Walking in Fear and Faith

By Jean Benson and Liz Wann
Orphan Sponsorship Uganda

{Covenant Mercies serves orphans and widows by sending short-term mission teams into African communities. This post was written by one of the members of a medical mission team (led by Covenant Mercies) serving a remote community in Kiburara, Uganda, where we presently provide holistic care for 236 orphaned children.}


I was startled awake by an intense, overwhelming feeling of panic. Initially, I could not breathe, and I could not speak and could not remember where I was. As I reached for my flash-light, everything was closing in around me. The mosquito net seemed to suffocate me. I wanted to scream to my room-mate for help, but all that came out was a whisper. I was crippled by fear.

Slowly and quietly I began to chant, ”God help me!” over and over again. Soon I remembered a song from my daughters’ CD. I quietly began to sing, “When I am afraid I will trust in you, I will trust in you, in God whose word I pray.” I repeated these words as I rocked back and forth on the bed.

After sometime had passed, scriptures suddenly started to flood my mind. It seemed like it was every scripture that I had ever memorized on fear and trusting God. The crippling and debilitating feeling started to wane. I was able to reach for my music, and I worshiped for what seemed like hours. When I glanced at my watch it was 4:30 am.

This was my second day in Kiburara in 2008…

You see, I am the type of person who does not prefer most creatures, except cats and kittens. I hate all insects and the prospect of being dirty. I do not enjoy hot summers in the U.S., much less in Africa. I also do not like surprises and fear the unknown. Having experienced a horrible bug situation at the end of my last trip in 2006, I vowed never to return to Uganda.

This was the state of my heart during the summer of 2008. It was screaming emphatically,“NO!”  Yet once again, the Spirit broke through my fears and unbelief, with encouragement from my husband and friends. There was a growing awareness that this medical team had a need and clearly God was not raising up anyone else.  How could I continue to selfishly say, not your will God, but mine be done?

I Thessalonians 5:24- “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it”.

God was calling me to go to Uganda and was saying, “This is the way, walk in it.”

The months of preparation that led up to the trip were mostly filled with fear and dread. Although He was gradually chipping away at my fear and unbelief, leaving the U.S. was still a complete step of faith. Right up until departure, I was hopeful that the trip might be cancelled. You see, it had snowed in London on the day of our departure. Since London had not seen snow in about 20 years, Heathrow cancelled over 700 flights in and out of their airport. All flights that is, except the one scheduled to depart from Heathrow to Entebbe the following day.

God was again reminding me that His grace would be sufficient for me in my weakness, and that I was to fully trust in Him. He was the one who was controlling this trip. This was not an easy task for me, since most of the people I was surrounded by seemed so excited to be going. However, God very graciously lead me to another person on the trip with a similar testimony to mine. For both of us, this trip was a walk of faith, constantly looking to God for grace for every situation.

After an eight hour flight from London, we arrived in Entebbe at 10am. The seven hour drive to our location for dinner turned into a 12-13 hour drive. After our meal around 12:30 am, we drove another 25 minutes to the Guest House. Within thirty minutes upon arrival I was sound asleep.

The next work day at the clinic can only be explained one way. God supernaturally carried us and sustained us as we sought to provide medical care for the people of Kiburara. This small town that was not even on the map, and was unknown even by people in Uganda, had caught the attention of the Creator of the Universe.

That second night in Kiburara in 2008 left me with an acute awareness of God’s presence. Although the desire to return home remained, there was fresh grace and peace to walk where God was calling me. God was using my limitations to display His awesome power. I still marvel at the fact that He took a wife and homeschooling mother on this journey.

I marvel at the countless ways God ministered to the people of Kiburara, continually using my weakness, and the rest of the team, to display His goodness and the gospel. God chose me in spite of fear, took me outside of my comfort zone, to once again reveal to me my desperate need for Him.

“I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8

He Opened Her Eyes

By Liz Wann
Orphan Sponsorship Uganda

Uganda is a country rich in beautiful scenery with a mosaic of tribes and cultures, and has some of the friendliest people in the world.  Yet, it’s also a place where you see gravestones in front of many houses; gravestones of parents leaving behind children.  It’s a place where you see grandparents just barely surviving as they care for their orphaned grandchildren. Where you see a grandmother bound to a bed, because she can’t walk.

This is what Jannie Bard saw on her first trip to Uganda in 2006.

As she witnessed the hardships of these families, Jannie felt the urgency and reality of their need. To this day, Jannie and her husband, David, have sponsored four children in total.  One of those children has graduated from Covenant Mercies Sponsorship Program, and he is living independently and able to sustain himself.  Still, Jannie and David have never stopped sponsoring children.

When asked why she and her husband have such a passion for helping orphans in Africa, Jannie said Africa and its people have been on her heart since she was a little girl. This love prompted Jannie to be involved with Covenant Mercies from its inception in 2002. In fact, her husband, David, led Covenant Mercies first short–term mission team to Uganda in 2002. Then Jannie joined him 4 years later on her first trip to Uganda.

Jannie’s involvement with Covenant Mercies has not only been sponsoring children and being part of mission trips. She has also worked in Covenant Mercies’ head office from the very beginning.  She began as a volunteer doing accounting, which turned into a part-time job as the organization grew. Eventually her involvement extended into editing and updating sponsored children’s profiles, until she retired in 2012.

When asked why she has been involved with Covenant Mercies’ for so long, Jannie said, “It’s part of the Church universal; part of what God is doing throughout the world. It’s part of God’s redemptive plan in the nations.”

Jannie was overwhelmed as she saw that bedridden grandmother in Uganda. But she saw the difference sponsoring can make in the lives of the children and their caretakers. God opened her eyes to see His redemptive plan in the nations, and she was forever changed.