On that day, he dedicated his life to God for use in bringing the saving message of His love and grace to children and youth in schools and parents in the communities. In 2004, the vision became reality when Ben cast a specific vision to group of Americans traveling with Ben in Uganda – to save the lives for hopeless orphan children and lift up the villages where they live.
While attending University for eight years in the U.S., Ben was ordained in the Anglican Church. He served for two years as Missionary in Residence at the First Presbyterian Church of Glen Ellyn, IL. Ben founded Juna Amagara Ministries in 2004 to give AIDS orphans a chance at life and also to improve life in the very rural communities of Southwestern Uganda.
Ben holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Makerere University in Kampala, a Master of Arts in Theology Degree from Wheaton College, a Master of Arts in Religion Degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Trinity International University in Illinois.
We are not an organization collecting child sponsorship money just to do community development, healthcare programs or build agricultural models. Instead, we are facilitators of needs as identified by indigenous people in crisis. We are adept at running schools, children’s homes, foster children care, community health programs and community evangelism.
It is also important to note that Juna Amagara is an indigenous organization, run by Ugandans for Ugandans. As such, it was decided at the outset that we would not place children in “orphanages.” Too often kids who grow up in orphan homes or orphan villages carry a stigma of their orphan-ness for a lifetime. We believe orphan kids grow up well-adjusted when they are part of the community in which they live.
Our orphan kids go to schools with non-orphans and participate fully in village life. It has been gratifying to watch them, as adults, return to the village where they regard everyone as extended family. All decisions for operating the ministry are made by Ugandans based on their native knowledge of the culture.
The result of putting Christ in schools, government and in the society itself resulted in the reduction of new incidences of HIV/AIDS dropping by 2/3. Even so, many people have died, leaving their children behind. Today, there are more than two million children in Uganda who need caregivers and education, 880,000 of them with no means of support whatsoever. These are the children Juna Amagara seeks to serve and save.
Instead, we speak of ABC as Abstinence, Being faithful to one’s spouse and Commitment to Christ. In Uganda, countless people, especially children will attest that Christ fills lives and leads young people down a path of right living. It is Christ and His followers who will heal this society. Trust in Jesus gives young people both a moral compass and confidence that they can achieve whatever goals they set for themselves.
The ministry is operated by volunteer Boards of Directors in Uganda and the U.S., the Executive Director and his staff in Uganda. Those interested in the financial details of the ministry are encouraged to visit the charity database GuideStar.org
Money is handled only by ministry personnel, not government officials or intermediaries. Money is wired directly from the US to the Juna Amagara bank account in Kampala. Withdrawals are balanced with expenditures in a monthly accounting to the Board. All transactions and financial reports are reviewed by both the US and Ugandan Boards of Directors. Financial practices in the U.S. and Uganda are audited annually.
The ministry is a member of the Evangelical Christian Financial Association (EFCA) which requires best-accounting-practices to be in place. Juna Amagara has earned the Seal of Approval from Guidestar.org for its practices.
Children selected so far represent rays of hope to their siblings and their communities. When one of nine siblings gets to go to school, there is hope for all. When a child finds love and shelter even as his second parent lies dying, there is hope. When one member of a child-directed family finds support, there is hope.
They will be living in a Christian community where they may of their own free will take up the Christian faith. No child will be turned away unless he or she violates the moral requirements and regulations for participating in the program.
In 2010, the New Times School in Kishanje Village enrolled more than 400 children. By the end of 2013, more than 600 children were in the care of Juna Amagara. The ministry will grow in scope – more operations in more places. It will grow in numbers. And, it will grow in the services – vocational training, business education and community health – as funding and resources become available from supporters around the world.
The second is external – audits of financial operations, reviews by third party inspectors, government reports, annual reports from the Board of Directors – all give an objective view of the ministry’s financial and operational stewardship of its resources. The third measurement is the ministry’s support base. Are people actively excited about the work? Do they tell others about the ministry? How many teams visit Uganda each year? So far, Juna Amagara has a very active and growing support base of churches, foundations and individuals.
The fourth measurement can only be made over time. What are the children doing ten years after graduating from university, having been supported by Juna Amagara scholarships and mentoring? We get a glimpse of his future in the graduates of our ABIDE program who are now adults marching forward as strong, educated, motivated, Christian leaders who are essential for improving tomorrow’s Uganda and all of Africa.
Come to Uganda. It is an exceptionally beautiful country filled with joyful people. When you experience this place and its hospitality, you will find God leading you to do something exciting. We need your hands and we need your heart.
Do you like working with children? Are you a skilled artist or craftsperson? Are you an engineer or a pilot? A doctor or a nurse? Are you a gardener, an arborist, a farmer, a mechanic, a pastor, a computer networking consultant? Are you a marketer or writer, photographer or videographer? We need you all. The opportunities for contribution are endless, limited only by the hearts of people who care. Email us today to find out how you can become involved.
For a list of specific needs, look for the current “wish list” in the donations section of this website.