Mayenze is a small community situated in Mount Elgon National Park, Eastern Uganda, which is an area of great natural beauty. It is very close to the border with Kenya; Mbale, some 12 miles to the north, is the nearest large town.
Our partners in this area are Pastor Stephen Namabako and his wife Rebecca. They have been active since 1994 using as their hub the Mayenze church where Stephen is the pastor. In addition Stephen has leadership and evangelist roles in other churches which have been started through him.
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Pastor Stephen’s church is largely attended by children as he and Rebecca also have responsibility for a school and orphanage which they have founded. The school has about 130 pupils drawn from surrounding communities, which includes 28 orphans that are cared for by Pastor Stephen and his team of dedicated staff.
Their ministry has been recognised by The Department of Internal Affairs in Kampala.
On our first visit in 2015 Pastor Stephen joined us in training groups not only in Mayenze, but also in three other communities: Bumwangu, Magale and Bugema; the latter is on the outskirts of Mbale, but Bumwangu and Magale are quite remote with difficult roads making visits time-consuming and tiring.
The two hour journey to Magale is rewarded not only with beautiful people but also magnificent scenery with views of Mount Elgon. All types of produce are grown, notably coffee. While it echoes the Garden of Eden it is blighted by alcohol and drugs.
At a return visit in 2018 the groups started in these four settings in 2015 were found to be still functioning. There was recovery from chemical abuse, healing of family relationships, and churches had been started.
Training was given to new groups in Magale (called Magale II), and also new localities: Bunasimolo, Tororo, Bumwangu, Bugobero, Bumatanda-Bududa and Bugema.
An attempt to share about recovery to a small group in a very remote village called Shikunga-Sikewh had to be abandoned, as the drinkers who did not want to stop their habit played music so loudly that teaching was impossible.
Pastor Stephen will continue to re-visit this community, as well as supporting the recovery activity in the other nine communities, despite the difficulties with distance and poor roads.
Pastor Stephen writes: “We intend to expand and occupy all the parts of Uganda, with the main aim of reaching out to the orphans and changing the lives of the people addicted to alcohol and other forms of drugs. The main challenge however is keeping the changed people active such that they don’t go back to drinking.
We are in the process of starting a bible school which is still undergoing registration, and this can help partly to teach the converts the word of God and also help the other people in the region.”
Since the visit in 2018 Stephen has reported that the group of Recoverers in Mayenze have pledged to help the children in his school and orphanage with books and stationery!
By being a blessing may they be blessed.