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Bunk Beds in Uganda

October 5, 2021 | Written by Becky Giovagnoni

There is something really exciting happening with our Love Your Neighbor team and the bunk bed building project and we are pumped to share it with you!

A few years back, Luke sensed God’s invitation to step out in a practical, hands-on response to the verses in Matthew with Jesus’ words on loving your neighbor. Starting with a few friends in 2017, Luke heard about a need and began rebuilding fences after a windstorm. In 2018, he heard about another need, and began building bunk beds for kids in foster care.

Now, four years later, the impact of Love Your Neighbor is multiplying exponentially.

God has taken Luke’s initial heeding of the Holy Spirit’s voice, added his faithfulness and commitment to serving those in need, and is supersizing his impact. As God does.

It’s so exciting to watch when God takes the reins, right? That’s why what we’re about to share with you is so exciting!

Here’s the story in Luke’s words:

“My work with the Love Your Neighbor team at Pulpit Rock Church has opened so many doors for me – I get to spend a large amount of my time in the woodshop building beds (we’ve now delivered over 540 beds since we started in 2018) with volunteers and leading woodworking/mentorship classes with local at-risk youth.

I could go on and on about the great things God has invited me into on a daily basis, but I am most excited to have the opportunity to go on another international trip to build beds. (I’ve been to Lebanon twice and Mexico once, with another trip to Mexico planned for February 2022).

At the end of October, I will be heading to Kampala, Uganda to build beds for local boys and girls shelters, as well as train some locals on how to build the beds and other furniture.

We are partnering with a Ugandan non-profit called The Remnant Generationand will be working directly with the organization’s founders  – Isaac and Annabelle Ssebakijje. The Remnant Generation’s mission is “To reach, rescue, restore & empower survivors of sexual abuse and teen moms to thrive according to God’s plan for their lives.”

The Remnant Generation has been running for about 10 years and the women’s shelter is doing well and providing a lot of really important services for local women. While they are having a lot of success with the women’s shelter and the services they offer, they realize that they need to pour into young men as well if they want to correct the problems before they become problems.

So, they have created what they call the “Fathers Arise Program.” This program brings in volunteers to do several things: they act like father figures to the girls and children in the women’s shelter, they mentor young boys and teach them to respect their female classmates, and they have intergenerational talks about what it means to be a father.

The Fathers Arise Program is making a difference, but they still come across a lot of young boys that are completely fatherless and some that are homeless. So, on September 1st of this year, Isaac opened their first boys shelter. Young boys on the street in Kampala end up turning to drugs and fall into the same disrespectful, abusive view of girls that they have learned from watching other boys. These boys are simply a product of a fatherless cycle.

The boys shelter will give them a safe, loving place to sleep while teaching them what it really means to be a man. When talking about young boys looking to become men, I am always reminded of one of my favorite verses:

1 Cor 16:13 “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 

The next verse is what, I think, is often overlooked when young boys are being taught how to act. But I believe it is just as important, if not more important, than the previous verse.

1 Cor 16:14 “Do everything in love.”

The boys shelter will teach the soon to be men how to be strong and show love at the same time. The boys will learn that there are men out there that genuinely care for them.

Here is where the Love Your Neighbor team gets to step in and help…

The boys shelter was able to get some mattresses, but the mattresses are currently sitting on the floor. Since we have some experience building beds, we were asked to come build some for the boys and, hopefully, we’ll have time to build some better quality beds for the women and some cribs for the babies.

The most exciting part is that we will get to train some of the young boys how to build the beds! And, while we are building beds with them, we will also be teaching them how to build some other basic furniture (tables, benches, stools, etc.) so they have a new skillset and a way to make money and support a family in the future!

I can’t express how excited I am for this opportunity! I never thought I would be traveling across the world to teach woodworking skills. With fatherlessness being such a big problem in Kampala, Isaac said that all of us from the Love Your Neighbor team would become instant father figures to these boys. I am honored to be given this opportunity and take it seriously. I hope God uses me and my team to show these boys what Godly men are like.

When we arrive, we will help them get a woodshop set up – they don’t currently have any tools. I have sent them a list of necessary tools and Isaac is going around to local shops to see what he can get and what it will cost.

One way I am hoping you will partner with me on this is helping fund the tools and lumber to get us started. The total cost of woodshop tools is $5,500 and the lumber and supplies cost to build one bunk bed will vary quite a bit based on what lumber is available.

I would love if we could completely fund their woodshop and the lumber and supplies for 20 beds and some furniture that we’ll teach the boys to make.

That estimated total cost will be around $10,000. My goal is to fund the entire amount so they can hit the ground running and not be limited by lack of tools or supplies!

Another way I am hoping you will partner with me on this trip is through your prayers. Prayers for safe travel, safe time in the woodshop and for genuine connection with the boys. I hope that each boy we come in contact with feels seen, known and loved by the time we leave. And, I hope they continue that love with everyone they meet in the future.

I am genuinely grateful for your support. I am blessed to be able to love my neighbors across the street and around the world and your continued support of me and the Love Your Neighbor team is what makes that possible.”

So that’s amazing, right?

We wanted to share this with you so that you could join us in rejoicing over the big blessing of God on the Love Your Neighbor team. But we also wanted to invite you to be a part of this beautiful thing that God is doing.

If you would like to give to any of the needs Luke mentioned above, you can do so here.