Big Changes Happening on August 7, 2019.

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Hope Community Church volunteers help in Uganda

Dustin (Dusty) Martzke and Randy Oss, members of Hope Community Church in Shawano, and 17 members of Village Church in Baldwin, Wisconsin, recently returned from a mission to Uganda.

In 2008, Carl and Julie Gaede, psychotherapists from western Wisconsin, moved to northern Uganda with their two young children to launch Tutapona, which means, “we will be healed” in Swahili. The Gaede family followed God’s calling to work with recovering child soldiers and other distressed children.

Tutapona is a nonprofit organization that addresses the pain and trauma associated with war and violence.

Martzke, leader of Hope Church’s missionary programs, commented: “We have a sister church in the Philippines and a ministry partner in Haiti. We appreciate the support of our members and the community as a whole, as we travel to these countries to bring a message of faith, hope, forgiveness and healing.”

The group left June 4. From Washington, D.C., the flight was 13 hours to Dubai. The group then took a 6-hour flight from Dubai to Uganda. From there, they traveled by car to the northern part of the country to Gulu.

Local natives of Uganda have been trained to facilitate a program supported by Tutapona called Empower, written by psychologist Dr. Robi Sonderegger. There is also a program called Heroes Journey, written by child mental health specialists designed to help children through horrific experiences. Some of the things the children have witnessed including shootings, dismemberments, death and suffering is beyond belief. The help they are given through these programs is life healing and sometimes lifesaving.

Martzke commented: “While we were in Uganda, we participated in a staff enrichment retreat. It was a time when the Tutapona staff from Uganda and other nearby countries, who are trainers of these programs, could regroup, rest, worship and talk with one another and to us about their experiences. My roommate’s name was Joshua. He shared his story with me of being a refugee, and that he and his family had witnessed many terrible things. He has recovered and is now a clinical therapist and is on staff with Tutapona.”

For more than 50% of the attendees, there is a reduction in trauma symptoms after attending a two-week program. Prior to attendance, many of them cannot sleep, eat or function. Over 50,000 people have been helped through these programs. Martzke remarked: “No one has to participate; it is their choice.”

He added: “The Tutapona staff seemed to appreciate attending the retreat. Their work can be grueling and stressful, and this retreat was a needed change of pace. During the enrichment retreat, we sang and prayed together. The fellowship we shared was very special.”

Martzke continued: “Once the enrichment retreat concluded, the Tutapona staff returned to refugee camps to continue their work. We traveled to Adjumani, where a refugee settlement is located. There are about 225,000 people in the refugee camps. The refugees come from South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Barundi and Sudan. Refugees flee war, tribal conflicts, famine and political instability.”

He added, “I was expecting large crowds of people, but actually, the camp was quite spread out. Some natives are there temporarily. Some return to their tribe if they learn things have quieted down in their country. But I noticed many built huts out of clay, with thatched roofs. Many families feel safe in the camps and stay indefinitely.”

While they were in Uganda, the weather was much like ours.

Martzke commented: “The natives prefer hotter weather, but it was just right for us. The climate is right for growing sweet potatoes, corn and other vegetables. Many of our meals consisted of rice, potatoes, corn, beef and goat. We spent our evenings in hotels in Gulu and Kampala. The staff there are familiar with Americans, and they were friendly and accommodating.”

Martzke smiled and said: “It is amazing to witness how God works around the world, even in the very remote areas. God’s presence is felt everywhere. As Americans, sometimes we turn to alcohol, drugs or some other vice when we have problems. It is eye-opening and humbling to see the faith displayed in some of these Third World countries. They put their faith in God; that is who they turn to. We go on missions to teach and build relationships, but we also learn. I returned humbled with a renewed and stronger faith.”

Martzke added: “I am grateful to my employer, Cellcom, for supporting my missionary work. Their flexibility in allowing me to schedule my vacations to coincide with missions is appreciated. It is nice to work for a company that supports their employees and the community.”

Question: In what year was Grosskopf Bus, Inc. founded and who was the founder?

Answer: Grosskopf Bus was founded in 1957 by Wallace Grosskopf.

Lorna Marquardt is a former Shawano mayor.