Raising Up Leaders
It is evident that in the village of Wakisi God is raising up young leaders.
There is a large open field that is adjacent to and owned by a church in the village. This is an area where the community kids gather to play games, specifically futbol, and to have a time of fellowship. This field is also where we do our children’s outreach and futbol club on Fridays. This field has a very real purpose for the community.
As we arrived one day we saw large piles of grass in front of the church. When we walked back to the field we quickly realized the grass had come from the field. The church who is in desperate need of money, had sold the grass to a local buyer. The church had started the process of digging up the grass on the field and preparing it for transport. This caused an uproar within the community. Especially among the young boys who use that field for futbol. The community had voiced such a compaint that the workers had stopped harvesting the grass for the time being. When we spoke to one of the local leaders and the leader of the church they told us the church needed money so badly to rebuild the church building that they had no choice but to sell the grass.
Our Ugandan village outreach coordinator spoke with the leaders and told them how important this field was to the community. Again, they responded that they had no choice. I even tried to explain to them that the church is way more than a building. The church extends outside the walls of the building itself, even though those wall were literally falling down. I spoke to them and told them how much this field meant to the kids in the community and that it provides a safe place for them to come play games, fellowship and provides an alternative to getting into mischief or trouble around the village. I feared that if the field was lost, many of the kids would be lost as well.
That’s when God showed he was working even in this situation. The older boys in the community organized themselves and began raising money by providing labor around the village. They made an agreement with the church that they would raise money to pay back the money that was paid to purchase the grass. They raised about 100,000 Ugandan shillings (roughly $30 USD) to pay back the money. This is a huge sum in village life where most people live on less than $1 a day! They also agreed to provide free labor to the church in order for the church to be able to pay back the remaining balance.
It was amazing to see the boys rally together and save the field. It showed so much initiative and so much ownership. They saved their own field! It was so much more powerful and impactful than if we had intervened. The day I left the meeting with the local leaders discouraged, I thought I can start a social media campaign to save the field. I would venture to say it probably would have worked and that we could have raised the money to save the field. However, God had bigger, better plans. He used a group of boys, who He is raising up to be leaders, to save their own field.
It’s amazing to imagine the impact this will have on this group of boys!