Columbia College–Elgin alumnus starts ministry in Uganda

Columbia College–Elgin alumnus, Jim Guzzaldo, and his family are starting a ministry in Uganda, a country plagued by internal conflict and disease. Guzzaldo plans to use his skills in baking to help Ugandans open their own bakeries. Click here to read Jim’s full letter and to find out how you can help.
January 19, 2011
Dear Karen,
I hope that you and all of the staff and faculty at Columbia College are well. I am writing to let you know some of the fruits that are being born out of the education I received at Columbia. My wife, Margaret, and I are planning to serve as missionaries in Uganda with our son, Elliot, now 15 months old. There, I will apply the business, management, marketing, cross-cultural communications and human resources skills I developed at Columbia, as I establish a vocational training program for baking, my trade, and help individuals to open their own bakeries.
We have been pursuing this calling for over two years, and are now looking at a March launch of our ministry. Needless to say, it’s been an exciting few months for us. We sold our house in May of last year, completed five weeks of missionary training at International Teams in June/July, and I left my position as executive pastry chef for Phil Stefani’s Signature Restaurants, in Chicago. Every week since then [we] have been building momentum for our departure to Uganda. As you can imagine, poverty, disease, and conflict are a real concern in Uganda. People have been traumatized by AIDS and the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel group that abducts children and forces them to serve as soldiers. Uganda is the youngest country in the world: 50 percent of the population is under age 15, and 2.5 million Ugandan children are orphans (8 percent of the population).
Margaret, Jim and Elliot Guzzaldo
We are planning to join a team of missionaries in Soroti, Uganda whose mission is to equip, encourage, and assist indigenous Ugandan churches as they bring the hope of Jesus to the people of Uganda. In 2008 we discovered that this team was looking for someone with my skill set in baking and Margaret’s skill set in music. Ephesians 2:10 spoke deeply into our lives as we realized not only were the roles prepared for us, but God had been preparing us for the roles as well. Pursuing this calling has been thrilling, challenging, overwhelming, and delightful, all at a time when we are learning to be parents, too! God certainly knows how to stretch us, but he also knows how to take care of us.
Being a self-funded ministry, we have been blown away by God’s provision. We have raised $42,500 in start-up funds, and have nearly 100 percent of the $6,000 in monthly on-going funds pledged, most of which is already coming in every month. I would like for the whole Columbia College family to know how I have been called to apply my education, and also to know that there is an opportunity to get involved personally, so please feel free to post this, or pass it along. People can come alongside us financially, prayerfully, or bring their skills to this ministry.
If people are interested in connecting or learning more, they can visit our website at , or we can be reached by email at
We hope to hear from you, and my other friends at Columbia College.
With kind regards,
Jim, for the Guzzaldos