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.