In July 2018, Mission Uganda (MU) took its first team to Uganda. One of the initial team members is a guy named Bryce Engbers. Bryce had never been on a mission trip, so all this was new to him. This farm boy/hog producer from Iowa did things normal people don’t do on mission trips. All he did was say “what if we did this,” brain storming and constantly thinking.
For myself and Bryce, we are farm boys, and it has been ingrained in us to see problems and come up with a solution. In Uganda, there are crises everywhere. You don’t even know where to start, and anything you do feels like a drop of water in a five-gallon bucket.
One thing we both recognized in Uganda was potential. They have resources which could be turned into businesses, especially agribusiness. We also noticed that they love pork. The most important resource we have in Uganda is the Maggi Program. Maggi is the Mother Teresa of Uganda, in our eyes. She is the founder of the Golden Heart Foundation, and we know her organization can be trusted.
One day, Maggi took us to meet an enterprising group of women who dreamed of increase their pork production. They asked us for our help and expertise. Only God could have orchestrated them meeting two farm boys from Iowa who love farming and hog production!
The wheels started turning, and ideas started rolling. The first obstacle we needed to tackle was getting the women a feed ration which was nutritionally sound for the hogs and be able to sell this to them at a reasonable price. We talked to Maggi about our idea, and she loved it.
When you give Maggi an idea, you can rest assured that in just a few days you will have a budget proposal in your hands!
I told Bryce my focus would have to be on raising money for the next mission trip and putting together a second missionary team. Bryce continued to work on the feed mill/pig project. Bryce and Maggi developed a realistic plan. The price tag for start-up is $75,000, with their projections showing this business could pay back the initial investment in three years. The goal from the start for this venture is to be a for-profit business, not a non-profit. A common phrase used by missions is, “don’t give them fish. Teach them to fish.”
I am going to give you a big phrase, but I will explain it and how it is important to Mission Uganda. The term is Holistic Transformational Development. Holistic means the whole body or the entirety. Mission Uganda is striving to transform the spiritual and the physical body. We want to do things in such a way so that the Ugandan people are changing their lives themselves, not receiving a hand-out from someone else. We want them to take ownership of their success and not be dependent or reliant on outside help. We are trying to avoid “toxic charity”—when wealthy people try to help the poor by giving them things, but only make the situation worse in the long run.
When we got home, Bryce went to work on the dream of starting this economic project. He prepared a presentation with Derek De Haan of Brand Appeal and sent this to several very large corporations asking for grant money. Personally, I have to admit, I did not think this was possible. (Of course nothing has made any human sense with MU!) Bryce started to get discouraged. No one emailed him or called him back. He cried out to God saying, “why won’t you answer my prayer, and come through so we can help these people in Uganda?”
Quick note on Bryce—Bryce is a little weird. He prays in front of his hog confinement every morning at 4:30 in the morning. He calls these prayers “Board Meetings with the Big Three” (the Father, Jesus, and Holy). I wonder if God knows how much a hog confinement smells—of course He does!
One morning about a month ago, God spoke to Bryce and told him, “I want you to provide the funds for the feed mill/pig project.” Bryce was in shock. He said, “you want me to pay the whole $75,000? Don’t you know that is a lot of money?”
God said, “Yes!”
Bryce called me and told me what his plans were. Together, we would keep talking to people about donating money for this mill/ pork project. Bryce and Kathy committed to supplying the funds that couldn’t be raised. I actually had to sit down and could barely believe it.
Bryce called Maggi at 2:00 p.m and told her the news. Maggi and the whole team at Golden Heart fell to their knees and praised God. They praised God and gave thanksgiving the entire night. The next day, they bought the land and started construction. They are calling the site for the mill and pork production “The Shiloh Ranch.”
Here is where the story really gets good.
The next day, Bryce came home came home from a meeting, opened his computer and had an email from a very large corporation. They said, “we are sending you a check for $5,000. We want you to fill out the paperwork we sent you and apply for grant money.”
To me, this is like the story of Abraham—ready to obey God and sacrifice Isaac and in the last second, God stepped in and said, “Stop. I was just testing your faith. I got this, look behind you. There is a ram stuck in the bush.” We have not yet heard the outcome of this grant request but are hopeful it will be accepted.
Do you see why those of us involved in Mission Uganda are constantly amazed by how God is working?
Other people have stepped up to give donations to start this project. Today, it looks like pork production is going to start way sooner than we projected. The feed mill will make the maize floor for schools to make porridge. Thousands of kids who went hungry before will now have a meal at school. If a village can raise a group of pigs, sell some, eat some, and pay back their loan, can you imagine what that will do to their community!
In closing, all I have to say is this: God loves to do “Big-Boy-God-Stuff!”
If you say yes to God and trust him that nothing is impossible with Him, you can do literally do anything! Follow God—be His instrument and you can change the world. You can increase God’s Kingdom.
Slava Bogu x 1000
(For those of you who don’t know me, that means “Praise God” a thousand times in Russian. I sort of mix Russian and Uganda together.)
Feel free to contact me, and we can share more about this exciting mission.
I am still working hard to raise the necessary funds for our next mission trip in August. The funds needed are for porridge, math sets, and soccer tournaments all used as the bridge to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. I would greatly appreciate your support!