uganda’s children.
His vision is Big. But it’s achievable.
I know sometimes it feels like we’re inundated with requests for help and donations. Needs are everywhere. But I can tell you: I’ve stood beside this man, I’ve touched the children he ministers to, I’ve seen his home and his heart for his mission. This is the real deal, y’all.
This is about giving children homes and family, security and safety. It’s about being hands and feet for Jesus who says, “Let the little children come to me.”
When Wilfred hears of a need he meets it, even if it means giving up his dream home. He doesn’t always know how to meet all the needs, but the children, they just keep coming to him and so he just keeps saying yes.
I’m so very glad he does…
Feel like saying yes and helping out, too?
Wilfred is collecting used iPhones or iPads while he is here in the States. He can sell them for double their worth in Uganda, effectively doubling the amount donated, and use it to build Mercy Village. If you’ve recently upgraded your iPhone or iPad and would like to give your older version to Mercy Childcare, you can email me at vitafamiliae at gmail.com. I’d love to send him home with a suitcase full of gadgets to sell!
If you want to help but don’t have any leftover electronics lying around, you can make a tax-deductible donation here.
Mercy Childcare is committed to being transparent about how your money gets spent, so you can check out their financials on their website. (Bottom left-hand corner.)