By: Jennifer Shrader Staff writer
September 16, 2013
William Nsubuga is alive today because of an act of forgiveness.
The Rwanda native was trying to escape his home country during its Civil War in 1994 when he was caught by rebels in a field. But when they asked him his name, the rebels realized they knew his father. Nsubuga’s father had stepped in and saved the rebels after they stole his truck. Because of this, they let Nsubuga go, even helping him across the border.
“I have seen the power of forgiveness,” he said. “I know what it can do.”
Nsubuga escaped to Uganda, where he had attended school as a child. It was there he heard about SIFAT – Servants in Faith and Technology – a program in Lineville, Ala. that teaches missionaries to be self-sustaining, among other skills. Eventually, he was able to come to America and participate in the program, where he learned not just the skills he would need but that Rwanda was not the only area of the world that was in turmoil.
“I learned that 20,000 children die of abandonment or malnourishment every day,” he said. “There are 100 million orphaned or abandoned children. If they held hands they could circle the earth three times. I thought suffering was only in my country.”
While at SIFAT, Nsubuga had a vision that he should go into the wild and preach God’s gospel. Not knowing where to start, though, he stayed in Alabama and attended Birmingham Baptist College, where he also found his wife. They had a successful business in Hoover, Ala.
But he’d visited Uganda off and on throughout his time in America and he felt like he needed to go back. He and his wife wound up taking the money they’d saved to buy a house in Hoover and moved back to Uganda, opening Agape Total Childcare, an orphanage and school for children.
They started with 15 or 20 children and prayed for every meal.
“We would say ‘OK God, we had breakfast, now we need lunch,’” he said.
The meals were provided and the program grew to around 40 children, as well as with partnerships with churches in the United States.
That’s how Nsubuga was in LaGrange on Saturday night at a “Celebrate Agape” event.
“The children are here because of the sacrifices you made,” he said. “It has been because of your obedience.”
At the event, supporters raised $1,200 for a garbage incinerator for the campus and about $11,000 toward completion of a teacher’s quarters. Teachers at the facility have to ride or walk to the campus and classes start at 6 a.m. and go on after the evening meal. The quarters will help with supervision of the children.
Fundraiser attendees also had the opportunity to choose a child at the orphanage to sponsor.
“Praise the Lord,” said Nsubuga. The fundraising takes care of two major projects at Agape.
“The high school is amazing,” said John Cipolla, headmaster of Lafayette Christian School, which hosted the event. LCS is now home to three Agape children, Elvis and Millie are exchange students this year and Lillian was adopted this summer by a LaGrange couple, Paul and Katie Firth.
Nsubuga was happy to see the children thriving.
“I am glad to see Lillian in a family,” he said.
– Those wishing to donate to Agape Total Childcare may send checks to SIFAT, 2944 County Road 113, Lineville, AL 36266, with Agape-William in the memo line.