Lango Diocese Deacon, UCU alum is shepherd to rejected
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2023/04/lango-diocese-deacon-ucu-alum-is-shepherd-to-rejected/
By Irene Best Nyapendi
Father lost when she was 14. Absentee, alcoholic mother. Forced, abusive marriage. Any of these three factors could have sent Prisca Alice Auma down the wrong path – or no path at all. She considered suicide. Instead, however, she used her bitter childhood as a springboard to improve the lives of unfortunate young girls.
Auma, who studied theology at Uganda Christian University (UCU), said the institution played a big role in shaping her calling and ministry of service to the unprivileged in her home district of Lira, northern Uganda, where the Rev. Prisca Alice Auma was ordained a deacon for St Augustine church (Lango diocese in 2021.
Today, Auma, who talks of being “raped, abused and cheated,” is greatly disturbed by stories of child abuse and neglect by parents. The first child she “adopted” and supported on her meager salary was a neighbor’s daughter who was living with a drunkard father after her mother abandoned her.
“The first child I started staying with in 2014 was a four-year-old girl who is 14 now and in senior one,” she says.
Some parents can be redeemed from bad behavior, she has found. One father corrected his abusive ways and supported his daughter, including help for her university education.
The priest’s reputation for reforming men, women and children has brought many unruly children to her door. With her skills, caring and God’s help, she sees them turn their lives around.
“I invited them to my house and made them understand that as much as that path (of whatever they were doing) seemed easier, it was not what God wanted them to do,” Auma says.
Some of the girls supported by Rev. Auma’s “Save the Day” program in which young women are taught vital lessons such as rejecting child marriages and staying in school
During the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns in 2020/2021 she started a project, “Save the Day,” and trained over 60 girls in tailoring and more than 30 young boys and girls in mechanics. Save the Day was conceived from an encounter with a group of girls who begged her for sanitary pads. Moved and challenged, she bought them some pads and encouraged others to go to her for other help. She started mentoring them. She also started a fellowship with the girls to teach them about God’s love and also reproductive health lessons such as the dangers of engaging in early sex.
Her charity and goodwill attracted more blessings when in 2016, she got a better paying job at Lightforce International, an NGO that takes care of the needy. The organization was impressed by her project and decided to offer financial support so that more could be helped.
Auma, who rose through the ranks to the deputy director of Lightforce, has started other projects caring for women and widows, with funding from the NGO.
“I have managed to come this far because of three principles; the more you forgive, the more you release your blessings, every hand that gives will receive and every wrong one does will always find its way back to them,” she says.
The 29-year-old cleric, who hopes to start an orphanage one day, has 13 children (7 girls, 6 boys) at her home that she looks after as a personal ministry. She is their “mother,” providing everything including food and education. For some, their parents retrieve them after rehabilitation or when parents have realized they need to be better caregivers. Recently, a grandmother of one of the girl’s picked her up from Auma’s home. The girl had been living with the charitable reverend for six months after a disagreement with her parents.
Bishop Joel Obetia, an acquaintance and lecturer of pastoral studies at UCU, says that Auma is very passionate about Godly living. He says as a student, she was dedicated to serving as the chapel minister and regularly participated in worship, preaching, cleaning among others.
“During her time as a student here, she balanced her books with service. I always saw her spend so much time serving at the chapel and during community hour. She also excelled in her exams and had excellent grades,” he says.
In 2018, Auma was asked why she wanted to pursue a degree in theology as a freshman at UCU.
“I want to be a shepherd to the rejected,” was her apt response.
Auma is an assistant vicar and her roles include managing the day-to-day running of the service, reaching out to the sick and counseling. She is betrothed to a banker.
She draws her daily inspiration from Proverbs 31, which outlines the virtues of a Christian woman. Likewise, she wants to be “A woman that preaches, but goes back to being a mother to her children.”
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