Local mission team plans trip to Uganda
Seven local individuals will spend part of their summer putting their best foot forward in another part of the world.
The seven-member team will travel to Uganda in late June to work with a ministry called Sole Hope. The ministry is dedicated to ridding the African nation of jiggers, small sand fleas that enter bare feet and burrow into the skin.
“It’s a horrible problem there, and if it’s not treated and it gets infected, in extreme cases, they can lose the use of their feet,” says team member Michael Bowers, senior pastor of Rich Fork Baptist Church in Thomasville.
Making the trip with Bowers are:
•His 15-year-old daughter, Bailey.
•Mike Ferguson, pastor of Greenwood Baptist Church in Thomasville, and his 16-year-old daughter, Emily.
•Brent Moore and Tyler Prevatte, members of Rich Fork Baptist.
•Chris Moore, a member of High Rock Community Church in Lexington.
Sole Hope’s goal is the eradication of jiggers, focusing on treatment and prevention to reach that goal. If left untreated, the jiggers can lead to infections, paralysis and even amputation. They especially wreak havoc among the children of Uganda.
“Sole Hope works with villages and homes to do jigger removal,” Bowers explains.
“They’re very preventable. You can remove them with tweezers and small needles, which is not very pleasant, and then treat the feet with antibiotics to keep infection away, and they have great recovery rates. You also treat the homes with a spray that will kill the jiggers and the larva that form, and they can be eradicated.”
Sole Hope also teaches Ugandan women how to make shoes, which serves two purposes — it provides shoes to protect the locals from jiggers, and it teaches the women a trade at the same time, allowing them to provide income for their families.
This weekend, Rich Fork Baptist will host a shoe-cutting party, at which participants will use templates to cut shoe-shaped pieces of fabric from old pairs of blue jeans. The cutouts will be sent to Sole Hope in Uganda, where local seamstresses will combine them with other materials to make shoes.
The shoe-cutting party is open to the public — the cost is $5 — and participants are encouraged to bring old pairs of blue jeans and pinking shears if they can.
Then, June 24 through July 4, the local mission group will go to Jinja, Uganda to assist Sole Hope.
“We’ll do a jigger removal clinic — we’ll hold the kids while the jiggers are being removed,” Bowers says. “We’ll love on the kids some. Then we’ll spend some time in the villages treating them, and hopefully we’ll be able to make a difference.”
One member of the local team, Brent Moore, has already been to Uganda once to work with Sole Hope, but this will be the first time for the other team members.
Bowers says he’s excited about going on a mission trip with his daughter, Bailey, who will actually turn 16 during the trip.
“I would rather my daughter at 16 say, ‘Wow, I traveled to Uganda on a mission trip’ than ‘Wow, I had a big party and spent a lot of money when I turned 16,’” he says. “I would rather our kids have good experiences than good gifts.”
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Want to help?
A shoe-cutting party, being held to create shoes for children in Uganda to combat jiggers, will be held Saturday, from 2 to 6 p.m., at Rich Fork Baptist Church, 3993 Old Highway 29, Thomasville.
The public is invited to participate.
The cost is $5 per person, and participants should bring old pairs of jeans and pinking shears if possible (but if not, still come and those materials will be provided).
For more information, call Rich Fork Baptist Church at 476-6258.