Last Friday, I received notice along with documentation that the venue that we had known as Upako Centre had been maliciously destroyed. I knew that the landlord wanted to evict Pastor Francis and his work, and that the courts had intervened that allowed Pastor Francis time to relocate. I have never inquired more into the process because I never want our partners to think I am checking up on them. If they want to share with me, they know they can. I also knew that the community had not wanted this transition to happen, for Upako had been good to them and their children. Here is the message along with the photos I received last Friday:
We are looking up to heaven to continue living after our landlord hired armed goons escorted by the police who came yesterday night and damaged Upako Centre, reducing it to nothing. The classrooms, kitchen, the food store, and my office have been destroyed. I am asking for urgent help to fix the mess and keep going. It is really sad to see our police guard the strong against helpless orphans and unarmed teachers who could do nothing. My plea with them to allow justice take its course felt into deaf ears. May God help us.
Then I received this message from Pastor Francis Sunday morning:
I received the money you sent and we have moved to the new place we identified earlier. All the children are safe and I thank God for the great help and for you. Thank you for standing with us during this moment as we collect our pieces together for the benefit of the orphans and for the glory of God. Today is Sunday and the structure we had for a church building for the faithful in the slum was destroyed along with the classrooms. I am leaving to meet with the church members out in the open for a short service then I will hold another service with the children at the new place.
The Upako Project had the full support of the community members, especially the poor since some of them brought their children for free education to the Centre. When the landlord tried to evict us before, the community protested and I think that is why they involved the police and goons to keep the community members at bay as they destroyed Upako.
Continue praying for us. I am determined to continue with this ministry for this is what God called me to do.
I immediately sent $500 last Friday, and will send more. How much depends on you. Can you help our friends who have been dealt this devastating blow? I have set up a special link on Paypal for Upako, and every penny that is given will be sent to them as quickly as possible. You can give online or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. If you can give $5, I urge you to do so at this time, for that will go a long way toward helping Pastor Francis and his team recover from the shock of this attack. Thank you, and please be in prayer for our friends at Upako.