Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity and Divine Role of Women in Building Healthy Cultures
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The Disciple Nations Alliance is a worldwide movement of individuals, organizations and networks united by a common conviction: The necessity of Biblical Truth, expressed through church-based wholistic ministry for social and cultural transformation. DNA “Global Affiliates” are self-governing organizations that share a common purpose, and adhere to the same core beliefs and operational principles. There are currently ten affiliates in Asia, Africa and the Americas. The DNA affiliate in Uganda is called Transformation Nations Alliance.
The first DNA Vision Conference in Uganda occurred in 2000. It was facilitated by Bob Moffitt and Scott Allen, and several of the key leaders of the influential Kampala Pentecostal Church (now called Watoto Church) attended. The second conference held the following year (facilitated by Darrow Miller and Bob Moffitt) was hosted by a committee led by Watoto Church elder Stephen Langa. Today, Stephen is Director of Transformation Nations Alliance and Moses Mengwau is Head of Operations.
Stephen Langa is a member of the Africa Working Group of Samaritan Strategy Africa, the network whose objective is to spread DNA training across the continent of Africa. In addition to serving as an Elder at Watoto Church, he also provides leadership to the Family Life Network, a pro-family advocacy organization. He also serves as Director of the Uganda Youth Forum, a youth ministry organization founded by the First Lady of Uganda in 2001.
The mission of Transformation Nations Alliance is to engage and disciple all sectors of society, through a biblical worldview centred, holistic approach to ministry, leading to the restoration of God’s original plan for creation. Towards this end, TNA has trained and mentored a team of certified Ugandan trainers who regularly facilitate Vision Conferences throughout the nation. Hundreds of Ugandan church leaders have been impacted. In addition, these trainers have been called upon to train the local staff of several large mission and development organizations, including World Vision and Compassion International.
Churches that have been impacted by TNA have gained a new vision for their role in society, and as a result, have begun to reach out and bring healing to their communities.
On October 3, 2008, a Ugandan ministry called Caring Hands was officially recognized by President Museveni for the work they were doing on behalf of the poor. Caring Hands was started by Milla and Hanu Happonen, missionaries to Uganda from Finland who live and work in Mbuya, a suburb of Kampala. Mbuya is characterized by both immense wealth and extreme poverty.
After attending a TNA Vision conference at Kampala School of Theology where Hanu serves as Principal, Milla Happonen decided to demonstrate God’s love in the community by planning for a Christmas meal for the poor in the community. In their words:
There was no intention of starting the organization “Caring Hands”. It began by accident. There was no funding to start the organization. It was set in motion to meet an acute need that we were confronted with. It all began when we reached out to our community at Christmas 2005 with the “You give them something to eat” campaign. We ended up reaching 120 families (600 people) living in poverty. The original purpose of providing a nice Christmas meal ended up feeding these families for one month. The question soon arose: “What happens when the food runs out?” Caring Hands was created as a result, to address this challenge and the causes leading to it.
Lives have been transformed as a result of this demonstration of God’s Love to the community. People should never give up on their dreams. One orphan dreamed of becoming a pilot. Others tried to discourage him away from his “illusion” until Caring Hands saw his potential and assisted him in having his dreams fulfilled. He is now a licensed pilot.
Another significant project of Caring Hands involves supporting impoverished women in the community by marketing jewellery they produce from refuse available in the community. They work from home and sell their products to Caring Hands who then markets the product to buyers worldwide. These jewellery-makers, who include single mothers, widows, grandmothers, people living with HIV, and people with disabilities, come from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds. The one common factor and “qualification” for anyone making products for Caring Hands is they are living in absolute poverty.
The intervention has transformed the community and the neighboring communities where by they have been able to build permanent houses, can afford school fees for their children as well ARVs for those with HIV.
The work of TNA envisions and empowers Christian leaders like Milla and Hanu Happonen to launch these kinds of transformational initiatives, and it catalyzing a movement of church-based transformation throughout the country of Uganda.
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