“My name is Ronnie Katende. My childhood was very short. I was on the street at the age of nine and quickly became addicted to drugs. For many years I did not have interest in learning anything to improve my life situation. I felt messed up and that my life was a waste of time. After some years I met my wife Catherine, which was a great joy and we had five children together, however, we struggled to look after and provide for their basic needs. I had no skills with which I could earn a living and this made life so hard. I had land that was given to me by my father before he passed away but I did not know even how to use it productively and had no friends to support me. Failure and the shame of being unable to look after my family lead me to abandon them for a whole year. I couldn’t bear seeing my children not going to school, going hungry and having nowhere to safe to live.

Catherine watering the vegetables at their home
Ronnie learning sustainable building techniques with the Mugezi building group; Catherine with Jordan, Joshua and one of the family’s goats

The time I returned to be with my family, was the exact period my wife had just joined Every Life’s discipleship group in Kasubi community. This was such a turning point for us. We learnt to grow in love like never before and to know God deeper. My wife would share stories and testimonies that inspired me to know more about Every Life. She learnt to be patient, believing and trusting God mostly in hard situations and acknowledging that he can always lead us through no matter what. This strengthened me, our family and all our relationships.

Learning to build a water jar with other men from the community
Ronnie teaching some of his neighbours some of the advantages and techniques of market-gardening

We made friends and through the Life Groups and the Mugezi building project, we were trained, not only in practical skills like building and agriculture but how first to see to the available resources within us before being overwhelmed by outside situations. Who we are is not defined by our situation. The things that we had lacked because of money we discovered we could often do ourselves at home. We started farming and were able to grow food for our children, made and sold bricks for constructing houses (including our own), we learnt to make safe charcoal stoves that kept our children from diseases like pneumonia and a water jar that provides us with safe, clean, rainwater. On top of all this we have been able to encourage and help our friends and neighbours with our new knowledge. Through Every Life, I have gained experience and skills, I am proud to provide for my family, my children go to school and we have learnt together, to put our trust in Jesus.”

By getting involved in our ‘Families Shine Brighter Together’ appeal this Christmas you’ll be helping bring hope and support to more families like Ronnie and Catherine’s.

If you or your church would be interested in fundraising for our Christmas Campaign, please do get in touch. We have resources available to help you do that.