Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Unforgettable Message Of Hope From Marilyn Skinner

Marilyn Skinner, Watoto Ministries - Uganda
Living in grave danger, nearly losing her life on several occasions, and yet walking in faith to bring the love of Christ to the people of Uganda – this is Marilyn Skinner’s life story. The staff and residents still cannot stop talking about one of the most powerful messages of faith over fear given by Marilyn this week at the Nashville and Lincoln Mercy Ministries homes. Marilyn and her husband, Gary, moved to Uganda in 1980 to plant a church they believed God would use to restore hope to the nation. Corrupt and oppressive rulers had slaughtered their people in a ruthless war, leaving nearly a million people dead. Today, more than 17,000 people attend Watoto Church at one of 20 different services in 8 districts.

Through the years, the Skinner’s have answered God’s call again and again to bring hope to the Ugandan people, especially the orphans and widows affected by not only war, but the epidemic spread of AIDS. In 1994, Marilyn and her husband Gary founded Watoto Childcare Ministries in response to the millions of African children orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS. Watoto Child Care Ministries now cares for over 2,500 children who now live in families of eight with house moms.

In early 2008, Watoto Ministries committed to transforming the lives of 1,200 women in Kampala and 900 women in Gulu who have been abandoned or widowed. The target group is HIV positive single women, former abductees and teenage mothers. They provide residential care, medical care, counseling, discipleship and life-skills training. They also help provide plastic surgery for young women who have been brutally tortured. Watoto is also reaching out to help former child soldiers who have been the victims of war by providing them with counseling and training.

Mercy Ministries has had the privilege of financially supporting Watoto ministries through the construction of two homes for orphans, but in July, we actually sent a team to do the work! All 18 team members (2 staff and 16 graduates) raised the financial support to cover the cost of the first ever Mercy graduate mission trip as well as everything needed to build four classrooms for the children in Kampala. You can read all about it at www.mercygoestouganda.blogspot.com.  You can see a slide show of their trip below:



Marilyn speaking to the staff and residents
Marilyn Skinner is an amazing example of bringing restoration and hope to a world that has been brutalized by war, hate and violence. We were so honored to have her speak to our staff and residents and share her own personal stories of God’s life-saving and transforming power. Marilyn encouraged the girls to let their faith be greater than their fear and that love for Jesus and love for others is the most powerful catalyst for change. She reminded them that in every great movement in history, God used ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Here’s what some of the Nashville residents had to say about Marilyn’s teaching:

Wow, words can’t describe how impacting Marilyn was to me. She is an amazing woman of God, and He has given her an abundance of joy and passion. The desire for social justice rose up in me throughout the entire time she spoke. I truly feel that I am being called to a higher level with God both spiritually and physically. I plan to believe in God’s mighty power and authority for my own healing and redemption. - Michelle

This has been the most impacting, meaningful, and amazing speaker I have heard. I want the faith and passion for the Lord that she has. Her words just pierced me with how powerful the God we serve is. I serve such an amazing God, and He wants to use me in ways I can’t even imagine. - Rebekah

Wow, I don’t even know how to put in words how impacted I was by this message. It was so powerful and God definitely spoke to me. This message was so encouraging, and Marilyn is most definitely one of my favorite speakers so far! - Alyona

Thank you, Marilyn, for your incredible, life-changing message of faith and love. You are truly an inspiration and role model for our girls to know that with God, they can not only have their lives transformed, but they can take that hope out into the world and make a difference for the kingdom! You are a world-changer and we’re honored to partner with you and Watoto Ministries.

Marilyn talking with our residents

Nancy Alcorn and Marilyn Skinner