Kathie Burgess ’11
Master of Christian Ministry
Occupation: Retired Respiratory Therapist
While I was a student in the Master of Christian Ministry program at NGU, Dr. Larry McDonald led a trip to Uganda. Although I had been on mission trips to several other third-world countries before, little did I know that I would find my life’s purpose in going to Uganda.
I was the oldest of five children born to an abusive alcoholic father and a mother with mental illness. At the age of five, my father abandoned the family. My mother had to be hospitalized for mental illness. All the children spent their childhood separated into different foster homes and several orphanages. I was in a total of two orphanages and three foster homes, of which one was extremely abusive. In retrospect, I can see that God may have used my circumstances of abuse to minister to other children who were victims of abuse or abandonment.
I was shocked to learn Uganda had 2.5 million orphans who encountered the atrocities by the terrorist group Lord’s Resistant Army that occupied Uganda for twenty years. Diseases like malaria also contribute to the orphan population. I saw so many children living in extreme poverty that I asked, ‘what can I do to help?’ We started a ministry to obtain sponsors to support the children. With God’s provision, who brought many people together to start this project, overcome the obstacles, and support the children, Hands of Kindness Children’s Ministry was started in 2010. The ministry began with no finances, little knowledge of what was involved, and faith that God would provide. Eleven years later, we can honestly say that God provided in ways that we never dreamed possible.
In 2018 we completed what we would call an orphanage, but we named it a dormitory. It holds 112 children and a retired pastor Michael Okwakol, and his wife Cossy as guardians. We are now in the process of building a medical clinic as the nearest medical facility is 16 miles away, and their mode of transportation is by foot or bicycle. While we raised enough funds to build the facility, we now are fundraising to furnish and equip the clinic. We still trust that God will provide.
I attended NGU to learn more about the Bible and found God’s purpose for my life, to serve Him through Hands of Kindness Children’s Ministry.