Family ministers in Uganda

Published 4:33 pm Thursday, December 6, 2012

Jade Acker speaks to the Alabaster-Pelham Rotary Club about the ministry he and his wife operate in Uganda during a Dec. 6 luncheon. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

A local family is planning to return to their mission work in Uganda after spending time with friends and family members over the past few months.

Shelah and Jade Acker, son of Shelby County Commissioner and Alabaster resident Dan Acker, have spent the past few months in Shelby County. The couple is preparing to return to eastern Africa on Dec. 29, Jade Acker told the Alabaster-Pelham Rotary Club during a Dec. 6 meeting.

During the meeting, Jade Acker detailed the work he and his wife have done with their Refuge and Hope International ministry, which they have been operating in Uganda for the past four years.

Through the ministry, the Ackers help refugees from other parts of Africa who flee their native countries because of war, religious oppression and even genocide, Jade Acker said.

“Uganda is very open to refugees, and is a good place for them to come,” Jade Acker said, noting about 150,000 refugees currently live in Uganda.

The Ackers work to provide educational classes and Bible studies for hundreds of refugees, and have helped many refugees enter the workforce and become part of the Christian faith.

“It’s great to see how the different cultures can come together and be friends,” Jade Acker said. “Our hope is that they find God as their refuge and strength.”

The Ackers have also sponsored former child soldiers over the past 10 years. All of the former child soldiers the Ackers have sponsored have graduated from high school, and several have gone onto college.

“We have been there for four years, and we don’t want to go anywhere else,” Jade Acker said. “We feel at home in Uganda.”