September 1, 2016

Transformational Generosity: Bishop Hannington Bahemuka

Bishop Hannington’s story is one of the power of faith and the strength of self-help; a story he has told in a dozen countries throughout the world. We were privileged to host him for a roundtable “Transformational Generosity”.

“I never thought it would take such a horrible situation for me and my town to realize that we all needed to change,” Bishop Hannington reflects.

The following video, provided by Generous Giving, offers further insight into Bishop Hannington’s story of transformational generosity.

In 2001, western Uganda was invaded by rebel forces that destroyed villages and farms, forcing over 80,000 survivors into refugee camps. As the war raged on, hope along with the moral fibre of the people faded. The needs seemed too great, leaving the people asking the all too common question, “How can the people from the west help us?”

But there was one who chose to inspire through generosity and gracious giving. While everything around him was disintegrating, war could not destroy Hannington Bahemuka’s commitment to effective stewardship. He inspired his people to ask a different question, “How soon can my people rise to the challenge of funding not only our immediate needs, but our futures as well.”

He told them, “God has given us everything that we need to rebuild our community. What He needed was others to make themselves available to Him and He was going to use us…We can use the gifts we have to rebuild our communities.”

Bishop Hannington encouraged his community to focus on the resources they did have, instead of on what they had lost and to trust God to help them rebuild through their own generosity. Against all imaginable odds, this community has not only rebuilt, today they are also finding ways to thrive using these three principles:

  • Everything we have belongs to God. Even our very lives are a gift from God.
  • God created us to be managers or stewards of these gifts.
  • Effective stewardship is not innate, it is learned.

The people understood that they needed to create wealth in order to allow for tangible generosity. By using the gifts and resources they already possessed, a cycle of sustainability was established.

One woman in the community said, “We once gave out a sense of duty, but now we are willing and count it a joy in our hearts, because it will change our community.

Out of the jungle of war and destruction, one pioneer leader inspired by generosity shared the vision with his community. No longer waiting for outside relief, the grace of giving has replaced a welfare mentality and the entire town was rebuilt.

Bishop Hannington’s message was strong, “This message can work in every situation, in every country, because surely generosity is transformational.”