In June 2018, Bryce Engbers of rural Grinnell had his eyes opened to
truly desperate, life-threatening poverty in Uganda, Africa. The hog producer
from Iowa was deeply motivated to take action and helped brainstorm a solution
to the malnutrition: Give the Ugandas the help they needed to increase
production of pork, an excellent source of protein.
Now, one year later, Engbers is
preparing for a return trip to Africa, where he will work with Mission 2 Uganda
to help meet not just the physical needs of the Ugandans but their spiritual
needs as well.
Mission Uganda is a project that
began when one of Engbers’ high school classmates, Ron “Nuper” Nunnikhoven of
Pella, went to Uganda in 2017. While there, Nunnikhoven connected with a woman
named Maggie, and she soon became his African daughter. Their relationship
resulted in Mission Uganda being established. Nuper and Maggie put together a
plan of how to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to children and adults in
Nunnikhoven began a fundraising
project, and that is how Engbers became involved.
“(Nuper’s) letter soliciting
funds laid on my desk for a week or so before I realized that this was more
than a fund request,” Engbers said. “God was calling me to Uganda. I had never
been on a mission trip before so didn't know what to expect but answered the
call and told Nuper that I thought I was called to go with him.”
Over the coming weeks, a team
was assembled including Engbers, Nunnikhoven, Katie Petersen of Peoria, Lisa
Brandhof of Knoxville, and Bob Holtrop of Omaha.
In June 2018, the team’s mission
began. They were in Uganda for 18 days, and all experienced unforgettable
“We presented the gospel to over
1,000 children and adults and handed out porridge, math sets, and uniforms to
many schools,” Engbers said. “All of us were witness to the joy these people
show while experiencing absolute poverty.”
A life-changing moment for
Engbers was when, after a service, three children were brought into the room
for a lunch. They were obviously starving to death. The mission team found out
the kids’ mother had been electrocuted, their father was dead, and they were
orphans who would be living with their grandmother as well as 15 other
“Baby Bob only had a couple of
days to live when I first met him,” Engbers said. “I told Nuper this was
totally unacceptable and I would do what it takes to help these kids. They were
immediately given food and doctor’s care, and I am happy to say they all are
This experience planted a seed
in Engbers’ heart. He knew that, unfortunately, this was more than an isolated
incident and the Mukuno District of Uganda was filled with similar situations.
He took it as his call to action.
Engbers called his wife, Kathy,
and they decided to build an orphanage in Uganda that could house up to 24
orphans. They also decided to "adopt" three other orphans who were
living with their grandmother and 18 other children in a 10-by-20-foot dirt
floor hut. The three kids were also malnourished and weren't attending school
because they couldn't afford the school fees.
“Geoffry, David, and Ruth are
now in our orphanage being cared for by a nanny and regularly attending
school,” Engbers said. “They are doing extremely well. Kathy and I have
committed to caring for these children through college.”
PORK TO THE RESCUE
Nourishment is a huge problem
for children in Uganda. They lack protein as their diet is made up mostly of
ground corn in the form of porridge. Maggie and Engbers talked and concluded
that pigs are the protein source of choice for Ugandans, who love pork.
“The greatest drawback to a pig
operation is the supply of feed,” Engbers continued. “Myself and several other
investors have committed to building a milling facility, which is now under
construction. Once completed, the milling facility will become a profit center
to begin a pig operation in Uganda.”
This project is still in the
early stages. The building is under construction, and the equipment has been
purchased. Eventually, the operation will be run and managed by Maggie’s
husband, Dennis, and her local team of Golden Heart in Uganda.
“Maggie’s team of Golden Heart
is critical to the mission in Uganda,” Engbers said. “Maggie is totally trusted
and well respected in the Mukuno District of Uganda. Without her and Golden
Heart, our ministry wouldn't be possible.”
Another team has been formed and
will be returning to Uganda from July 30-Aug. 14 to once again share the gospel
with thousands of children and adults. They will spend 12 days passing out math
sets to students, providing school uniforms to children, and handing out
porridge for the kids to eat during the day.
“The milling facility is nearing
completion, and we are excited that some of the porridge we will be handing out
will be milled in our new facility,” Engbers said. “What an exciting venture
for the local villagers. They are so excited to have our mill in their area and
Maggie stated many are asking about working there.”
The team is currently wrapping
up donations for this trip but welcomes donations of those willing to partner
with them. Nunnikhoven and Engbers are willing to meet with anyone to discuss
this ministry dedicated to showing God’s love to the Ugandans. For more
information, visit Mission2Uganda.org.