Ihunga Assembly in the South West of Uganda started the PEP course several years ago, so they are at quite an advanced stage in their journey. Vincent (43) and Jackline (37) are two members of the church who have take part in the training. Vincent shares their story below:
We have lived in Ihunga parish all our whole lives. We were married here, our six children were born here, and now, we are looking forward to the rest of our lives here. But this wasn’t always the case.
Ihunga was a difficult place to live - poverty was everywhere. For many years we struggled to get by, selling produce from our land in the small shop we had.
A NEW START
When Ihunga Assembly first began running the PEP course, we went along, thinking we would just take part in a few bible studies. We did not expect the transformation it would bring!
...we began to understand that we really could take control of our own lives, using the things we already had around us.
The course taught us many things, but the biggest change for us was that we began to understand that we really could take control of our own lives, using the things we already had around us. Living in a village with such poverty had caused us to believe that we had no value, and that nothing could ever change for us. But through PEP we have discovered who we are in Christ and given us the confidence to try new things.
We realised that God had already blessed us with our business, so we decided to use that to try and improve our lives. We considered expanding our shop to sell more produce, but to do that, we needed to rebuild it.
We started by planting coffee and banana plants on a spare section of land that we had. Using the new crops to supplement our income, expansion began! We demolished the old, makeshift shop and replaced it with a bigger more permanent building. We also changed our business model from a small shop to a wholesale store.
We are now making annual profits of over 2.5 million UGX! [almost £540] God has been so good! We have been able to do things we never thought possible, like become successful business managers or paying for our children so they can have an education.
A DEEPER FAITH
More than anything, PEP has helped us grow spiritually and grow deeper in our understanding of God. My wife, Jackline, asked God to show her how she could learn new skills and help her serve him better. She discovered that she could produce hand crafts and keep animals, like pigs and goats.
We have seen God at work and His protection has been the guiding light through times of hardship.
We have learnt to serve God and give back to him what what he gives us. As a family, we agreed to dedicate part of our banana plantation to God. We offer every banana that grows in this part of the plantation to God, as a tithe. Far from costing us, it has strengthened us; helping us manage our small resources to do business, pay school fees and live a better life than before.
We dedicate time to God as well. Each Friday we close our business and go to church. We spend the day together as a family, praying and fasting. We have seen God at work and His protection has been the guiding light through times of hardship.
Our plans for the future are to further expand the shop and use our extra income to support the ministry of the church and vulnerable people in our community. We thank God for this opportunity to share our story and ask for prayer as we continue on in this journey of transformation.
Thank God for the transformation that he has brought about in Vincent and Jackline lives.
- Pray that they will continue to trust and serve him in all that they do.
- Pray that through their business and actions, they would continue to bless those around them.