Kampala, Uganda

Mulimutya? (How are you?) We’re John and Janel Breitenstein, serving in Kampala, Uganda with Engineering Ministries International (eMi), East Africa.

eMi is a non-profit Christian development organization designing facilities that serve the poor in developing countries. These facilities (hospitals, orphanages, schools, clean water projects, etc.) directly impact communities by meeting physical needs and communicating God’s love in a practical way. We partner with Christian workers, pastors, and other non-profits who have a vision to help the poor and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Employing primarily local construction labor in our Construction Management program provides a ripe mission field for intentional evangelism and discipleship. See more about that in the video below.

East Africa contains some of the poorest nations on earth. Our hearts are invigorated and amazed by what God is accomplishing to bring true hope to this beautiful place.

John is currently Personnel Manager. This is a curious hybrid of about six different roles in our growing office! But it particularly includes “Member Care” of our international staff, also extending that care to missions organizations that aren’t large enough to have member care; managing local Ugandan staff; helping with office organizational strategy; running human resources; and more. He conducts conflict management seminars for regional missions and church workers, and training seminars for our local staff. John loves this “internal shepherd” role—and that it extends beyond the office into a thriving community among the eMi staff that functions a great deal like the early church in Acts 2.

Janel’s work occurs largely from home with the numbers of people that circulate through our gate, enjoying dinner with us or a cup of tea on the back porch. Most of her time is dedicated to caring for our family, particularly our four children, whom she educates. Janel also teaches weekly Bible classes at a local refugee center.

Our family’s ministry is largely indirect, as we provide support for members of eMi—itself a support ministry. Our office is constructing a hospital and community center for HIV patients aided by Cherish Africa. We’re helping the people of Bahanama, a small community in western Uganda, to find clean water—managed by a local intern our office is training. We’ve designed and managed a facility that trains pastors in Jinja, Uganda. It’s exciting for us to see God provide tangible physical resources to some of the poorest of the poor.

Breitenstein Kids in school

More directly around us, our family witnesses God moving in the lives of our friends and coworkers: like Monica, our Ugandan friend who was given in marriage at the age of 13, and now seeks help to run her own business and raise her two daughters. He’s deepening the walk of the surveying students from a local university where John’s assisted in a practicum class that offers a chance to use surveying equipment they’ve never seen—with a side of in-class devotions and work on an eMi project. We’ve seen him change the life of Oliver, an AIDS orphan who’s worked for our family for two years. We love to see him work in the interns that we mentor—both from the Western world and East Africa—as God works powerfully in the next generation of believers.

God is unquestionably the main character in the story He is writing in East Africa, and it’s deeply humbling and fulfilling to be a part of His Body here. If you’d like to stay in touch, you can find us on our blog or Facebook.

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