Mary McDonald is a SAMS Associate Missionary and a veterinarian. Recently, SAMS caught up with Mary after her recent mission to Uganda.
SAMS: Tell us about Gospel Goats and the need you saw in Uganda.
Mary: In Uganda, there are families who have been affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Men grew up as boy soldiers and women were abducted to be wives of officers. The majority have received little education about health and nutrition and many are living with HIV. I had a call to equip and empower this marginalized group in Uganda. Gospel Goats is a revolving goat loan program that does that. We teach health, nutrition, and care for the goats which helps these marginalized families on the path to financial and food security. They are able to breed the goats and sell the offspring. With each training, we teach the Gospel and love of Christ. The first goat that is born to those who went through the training is donated back to the program. They learn that they are blessed to be a blessing.
How has Gospel Goats and an education program impacted the region?
When we surveyed the area to start Gospel Goats, there was a school across from an Islamic institute. This school hardly had pencils to work with. I went to the Bishop of N. Uganda and asked about starting a Compassion International sponsorship program at this school. So we prayed that children would be sponsored, and in the first year, we had 200 students sponsored by our church in Virginia. When I returned this year, there were 115 more students sponsored. I discovered that people were taking their children out of the Islamic institute and bringing them to the school. The pastor and volunteers said that Compassion International paired with Gospel Goats has helped stop the spread of radical Islam in the area.
How have you seen God at work through the people in Uganda?
With each Gospel Goat training, we do a clear sharing of the Gospel story. At the end, we ask if anyone would like to receive Christ. At the last training, 15 people prayed to accept Christ. 150 people between the two projects have received Christ, including 5 Muslims. One individual told me that they have felt like the poorest in the community, but because of the gift of a goat they feel like God cares about them and that God is a living and tangible God who cares for both their physical and spiritual needs.
How can people who want to help get involved?
There are already many refugees in Uganda streaming in from the civil war in South Sudan. Now this region is facing an extreme drought and famine. In Uganda, families are losing their crops and livestock. This week, I received a letter from Bishop Johnson writing:
A humanitarian crisis is at our doors. We are trying to share the little we can but both the refugees and the host communities are facing starvation due to prolonged drought and the leading to a shortage of food. As a diocese, we are appealing to whoever can help us to support the refugees to do so now. Thank you for making the appeal on our behalf.
Please pray for the people in Uganda and all of Africa. Please give so others may live. Go to donate go to the SAMS-USA World Relief Fund and designate the country of Uganda in the comment box
or by check to P.O. Box 399 Ambridge, PA 15003.