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A Dream to Educate Children

Pastor Joel owned a thriving money-lending business in 2011 and started buying small plots of land in Uganda. He wanted to help vulnerable children, but he didn’t have a plan.

He had only a dream.

“After I bought all those plots of land, I felt within me a voice saying, ‘Use these plots for vulnerable children,’” he said.

Then Joel had the kind of dream that only comes while asleep.

”God was showing me a number of people lining up,” he said.

“Those people were coming toward me wanting to be helped. Then a man coming toward me said, ‘You see that big number of people coming to you, they need help. You have wealth, but you can’t see it.’ So he opened the house of four rooms, and he showed me a lot of money inside that house. Then he reminded me that this wealth is for helping people. Then the dream was done.”

Joel awakened and decided the plots of land would be a good place for a school for vulnerable children.

“I called a Pastor friend and asked him if we could pray and dedicate that place,” Joel said. “And we raised up hands and prayed. Then after the dedication, prayers and dream, the business collapsed.”

Joel said he thought the money to build a school - the money in the four rooms in his dream - would come from his business.

“I thought, OK, maybe the dream wasn’t true,” he said. “It was simply a dream.”

Joel moved 32 kilometres away and began farming. He still owned the land in town, but the dream - at least for that time - was dead. His attention turned to growing crops and providing for his family.

In 2015, Joel’s dream came back to life. Pastor Prosper, a man who had been on the move since 1996 as a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, settled in Uganda. Prosper brought with him a vision to help vulnerable children, most specifically his fellow Banyamulenge people from Congo.

“I didn’t know I would meet him, and I met many people when I came to this town trying to see where I can live,” Prosper said. “Of course, I had a vision. The way God connected us, and the way he used him to accomplish my vision and the way he used me to accomplish his visions, honestly, it’s all about God.”

Joel and Prosper, brothers in Christ from different places, aligned their dreams.

“I told him about my passion and vision to start something to help vulnerable children,” Joel said. “At the time I had nothing financially with which we could accomplish the dream.”

But Joel owned land, and the first step was to construct a humble, wooden building and start Grace Church. Those plots he bought with proceeds from his money-lending business finally had a purpose. Heart for Global Grace Ministries was established next and the dream to help vulnerable children was realized.

Prosper’s refugee journey had previously taken him to Norway. He called upon the Norwegian people in the church he had attended to help send Ugandan orphans and Banyamulenge refugees to school. They sent money, and more than 20 children, two of them refugees, began to go to school.

The next step was a partnership with Beyond Borders, a global department of TeachBeyond, which seeks to provide transformational education to displaced people. Prosper now works in Uganda as a missionary for Beyond Borders, and now almost 40 children - many of them refugees who have since fled to Uganda from Congo - are sponsored and getting an education they otherwise wouldn’t receive.

“My passion is helping vulnerable children, and I welcome these refugee families,” Joel said. “They are all God’s people. We are all brothers. What I came to realize in my life is despite the boundaries, despite the colours, despite the nations and languages, however how much we may look different, we are all created in the image of God.”

In Joel’s dream, the people lining up for his help are the children, and the money in the four rooms are the sponsorship funds. His role was simply to provide a place and opportunity for a team to take root and grow. Grace Church, in which Joel shares in the pastoral duties, now has a much larger brick building in the middle of those plots and needs funding to complete the construction. The dream isn’t finished though. The goal is to open a Christian School.

When Joel recalls his first prayers to dedicate the land to helping vulnerable children, he is reminded of the story he has heard of from Beyond Borders co-founder Howard Dueck’s dream for refugee children “to give an education, to give English and to give Jesus.”

“Howard didn’t know how God would bring this to pass until God brought us to his vision,” Joel said. “He didn’t know how God would accomplish his vision until he brought Heart for Global Grace Ministries into his vision. Now as we are all witnessing what is happening, we are all becoming partners to make this vision happen.

“As you go back to spread this information to people who may support this vision, I am determined also to be a partner of this vision whenever I have a resource or finances to be able to support this team. I also will tell other people who are willing to be blessed in what God is doing to be partners with this vision.”

Written by Jeff Gilbert, journalism professor at Cedarville University

13 Jul 22
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