***Update*** (12/3/18): Lauri Bach, the U.S. Director for Serving His Children, has responded to our piece here and asked us to include this picture:
Renee Bach, a woman serving as a missionary in Uganda, decided to play doctor with the children in her care despite lacking a medical degree. She allegedly took them from actual hospitals to “treat” them at her ministry headquarters, Serving His Children. To no one’s surprise, several of them died.
A group called No White Saviors is now raising awareness of this case in hopes of bringing her to justice.
There was a child referred to our center who had previously been at Serving His Children (SHC). He and his Grandmother stayed with us for several months while he received much needed medical care. The day after we had received some good news about his heart condition, he died of a sudden heart attack. His 3-year-old body had been through a great deal of stress and it had finally given out.
We found out that this little boy had suffered a severe case of malnutrition and was brought to Renee’s NGO in Masese. They got him fat and healthy and then sent him home without so much as any consideration for the root cause of his malnutrition. There was no follow up, so he fell sick again, so sick that his body was not able to come back from it this time.
Renee and her Social Worker at the time came out to our office to discuss this case, as I made it clear I held her partially responsible for this child’s death. I explained that had she training or experience in child welfare, she’d know how critical it is to follow up on cases like this. I was frustrated at that point but all I was asking was that Renee and her team do better follow up moving forward to prevent kids from falling through the cracks and ending up right back where they started.
One can only imagine the outrage that would occur if this situation happened in reverse: if visitors to the US took children from hospitals to “treat” them on their own. The parents would not rest until justice was served. But in Uganda, a lack of proper supervision and boundaries enable people like Bach to continue their “work” without having to be held accountable for the damage they cause.
Taking children from actual hospitals and medical centers, Renee and her team would bring children back to the center in Masese. Renee herself would openly talk about how much she enjoyed “hands on medical care”. An unknown number of children have died in the care of this center. Proper protocol was not followed after the children died, so it could be quite challenging to find the total number of lives lost due to such serious negligence.
Many of us who have tried to hold Renee and SHC accountable have been lambasted, yelled at and referred to as “the enemy” by supporters of Renee. The “home church” that Ms. Bach attended in Jinja, as well as a significant portion of the missionary community there, supported and defended her. It seems as though missionaries may have a selective tendency when it comes to following the laws of the land.
Ironically, many of the same Christians willfully breaking the law in Uganda probably believe that refugees in the U.S. deserve punishment for breaking our country’s laws.
What’s worse? Renee’s Board of Directors in America consisted of close friends and family members. When volunteers and employees would write to the board about these concerns, rather than holding Renee accountable, the board would find a way to get rid of anyone who was seen as “critical” of Renee’s calling from God.
After SHC was shut down in 2015, many of us hoped that there would finally be justice for all of the families who had children die at the center under Renee’s care. We were wrong. Up until now, there has not been a full investigation into the evidence provided to authorities here in Uganda. While we are holding Ms. Bach and SHC accountable first, we also must ask why the authorities who should have held her accountable failed to do so.
Nothing quite allows people to get away with murder — literally and figuratively — than claiming they are doing the Lord’s work.
If you happen to know of any missionaries in Uganda, ask them if they have heard of Renee Bach. If not, share the original post with them — in fact, share it with anyone you know who is looking to do mission work in other countries, and let them know that malpractice, even in the name of Jesus, has consequences.
(Image via No White Saviors. Thanks to Naomi for the link)