Where In The World is Deacon Don?
Advent Message from Kasese Uganda East Africa
After 34 years as a full-time Deacon at Our Lady of the Wayside, another ministry has been keeping me quite busy these days. I am surprised that, at this late stage of my life, God has called me to work with a medical healing mission in rural Ugandan villages. I love relating my stories to Waysiders because many of you have been involved in my Ugandan ministry from the start, supporting my work there since 2013.
Advent offers a special time celebrating a God who has sent Jesus to walk beside us and offer us hope. I have eagerly and lovingly embraced a deacon ministry in Africa, where I am preparing an ongoing missionary journey proclaiming that Jesus the healer hears the cries of the poor. I am honored to offer a helping hand to those who call out from their suffering.
Currently, my work involves two rural medical clinics in Kasese, western Uganda. I plan to visit these people as well as our six additional medical projects when I travel after Easter (God willing because the country is in COVID lockdown). Bishop Francis of Kasese has pleaded for help as his diocese has been ravaged by floods five times recently. Kasese is a mountainous area best known for its tourist-attracting gorillas. The people there are among the most economically challenged in all of Uganda. Most of its 500,000 population are rural subsistence farmers living well-below the Ugandan poverty line. Approximately 200,000 of these are Catholics living in rugged areas in about 1,200 square miles.
I work directly with Sister Marcelline, the diocese health director, and Fr. Mbusa from Caritas Charities. My job is to help financially-poor clinics find medicine and obtain healthcare workers to serve in broken-down facilities. Each patient seeking treatment is asked to donate the equivalent of $2.00, although more than 60% cannot pay and beg not to be turned away. With helpers here in the U.S., I formed a 501(c)(3) charity. Our mission is to gather the local pastor, the clinic director and village leaders to brainstorm a way to start small but sustainable businesses that can contribute to the clinic fund the equivalent of $150 per month. Growing crops to sell and engaging in animal farming has worked successfully for us. We currently have six clinics — each sponsoring 75 mothers and children per month. In return, the clinics provide reports and photos for me to share with generous and compassionate donors and sponsors here in the United States.
I work daily from my home with our board of directors and volunteers, communicating mostly by phone with our eight clinic project/businesses in the following rural village locations: Nakifuma 2013, Bikira 2016, Kkonge 2017, Nyenga 2018, Nandere 2019, Pallisa 2020, Kyarumba 2021, Kasese II 2022. A big part of my role is prayer. Hundreds of my friends in Uganda engage me in masses, prayer requests and updates of our progress and challenges. In order to start one of our clinic support businesses we must find donors willing to sponsor the clinic. A minimum of $5,000 is required. In the past we donated an $800 dairy cow whose milk is sold for medicine.
To learn more, please visit our Microfinance Alliance Africa Projects Foundation (MAAPF) website at or our Facebook Page. I welcome your prayers and any consideration for volunteering or making a donation.
TO DONATE, please visit: https://bit.ly/31EVMaRTags: #deacondon, #dongrossnickle, #maapf, #maapfoundation, #ministry, #mission, #uganda