Mission to Uganda ‘really transformative’

South Surrey congregation continues partnership in Africa

In packing for an international trip – or any trip for that matter – most people would be sure to stow at least one toothbrush somewhere in their luggage.

Members of Peace Portal Alliance Church, however, are going to the extreme in that area, in readying for an upcoming missions trip to Uganda.

“We’re trying to bring over 3,000 toothbrushes to give out to children… so no kid’s left out,” said Jon LeFave, pastor of community engagement at Peace Portal.

The dental-hygiene items are among supplies that will be distributed between July 27 and Aug. 15, when LeFave, a White Rock resident, will lead a team of 27 from the congregation to a small town just outside of the Ugandan capital of Mpiji.

“It will be a good chance for us to continue our work,” LeFave said.

Helping with dental clinics will be a key focus; other efforts are to include painting, running bible school for the children and giving the kids “a full day of fun” with activities such as soccer.

While it will be LeFave’s first time on the mission – he moved to the Peninsula with his wife and two sons just last year – the journey has been an annual pilgrimage for Peace Portal members for more than a decade.

They began in 2006, three years after Michael Masembe, a Ugandan pastor, came to the West Coast through his work with Childcare Worldwide and billeted with a Peace Portal family. Masembe attended Sunday service with the family, and the seeds of a partnership – Peace Portal Uganda – were planted.

A 10-acre property in Uganda was bought in 2004, and the following year, development began on a children’s home and Peace Portal Community Church. The first children were taken into the home in 2006. In the years since, two more children’s homes and a well have been built. It’s an impact LeFave is looking forward to seeing firsthand.

“His vision was awesome, and now to actually see the work, the hard work they’re doing over there…

“We’re just coming alongside and him and saying, how can we help? I’m kind of going with open hands.”

LeFave described the trips as “really transformative” for congregation members.

Peace Portal’s efforts to help in Uganda are ongoing year-round, and fundraising generates about $100,000 annually for the various projects. Those participating in the trips pay their own way.

For information, visit peaceportaluganda.com

To arrange donations of funds or toothbrushes, call 604-531-4733.