Schools may be closed across South Sudan and Uganda, but that doesn’t mean the students in our 4leadership program have stopped learning and leading. In fact, during this time at home, we’ve seen our students demonstrate exceptional resiliency and ingenuity, starting small businesses and local initiatives focused on making a positive impact within their communities, despite difficult circumstances.
We love hearing firsthand stories from these inspiring young men and women, and we think you will too! So, while our students are home until January 2021, they‘re sharing personal accounts of what they’re up to and how things are going in their respective communities across East Africa.
More Than a Degree
Following their time at The Leadership Academy of South Sudan (LASS), 4africa’s goal in godly leadership development goes well beyond a college degree for our students. Holistic transformation remains our greatest aspiration for our students. We hope their zealous love for Jesus prompts them to love and serve others unconditionally in a way that transcends and overcomes all cultural, tribal, and gender barriers. Ultimately, our prayer for them is to become way-makers and agents-for-change for Christ. That’s the real measure of success.
Meet Alex, a LASS alumnus, class of 2017. Alex was studying business administration as a second-year student at Makerere University Business School in Uganda when the pandemic brought everything to an indefinite halt. However, Alex is the perfect example of an equally innovative and servant–hearted leader. When the pandemic hit East Africa, his desire to serve his community, enact sustainable change, and apply his education all collided into a life-saving project.
On a Mission to Do Good
Alex shared his story on the events following Uganda’s COVID-19 outbreak:
“The impacts of the COVID–19 pandemic and the lockdown in Uganda since March this year disappointed me so much because it looked like I would need to spend one extra year at university. However, I did not fold my hands and pity myself due to COVID–19. I decided that as a business student, I should seize this opportunity created by the lockdown and put my studies to work! So, I embarked on a small–scale business project making affordable liquid hand soap using the skills I acquired while at LASS under the Business Education Program.
“Through my small business, I have been able to gain a little income that I share with my family. I am mostly excited to be part of the fight against the COVID–19 pandemic by providing affordable detergent for handwashing in my community of Pakale, where I reside.”
Alex has chosen to look at the positive opportunities around him instead of sinking into despair. Even as a refugee, he knows God continues to provide chances to love and serve those around him. He’s been blessed with unique spiritual gifts and business-minded intelligence, and he chooses to make the most of them no matter what. Instead of dwelling on the fact that his studies have been postponed, he chooses to look at the gifts he’s been given.
“Above all, staying at home has enabled me to bond with my family, which would not be the case if I were at school. In challenging times like this, I am always reminded of the LASS program called ‘bread breaking,’ where we meet together as a family of friends and share the word of God, encouraging one another in all aspects of life as a Christ-centered family.
My favorite verses are Psalm 23:1-6 because they teach me not to fear as I am never alone. This scripture keeps me strong, focused and believing even during this pandemic. As in every hard moment, God is always with me.”
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Most of us find ourselves waiting out the pandemic like Alex. Life is just not the same, and we’re ready to resume daily life as before. But like Alex, we know that God works through the waiting period. Instead of standing by, there’s still work to be done for the Kingdom of God. How can we serve others while we wait out the virus?
If you’re looking for opportunities to serve, we can help! Join our mission to serve East Africa through clean water, disease prevention, leadership development, and ministry. Drop a line at email@example.com to learn how you can get involved.