Our goal is to create healthy families that serve and love God. Our main focus is a 30-month long family training program that interviewed and approved families are enrolled in. Our vision is "Healthy Families Glorifying God" and we do this by attending to three major aspects of their lives: Spiritual Development, Economic Empowerment and Health Development.
This is done through 3 levels of classes that train them in spiritual, economic and medical health. The culmination of the program is providing a family with a start up loan to begin their own business, creating a sustainable model of creating hope and abundance in the Congo.
In order for families to be enrolled in our programs, they need to be sponsored. If you are interested in learning more about sponsoring a family, click here.
Spiritual development is our primary directive. Eden Mission’s goal is to disciple people to view the physical world through spiritual eyes. We advocate for a refocusing on the gifts and talents God as already given his children to better themselves, their family, neighborhoods and country. We pray for a “mind shift” away from spiritual poverty to better address issues of physical poverty. Physical or economic development without spiritual growth is not true development in our view. This revitalization of a relationship with God renews the biblical self-worth of the participants. All believers are children of God with no value placed on where we are in society. We pray and work on grounding all families in our program in the word of God, preparing the parents to model and teach their children and future generations. We do this through discipleship training in our family program and through the churches that we plant in the locations we serve.
As our family program progresses, the families determine vocations that they want to be trained in with the goal of becoming financially independent. Once the mind shift, discipleship and vocational trainings are completed, groups are formed and startup micro loans are given to the family to invest in necessary farming equipment, sewing machines, tools, or whatever they need to get their business started.
Diseases, infections and medical problems that are easily curable in developed countries can wreak havoc on an individual and an entire family, especially in the Congo where healthcare is poor and difficult to access. In addition to teaching our enrolled families healthy practices, we also hold periodic medical clinics and work with a local doctor to help maintain a healthy group.
Our headquarters and office is located in Kisoro, Uganda, which is a town in the southwestern part of Uganda, near the border of Congo.
Right now, our main focus area is in the city of Bunia, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is where our pilot family program is located, as well as the church we have planted by God’s grace and provision. Families enrolled in our program come from the area nearby, some walking a considerable distance to attend classes.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is the 2nd largest country in Africa, and has a population of over 75 million people. The wars in eastern Congo (’90-’03) and former corrupt dictatorial leadership have taken their toll on the Democratic Republic of Congo. While having the natural and human resources to be one of the richest countries on earth, it instead has the lowest per capita GDP in the world. According to the United Nations, it is also the world’s poorest country per capita.
The eastern part of the country is especially plagued by instability, as militias continue to wreak havoc on the population. The conflict is notorious for serious violations of human rights, including violence against women and the use of child soldiers. Since 1996 the International Rescue Committee has calculated that approximately 5.4 million people have died from war-related causes. According to the U.S. State Dept., approximately 1,100 rapes are reported each month, with an average of 36 women and children raped every day.
Life expectancy in the DRC is 46 years. Access to water and health services is also extremely difficult as 80% of the health centers in the area have been looted in recent years. According to USAID, 148 of 1000 Congolese children will not reach the age of five. An estimated 465,000 children in the DRC die each year from preventable diseases like malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea.
Despite laws against child marriage, the practice remains widespread in part because of persistent poverty and gender inequality. The MICS survey showed that almost 1 in 2 girls are forcibly married before they reach 18. The country is ranked 142 out of 146 countries in the Global Gender Equality Index due to the way its system works against girls and women.
Once a sustainable program is set up and running in Bunia, as God allows our future plans are to expand into the entire surrounding Africa Great Lakes Region including Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, South Sudan and Tanzania.
The news of Eden Mission’s presence and work in Bunia is spreading quickly. The two most effective ways this good news is being transmitted are the testimonies of the member families and the experiences of the visitors to the newly planted church.
Our program consists of 20 families at a time. We currently have 2 groups of 20 for a total of 40 families enrolled in the program. Before a family is admitted to the program, interviews are conducted to make sure they are a good fit for the program and are committed to succeeding. Below are the 12 points we consider as we select couples for our program.
1. Attend at least 40 of the 60 two-hour sessions in the first level of the program.
2. Be willing to study the Bible during the program despite current beliefs.
3. Be willing to attend the programs together.
4. Be willing to attend a 2-hour session, three times a week.
5. Be the neediest of the needy in the community.
6. Have a child or children below the age of 7.
7. Be able to walk the distance from their homes to the Eden Mission Center.
8. Be willing to host the group once for a Sunday fellowship.
9. Be willing to bring their children for Bible study.
10. Be willing and able to learn a trade/vocational skill during level 2 of the program.
11. Be willing to commit to the program for all 30 months.
12. Not come to the Eden Mission Center intoxicated, nor will family members smoke at the Center.
In addition to weekly classes, our family’s and other community members attend a Sunday church fellowship, which has been rotating each week to a different class member’s home. This traveling church, held in various neighborhoods has created additional outreach opportunities through greater awareness of Jesus’s gospel and the work God has called Eden Mission to accomplish.
For countries and communities with a lot of poverty, war, infrastructural challenges, high levels of illiteracy, etc., the questions that go through their minds include, “Why us?? Why has God forgotten us? Can’t we ever be like other people and other countries?” They believe that they are forgotten, that they can never be worth anything, and that they were born poor and are meant to die poor. They believe there is no God, that education is not meant for them, and that there is no hope for them.
What good people around the world have done is give people in such countries monetary support or items in kind without first teaching and showing them how to think about themselves as children of God. At Eden Mission our first involvement in the lives of these families is a 5-month perspective training. We have seen families graduate from class and their self-image in God has changed them dramatically. Following this level, other interventions are implemented in order to set a firm foundation on their path to becoming “Healthy Families, Glorifying God.”
Christian participants identified through our bible fellowships and spiritual training programs are given an opportunity to select a 6-month vocational training course once they complete the Attitude/Perspective Training Course. This course will help train them in practical skills that can be used to sustain their families.
Start up Loan
All graduates of our vocational courses will be offered startup capital loans to help launch their businesses. These are loans with specific re-payment plans.
Families Helping Families
Once the family unit is firm and empowered, we encourage them to help other families who are where they once were, before the hope of God. This ensures a sustainable model of families helping families, strengthening the community.