Children living in a small town just outside the Ugandan capital will be smiling a little brighter next month with the help of volunteers from South Surrey’s Peace Portal Alliance Church.
Eighteen members of the congregation will spend 2½ weeks working just outside of Mpiji, on a missions trip that is to include assisting a local dental team at three schools.
“We volunteer supplies and transportation,” team leader Nigel Scott said Wednesday (June 10).
“As you can imagine, health care is out of reach for so many people there. Dental care often comes down to, you wait until a tooth needs to be yanked and then you pull it.”
Missions trips to Uganda have been an annual event for the congregation for 10 years, ever since a Ugandan pastor’s work with Childcare Worldwide brought him to the West Coast and, ultimately, Peace Portal.
“He loved the church, went back (and) started his own church there,” said Scott. “He started it there, he reconnected with the church, let us know what was going on… and invited us to partner with him in meeting that need.”
A 10-acre property in Uganda was bought in 2004, and the following year, development began on a children’s home and Peace Portal Community Church. The first children were taken into the home in 2006. Now, there more than 50 children cared for within the compound, which also includes a medical clinic.
“The oldest child that’s still supported by the church would be in his mid-20s and he’s just finished up his master’s in economics,” Scott, 33, said.
“We see him as an amazing young man. He’s been a great part of the project and kind of shows what can be down with just access to education.”
For Scott – who has travelled with his wife Yvonne and two of their four children on the trip in the past – this will mark his seventh to Uganda. In addition to helping the dental team, he and the other participants from Peace Portal will do a building project and deliver supplies to families who are most in need.
He described the trips as mutually beneficial.
“We do a lot of work. But… we receive a lot. We learn a lot about the world through (the Ugandan people),” Scott said.
“It changed how I see the world. It’s really what I think Christians should be on about. What is a church doing to help the world around it.”
Scott, an Aldergrove resident who has attended Peace Portal since 1999, noted that efforts to help in Uganda are ongoing year-round, and fundraising – about $100,000 annually – supports the projects. All of the funds raised go towards the project and those participating in the missions trips pay their own way, he added.
“If you’re looking at an investment in your time, it’s worth it,” he said. “It’s changed my life. It’s fulfilling to do this type of work.”
The team heads to Uganda July 15.
Anyone interested in learning more about the project or donating to the cause may do so at peaceportaluganda.com