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Defends ministry of local woman in Uganda

By Tom Wilmoth

By Tom Wilmoth

    The attorney representing a Bedford County  woman who has spent the last 10 years serving as a missionary in Uganda says the social media attacks against her are “reputational terrorism.”
    David Gibbs of the National Center for Life and Liberty (NCLL) said this week that without any evidence, the organization behind a lawsuit and social media campaign against Renee Bach and the ministry Serving His Children (SHC) have spread lies that have led to personal threats against her and those associated with SHC.
    Bach went to Uganda as a teenager and was led to begin the ministry after seeing the need there.
    “For the last 10 years, Renee Bach and Serving His Children have served malnourished children in Uganda,” a NCLL release stated. “As Ms. Bach worked alongside Ugandan medical professionals, she learned skills to help provide assistance as necessary; and she often assisted nurses and other health care professionals to serve in crisis situations. She never represented herself as a doctor or nurse, but she made nutritional care provided by qualified medical professionals more accessible for families in rural areas.”
    “There is a lot of power in the Internet,” Gibbs said of the publicity being generated through posts claiming Bach has killed hundreds of children. He said the “good work Renee and Serving His Children (has done and is doing) is being put at great risk.”
    “The real losers are the children (that are being helped),” he said.
    Gibbs said anyone is allowed to be a “journalist” now because of the power of social media. “They want to attack; they want to hurt,” he said, adding that the goal of the “terrorists” is to create fear.
    Gibbs stated that Serving His Children hires licensed Ugandan doctors and nurses to provide healthcare through its nutrition programs to combat malnutrition in Uganda.
    “While Ms. Bach is passionate about serving people, she understands that medical professionals should diagnose and treat medical conditions to provide the highest standard of care,” NCLL stated in the release. “In her role as the founder and former director, Ms. Bach has played an administrative role to coordinate the operations and ensure funding for programs so the Ugandan-led staff can focus on providing quality care.”
     Serving His Children currently partners with the Uganda Ministry of Health to run a nutrition unit within a government operated health facility that is funded through the organization’s efforts.
    “Reputational terrorists are attacking Renee Bach and Serving His Children with false allegations using the platform of social media enabling entire communities to determine guilt or innocence, creating a false reality without factual evidence,” the statement from NCLL added. “These escalating attacks are currently threatening the personal safety of Ms. Bach and her family, as people are believing these lies about her and the services provided by the organization. The media is escalating these safety risks by globally sharing grossly false information.”
    Gibbs said the ministry of SHC has worked in partnership with the Ugandan government to help fight the malnutrition crisis in that country.
    “The civil lawsuit that was filed against Ms. Bach in Uganda by two mothers is entirely without merit, and will be vigorously answered in court,” Gibbs stated. “Ms. Bach has responded through her legal counsel to all court matters.”
    According to Gibbs, one of the children in the lawsuit was never treated by Serving His Children and the other child was treated at SHC while Bach was not in Uganda.
    “These sensational allegations are patently false and fail to recognize the 3,600 malnourished children who have recovered because of the care and treatment provided by Serving His Children,” Gibbs stated.
    He said that 3.1 million children die worldwide from malnutrition annually, indicating a clear need for organizations like Serving His Children to assist and come alongside national efforts.
    “Many of the children cared for by Serving His Children are days away from death when they arrive at the health facility with their guardian. Proper treatment for malnutrition combined with health and nutrition education are imperative for these children to not only survive but thrive,” the NCLL statement added.
    Gibbs stressed that the government of Uganda has approved and supports what Serving His Children is doing in the country as part of the government’s national goal to reduce malnutrition.
    “Serving His Children is 100% nationally led and continues to provide quality care meeting national guidelines and under the supervision of the Uganda Ministry of Health,” the statement added.
    Gibbs stated:  “It is sad when people spend their time attacking the good work of others. Renee is innocent of the nonsensical allegations being leveled at her by people who are leveraging the power of social media for their own agenda without verification of facts. Their defamation, libel, and slander of her in these online attacks bounce around the world with no accountability and no evidence. The attackers are using the Internet to create a crisis that does not actually exist.”
    He said the goal is to save lives. “Over 3,600 children have been saved,” he said. “We want to stand by good people.”
Community response
    Though the lawsuit has gotten both international and local attention, many in the community are standing in support of Bach and SHC.
    Pastor Troy Keaton of EastLake Community Church in Moneta said “it’s a tragedy” that Bach, her family and the ministry have been subjected to the treatment they have received, as well as potential harm, based on “Internet innuendo.”
    He was also disturbed that local media has “played into the hands” of those promoting the accusations against Bach and the ministry.
    Pastor Keaton said he and the staff have counseled with the Bach family and continue to stand in prayer with them through this process.