How a Lifewater “Healthy Church” Helped a Forgotten Neighbor

Bent from years of hard work and leaning against his worn-down cane, Matia Kabonge recalled his life before meeting members of Laver Transformational Church.

Matia’s home, situated among a dense sugarcane plantation in Rwebiyonga village, Uganda, was leaning and crumbling, but there wasn’t much Matia could do about it in his old age. It leaned so badly, it threatened to collapse on the couple with a strong rainstorm.

He and his wife, Priscilla, had no toilet, so they went to the bathroom outside, and they were ill from the unsanitary environment. At 85 years old, Matia felt hopeless.

Matia at his home in Rwebiyonga village

A Lifewater Healthy Church Spurs Transformation

In 2019, Laver Transformational Church in Kakumiro, Uganda joined Lifewater’s Healthy Church program. The Healthy Church program trains church leaders in foundation theology and shares the God-given mandate to love the vulnerable.

As part of becoming a registered “Healthy Church,” all homes deemed vulnerable (like widows, single mothers or fathers, the elderly, the those with disabilities, and more) must be made Healthy Homes. This means that every home must have a safe place to use the bathroom, a dish drying rack, a hand washing station, and a clean compound.

In December, members of Laver Transformational Church did more than construct these life-saving sanitation and hygiene requirements, they built Matia and Priscilla a new home.

Before and after work and between caring for their own children, church members volunteered their time to construct Matia and Priscilla a home from scratch. They dug a toilet and put up walls and a door, giving the couple privacy that they’d never had before, and they spoke words of encouragement to a couple so badly in need of it.

Laver Transformational Church building a home and a toilet for Matia and Priscilla.

Matia and Priscilla now feel loved, respected, and visible in the community. Their new home stands as a symbol of the church’s love for them.

One of our staff members in Uganda said, “Matia walks hunched, but his head is held high; his basic human dignity has been restored.”

This newfound celebration of life makes Matia teary-eyed with appreciation for the church and for Lifewater programs.

“For years, we wallowed in helplessness,” Matia said. “We now know that God truly loves us thanks to what the church has shown us.”

“I feel like crying every time I talk about it,” he added.

According to church leader Sylvia Tugabirwe, Lifewater’s Healthy Church program inspired the church to reach every vulnerable household in their community.

“The training we received opened our hearts and minds to play an active role in demonstrating the love of God to the community.” – Sylvia, church member

“We learned to live by the scripture that says, ‘When I was hungry you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was a stranger and you invited me, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was in prison and you came to visit me,’” she said.

Matia and Priscilla are forever grateful for Laver Transformational Church, whose members continue to visit them and love them as Jesus does.


Choose a Village. Change a Life.