Katherine Hines first visited Uganda in 1994, and during this trip she found the place that would become the home for her ministry. Kamonkoli is located in the Eastern region of Uganda, and in 1999 she started Hines Ugandan Ministries in the village.
“Well, it’s changed a lot since 1999,” Hines said. “Because when I first came here there were very few vehicles. Most of the roads weren’t paved. They’re paved now, but they’re all messed up. But it’s changed a lot since those days. Then there was no running water where I am, Kamonkoli, and electricity was really often on and off and on all the time, there wasn’t hardly ever electricity.”
Kamonkoli is home to around 18,000 and was just recently named a town. Ten kilometers away is Bali, which is in the process of growing into a city. Uganda is a country of children with 51 percent of the population being under the age of 15.
HUM has 67 employees, several of which came from Kamonkoli. Henry Olupot, the manager of Kamonkoli Krafts, was taken into Hines’ home with his brother when he was 13 years old. After he grew up and earned a degree in Project Management, which was made possible through HUM’s sponsorship program, Olupot returned to work at HUM. The headmaster of the Genesis School, Bernard Eridadi, was also raised in Kamonkoli.
Hines Ugandan Ministries serves many purposes in Kamonkoli. It is home to the Genesis Primary School, the Holmes Medical Clinic and AWANA, a program that teaches children about Jesus and the Bible. HUM offers donors a chance to sponsor a child with three options. One is to sponsor a child aged 2-14, another is a scholarship sponsor that helps a child who has tested to go to secondary school, and the last is a future leader sponsorship which goes to youth who have a chance to receive higher education. The money donated through a sponsorship goes to helping provide that child with daily needs, such as food and clothing, and educational needs.
By becoming such an integral part of the community, HUM has influenced Kamonkoli to grow and change.
“It really has changed the area quite a bit just mainly because of educating children,” Hines said. “When the children get educated, of course, they think differently. So that’s made a difference in the community, seeing people get jobs or do something working with their lives. Not all of them do, but the ones that do come back and help their families, and that makes a difference, too.
Then, of course building in the community, I guess we had the first two-story buildings for our school, but now there some others. But it was interesting to see how people started building after we started building things and like, ‘Hey, we can do this too’. We built little houses around the community for kids. I don’t know how many we’ve done several, 20-something…. They’re finding ways now to build and do things and so we’re seeing people are influenced by some of the things we’ve done.”
Part of these building projects were done in partnership with Third Lens Ministries. Third Lens helped build the Genesis Dining Hall in 2016-2017. In April of 2018, Third Lens completed work on a third school building for HUM.
HUM connected with Third Lens through One More Child, a non-profit organization focused on providing Christ-centered services to children and families in need.
“It seems like Third Lens knows their stuff and they’re pretty good,” Hines said. “They’re Christian. They’ve been very helpful in helping us to plan buildings and work on that kind of stuff and even looking at the grounds and where’d it go.”
Hines knows that it’s not easy to do the kind of work she does but wants others to realize that by trusting in the Lord so much can be accomplished.
“By stepping out in faith, trusting the Lord, you can you can do anything as long as Christ is with you,” Hines said. “It’s coming from him. A lot of people, they’re afraid to step out and do what I did. They’re afraid to count the cost, they’re afraid to surrender. But there’s so many blessings in surrendering. There’s a lot of hardships too. But once you do it, once you are doing what God wants you to do, you’re blessed. People need the Lord everywhere. So everybody needs to be reaching out with the love of Christ and making that difference. Giving the gospel, and that’s one of the main things we do is share the gospel.”