A story of unwavering givers - Jesus is King Ministries
True for me, philanthropy was a reserve for the mighty rich givers known for giving in millions of dollars. Not anymore. Listening to Jackie Asiimwe of CivSource Africa explore this concept in depth unsettled that myth for me. She talked about philanthropy as a wide spectrum where one that gives their all or from their surplus and the other that gives the little they can are equally important. As Jackie stated, ‘Giving is intricately weaved in African living and practice. It is part of who we are as a people.’ This is where my light bulb was turned on for Jesus Is King (JIK) Ministries - a platform I have been a part of since my high school days all through university to date. It is a story of consistent giving that dates back a number of years by a group of people who were then university students. They later became alumni and are now occupying great places of influence and are still giving of their money, time, and expertise for the cause of preaching the gospel, making disciples and raising dependable ministers for the kingdom of God.
Here is how it all begun. In 1993, a group of 8 Makerere University students namely; Nyende Leonard, Musimami John Paul, Ngobi Herbert Muzaale, Koolya Betty, Nyende Paul, Nsajja David, Agatha Luyuyo among others, felt a need to resolve conflicts that sprung up in Busoga Diocese; their home area. They were encouraged and guided by Rev. Ben Mugarura Mutana who was Chaplain of St. Francis Chapel Makerere then. They called this union JIK to mean Jinja, Iganga Kamuli. They organized gospel outreaches to Busoga because they believed it would be a spark for the transformation of this region. At the time, the region was known for poverty, illness, witchcraft, illiteracy, polygamy and its consequences plus a host of other issues.
They planned to go for their first mission trip. It was no easy feat. They did not have enough money to feed the people that would come for meetings and outdoor crusades. They did not even have enough food supplies for themselves nor enough money for their return journey. All they had was a little faith and conviction. ‘The rest would fall into place,’ they believed.
True to God’s faithfulness, people received salvation and witch doctors gave up their fetishes to be burned. That mission strengthened their resolve, passion, resilience, and commitment to this cause. They resolved to visit more villages every semester after that. In fact, the JIK Mantra; “we will never lack” was coined then - that if students could organize a mission with the little they could afford and be able to come back home, they would never lack.
This statement of faith has been carried on through the different generations of ‘JIKers’.Today, after 26 years, the ministry has grown in scale, number and reach.
That marked the beginning of committed giving where Makerere University students fundraise, collect clothes, food, money and spare time to travel to different regions to fulfill their mission of ‘Preaching the Gospel, Making Disciples and Raising Dependable Ministers.’
As a result of growth and expansion, the name changed to Jesus is King Ministries (JIK) International to embrace the need for transformation not only in Eastern Uganda but across the country and beyond. In 2001, JIK was registered as an NGO and soon after, it spread its wings to Tanzania, Kenya, and Rwanda. Fellowships were established in other universities including Kyambogo University, Uganda Christian University and Moi University in Kenya. In 2006, JIK opened its first Secretariat Office in Makerere Kagugube at Polidia hostel for effective running, coordination, and monitoring of the organization activities.
Sticking with their commitments, the leaders passed the virtue of giving (philanthropy) to new students that joined the fellowships. To date, at the end of every semester, a university team organizes an outreach to an identified community with a minimum of 40 missioners.
To date, a total of 88 Missions within and outside Uganda have been organized. JIK annual budgets averagely amount to UGX 89,570,000 million with contributions from both students and Alumni.
The men and women who founded this ministry fondly known as ‘papas and mamas’ have not slackened in their ministry, they have grown and are influencers in the church, market place, business circles and in the diaspora. They have stayed true to passing on the values of giving. Each month, many of these alumni commit a percentage of their salaries to support campus based activities.
JIK through its missions has trained 212 people in making reusable pads, candles, and liquid and bar soap to improve their livelihood in the areas of Muli, Budaka and in Namayingo districts.
When I look back at my life’s journey, I trace my philanthropy practice from my high school days when an old boy of my school invited me to a JIK reunion in 2004. I vividly remember walking into Makerere's main building to a group of students and alumni excited at the opportunity of giving.
In September 2018, I took on a pro-bono role of Chief of Operation to give professional oversight to the functions of the secretariat. I still stand amazed!
Written by Sarah Nakame