About Us

The Orthodox Presbyterian Uganda Mission [OPUM]

OPUM has been operating in Mbale, Uganda since 1995 and in the Karamoja region since 2000. The goal of the Mission is to labor, with the grace given by Christ, to establish an indigenous church that is self-supporting, self-governing and self-propagating. In addition to the preaching and teaching of God’s Word, there exists a robust diaconal work designed to adorn and support the propagation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The members of the Mbale station work with the indigenous Presbyterian Church in Uganda for the purpose of facilitating their formation as a mature, grace-empowered, self-sufficient body. The station also operates Knox School of Theology, a pastoral training institution for African students from Uganda and Kenya. Works of mercy are also in operation in Mbale.

There is no indigenous reformed church in Karamoja. The members serving on the Karamoja station labor in the areas of evangelism, church planting, leadership training, village Bible instruction, literature production, literacy training, medical care through the work of Akisyon a Yesu Presbyterian Clinic, community health instruction, and other works of mercy such as  the operation of a farm.

The current members of the OPUM are:

  • Rev. Dr. Charles & Connie Jackson | Mbale
  • Tina DeJong | Karamoja
  • Rev. James & Esther Folkerts | Karamoja
  • Leah Hopp  | Karamoja
  • Mark & Carla VanEssendelft  | Karamoja
  • Christopher & Chloe Verdick | Karamoja
  • Angela Voskuil | Karamoja
  • David Nakhla, OPC Short Term Mission Coordinator | USA – nakhla.1@opc.org

Akisyon a Yesu Presbyterian Clinic

Akisyon A Yesu (The Compassion of Jesus) Presbyterian Clinic (AYPC) is a small, outpatient-only clinic located in rural Uganda. It was originally opened in 2002. AYPC provides many medical and laboratory services in the context of a Christian environment.

AYPC has a well-supplied laboratory which often receives referrals from the surrounding clinics and hospitals. This lab provides an excellent opportunity for visitors to learn laboratory techniques as well as to see many tropical diseases through a microscope.

AYPC provides the opportunity for those less-experienced in medical procedures to become proficient in taking vital signs (blood pressure, temperature, weight, etc.). The hope is that everyone gains at least a basic knowledge of how to take a medical history, especially in the context of infectious diseases.

AYPC provides visitors with the opportunity to see many types of tropical and infectious diseases that are not commonly seen in the developed world (while at the same time providing a break from the routine illnesses in the USA like diabetes and high blood pressure). Visitors can work directly with the registered clinicians, or they can even see patients by themselves (if registered with the Ministry of Health or Nurses’ Council). Various procedures and many immunisations are done routinely.

AYPC also provides the opportunity for visitors to see several of the surrounding villages during the weekly outreaches. These outreaches include such things as malnutrition screening, childhood immunisations, HIV counselling and testing, health education, and a Bible lesson.

Visitors can participate in all of the above (as well as various administrative projects), and this is all done in the context of a medical mission. Routine preaching is done at the clinic, prayers are offered regularly, and patients are invited to church. Visitors have many opportunities to show the compassion of Jesus to the patients that are seen each day.

Karamoja Education Outreach

We’ll have more information about our new preschool soon. In the meantime check out these resources for additional information:

KEO on Facebook

Like us on Facebook and get the latest info on the school as well as photos of our teachers and students.

Our Brochure

Our latest newsletter in pdf format can be printed and distributed to family, friends, and congregation


If you have questions or would like more information on KEO,  visit our Contact Page.


Karamoja Application

Dear friend,

We want to be sure our applicants understand what kind of situation they are coming to. The Karamoja Mission may be very different from any place you have been before, and we may have different expectations of our visitors from those on other missions trips. The following is some information that may be helpful to you as you consider applying to come here. After reviewing this information please proceed to the application link at the bottom of this page:

  • Our standard of living is very different from what you might be used to—kitchen appliances, plumbing, and bathroom facilities don’t work as well as the ones in your home. We don’t have hot water, and we have limited electricity provided by solar panels. We try to be very careful in how we use this power, usually for lighting at night and charging our various devices during the day. Internet access is limited and sometimes completely unavailable. We request that you bring as few electronic devices as possible (laptop/tablet, e-reader, camera).
  • Temperatures range from humid 80s and 90s during the rainy season to dry, windy, dusty days of over 100 during the dry season.
  • There are a variety of sicknesses that can be caught in Karamoja—among them amebiasis, giardiasis, brucellosis, and malaria. In addition, your body’s adjustment to the different environment may make you tired, ill, or generally out of sorts. Most of our visitors have few  problems, but some have become very sick.  Working outdoors can be very strenuous.
  • It is not uncommon to encounter ants, spiders, flies, termites, and cockroaches in our houses. It is less common but still possible to find rats, bats, scorpions, and venemous snakes in and around our homes as well.
  • Our Karimojong neighbors often do not have the means to attain our typical level of hygeine, and you will encounter individuals who do not regularly bathe, who wear old and worn-out clothing, and who are obviously suffering from various infirmities and sicknesses.
  • Because we are obviously outsiders, many Africans openly stare at us wherever we go. It is common for us to draw a crowd of curious followers when we visit the market or a village. It is common for strangers to ask for clothes, shoes, money, etc., and you may not understand what they are saying.
  • Grooming is not as easy, and you may have trouble keeping up a particular hairstyle or keeping your feet and fingernails as clean as you would like. Delicate clothing tends to fall victim to the sun, the roughness of washing, or the work to which you are assigned.
  • Food choices are more limited in Uganda, and dietary restrictions can be problematic to maintain. Let us know as soon as possible if you have dietary restrictions.  Most meals must be prepared from scratch and take more time and effort to create.
  • You will be living and working very closely with a small but diverse group of people who have a variety of customs, humor, and personal preferences. You must be adaptable to changing what you are used to doing and how you are accustomed to doing things.  It is very isolated here, so do not expect to “get away.”
  • You may have to change plans drastically or on short notice due to the weather, road conditions, local events, or lack of necessary tools and supplies. Flexibility is key in your trip to Karamoja.

Online Application Forms:

If you have any questions during the application process, please contact Christopher Verdick for a medical question, our visitor coordinator for a question about a visit to Karamoja, and Charles Jackson for a question about a visit to Mbale.

Health Advice for Travel to Uganda (Microsoft Word file)


I would like to contact:

note: for general questions about the Karamoja station, please contact Chloe Verdick; for general questions regarding the Mbale station, contact Charles Jackson.
For questions about Knox School of Theology, please contact Charles Jackson.

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