Divine Care Ministry - Uganda
In this episode of Tuesday Morning Coffee John Jones sits down with Peter Sozi, one of the founders of Divine Care Ministry in Uganda. They discuss the non-profit's endeavors in Uganda to provide a good christian education to Ugandan children and mold them into the future leaders of Africa.
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JOHN: Hey, this is John Jones. How are you guys doing out there today? Another edition of Tuesday Morning Coffee. I want to wish everybody a happy Thanksgiving. Don’t eat too much turkey. Don’t eat too much pie. But anyway, we’ve got a special edition today. Being thanksgiving week and all that, I have a great friend of mine, just kind of a God event, he’s here this week, Peter Sozi from Uganda, Africa. And Peter, as you guys probably remember, or if you saw some of our videos, my wife and all my children visited Uganda about a month ago and got to spend some special time with my friend Peter and his wife Phoebe and their beautiful family. But Peter and his wife Phoebe, and Peter’s the pastor, he founded a ministry in about 1997.
JOHN: Called Divine Care Ministries. And I’m going to ask Peter about that in just a second, but we spent time there and we were so blessed. And the week of Thanksgiving as we reflect on what we’re thankful for, that is an event that I will never forget, that my children will never forget, that will be engrained in our minds forever. And just was a beautiful week to see what God showed us during that time. And Peter’s here today and I want to help people out there understand what’s going on in Uganda and what’s going on with this ministry. So Peter, you founded the ministry in 1997 in Uganda.
JOHN: And what was the purpose of the ministry? What led you to start this ministry?
PETER: Thank you, John. I’m very honored to be here this morning. And at the time we started the ministry, we were part of a very large church, which was a great thing. We had a wonderful time in ministry, but we had encountered the challenges that were facing the people that we were pastoring. Some of them had lost their parents. Some of them were dying. And at that point, there was so much need. People were sick. They didn’t have resources to take them to the hospital. They didn’t have food to feed them. They had children.
So it was at that point that God really impressed on our hearts to be able to open our home and open our hands and our hearts to be able to reach out to those who were hurting and give us the burden and the responsibility and the vision to say we need to identify where they’re hurting. Because as you know, Jesus when he was here, he kept on identifying with the hurting. He went where the hurting were and reached out to be able to make a difference in their lives. So that was the core purpose of the vision of the ministry setting up.
JOHN: And now the ministry—and correct me if I’m wrong—but the ministry now is more about the children.
JOHN: I know that a lot of the funds and resources are directed towards the children. And what are we trying to do with the children? Tell us a little bit about that with the schools and whatnot.
PETER: When you touch a child, you are touching a community. And when you touch a community, you are touching a nation. And we felt at the time when children were losing their parents and there was some kind of hopelessness there was an orphan generation. We realized that we needed to give those children hope. And the dream that we have is to raise up these children into God-fearing children that will be the leaders of their generation and the next generation. So we believe by raising and creating an environment for them to go to school, for them to have a good meal, and for them to be able to be cared for, this will raise up the next generation of leaders in our country and for Africa.
JOHN: Yes, I agree and I’ve seen it first-hand. One thing I want to mention here, even into the 90s—which has not been that long ago—into the 1990s, at one point, the HIV rate in Uganda was around 33%.
PETER: Yes, 30%.
JOHN: So Peter, literally, 1 out of every 3 people that you probably knew, that’s how rampant it was.
JOHN: Can you imagine if that happened in the United States? Can you imagine? So what Peter has explained to me what happened, and that’s down to 6% now by the way.
PETER: Yes, yes.
JOHN: Praise God, right?
PETER: Praise God.
JOHN: But we lost a generation. We have a lot of kids and a lot of grandparents. So there’s a lot of orphans and there’s a lot of people that need care and there’s a lot of children that need care. So a lot of people don’t know the background, but in our country we have to go to school. The kids have to go to school. In fact, it’s against the law not to go to school. But in Uganda, it’s a privilege to go to school. My wife and I, we support four children and put them through school because if we didn’t, they may not get to go to school and get an education. Is that correct?
PETER: That’s true.
JOHN: Okay. So the ministry, what we saw when we were there was a bunch of children, most well-behaved children I’ve ever seen, getting a great education, a great Christian education, learning the Gospel. And what’s the rate of Christianity in your—?
PETER: Right now the statistics are from the last census that was taken it’s about 70%.
JOHN: Seventy percent. Now go back to 1975, what would have been the rate?
PETER: You know in 1970 we had that program by the Islam to be able to Muslimize the nation, and this was funded by Muammar Gaddafi and of course our president then who was Idi Amin thought that out nation needed to turn to Islam because we had these people pouring in resources. So the Christian percentage was very low.
JOHN: Actually, you probably don’t know for sure because everybody would have been scared to even admit they were a Christian for persecution.
PETER: Correct. That’s true.
JOHN: So guys, what I’m getting at is even in the 70s and probably into the 80s you couldn’t even admit to being a Christian in that country. Correct?
PETER: You’d be persecuted.
JOHN: You would die. And now new leadership came in the mid-80s.
JOHN: Allowed freedom of religion and in my opinion there’s been revival in that country and it’s been amazing. It truly has been amazing. Give some examples of the results. What you were telling me this morning?
PETER: As a consequence, when the current leadership came into power, the first thing our president declared there will be freedom of worship in our nation. And suddenly there was this blossoming of churches and there was a big sweep of revival that swept across our nation. And today I will tell you that on the streets of the city there are people that are proclaiming and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In our country, secular television stations take time to play and to show Christian songs and play Christian music. Now this was not happening in the 70s and the 80s. This is completely new.
So you see that there has been a kind of a shift to the point that everywhere our government has now been very popular in appointing people that are professing Christians. The first lady who is a professing Christian, she’s not quiet about her faith in Christ. They’ve commissioned a general of our customs in our country. She’s a professing Christian. And in the different departments of our government. So you realize that this revival has swept into the different structures.
In public schools, people play Christian music on assembly. They sing praise songs to the Lord. There is that freedom of worship. So this is the amazing results of what we’ve seen as a revival sweeping in the country, and we are grateful for that.
JOHN: It’s truly amazing. Peter was telling me this morning where the country—and you’ve got to remember you’ve got to go back into the 90s. Literally, people were dying around you.
JOHN: Due to the HIV. And a desperate country came together and cried out.
PETER: That’s right.
JOHN: And you have literally seen people—and it’s documented. This isn’t something you’ve made up. Where people were infected with the AIDS virus that are healed.
PETER: They have been totally healed.
JOHN: Totally healed. And science backs that up. I mean, well, they can’t back up how they were healed. But they can back up they had the AIDS virus and had been tested several times and then were tested later and it had gone away.
PETER: Correct. These are people that have documented proof of having gone to the research center. They have all the symptoms and they’re HIV positive. And when as a nation in 1995 we said we needed to turn back to God and we done desperate prayer, these people came in for desperate prayer. And the whole nation was praying and crying out to God saying, “God…”—like II Chronicles 7:14: “If my people that have called after my name would humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn now from their wicked ways, so will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.”
We realized as a church that the key for our healing of our nation was if we as a church would humble ourselves and pray and seek his face. And that’s what happened. And these people came in for prayer. They realized they needed to turn to God to cry out for help. And sure enough, God heard our prayer. Today, I want to tell you they are pastors, they are leading churches because of the miracle that God has done in their lives. So it is a living testimony and I would challenge anyone to come in the country and find out more about this.
JOHN: That’s awesome. I challenge them too. And if you want to help this ministry, which I have first-hand seen the fruits of this ministry. I have been there. I’ve seen where the money goes and I couldn’t commend Peter and his wife any more and feel any more confident in two people in the way they’ve administered this and the way they have been stewards of what people are giving to them. It’s amazing the impact they’re making.
Peter, thank you for coming on today. You’re always an inspiration and a blessing to us all. And guys, if you would like to get involved with helping Divine Care Ministries, we’re throwing up the e-mail right now. This is Dr. Rick Rogers and his wife Vikki are two local folks here in Murfreesboro who are a big part of this ministry and can get you any of the information you need and would love to talk to you. So here’s their contact information coming on the screen as we speak. Just give them a call or an e-mail and you can be involved in sponsoring a child and probably changing a child’s family tree and family for generations to come. Thank you and everybody have a happy Thanksgiving.