Is EMI Needed?
The rumors started to spread throughout the community in Congo, “The university is closing down!” Universite Chretienne Bilingue du Congo (let’s just call them UCBC) is a university that started with an overly ambitious long-span, large auditorium design, and a construction crew without the experience and expertise required for such a massive and complicated project. This led to the decision years later to bring in a demolition team and tear down the building. Of course news started to spread and this turned to rumor that the whole university was shutting down. The humble leader of UCBC made a public statement admitting to their mistake of rushing the building project which cost thousands of dollars and inevitably produced a building unsafe to occupy. He reaffirmed to the community that they were going to continue ministering through the university and while they are tearing it down now, they have asked EMI to come in and partner with the design and the reconstruction of the university.
This is a good reminder that we can’t excel at all areas of ministry and we should lean on each other’s expertise as we look to minister holistically. EMI loves partnering with ministries like UCBC who have a passion for the Lord and desire to minister with all their heart. It sadness us that they didn’t know about EMI when they initially planned for their building construction. If you know of any ministries looking to do new construction let them know about EMI’s desire to partner with their great work.
Warm weather clothes… check. Toys for the boys… check. Bag of M&Ms to be rationed out for about five months… check. Medical supplies for Uganda…
Before we left for Uganda I (Jalina) asked Penrose Hospital, where I worked as a nurse, if they wanted to donate any medical equipment to our missions work in Uganda. As a Catholic hospital focused on caring for people medically and spiritually, they were eager to contribute. I waited in the hospital supply room as they kept loading up supplies and equipment into boxes, however the thought kept going through my head, “how are we going to fit this in our suitcase when we already have so much we want to bring”. Thankfully we were able to make enough room for it. Although it took us a while to find the right fit, once we got to Uganda, we were pleased when our friend Stella connected us to a Children’s Hospital that was in need of the supplies we brought. What a blessing to be able to share with people in need. They were so grateful!
It has been fun to find different ways to bless the people of Uganda whether that is through our gifts and skills, our finances, or in this case our connections to medical supplies and equipment.
Wassuwa’s Financial Woes:
As I mentioned in our last post, we wanted to help out our neighbor, Wassuwa, through some financial troubles. I tried to help him with capital for his vegetable stand business to develop a sustainable financial solution, but he wasn’t motivated to follow through with the plan. Instead he was more focused on the short term immediate needs and used some of the business funds to pay for other things. Wassuwa still came back to me for help to pay Ian’s Term 2 school fees. I agreed, but sadly as soon as I did, the school kicked Ian out because apparently Term 1 school fees hadn’t been paid previously. Wassuwa came back asking for more money.
I had asked all of you what you would do if you were in my shoes. Thanks to all of you who chimed in with your thoughts or advice on how to approach this tricky financial situation. Maybe I should have asked for feedback earlier since you all had good ideas. 🙂
Jalina and I discussed what we should do with Wassuwa’s request. We desired to come up with a plan that not only challenged us to be generous, but also enabled Wassuwa with some financial management skills that he could use even in their different cultural approach to money.
The total school fees for Term 1 were about 175,000/= (Ugandan Shillings) so I told Wassuwa that I would give 30,000/= each week towards school fees if he paid 10,000/= each week. I challenged him to explain this to the school and see if they would let Ian go back to school. While this wasn’t the solution Wassuwa had in mind, he agreed it was a reasonable amount for him to have to prioritize toward school each week.
To Wassuwa’s surprise they let Ian go back to school, and to my surprise the plan has mostly been working. He comes back to me with the bank slip showing both my and his portion paid and then I give him another week’s amount. I told him we could continue this arrangement into Ian’s following term also once Term 1 this was completed.
Overall, I feel like this was a success in terms of:
- Ian getting an education
- Jalina and I navigating cultural differences
- Wassuwa having a slightly greater ownership over developing weekly budget planning for his own child’s schooling.
After Jalina and I had made so many mistakes while trying to figure out how to minister and bless others well in a different cultural context, it is nice to have a few in the win column!
Thanks to all of you who have made our mission work possible. For those that would like to contribute you can do so at: http://www.emiworld.org/donate.php. Once there, choose to Create Account, Sign In, or Make A One-Time Donation. Select Staff and then select Reinhardt, Jason- 2050.