The vision for the Exodus Project was inspired when we began to meet and get to know some of the women of the village of Karuma in northern Uganda. Some of these women we learned were part of a prostitution group. As we got to know them, although they were very receptive to our desire to study God’s Word with them, they soon began to communicate what for them was a far more urgent need. They wanted a way out of their circumstances. None of them wanted to be prostitutes, but due to lack of education and practical job skills and ostracism by former husbands and families, they felt they had no alternative. They wanted to know if we could help them. We began to ask ourselves and God how we could do that. As we thought and prayed about this, eventually the idea of a vocational training center with an a accompanying guesthouse and café formed in our hearts.. Aware that the word “exodus” means “the way out” and that the story of the Exodus in the Bible dramatically portrays a great act of deliverance by the outstretched hand of God of His people out of their bondage, we sensed God’s prompting to let this biblical event inspire a new way out for these women and others like them. We believe God will build and use this center to facilitate the discovery and experience of deliverance from spiritual, cultural and economic bondage for the prostitute women of Karuma and many other Ugandans who are also trapped in various life ditches.
The immensity of the need is compelling. With unemployment at 80% among the people of north Uganda, poverty is pervasive. The rate of illiteracy or under-literacy is near that same level with a small percentage of the population being educated above primary school. Most survive on survival-subsistence living. Particularly for women, those who have no family or education, alternative means of income such as prostitution are their only hope of survival. The Exodus Project was launched in the Spring of 2016. We are from crossing the finish line but steady progress is being made. We now have 8 former prostitutes employed and significant life change is happening in their lives spiritually and economically. And alongside this effort a new church has also been birthed called Bedmot Community Bible Churh which now has about 50 participants and a Ugandan pastor leading it.
Why Karuma? This small town is located on the major transportation route from East Africa’s coastal ports, Uganda’s capital city and the north part of the country into southern Sudan and Northeast Congo. It is also situated on the Nile River where a new large hydro-electric power plant is being built so the Ugandan government is encouraging industry to locate there, causing significant population growth in the area. For these reasons Karuma seems to be a strategic location for a ministry whose objective is to equip and send servant-messengers of Jesus who are equipped with a self-supporting trade and have been trained as disciple-making followers of Jesus.