Thursday, June 28, 2012

Watoto Ministries – You Have To Check This Out!!!

Hey Everyone,

Nancy’s Executive Assistant, Katelyn here. Nancy is currently in Uganda ministering at Watoto Ministries with founders Gary and Marilyn Skinner, so I thought I would take a few minutes to share a bit about Watoto and Nancy’s time there. If you’ve never heard of Watoto, it’s a faith-based holistic care program that works with the many orphaned children and women in Uganda whose lives have been ravaged by war and disease. You can check out their website for more information at and/or watch the video below. I actually had the privilege of leading a team of 18 Mercy graduates to Uganda last summer to build a classroom block for Watoto Ministries. It was definitely a life-changing trip, and it’s so cool that Nancy is now getting to experience seeing Watoto firsthand! When Nancy arrived, she spent the first day visiting the different Watoto villages and babies’ homes. This is very eye-opening because you see the magnitude of how big Watoto’s outreach really is – there are over 1,000 children in each of the Watoto villages, many of whose parents have either died due to the AIDS epidemic or were killed by the rebel army in Uganda led by Joseph Kony.

The next day, Nancy spoke to approximately 2,000 students at two of the Watoto high schools in the Kampala area. This was such a powerful time of ministry as many of the students responded to the altar call as Nancy challenged them about the importance of living a fully committed life without compromise, which includes making a total commitment that sex is for marriage. God is so good!!! Nancy spent the entire day today in Northern Uganda visiting and speaking at the many outreaches that Watoto has established in Gulu. Gulu was once run by Kony and the rebel army, but in the last few years, Kony and the army have left the area (Gulu is also where the movie Blood Diamond was filmed). However, many women and children remain there and are now a part of the Watoto Church and the various ministry outreaches that are available to helping them rebuild their lives. This village is more specific to the women who have been raped by Kony and his army, the children who were created as a result, and other children who were able to escape the rebel army (many of whom had to murder their own parents and siblings). Nancy was told that there are approximately 1,100 women today in Gulu that are experiencing the transformation process as Christ is rebuilding their lives through sponsorships that Watoto provides. Most important of all, Watoto is leading the charge in helping each and every woman understand that Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free, and that regardless of their past they can have a future. They are training them not only to serve God with all of their heart, soul, and mind, but they are also training them in life skills so that they can be self supporting. Even as I’m writing this, Nancy just called and talked about going to Gulu today and said…

 “Today was one of the most overwhelmingly painful days of my life. No human should ever have to experience the depths of evil that these women have been through. The thing that blew me away the most was knowing that these women were forced to kill family members, knowing that they were abducted by the rebel army at ages 9 and 10 and literally used, raped over and over again, and made to marry LRA leaders, yet today they can still experience joy and freedom in Christ. I felt so privileged that I not only got to go speak to them and encourage them, but that I actually got to look them in the eye and hug each and every one of them!

 Normally I would ask you to support Mercy Ministries because we definitely need your support, but on this day, out of my love for Gary and Marilyn Skinner and the great work they are doing in Uganda, which I have now seen with my own eyes, I’m asking you to go on to Watoto’s website and sponsor a child. They are not only feeding and clothing the children, but they are also pouring the Word of God into them and seeing lives transformed! No doubt in my mind that Watoto is raising up the next generation of leaders that will lead the great nation of Uganda into a place of prosperity and stability by the power of God that is being poured into their lives.” 

 I wanted to share with you what Nancy said to me on the phone today so that you can see just how impacting her time in Uganda has been thus far. If you want to answer the call to sponsor a child, you can sign up online at The cost is $35 a month. You will receive letters from the child you sponsor and you can also write to them as well. I personally sponsor a child through Watoto and had the privilege of meeting her last year when I went to visit (see picture on right). I can also tell you that the children are very diligent to pray for their sponsors, and even know them by name and where they live. The many children that I talked to while I was visiting Watoto last year said they hoped to one day meet their sponsors! I love how personal the sponsorships are with Watoto!!!

 Also, Nancy will be speaking at Watoto Church this weekend – one service on Saturday and four services on Sunday. Please cover Nancy in prayer as she continues to minister in Uganda. I know she would greatly appreciate it!