News from Renaissance Outreach Ministries-Uganda and Nepal with Jan Beaderstadt

The Covid-19 continues to be a nightmare for the world today.

As I write this article, Nepal and Uganda remained locked down. In Nepal, police roam the streets, enforcing the curfew against those who would dare to venture out. In both countries, the lockdown has been extended to around the first of June, with no guarantee that the lockdowns will end then.

The number of cases have actually been relatively small. As of May 19, there are 375 cases with two deaths. In Uganda there are 260 cases with no deaths. These countries have a population of 29 million and 42 million, respectively. Lockdowns continue to be extended into early June, with no promise of coming to an end. The local people in many places are going hungry due to lack of ability to buy food from stores and vendors. In many ways, those residing in rural villages have it better as they grow their own food.

Still, life is very difficult for the people in Africa and Asia. Worse yet is the fear of the COVID19 virus. Even though they have very few cases compared to USA, there is often desperation in their voices when they talk of the future. They hear the reports through their media, and worry about their families. Social distancing is not easily accomplished in these countries. Extended families often live in single room huts with barely enough room for the family to lay down at night. It is not uncommon to see 15 to 25 people living in one house. Houses in the cities are larger, but still contain large families.

In Uganda, it is still quite common to have six children in a family (it was a tradition for a Ugandan woman to have twelve children). Combine this with other relatives and you definitely have a full house. All public transportation has come to a halt. The local people travel in densely traveled buses or mini-vans (called micros). The mini-vans are designed to hold 14 people plus driver. Usually, they will easily carry 25 or more. Personal space is not a concern in these countries.

Tourists can afford the more expensive buses or rent vehicles; the local people are not so fortunate. The lower priced transportation does not come with a lot of comfort, but it certainly beats walking. The people of Nepal and Uganda are working to follow the laws. While food may be scarce and many are going hungry, they are persevering. Suffering is a part of life in these countries. While the virus remains a threat, their faith does get them through each day. Return this year?

Returning to Nepal in June

The plan is for Rev. Beaderstadt to return to Nepal in late June. This all depends upon air travel and restrictions in both USA and these countries. In Kathmandu, all commercial flights as well as domestic are cancelled. To date, Qatar Airways has not cancelled the flight to Kathmandu. All we can do is wait.

Once arriving in Nepal, Rev. Beaderstadt would have to self-quarantine for two weeks. Fortunately, staff can still come to work during that time. He just won’t be able to leave the building unless symptoms of COVID-19 show up and he would have to go to the local hospitals. We will keep you updated on travel plans. Classes for the Jesus Seminary are now being conducted on line.

Jesus Seminary going on-line classes during virus

The COVID-19 virus has closed all schools and universities in Kathmandu. After being closed for six weeks, Rt. Rev. Barnabas Titung, chancellor of the Jesus Seminary of the Himalayas has started to conduct classes online using Facebook. In June, Rev. Beaderstadt is planning to bring a large screen TV to Nepal which will be used to train pastors in the classroom. PowerPoints can be shown on its screen.

Foreign instructors from USA and other countries can also be beamed into Nepal and shown on the screen. By using ZOOM, instructors can beam themselves into the classroom and students can ask questions. This process becomes a way for the instructor to see their students and the students to interact with their professors. Large screen TVs are much cheaper in USA than in Nepal.

Renaissance Outreach can legally bring in a large screen TV which will cost less, even having to pay for the extra baggage on the flight.

Flooding hits Kasese

Heavy rains hit the Rwenzori Mountains of western Uganda in May, creating disastrous flash flooding in the lower mountains on its way to Kasese where Renaissance Outreach Ministries does its work. The mountain village of Kilembe was destroyed by the angry waters of the river that roared through the narrow valley. The hospital where students from the Rwenzori School of Nursing & Midwifery do their practicum is no more. It was a government hospital consisting of several buildings that was swept away. Fortunately, there were no deaths as all patients had been evacuated before the flash flood hit. Kilembe is the site of copper mining in Uganda.

The village usually sees a major flood of this nature every 50 years. The last one was in 2013 that destroyed many buildings and the bridge in town. To have another flood of this caliber so soon is very unusual, which reflects upon the changing climate in Africa. The family of our friend Bwambale William reside in Kilembe. Fortunately, their family farm is on higher ground as while the rains did damage to some of their outbuildings, they were safe.

Once the water reaches Kasese, there is enough room for the waters to spread out. Parts of Kasese did suffer some flooding, but nothing like what hit Kilembe.

Your coffee is coming

Thanks to the COVID-19 crisis, Renaissance Outreach Ministry has been unable to get new shipments of coffee and tea. All commercial flights in and out of Nepal have been cancelled and the airport closed. Right now, a limited number of air freight flights are flying at double the regular air freight prices. We are hoping to be able to get a shipment of coffee and tea in the next three weeks. We do have some tea and soap in stock. Coffee supplies are now exhausted.

If you want to order coffee, please let us know by email. We will update you on our situation. Our address is [email protected]

Surgery went well

The ankle replacement surgery that Rev. Beaderstadt had on March 13 has been healing on schedule, according to Dr. Matthew Walton, the surgeon from University of Michigan. When he went in for surgery, little did he realize that the entire world would change on March 13. It was then that Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order shutting down the state of Michigan went into effect. Rev. Beaderstadt had known that he would be stuck at home for at least six weeks in recovery.

What he didn’t expect is that his wife and youngest daughter would be home with him. Barbara Beaderstadt is a teacher at Head Start in Whittemore. The school building was closed by executive order along with all schools in Michigan. The Head Start program has scrambled to try and provide projects for the children to do with their parents at home.

Once a week, she and her staff travel to drop off weekly activities on the porches and front doors of student’s homes. They can have no physical contact with the children. Their daughter Shainna teaches at Tawas Area Schools. She works in special education and has been seeing students on line.

Rev. Beaderstadt is now using a walker and hopes to be off that soon. He still needs a brace for support while the ankle is still healing.

Save those “G” dollars We’ve been telling you to save those dollars with the letter “G” on the left hand side. Those are “God’s Dollars” and you can use them to support the work of Renaissance Outreach Ministries.

In the month of April, Rev. and Mrs. Beaderstadt were able to find 61 $1 “G” bills. Each month, it is easy to find those dollars in your change as you shop. When you get those “G” dollars, fold them in half and tuck them in a corner of your wallet. Each night at home, take them out and put them into an envelope.

Rev. Jan L. Beaderstadt, President

[email protected]—(989) 254-1279