We come from very humble backgrounds. Growing up in a family of 5, I(Lawrence) witnessed my parents go through some challenging times that eventually led to their separation. This greatly affected me as a child, emotionally and socially.
In grade four, I was privileged to be registered with a Compassion International-assisted Project in the suburbs of Nakawa, a local slum in the outcasts of Kampala. With this opportunity, I had my school fees paid, my medical bills catered for, and my spiritual walk nurtured. I graduated from the program after my Senior six at 22 years old, a compassion policy designed to give younger struggling families an opportunity for sponsorship as well.
After Senior six, I hit rock bottom. Seeing my family struggle and siblings, pushed me to explore new ways to support us. Having had a background in mixed martial arts and some combat training, a friend invited me to join a team of bodyguards he worked for. I had to adapt to the new normal. Where nights were day and day was night. Staying up all night, either bouncing or escorting the bosses’ daughters, was so exhausting. Every Saturday, being a center guide at the children’s project, I had to teach – a passion and opportunity from the Project Leadership.
Things changed when, one night, I was caught up in a fight and terribly beaten by a gang of about 8 guys. I had to rethink my life and that job. I quit, decided to settle back home, and gave some time to teaching compassion children and helping at the office full-time. Every passing day left me uncomfortable, staying home, and knowing as the boys home, we had to provide. Thankfully, God opened a door. I started working for a tourist rest camp in Murchison Falls. Life seemed brighter as each day passed, yet deep inside, darker became my walk with God. Life became about money, women, and adventure.
One evening, as I rode my Yamaha 250cc, four-stroke through the thick forests of the park, little did I know my filters had piled up dirt that affected the carburetor, hence coming to a halt. Unfortuantely, this happened at The Lions Hill; right there, of all places, is where God allowed for the bike to stop. Having seen a pride a week ago, I knew this was the end of the road for me. I didn’t know what to do. Climb the trees? but they trees were known for some of the most dangerous snakes, if not, the elephants would ramp the tree down if they saw me. In case, i succeeded in climbing without worry of the snakes or elephants, anything unpredicted could happen anytime, worse-more, the lions. Psalms 139 hit me hard. I parked my bike beside the road and started off my last few prayers. I had concluded this would be my last day of life. “God, give me one more chance, and I will change; I will love you, and I will commit to work and serve you for the rest of my life. I will stop my messy way of life. Please forgive me.”
In his gracious ways, I was able to make it back to the rest camp, yet a week later, I forgot all about it. God used a one Hellen, to help me think twice, and since then, I have seen God open doors, left my job and joined Bible School.
Through Rev. Kilama Dennis, I joined Bible school, where I and Simple met. We all served on a committee that oversaw chapel activities at the university. Simple’s story is more of the same with mine. Separated parents, and worked different jobs to make ends meet for her family. Experienced the later stages of the LRA insurgency. Thankfully, growing up in Church, she was part of the worship team and later joined a child-sponsoring project in her primary 7, all through to university. One thing we all promised ourselves was to serve God no matter what the world threw at us. Little did we know it was a mission work. Before we got married, we knew God had called us to some form of ministry or mission work. Eventually, He made clear that it was to mobilize, pray, go, or support sending. We decided to interest ourselves in anything that related to missions. A few days after our wedding, God called us to support a Church plant of our Church and later to serve full-time, full-time in ministry and mission work among the Tepeth and Matheniko in the areas of Church planting and community discipleship. God has always been gracious to us.