Nick and Cheryl spent 17 years serving the nations alongside YWAM. For Twelve of those years, they helped pioneer YWAM in the East African nations of Kenya (1980-1985) and Uganda (1986-1992).
In 2013, the DeKoning’s were invited back to Uganda by national church leaders. At that point, the Dekoning’s were asked to work alongside church leaders and help bring transformation in every sphere of life. They accepted the invitation.
When they returned to Uganda in 2014, one area of focus quickly became agribusiness. With a very high youth unemployment rate, and over 80% of the nation involved in agriculture, Nick & Cheryl established a 17 acre farm for the purpose of creating a kingdom business model, employing many young people and training them with new skills. For the last 2 1/2 years the farm nursery has produced and delivered over 2.3 million tree seedlings to farmers throughout the nation. Much of this was done in cooperation with government agencies.
Over the last three years, the DeKoning’s have become deeply convinced of the long lasting effects of planting high quality fruit and timber trees. They believe this is a key strategy to bring sustainable solutions to impoverished rural households and help reverse the severe consequences of widespread deforestation. A new initiative "Our Trees Our Future" is being launched nationally as a simple solution to complex problems. One billion trees are set to be planted by 2030.
In partnership with many concerned Ugandans, Our Trees Our Future will work primarily through schools & self help groups in villages to plant tree seedlings and provide agroforestry training throughout Uganda. In 2016 they did pilot projects in two districts and distributed over 55,000 trees to more than 1500 families. Ten high quality grafted fruit trees can educate a child from kindergarten through college.