The Feed

Stories of Feeding God's Children Hungry in Body & Spirit

In Uganda: Joy and Confidence Replace Painful Stigma

In Uganda: Joy and Confidence Replace Painful Stigma

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” – Matthew 25:40

“When Joseph was about 20 years old he was beaten by people and was set on fire, the reason to this time is unknown to me, and I grieved and felt very sad. We got his ash and buried him.”

So begins Joel Tonny Mwesigwa’s story as to how he became the director of the Boanerges Deaf Initiative in Uganda.

His brother, Joseph, lost his hearing after a childhood illness.

In Uganda, being deaf is seen as a curse, taboo or a shame to the family. A common name for the deaf in Uganda is “kasiru,” meaning a foolish one, Joel explains in a written testimony on the organization’s website.

“My family’s, like many other families, attitude towards Joseph changed,” he writes. “[Joseph] ceased to be that special child he was. School stopped, and no one would care if he is home or not. I saw his life changing from bad to worse every day. I learned many things about how deaf people are treated. To me he remained a friend, but with a great barrier: no language and no communication.”

Years later, as a Sunday school teacher, a deaf boy began to cling to Joel. Then another deaf boy would come around, and another. He realized God was calling him to serve deaf children in Uganda and started the Boanerges Deaf Initiative (BDI).

He heard God say, “This is the ministry I give you.”


“It was hard to take, but I had the pain in my heart for Joseph and I thought they may end up like Joseph if I don’t serve them,” Joel said. “I started seeing Joseph in each one of them and I loved serving them, even to this very moment.”

Many Ugandans believe that educating a deaf child is a waste of money, time and resources, according to BDI.

The organization believes that change in Uganda will come through providing education to deaf children.

They provide love, acceptance and an education to deaf children and their families and aim to glorify Christ in all that they do.

BDI is showing Christ’s love to 55 children in their program. They serve MannaPack Rice for lunch and dinner every day of the week.

The ministry is part of Feed My Starving Children’s 3D program.

What is 3D?

FMSC receives a large number of partner assistance applications (PAP) from certain countries, such as Haiti and Uganda. The network of Distribution Partners in these countries is unable to fulfill the high volume of requests.

With a heart to reach more of those considered the “least of these” by the world, FMSC developed the Direct Distribution Depot (3D) Program to supplement the requests not fulfilled through the PAP.


In this program, FMSC facilitates the costs and logistics of sending a container to the designated country. A trusted FMSC Distribution Partner then works alongside FMSC staff to manage the 3D and food distribution to approved applicants.

“The vision of the 3D Program has always been to reach the least of these, to be able to hear the cries of those whom no one else heard, to be able to feed the ones at the end of the road,” Anna Lisa Jensen, FMSC staff member in our department of international programs, said.

Anna Lisa visited Uganda two years after helping start the 3D program.

“I was so excited to see some of these programs, but I didn’t know that God was going to reveal a deeper layer of whom this program reaches,” she said.

When she visited BDI, she learned that most of the student’s families do not want to learn sign language.

“Can you imagine living life with your parents not wanting to communicate with you? It broke my heart,” she said.

She asked the head teacher if the children, most of whom board at the school, struggle with their self-worth because of this. The teacher said yes, but they are able to teach them their worth and value in God’s eyes.

BDI gives them an education so they can have a successful future.

At the end of the visit, the children had a special send off for Anna Lisa and the other FMSC staff on the trip.

“And these children, as they signed and danced a thank you song to us, emanated joy and growing confidence in who they were,” she said.


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