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 kingswayministriesuganda@gmail.com.

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 KingswayMinistriesUganda@gmail.com

What Meals Are Like at Kingsway

Food traditions tell you a lot about a new place, and when I visited Kingsway High School from the USA a few months ago I learned a lot.

Currently the students have two meals a day. They have tea in mid-morning, and supper at night. Tea had leaves and some sugar, but nothing else.

Supper was poshe, (PO-shay) which is a mashed-potato-like substance made from corn flour, along with beans and vegetables. It was a hearty and healthy meal. But you know what? It was the students’ only real meal that day.

I was a bit surprised until I learned the reality here. Many people in Uganda are eating only one meal a day right now, and probably that’s what most kids did before coming here. When Kingsway has money they serve lunch too, but that’s a luxury, not a necessity in their thinking. The staff don’t have any more to eat than the kids.

Cooking at Kingsway

You might find it interesting to see how meals are prepared here. The cook makes a wood fire, feeding logs in from the sides. He works in a shed that is open on the sides so that the fire has ventilation.

Wow, I said, the shed is pretty rickety. Wouldn’t you like to fix that? No, it’s just not a priority and we don’t have money. It works for now and that’s all we need.

Learning about “Give Us Our Daily Bread”

Food is a large part of a day’s budget, and hunger is never far away here. When prices go up (as they have been with recent inflation), people eat less and less.

When I was a kid, I used to wonder why the Lord’s Prayer contained a petition for “daily bread.” It seemed a little silly to pray for something that was sitting on the countertop already. And why bread?

Because for most people over history, having food for a day’s meal was a constant worry in life, and much of their calories came from bread or another carbohydrate like rice or corn. The Hebrew word for bread, lechem (LEKH-em) refers to food in general too. Meat is almost never eaten, except at major celebrations.

As I’ve found many times, a glimpse of life in Uganda often sheds light on biblical reality too.

Ugandan Girls Need a Dormitory Too!

While Kingsway’s boys have a dorm to live in, Kingsway’s girls do not. Money is tight so each night the girls have been rearranging a classroom so that they can put out mattresses on the floor. This situation is probably not unlike what many had before coming to Kingsway, but the need has now become critical.

For one, because the government now requires it and threatened to shut Kingsway down if they do not have one by the end of the year!

For two, because they’ve got it partly completed with the mudbrick walls up already for the lower level. But the bricks are unfired and must be plastered to withstand the rain.

What’s ironic is that Eastern Africa has had the worst drought in 40 years this year. This has been terrible and crops and people are dying. But the terrible drought has been preserving these fragile, unfinished walls.

Here’s where they are at right now.

Rains have now returned to Uganda . A village in eastern Uganda was deluged on July 31 and got flooded. While this is good news, it means that Kingsway really needs to finish and plaster their walls as soon as possible.

They still about $40,000 to complete the dorm. Time is really of the essence here –  it would be a great blessing if you could contribute toward this project. Thank you!!

A Sad, then Happy Story about Baby Clothes

A few months ago when Milly was visiting the US, a church asked her if they could bless her work by doing some kind of clothes drive. Along with clothes for Kingsway’s youth, one of the things Milly said she could use was baby clothes, because one of Kingsway’s girls had gotten pregnant during the shutdown (as many vulnerable youth did in Uganda) and had absolutely nothing to provide for her baby.

The church sent Milly back with a generous supply of things and eagerly awaited news of the newborn who would enjoy their gifts.

A few weeks later, Milly wrote with shocking news. The teenager had no money for medical care so she delivered weeks past her delivery date. As a result, the baby had died before it was born. Such things never happen in the US but are not uncommon here. Milly’s own sister died in childbirth because she had no medical care available.

Where Needs Abound

A few months later, the baby clothes came in use again. Milly’s daughter volunteers with her church to help young women in crisis, and when she was driving one day she saw a girl dash across the road who was 9 months pregnant.

Milly’s daughter was shocked because she recognized this girl as one she had ministered to in the past who had been missing for months. Suddenly here she was, and now very close to her due date. In fact she gave birth to a daughter only a few days later! Hooray for the clothing gifts, which she too desperately needed.

The new little girl is named Treasure, and she and her mother Letisha are doing fine. This just shows that no gift goes to waste in Uganda – there is always someone who could really, really use the help.

What This Says about Kingsway Ministries

This story also shows how Milly and her family are involved in other ways besides Kingsway Christian High School to minister to those around them.

Milly’s family comes from northern Uganda, which is especially impoverished because of the recent wars. That’s where many of the vulnerable youth who attend Kingsway are from.

To address the lack of access to medical care in the north, Milly has worked with medical missions agencies to set up short term medical clinics in the area. She has been asked to help find a way to set up a permanent clinic, and has even been offered some land to do so.

That project is in the distant future for right now, but that is why this organization is called “Kingsway Ministries,” which is more than just the Christian high school. It is about what Milly’s King, Christ our Lord, is doing through her life to save lives and hearts for Christ and to minister to many in need in Uganda.

Welcome to Kingsway’s new website!

My name is Lois Tverberg and I’ve known Rev. Dr. Milly Erema for a couple decades now. I write about the Bible in its cultural context and Milly is a top-notch Bible scholar. I first met her in 2003 and brought her on a trip to Israel in 2005, so we are friends from way back.

It has only been recently that I learned what Milly has been doing beside teaching as an Old Testament professor at Uganda Christian University. It’s been to run Kingsway Christian High School, largely without help from outside donors.

Kingsway’s goal has always been to be sustainable and not dependent on donations for viability, because tuition from paying students should provide for non-paying students. In actuality, the school has often admitted far more orphans and needy youth than it should to be profitable, and runs a deficit which Milly and her family pay out of their own meager salaries. (Milly makes less than $4000/year.)

Why do they keep taking students who can’t pay? Because Milly knows that every child she refuses will have little other chance of escaping utter poverty. Every child she admits may become a community leader who will help rebuild their devastated country. As it is, she has a list of applicants as long as her arm that she must turn away and it breaks her heart.

Recently, Kingsway’s need has become especially acute because the two-year Covid shutdown in Uganda impoverished many families, so few can pay tuition to attend right now. On top of that, Kingsway needs to build a dorm before the end of the year, which is utterly beyond their means.

So I have been praying with Milly for a way to help them get the word out, and creating this website has been one goal.

Another goal is to allow others to become involved in funding this project, so I did a bunch of research and then set up a way for Kingsway to take tax-deductible donations, if you are willing to help this very worthy ministry.

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