Celebrating the First Runner Up in the Quiet Garden Publishing Christian Writing Competition: Joy Ochwo

Celebrating the First Runner Up in the Quiet Garden Publishing Christian Writing Competition: Joy Ochwo

Joy Ochwo, whose story ‘THE STORM’ was selected as the First Runner up in the first ever Christian Writing Competition in Uganda – which was graciously sponsored by Tyndale Foundation USA, answers some questions about herself and her story.

On top of her prize of $130, Joy’s manuscript will be developed further by Quiet Garden Publishing’s partners, Oasis International.

Who is Joy Ochwo?

Joy is currently the CEO of The Storm Shelter, a Christian organization that offers psychosocial support to those going through difficult times. She is also a Lay Leader attached to Kitezi parish, Gayaza Archdeaconry, Namirembe Diocese.

She holds a Bachelor’s in Food Technology and a Masters degree in Public Health Nutrition from Makerere University. Lillian also has a Certificate in Theology from Namugongo Martyrs Seminary. She is currently pursuing another certificate in Theology at George Whitefield Theological College in South Africa under their Explorer Programme.

Why Did You Write ‘The Storm’?

I grew up with a lot of difficulty. This opened my heart to those going through difficult situations in life. So when became a Christian as an adult, I started ministering to those who were suffering. This included listening to them and praying with them. People always want to know why they are suffering. This made me to start looking for answers to their many questions, both from God and from psychological materials.

I realised people heal faster when they understand their suffering from real life experiences of other people along with a psychological explanation of why they feel the way they feel and what religion teaches about suffering. In Uganda and Africa in general, most signs of psychological trauma have been mistaken for the presence of evil spirits especially after the loss of a loved one. I also discovered that people have a story behind their actions. Therefore, rehabilitation of people with addictions must start with identification of the problem. Unhealed emotional wounds of our past have contributed to much of the tensions we have in human relationships today.

I have seen God heal so many people through my ministry, The Storm Shelter, so I wrote in order to reach a bigger audience with this ministry. I also wrote to give a voice to the women who are suffering silently. This manuscript, therefore, is also an advocacy material on Violence against women and children. Because I relate to most stories in this manuscript, writing them gave me opportunity for therapy; my own pain flowed through my hands.

My message to the Reader

Through this manuscript, I want the reader to know that:

  1. Suffering has always been there and will always be there. The real life stories in my book demonstrate that others have gone through several storms and that if they overcame them, you will too. The choice is yours.
  2. That psychological trauma, though an ignored component in our society, is real and must be dealt with for the betterment of human relationships.
  3. That God’s love is constant even during difficult times. Suffering is not a sign that one is out of favour with God. God is Almighty and never loses control of any situation. At the end of it all, things work for the good of those who love the Lord.
  4. The real life stories here also bring to light the broad spectrum of the abuse women and children go through in our society. This manuscript is a form of activism against such acts.
Future Plans

I am currently working on the following different titles:

  1. Exploring the Life of Yesero Mugenyi; A biography of highly successful veteran lawyer. I am abstracting the main themes of his life to inspire our young generation.
  2. A Voice from the Grave: A real life story of how I wrestled with, and overcame, abuse.
  3. A Letter to My Children: Thoughts that could help my children and others stay afloat during a storm.
  4. The Questions the Lord Asks: This examines the different questions God asked his people in the bible and their implication to us during our times of trouble.
  5. By the Grace of God I am: My Autobiography
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