God has something for you
Hi my name is Joseph, I am from Uganda and working with Hope Shine, Uganda, in the city of Kampala. We work with girls and women and we support them through empowerment and skills development. I work with my wife of two years, we are blessed with one little boy called Nolan.
My dad passed on when I was 10 years old and I’m from a family of seven. My mom did not have any job. She took us to a local church for her to find help for us. That’s when there was that moment when I knew, I understand who God was. The pastor called out those who wanted to give their lives to Jesus and I did go in front. I was one of the youngest people to go in front. But there was that peace that I felt, that inner joy that I felt. I did not feel any more that my lack, the poverty from my family, my lack of basic need was an issue. I was now content because I knew that God can take care of it. I knew what I needed was Him. I knew at that moment that He’s all that I’ve got, and He’s enough.
My pastor then started really helping to support my mom and all of us. But of course, it was so hard because this is a village church with lots of kids. My real dream was to get through school. I remember I went through seven schools, primary schools, not because I was a bad kid, but because I would not be able to pay. I would default then they send me away or jump into another school, be there for a while then they send me away. So [I was] in so many different schools, and I really, I wanted to go to school.
So I used to walk about two to four miles in the morning, bare feet. This is a place where there is rocks on the road. It’s very cold, rocks on the road, and the roads are not paved. Those moments of your walking, you’re alone, you’re feeling alone, you’re hoping to get to school in the cold, and you’re not sure about the lunch. Remember, I was not a paying student, I wasn’t paying. So you’re going and hoping maybe your friend, who is paying, will share their meal with you. Or you are looking at coming back home and your mother has some vegetables for you from the garden or like God has provided. So there was no assurance. But God always provided in some way.
I used to feel within me, God has a purpose for me. He is allowing that to happen. What does He want me to reach toward to? And so I had to allow myself to go through it, knowing that, Oh, Joseph tomorrow, there’s something God has for you. And I knew that the God that I received was going to make a way. I had to keep believing Him. I kept my faith up to finish primary school. I did not get the certificate for finishing. Then I was able to join a high school where I was tossed around the same way. So I was trying to cheat the system, trying to learn until senior three.
This is a time when people from the United States came to my local church and they were looking for kids to support. They started, like an orphanage. They had me and my sister and my brother and other kids. That’s really when my life stabilized. It’s when I wore shoes. It’s when I slept on a mattress. It’s when I started having meals and I stabilized in school. I went to one of the best schools in my community. I knew that it’s the prayer I’d always prayed for and this is God really answering my prayer.
So while I was at this school, my sister, my older sister, got pregnant at the age of 15. So I grew up seeing what she was going through. No man in her life, the guy who had gotten her pregnant and the community did not want to really…she was looked at as worthless. So I go on with my education, and I get a scholarship to join the university. This is when, in my second year at the university, that was in 2012, there was a girl in that community –This is 360 kilometers away from my hometown in the city, where I was living in the hostel. – and this girl, same as my sister’s age, is in our hostels asking for clothes to wash just to feed herself. A few weeks later, she’s not around and her mother comes around asking for her to do her job of washing clothes. I asked her, “Where is Jacqueline?” And she tells me, “Jacqueline is in trouble. She got pregnant and now is in the village to take some herbs so that the baby can be terminated.”
I knew how old she was, exactly like my sister then, and I knew that this is not just randomly happening. This is God pointing me towards something. Definitely there were, there were many moments where I did not think I qualified to do anything or to say anything because she’s pregnant. I’m not a doctor, but I knew what they were going to do was wrong. But God was putting it on my heart that I needed to do something, no matter who I am. I felt that call compelling that I needed to step in. It took a while before I knew exactly how. But somehow I needed to do something. The only way I knew how, I did not have any money, but I was on fire for God, and involved in ministry at my university. We started going to schools to talk about living a pure life by purity programs, with school going kids.
But with Jackie, I knew partly why what happened, happened. The guy that got her pregnant was offering something she did not have, a physical need. Twas God really. I felt that God was directing me to do something because no one else was doing it. I told Jacqueline’s mama to go and get Jackie. I spoke to them, and they decided to keep the baby. Because all they were wondering is how are they going to be feeding this baby? How are they going to take care of this baby? So I used to get some small money from the people who were supporting my education, some spending money. So I started supporting them. My sponsors had some piece of land that was unused. I asked for it to plant crops for me to be giving out food to people like Jacqueline and the mother. So that’s when I really knew that I needed to do something.
After praying, I knew this is what I wanted to do. This is where God was calling me to serve Him and I obeyed. So that’s when I, in my second year, formed a ministry called Teenage Mothers Outreach, it has now changed the name. As of 2023, it has changed the name to Hope Shine Uganda. But what we do is we reach out to women and girls who are abused, who end up pregnant and they don’t know what to do. We empower them, for them to be able to support themselves and their children. We care for their eternal soul, we always point them to Jesus. So that’s when my ministry started in 2012.
In 2013, I got a full time job and started working full time. I have someone running the ministry. In 2016, I reduced the amount of time I was working at my full time job to concentrate some time on my ministry. In 2017 I have people from a ministry called Engage Hope step in to really support our programs. That’s when I started saving some of my salary to be in my savings account rather than spending it. Praise God who provided!
So throughout the years I’ve seen God provide for this little boy in a village in southwest Uganda, whose father has passed on, no hope of education. But this boy, myself, I received Christ as my personal Savior. There and then I know God can do anything. I know in Him we live and we have our being. I have hope in Him. He has done that and I just stand to praise Him. I stand to praise Him.