From disappointment to a divine set up; the journey of Susan and Joey Konieczny into the heart of Africa!

‘The path to a new door is often disguised in some sort of disappointment’. This is the story of an American couple that have moved from casual tourists to missionaries.

Late in the summer of 2016, Susan and Joey Konieczny and their family of four made their trip to Uganda for the coveted gorillas, and to indulge in other safari destinations of the country. Joab Sonko, a local agent with Wildheart safaris was assigned the opportunity of offering concierge services to help coordinate the moving parts of the Konieczny family adventure.

But on their first morning encounter at their hotel, as destiny would have it, something wasn’t what it was meant to be. The main service provider for the Safari to Bwindi had offered a vehicle not specifically to the choice and comfort of the Konieczny family. It provided little baggage room for the long distance drive for the family’s comfort. The roughly 9 hours’ drive through western Uganda to the bordering district of Uganda and Congo would at the bare minimum necessitate a comfortable ride and rightly so. Inadvertently, the family had to be split between the main tour company’s vehicle and Joab’s smaller salon car to head to the Company’s head offices to sort the issue out.

The conversation and interaction that ensued for the one hour drive proved that morning’s challenge to be a divine set up and marked the beginning of a special relationship between the family, our people empowerment work and their already special connection to Uganda. Joe learned about what we were doing to empower our people through biblical entrepreneurship and other endeavors to lift the neediest among us. It was then, and is still now part of our call and commission to empower locals in business and practical life skills to build self-sustainability. Work and business stewardship is not just a good business idea but a call to be pursued and a critical one for the local Church. Dealing with spirituality and poverty can be a daunting task. When people are poor, needy and lacking, their identity and confidence is marred and they can’t live in the fullness of their potential and divine expectations.  Building people spiritually in Africa has been done to some degree, but a lot remains undone in recovering the lost potential and wasted years.

From that encounter, the rest is history, as Joe and Susan have been able to support our grassroots business empowerment organization called the NEHEMIAH DEVELOPMENT GROUP. Through their precious financial support, Nehemiah has been able to set up an office, furnish it with basic equipment to empower its members. We have as well been able to set up a micro loan fund that has highly been helpful in stimulating business after Covid.

The services of Nehemiah include, but limited to; training and empowering people with business skills that can reduce significantly house hold poverty, raise income and build a self-reliant populace. These are key challenges in developing countries more so in the poor neighborhood where Nehemiah Development Group is founded. The business startups under Nehemiah continue to receive support in terms of training, mentoring and coaching. Nehemiah group co-laboring with Excel ministries its founding Church body, runs other community based activities geared towards youths. These include sports and soccer outreaches, life skills and mentoring.

Joe and Susan, are visiting Uganda this fall to experience and get involved first hand with some of Nehemiah’s grassroots work. Their trip will let them participate in Business clinics, community visits, a medical camp, and a host of other voluntary activities. This will be crowned with their primary passion for visiting Uganda- a five day wild safari to soak in the beauty of the country.

“The couple has been extremely generous in helping us rebuild our broken spiritual and economic walls; so thankful for the relationship!; the future can only get better!’’ says Joab Sonko, Pastor at excellent life church and the patron of the Nehemiah Development Group.

1 Comment

  1. Wonderful report on cousins Susan and Joe! Glad to hear how God is working their faith into wonderful avenues for Christian growth! May He continue blessing you two!

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