Clothing Drive Culture Shock

When Milly visited the United States in the fall of 2022, she returned to Uganda with multiple suitcases of donated items. It was a huge blessing to have clothing to bring back for the community at Kingsway, and we are so grateful for the generosity of the churches who participated in the clothing drive.

As Milly was sorting t-shirts and pants to take back with her, she was startled by the size of some of the garments which were donated. Why are American clothes so big?

Milly with clothes

It was because churches assumed that she would need them. In the West, poverty can mean surviving off food stamps, which usually buy cheap processed food. It is difficult to find healthy food options on a tight budget, so many become obese. This causes discrimination against people living in poverty, raising health concerns along with financial struggles.

Poverty in Uganda, however, is different, Milly pointed out. You never see a poor person who is overweight or obese. There the struggle is to find any food at all, regardless of its nutrition level.

Americans hardly realize the great blessing we have here, that regardless of one’s financial status, it’s not hard to avoid starving. We have a strong social net here. Conditions are much scarcer in Uganda. Many days people eat just one meal, and it is unclear where the next will come from.

This isn’t just true for Uganda. “Have you eaten?” is a common phrase for small talk in many countries in Asia. It’s the first thing a person says after greeting a friend. We chat about the weather, but meals are what much of the world chats about. It’s always good to check and see if a person is hungry, they assume.

It’s hard to imagine a reality where food is scarce and expensive. Gaining perspective is always the first step, and from there we ask the Lord to give us open hearts to how we can help. Donating to a clothing drive is a wonderful way to do that (thank you to everyone who did!), but it just might come with a bit of culture shock.

Update Letters from Milly Erema

Milly and her family have had many blessings and challenges as they have worked to get a new academic year started at Kingsway this past month.

Milly wrote an extensive letter to friends of Kingsway that you are welcome to read at this link – with pictures (pdf.) Her shorter family update is below.


Family Update

I have been so blessed with good news and also we experienced some challenges.


  1. I was chosen as Western Seminary’s Distinguished Alumnus for 2023. This was the most shocking but the most exciting news of my life.
  2. I am publishing my first book in life. A publisher approved the manuscript of my first book ever for publication. This is a great achievement for me because I have struggled to publish this book for many years.
  3. My granddaughter Praise passed her Ordinary Level (Junior High) examinations very well. This year on March 5, she is beginning her Senior High School.


  1. My husband Sam is now officially a retired minister. This means he falls back on me for his financial needs.
  2. Our daughter Comfort fell sick with Typhoid fever for a long time. This brought a lot of anxiety and some pressure on the family because she became very frail.
  3. Reward injured his already frail back while carrying timber for building the girls’ dormitory. Reward was unable to walk for two weeks! Reward’s situation caused delays in the progress of the construction because he is the chief purchaser of the building materials.
  4. Slow progress in building the girls’ dormitory. When the Engineer and his workmen left for Christmas, the Engineer lost his father. Due to the long time he spent at his father’s funeral, many of his construction men found new jobs elsewhere. Getting them back to continue with construction took a long time. And up to now he has just got a few of them. Others are still working elsewhere. This situation has delayed the completion of the girls’ dorm.
  5. Lack of beds and classroom furniture. We have unexpectedly admitted more students this year. This has been caused by the influx of children coming to Kingsway. The reason for this influx is:
    1. After COVID many private schools struggled financially and closed. Hence children who studied in the schools which closed are looking for new schools to continue with education. So many came to seek admission in Kingsway.
    2. Last year’s drought caused an increase in prices of foodstuff causing most schools to increase their School Fees. Most schools increased their fees so much that many financially struggling families ended up sending their children to seek admission in Kingsway.
  6. The Ministry of Education’s demand that all Secondary Schools must introduce one Industrial Subject in school. This is any hands-on subject, such as Welding, Carpentry, Weaving, Soap and Lotion making, Brick-laying, Pottery, Bakery, Tailoring, etc. These Subjects require some good money to buy the requirements. There needs also to be money set aside to pay the instructors. This is a serious challenge for Kingsway financially.
  7. Introduction of Senior High. Some of our last year’s children have now reached senior high level this year. We have about 5 students studying Sciences and 5 studying the Arts. This situation forced us to employ 4 more teachers. We may also need to employ 2 more part-time teachers to take care of specific disciplines in the combinations of these students. This will require some extra money for paying the extra teachers.


(Note from Lois:  There are a few details about the influx of students that you should know. Last year Kingsway had only 20 students because they were on the brink of closing after COVID (40-50 students used to be normal). Our financial help during the year made Milly prayerfully decide to enroll 30 more students to return to full capacity in 2023, which I thought showed remarkable faith.

But Milly got a surprise as the new term was beginning this year. A flood of needy families came with children who had absolutely no other options, because Kingsway is pretty much the only school left in Uganda that will help orphans now. They decided to take an extra 20 students on top of the 30 they had enrolled, which will stretch them to 70 students, well beyond their capacity. They simply couldn’t ignore the critical human need in front of them.

If you want to hear more about the implications of this decision, read Milly’s update letter at this link.)

Moving Into Kingsway

In Uganda, the new school year starts in February, so Milly and her team, especially her family, has been very busy in preparation for the students to return. By the grace and provision of the Lord, Kingsway is ready to begin another semester.

Over the past few weeks, students have been arriving at Kingsway, some returning and some new, many of whom have never stayed away from home before. Beds for the dormitory are still scarce, so many students have brought their mattresses from home, if they have them.

Rice is a treat here in Uganda. As a celebration and welcome for the arriving students, they enjoyed rice with their meal, but first it had to be cleaned of rocks that may have contaminated it during its growing and processing. In this photo, girls sort through the rice to prepare it for a meal.

Meanwhile, other students walk to the community well to collect water for the school. Unfortunately, the well at Kingsway has been unable to provide enough water for all the students and faculty members, so the students must travel a distance to draw water at the community well. Please pray that the Lord would provide resources for a sustainable pump to be built at Kingsway.

Even amidst scarcity, the Lord has continued to provide. The Kingsway community has a constant faith and dependence upon the Lord, day by day, and He has always come through with all that is needed. We ask that you would continue to lift up Kingsway in your prayers as they enter a new school year. In particular, please pray for the safe arrival of each and every student, steady progress on the girls’ dormitory so that students can move in as soon as possible, and sustaining energy for Milly and her team.

Progress on the Girls Dormitory!

After months of prayer, planning, and preparation, we are excited to announce the progress that is being made in the construction of the girls’ dormitory! The new school year at Kingsway begins on February 6, so the girls won’t be able to move in right away, but after many hurdles, the Lord has finally opened the door for construction to begin.


An engineer is currently putting together the slabs, which will create the ceiling for the lower level of the dorm and the floor for the upper level. This takes a lot of time and expertise in preparation for pouring the slab, since this will be an essential part in the stability of the building. Meanwhile, builders have begun to dig septic tanks for the restrooms.


Right now it is the rainy season in Uganda, which can make transportation especially difficult. Trucks get stuck in the mud when they are arriving with deliveries of building materials, and this slows the work that can be done. Nevertheless, the foundation is being built, and we are rejoicing in the headway that is being made.



Please continue to lift up Kingsway Ministries in your prayers! Pray for smooth transportation of building materials, safety for workers, and sustaining grace and wisdom for Milly and her team of administrators. Also pray for all students and teachers as they prepare to return back to school.


What Christmas is Like in Uganda

It’s fascinating to hear how Christmas is celebrated in Uganda, and how Milly and family celebrated it with some of her Kingsway students. Many of them have relatives to go home to for the holiday break, but some of the orphans do not. These come home to Milly’s house in Kampala and celebrate Christmas with her family. (She calls all of the children at Kingsway her “sons” and “daughters” and they call her “Mama Milly.”)

Gifts before Christmas

When Milly was in the US this fall, All Saints Anglican Church (in Holland, MI) sent back clothes for her to share with the children at Kingsway. So before the holiday she shared the clothes that she brought back with her students and other needy people that she and her family cares for.
Milly writes,
We give new clothes and shoes as gifts for people to dress well to welcome Jesus. We say, when a big visitor visits, you dress your best. So our Lord Jesus is the greatest visitor ever! So everyone must put on a new dress if possible to welcome Him!

A new dress is important because a poor person has one or two clothes he/she uses all the time. By the time of the next Christmas, they are too dirty and old. So such people will need new clothes!

This is Agnes and her daughter Peace in their new Christmas clothes. She is Milly’s niece who works as the cook at Kingsway. She is a single mom who needs to support herself and her daughter.

Preparations beforehand

Sometime a week or two beforehand people start cleaning their houses. This is because they are celebrating Jesus’ arrival on Christmas day, and how can Jesus come to visit a dirty house? They also put up a Christmas tree.

Milly writes,
We have Christmas tree too, but our Christmas lights all died! Last Christmas we only put cards on our tree with candies (= candy canes from the US) and some few Christmas decorations.

Feasting on Christmas Day

On Christmas Day, everything begins with putting on your best and going to church. After church is done, we come home to feast and play games. This is usually the only day many people eat meat all year long besides Easter Sunday.

Milly writes,
The typical midday celebration meal contains: chicken, pork, some meat, assorted vegetables, mixed vegetable sauce, soup, gravy, peanut sauce, rice, matoke, potatoes, macaroni, pumpkin, pineapples, watermelon, and sodas.

Lots of Fun, Singing and a Quiz!

After the big Christmas midday meal, children play. Everyone is wearing some of the new clothes that they were given. Last year Lois brought a “Wubble” ball that they are tossing around.
After playing we have a goat roast. It is done at dusk, that is, after children play and settle down. We call this muchomo. Muchomo is either a goat roast/ pig roast/ beef roast etc. This roasted meat is a special occasion food traditionally. This tradition entered into Christmas celebration. We always have a goat roast every Christmas!
After eating the roasted meat, children sing Christmas songs. Sometimes this is done interchangeable with a Christmas quiz.

The Christmas Cake

After that comes the Christmas cake!  A cake is something that must be bought at a bakery because we don’t have an oven (a “cooker”) for baking otherwise. Milly doesn’t usually spend money on prepared food, so I (Lois) asked her if this has been a tradition for very long.

Milly wrote,

Yes, we started getting Christmas cake! We used not to. But we started getting money, we joined other people in buying Christmas cake. It is a big deal for children. Especially my Kingsway children! After singing the Christmas songs is the cake cutting. This is always the last item on Christmas program.

Here is Milly trying to cut the cake, but her three-year-old granddaughter Hosanna isn’t letting her, or letting her mother (Faith Freida) take a picture.  Kids will be kids!

Merry Christmas from Uganda!

Kingsway has a Christmas Wish List

Christmas is when many make wish lists, so we asked Milly to make a list of things that Kingsway could really use, from small to big. From chickens to scholarships to bunk beds to Bibles, there are lots of needs!

Use the “Donate” button at the bottom of this page to choose which funds that you want to give to.

Student scholarships (Most important)

Young people from impoverished homes apply to Kingsway hoping to get an education that would be impossible otherwise. Because of COVID and the economy, Kingsway has had to turn away many worthy children because funds are not available.

It takes about $75/month to provide schooling, room and board for one student at Kingsway. Last year Kingsway was able to serve less than 20 students because of of lack of funds.  Before COVID they served 40-50 students.

They need to raise 20-30 scholarships to do this. Would you be willing to fund a life-changing scholarship for $75/month for one needy student next year? (or $900/year)


Building Fund for the Girls Dormitory

Great news!  As of December, Kingsway finally has enough funds (about $20,000) to enclose the lower floor of the new girl’s dormitory. The builders are at the site and will complete this project in the next few weeks.

Only about $4,000 is needed to pay for windows, doors and plaster for the outside. Once it is finished, the girls can move in. Hooray!! (Another $25,000 is needed to finish the rest of the building.)


Bunk Beds for the Girls

We are hoping and praying that the girls can move in for the term beginning in February 2023. For some, this will be the first time they’ve slept in a bed and not on the ground.

Of course Kingsway will need to buy beds for the girls, along with mattresses and bed linens. For each bunk bed they need $80, and they need up to 20 beds. 


For the farm: Goats, Chickens and a Coop

Kingsway must feed 25-30 people every day, and food is very expensive in Uganda. (Read more about meals at Kingsway.) To save money, they grow a large garden and raise animals too.

Kingsway has a few goats and would love to expand their herd.  A goat costs about $50.

They also had a flock of chickens that all died from an illness recently. Milly thinks they caught it from their rooster, who has a roving eye for the neighbors’ hens. Chickens cost $4, a rooster costs about $10.

This is their chicken coop, which they really need to replace. They also need some fencing to keep the rooster from wandering! The cost is about $250. Contribute to their farm fund and their new animals will thank you!


Fixing the Well

Having clean water available within the walls of Kingsway is a critical need, but a constant headache. (Note the exasperation on Milly’s face!)

They have a borehole, but the pump keeps breaking. So they had a well dug, but the rope and pole they use to draw water keep breaking. To finish off the well with a structure that is reliable for the long term they need about $400.

Another looming problem is that during the dry season, the well barely yields enough to meet their needs. They will likely need to spend a larger amount soon to deal with this. Please keep them in your prayers.


Bible Study and Worship

Milly would love to have a money to buy more Bibles ($12 each), devotional books, and Bible study books suited for teens. She would enjoy having music  and instruments too. Can you contribute to their Bible Study and Worship fund? (Any amount would help.)


To give a Christmas gift to Kingsway online, use the button below and choose the fund that you want to donate to. You can also just give to the general fund, to be spent wherever it’s needed most.

To donate by mail or another method (donor advised fund, private charity, etc.) go to this link. Of course Kingsway will do its best to put donations to their designated uses, but they may sometimes need them for another purpose.

You’re also welcome to email us a note to share your Christmas greetings:



Hopeful Update on Ebola and Kingsway

On October 20th, we shared that Kingsway, like the rest of Uganda, was affected by Ebola in recent months.  Some areas were shut down but none near Kingsway. They have students from affected regions, though.

A few of the victims were school students, and officials worried that Ebola might spread through schools, so the Ugandan government decreed that all schools must end their fall semester two weeks early, on November 25. Milly was in the US at the time, but she and the other leaders of Kingsway made arrangements by phone to shut down the school.

On a hopeful note, the latest news about Ebola is that the last person who was infected with Ebola was discharged from the hospital on December 2 and health officials are hopeful that the epidemic has been contained. There were 141 people known to be infected and 55 of them died, about a 40% death rate overall. While the disease is very deadly, it is much more difficult to spread than Covid.

The government has not announced when schools will be allowed to start for their next semester, but we hope it will be by the end of January.


Rev. Dr. Milly Erema visiting the USA during November

Rev. Dr. Milly Erema arrived on October 27 for a month in the United States. She will be staying in western Michigan for most of the month, except for 11/14-22 when she will be in Denver for academic conferences in biblical studies.

Milly has a Ph.D. in Old Testament and teaches at Uganda Christian University, so part of her time will be spent getting word out about Kingsway and part will be spent on professional activities at the Denver conferences. (She actually began her visit to the US with a little personal fun, joining Lois Tverberg in attending her niece’s wedding in Minnesota.)

Lois Tverberg and Milly Erema at a family wedding Oct 29

If you live in western Michigan, Milly will be speaking at a Musical Gathering about Kingsway on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 7 PM and you are more than welcome to join us! The conversation about Milly’s life and ministry will be interspersed with delightful piano, organ and vocal performances.  More information at this link.

In Denver, Milly will be attending the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) meeting and then the Society for Biblical Literature (SBL) meeting. She will be speaking in a session called, “Difficult Texts in the Old Testament: A Workshop Approach.” She is on a panel of three presenters and she will give a brief talk called Social and Contextual Analysis of Exodus 4:24–26. This is the strange account of when God approached Moses to put him to death, but then Zipporah quickly circumcised their son, which causes God to leave them alone.

Milly has been researching the significance of circumcision practices and beliefs among tribes in East Africa and will share her findings and thoughts about the cultural context of circumcision in light of other traditions.

You can see that Milly is a woman of many talents! If you are in Michigan or Denver and would like to connect with Milly while she is visiting, you are welcome to contact

How the Ebola Outbreak in Uganda is Affecting Kingsway

On September 20th, an Ebola outbreak was officially declared in Uganda. Several districts in the country are on lockdown to control the spread as quickly as possible. This affects everyone, from medical professionals who are on the front lines to the students of Kingsway Christian High School.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, there have been 64 confirmed cases and 24 deaths. That’s a 38% mortality rate! Ebola is a highly lethal disease, but it is spread by direct contact with bodily fluids, not through air like COVID is.

Right now the outbreak is confined to districts in western Uganda, not too close to Kingsway, which is in central Uganda.  But three of Kingsway’s students are from Mubende, which is one of the affected districts. In order to keep students safe, those three (Amos, Obed and Ivan) will not go home for the holidays as they usually do, but instead will stay at Kingsway.

Asiimwe Amos
Muhwezi Obed
Tumwebaze Ivan



Classes at Kingsway are continuing, but families back at home are suffering. With lockdowns and quarantines, many parents are not able to work, and the loss of income is a crisis for many households. Even the daily task of putting food on the table has become very difficult. Your prayers are much needed in this time of trial for Uganda.

Medical professionals are at the greatest risk of being infected since they are often in close contact with patients who may have Ebola. Because it can take up to 21 days for symptoms to arise, monitoring the symptoms is critical, but can be difficult. Milly Erema’s son, Hope Feni, is a doctor who has experience first-hand with the dangers of Ebola, and knows colleagues who have recently died from it. 

Despite the difficulties his colleagues continue to face, Dr. Feni is not discouraged. “Our doctors and nurses are in such great danger treating Ebola,” he says. “But we are brave. No fear to die. This is our call. Pray for us.”

Join Us for a Musical Gathering November 12, 2022

If you live in the Western Michigan area, we would like to invite you to join us for an evening of great music and good conversation with Milly about her life and ministry in Uganda!

Musical Gathering of Friends of Milly Erema

Saturday, November 12th, 2022 from 7 – 8 PM

Mulder Chapel
Western Seminary
101 E 13th St
Holland MI, 49423

We will have  a conversation with Milly
about her life and ministry in Uganda

Interspersed with music by
Ivan Akansiima
Patricia Bartlett
Elizabeth West

Refreshments afterward

If you plan to attend, please RSVP to

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