Above: Mary Chowenhill and Kalo Jusef, a former UCU student from Sudan who equips refugees with entrepreneurship skills.
The economics of God’s abundance fuels SAMS Missionary Mary Chowenhill’s mission work, and also informs the way she counsels entrepreneurship students at Uganda Christian University (UCU). She may not have a car to drive into the city of Kampala, but she sees God’s abundance in neighbors who bring fresh garden produce to her door. A broken hot water heater opens her eyes to God’s provision in a kettle to heat water for her shower. No hot water heater means a lower electric bill, which translates into cash she spends on other things—such as crafts created by a local artisan. Mary does not see the world through the typical economics of scarcity. She sees opportunities to lean on God’s sufficiency. With this experience and mindset, she helps her students start businesses with limited capital.
Mary advises students at UCU’s business incubation center. Edina Kia, a young woman who wanted to start a honey business, only had one hive to start. Now with six hives, Kia is about to sell the fruits of a successful harvest. Another student, Douglas Wegulo, markets char-briquettes made from by-products of sugar and coffee. The briquettes are an alternative fuel to wood—a valuable resource in Uganda. Mary has encouraged Douglas to see that, although he can’t afford two acres of land, the abundancy is in finding like-minded business partners to come alongside him—even if they become competitors someday.
Mary’s mindset is rooted in the Gospel: God’s abundant grace and holiness meets us in our spiritual state of scarcity. This biblical truth touches the lives of students at UCU, which attracts people from across Africa. One of Mary’s students in 2016 was Kalo Jusef, from the Nuba Mountains of Sudan. “Born a Muslim, he converted to Christianity, as did his father and his entire family, as a result of his time here at UCU,” Mary shares. “He came to know Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and started a ministry in Uganda to refugees from Sudan and South Sudan. He provides them with the practical skills they need to develop their own businesses.” Kalo and his wife, Leah, seek to go back to the Nuba Mountains to minister there. We pray that God may continue to send students like Kalo out from UCU to share Gospel hope through their vocations, as His abundance brought Mary to Uganda through senders who partner in her ministry.
Click through the gallery below to see pictures of Edina Kia’s log-beehives, and Douglas Wegulo’s char-briquettes business!