Missions News – December

This Christmas, look on the CMS website (www.cms-shop.org.uk) for some more unusual cards and crafts for those little extra gifts. Read the stories of those who make these crafts to give your gifts meaning.

Kit gum Crosses that carry the story of a people’s tragedy and hope

For over two decades the population of northern Uganda was terrorised by the ‘Lord’s Resistance Army’ (LRA). Over the years, more than 1.6 million people were displaced and some 30,000 children were abducted to be child soldiers or ‘wives’ to LRA fighters.

The Kitgum crosses were first created  to help these people with funds. The crosses carry the story of the tens of thousands of abductees. They are made from Cwa wood, favoured by the LRA for its flexibility and used to whip and torture those they abducted.

Since 2006 northern Uganda has been increasingly free of the fear of the LRA. The last few hundred LRA fighters now roam the border districts of the Central African Republic, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, still causing havoc and death among local populations.

So our prayers are still needed today. Pray that the LRA may finally cease their activities and for those thousands still living with the deep trauma of what happened to them.

By buying a cross (costing £1.25 each) you are helping CMS to fund peace and reconciliation work in northern Uganda

Traditional African crafts made by people living with HIV in Uganda

Over 2,000 people are registered with Kiwoko Hospital’s HIV department as HIV-positive. The majority are women. Many are excluded from their communities, unable to find employment and widowed. They are now left to bring up many children alone.

The Resource Centre Craft Project at Kiwoko brings together around 20 women every Wednesday to make traditional African crafts. It provides an income for the women and the hospital. (As a not-for-profit private hospital Kiwoko barely breaks even, so income generating projects like this are vital for its survival and the ability to treat those who can’t afford it.)

Most importantly, this project gives these ladies a sharing community, dignity and the ability to provide for their families.

All work to make purses from maize leaves and each has their own speciality: Rosemary and Joyce make paper bead jewellery; Sarah, Grace and Agnes make mats; Betty, Dariah and Meridah make bags; Olivar and Jesca make a range of baskets and pots; and Resty and Josephine make coasters and place mats, They all work with a perfectionism and resourcefulness that defies their illness and makes them a true inspiration to everyone who visits.

CMS mission partner Dr Corrie Verduyn currently leads the women’s health, obstetrics and gynaecology work, which includes prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV.

Buy online or see Joan Plumptre before 13th December