The ultimate plan of Acres of Hope is to give hope for a future to orphans and vulnerable children by providing them with basic needs such as food, shelter, medical care, and an education. The goal is that these children will mature and become productive, generous citizens who will pay it forward and be bright lights in the community.
The steps involved in achieving these goals are numerous, but it starts with sharing the love of Christ. The most vulnerable and needy children are brought to Acres of Hope to live with other children in the care and supervision of house mothers. There is also a warden who lives on the site to oversee the mothers and the children. He ensures the daily activities of the homes run smoothly and properly.
One of the first goals was to have five pod houses built within the first five years, by 2016. The Lord has graciously provided generous partners and donors, so we were able to meet this goal ahead of time. Each pod house is home to a widowed house mother, four boys and four girls. About 40 children currently call Acres of Hope, home.
Education is also taken seriously to help these children have a bright future. Before Acres of Hope, most these children prayed for school fees so that they could attend school. Now, over 60 children have had their prayers answered as they attend school at Acres of Hope. When the school first started, some of the classes met under a mango tree, and others met under tarps. The rain and storms frequently caused problems and classes had to be cancelled. Fortunately, a stronger temporary structure has been built so that the weather will not affect the children's education.
Construction on the first permanent school building was just completed (Feb2016). There will be four school buildings which will contain classrooms for nursery through Primary 7 classes (equivalent to pre-school through middle school), a library, offices for staff, and storage. Once the school is open, it will not only serve our children, but it will help generate an income as we will open it for the able community to pay school fees for a great education.
We have also received gifts of cows and pigs! Check out the school and agriculture tabs to learn more about what we are doing. With the will of God and the support of many, we will purchase plots surrounding out site for gardening and farming. With the ability to grow our own food and generate an income, we will be more self-sustainable.
As the Lord provides, we will construct more homes for the children as well as guest homes. With the completion of guest homes, our visitors will be able to stay near the children and support Acres of Hope rather than a hotel.
Odongo Geoffrey Keronga is a pastor, husband, and father to three biological children, but over one hundred (not exaggerating) children and young adults call him "Dad." His faith and relationship with the Lord can be compared to that of Noah. Ever since he started talking about Acres of Hope, people thought he was crazy. Locals told him it wasn't possible, but Geoffrey did not listen to them. Geoffrey knew that God allowed him to survive an awful childhood so that he could help hundreds, if not thousands of other orphans and vulnerable children feel the love of Christ and live a better life.
Geoffrey's father was a polygamist and his mother was a young girl when Geoffrey was born. He grew sick from malnutrition and the young mother quickly became frustrated. To this day, Geoffrey has a scar in his side where his mother stabbed him with a burning stick in an effort to kill him. Miraculously surviving the stabbing, the wound became severely infected, but God had big plans for Geoffrey here on Earth. Geoffrey never knew the real love and protection provided by parents. He grew up with his grandmother, but struggled to pay for school. Many days he had to miss school to fish for food. By the grace of God, a lot of hard work, sweat and tears, Geoffrey was able to attend West Africa Theological Seminary. He is now the pastor of a church in Nebbi where he resides with his family, just down the road from Acres of Hope.
Geoffrey is an example of what it means to be selfless, compassionate, faithful, determined, patient, and incorruptible. He is a man after God's own heart.
Uganda is referred to as the "Pearl of Africa." Acres of Hope is located in the North Western corner of Uganda, just outside of Nebbi Town. The mouth of the River Nile, Lake Victoria, is located on the Southern boarder of Uganda. As the Nile flows North, it passes through Pakwach where an Acres of Hope "satellite campus" is located, which is about a 45 minute drive from Nebbi. Uganda is full of beautiful vegetation, incredible wild animals, and some of the best smiles you'll ever see. Most of our visitors fly into Entebbe and then take a bus to Nebbi. This allows them to see and experience much of the country and culture.
For over 20 years this area was ravaged by war, violence, and disease. Now it is relatively peaceful, but the scars remain. Pastor Geoffrey wants to make sure that the children grow up with love in their hearts rather than bitterness and anger.