Heart to Heart Uganda
The teachings of love on our websites reach people all over the world, but we’re keenly aware that love makes the biggest difference when given personally, from one person to another. Through our Uganda Mission, we have had the opportunity to cultivate meaningful love relationships with wonderful people in Africa.
Our connection with Uganda began in early 2009 when Wilson Agaba found one of our websites, and contacted us from Uganda. He had been searching online for answers to his spiritual questions, and he resonated deeply with our teachings and our mission. He began corresponding with us, and as the friendship between us developed we learned about Wilson’s own personal mission, which resonated very deeply with us: he was dedicated to teaching love to schoolchildren in Uganda. Keenly aware of the troubling social problems of his country and the suffering all around him, he was afire with his conviction that love was the only effective solution.
In his words:
“Here in Uganda, people don’t have love. They need love, but they don’t meet people who they can talk to about love, and learn about it.
“My strategy is to keep checking on the kids, to keep on sharing ideas with them, and to show them love. Because love is not one-time only. When you teach people about love and you go away, they think, ‘This is not love.’ So you need to put out more effort, to keep checking on them. Show them love. Then they feel happy. They feel, ‘There is someone who loves me. I have a friend.’ So it’s my responsibility.
“Another thing: I see so many problems. How to solve them? Only love can solve them. Let me give you an example. Here in Uganda, there is a kind of kidnapping. People steal kids and sell them for money. But if you love your neighbor as you love yourself, you can’t sell their kid! Maybe you see the kid a bit far from the house, and you say, ‘Let me take this kid to the family, where they’re supposed to be.’ Because you have love. So when you spread the message of love to the whole world, people will stop kidnapping. It will not be happening.
“That’s why I’m proud to teach in the schools about love. It’s better to teach those young students because they have energy, they have hope, they can move. They are growing up. They have opportunities. Maybe some of them, they get a chance to go to other places. Wherever they go, you’ll find them telling others about love. They are going to spread love in the whole world.”
Although a poor man himself, Wilson spent most of his time traveling to schools, often on foot, meeting with groups of students each week to give them his personal love and attention and talk to them about love. He listened to their struggles, and gave them hope and inspiration by telling them about the many challenges and hardships he faced in his childhood, and how he handled them with love. Week after week, the students opened their hearts to him, as he earned their love and trust.
We were touched by Wilson’s selflessness and commitment to the children. He never asked us for help, but so richly deserved it that eventually we began to contribute our financial support to his efforts. We wanted to allow him to devote even more of his time to his important work with the students. With our help, he added more schools to his weekly circuit, and began to meet regularly with groups of adults in several communities as well.
In 2010 some of us traveled to Uganda to meet Wilson and talk to the children he’d been working with. We visited several schools, spoke to groups of students about love and friendship, and met one-on-one with dozens of children. On this initial visit, we formed relationships with many students. Back home we started corresponding regularly with some of them and stepped up our involvement with Wilson’s activities.
In 2011 we began sponsoring the education of eight extraordinary students, who stood out because of their unusual desire to help others and passionate interest in making the world a better place through love. By investing in these promising kids, we felt like we were investing in the future of love on this planet. It was a major commitment, and fortunately we were able to find several generous donors who helped with the expense.
Also in 2011 a couple of our members returned to Uganda and organized a retreat for the sponsored students. We had recently begun to develop the Cards for Living, and took the first cards we’d finished to Uganda to share with our young friends. We spent a week together, holding daily study and discussion sessions with Wilson and the students, mixed with social activities such as taking walks together, making artworks, etc. We returned to the States aglow with the warmth of our growing friendships in Uganda, and encouraged by the kids’ enthusiasm for the Cards for Living. Based on the success of the first retreat, Wilson conducted two more retreats later that year with the same group of students. We continued to create more Cards for Living, inspired and guided by the needs and questions of the young Ugandans.
In 2012, we sponsored a poetry contest at several secondary schools in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. The contest was designed to encourage children to consider “What is love?” and share their personal thoughts and feelings on the subject. The contest created a lot of excitement among the children. One hundred thirty-six entries were received, and prizes were awarded to four winners.
The relationships we established with our young friends in Uganda have endured and deepened over the years. We continued to sponsor the most committed students until they graduated, and then supported each of them in starting their own business or continuing their education with vocational training or higher degrees in their areas of interest. Grown into young adults, this core group of young missionaries of love are actively engaged in supporting each other and sharing with others all they have been learning about love. They are now active role models of love, understanding, and forgiveness in the communities where they live. Their values and the grace they have developed in handling the difficulties of life in Uganda inspire us too.
Wilson now lives with us in the United States, but still maintains daily personal contact with many people in Uganda, and actively directs our Uganda program from here, with the help of our partner in Uganda, Emmanuel Kisembo of Team Work Afrika. Currently, the core group meets monthly at Wilson’s family home, which serves as our LoveTrust center in Uganda, to hold weekend retreats. During each retreat, they study and discuss materials we provide. They also talk about their experiences helping others, and share their growing wisdom with each other.
We dedicate significant time and resources each month to supporting the cause of love in Uganda, and we are happy to do it. We feel honored to be holding the hands of these wonderful young lovers of humanity, as they extend their love to many far beyond our reach, and eventually inspire their counterparts in the next generation.