ICM has been reaching the poor in the Philippines for 30 years but is still fairly new in Uganda. Pastor Robinah is one of our new partner pastors who heard about ICM through Back to the Bible Truth (our local partner) and decided to try hosting a Transform program. Now looking around her community, she is filled with gladness at how much has changed in just four months.
After the health lesson on hygiene, tippy taps (makeshift sinks) started popping up around the village as the group embraced the importance of handwashing. Pastor Robinah noted that even nearby communities started copying them and making their own tippy taps!
Her biggest joy has been seeing the participants’ children growing visibly healthier. “Our children are now improving,” she told us, clapping her hands. “All of us were worried about whether they would ever get well, but after eating the MannaPacks (food packs), we can see a huge difference. Their skin is now ok and they no longer have big stomachs.”
The livelihood lessons inspired many in the group to try new ventures they never thought were possible. It was good timing for Pastor Robinah’s daughter Betty. Betty had been working as a teacher, but the schools were closed because of COVID-19, leaving her no work. The livelihood lessons gave Betty the idea to try something else, and now her days are full with a samosa business. “She always has customers,” Pastor Robinah said.
Besides physical changes, Pastor Robinah was touched by the sense of unity and care that developed in the group. “Our community is now a family. We cry and laugh together. Before Transform, one would lose a loved one and no one except the family members would go to the burial, but after having these values lessons in Transform, we all attend burials, even canceling other activities just to go and be with a friend in pain.”
One special memory was when some of ICM’s Filipino staff (those who are helping establish ICM Uganda) visited their community. “You may see this as a simple thing but it has always been my prayer to receive visitors from abroad, and for sure it became a story all over our community,” Pastor Robinah laughed. “I even got the chance to dance with them. I was so happy and I am still happy that these people visited us.”
Pastor Robinah’s community may look very different from some of our communities in the Philippines, but the transformation is familiar. No matter where on the globe, these simple but profound lessons taught in the context of community bring about change that can last a lifetime.