Chosen Hope, a Ugandan runs a children’s ministry back in Uganda. She is the classic case of the poor helping the poor. Though she has many challenges bothering on finance and other social pressures she still takes time out to help challenged children. An undergraduate, Hope bares her mind on her children ministry and how the Lord is prospering the work in her hand while also asking for well-meaning individuals to come to the aid of challenged children in Uganda. She chatted with Church Times in an online session. Below are excerpts from the e- chat
Kindly give us a background about yourself. Your place of origin. Your education. Family background etc?
My name is Solome Chosen Hope. On Facebook I use the last two names. But my National ID has Solome Hope. Am a Ugandan from Jinja district. I am from a village called Bugonza in Kaliro district. I come from a poor family back ground. No one went to school in my extended family according to what my parents told us as children. Worshipping gods and making sacrifices is a common feature among our people. But amidst that, my dad got saved at age 20 after being caned seriously by his father on account of his step mum’s accusation. He moved out of the house and lived on the streets till a man of God picked him up to his place and took care of him.
He grew up with this man of God and married my mum when it was time to marry. But life was still hard. Going to school was practically impossible for him. This was coupled with the fact that my clan members hated my dad because he got born again. But the fact that my dad was born again has helped us to get to where we are today. Today, I am about completing my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. That will happen next year June by God’s grace. But it has been tough. There were times I was being sent home for fees and really had no hope but God has been faithful to me.
How was growing up. Did you experience abuse as a child? What are your memories of childhood?
I didn’t experience any abuse as a child. But I remember we used to sleep hungry and dad used to tell us to trust God. That did not go down well with us. We used to get angry with him. One day my mum was like; but God, if we can’t take care of the children you gave us, then we don’t deserve to be ministers in your house. My dad served in the church of the man who preached to him. He was made a pastor of one of the branches of the man’s church.
My mum told me that I once woke up in the night when I was 2 years old, cried for milk and it wasn’t there for me. So they had to improvise. They got raw maize from the garden, pounded it, cooked it and gave me to drink.
What is your understanding of God and your relationship with Him?
My relationship with God has been growing gradually. I am a pastor’s daughter, growing up in a born again family. I thank God I confess Jesus as my personal savior. I was in class 2 when I did that. I was with my grandma in village when I attended a crusade and received God in my life and since then I have lived to see His goodness.
How did you come about the children ministry and what has been the impact?
The experience that both of my parents passed through from childhood inspired the ministry. I remember when they narrated their story to us I cried because it was hurting. Both of my parents grew up with step parents. They lived a life of torture, sleeping hungry yet exposed to hard work. They were denied fees for school, almost leaving on the streets. This made me fall in love with children. Whether orphans or not but as long as they are living a poor life I get attracted to them.
Another thing is when three of my friends lost their parents in an accident. I was in form 3. They stopped coming to school since class members couldn’t foot the bills. I came back home sad and told my dad to divide my fees for my three friends to go to school. I did not know that my fees couldn’t pay for three other people. It was a pain in my heart. That was when I said to God that when I grow up I want to build a big home for helpless children. When I got admission to the university that call was really strong. Though I didn’t have enough I started by sharing my small pocket money with a few from children from poor homes. I would buy books, pens and pencils for them. Where I am is not where I want to be in this ministry, because I have no land yet and resources, finance is limited now. I need people who can share this heart with me. There are so many children out there with obvious needs.
What has been the testimony so far?
The progress I have experienced with these children is that the more I show love to them the more they have hope that it will be well. They have experienced the love that they missed from childhood. They have new hope and knowing their purpose for God in their lives.
What are the challenges that you have had to contend with while running the ministry?
Yes, it’s been kind of challenging especially since am also a student. There is limited funds to support what I am doing. We need scholastic materials, money to pay school fees, food, clothes. We have not been able to meet all of them at a time. Yet, I still have a dream to build a big home school for indigent children.
You’re from Uganda. What is peculiar about the country and what is the state of the church?
Uganda is the pearl of Africa. It’s where the source of river Nile is. It’s fertile land especially for farming. The state of the church in Uganda is not that good generally. Though some are good, but many church leaders are after materials gains. The church has little time for children. They don’t care to teach them the word of God. That’s why in my church as the children’s pastor, I spent time with them to teach them and share with them from my experience. Family issues are not addressed in most churches. That’s why there’s family breakups and increasing number of street children. Many are helpless in Uganda. And worst of all many churches get donations from other countries to help orphans and helpless children but they end up embezzling all the funds and still keep the children in the same conditions they were on the streets. This brings tears to my eyes. But God’s grace will enable me achieve the dream of helping vulnerable children.
How do you operate the ministry and what do you do specifically with the children?
I have dream of operating the ministry daily but as for now due to limited resources I only meet them during holidays from school. I share the word of God with the children, I teach them hand crafts like making doormats, mats, ropes. I get support from other friends who have different skills to teach them. I spend time to talk to them that whatever they went through they need to forgive and that it’s not the end of life for them. What we do presently is not regular but once God opens doors everything will normalize.
What support line do you have for now?
The support line I have now is the gift of singing that God has endowed me with. I get invitations to sing in crusades, different churches. I get honorarium from my singing engagements. My family also supports and some friends. I use my pocket money too. That is how I get funding for my activities with the children.
Kindly give an insight to your church. Name of the church. The general overseer. The strength of the church?
My church is called Redeemed Church of Wakitaka and it’s where my father pastors and the general overseer is Bishop George Kasharu. The church is still evolving. My dad is assigned the responsibility of pastoring the branch I attend. The overseer comes once a while to preach in the church. But the finance of the church is really still not okay.
When did you begin the children ministry?
I began in my first year at university in 2017. Just to take you back, I remember giving an old woman 20,000 Ugandan shillings as capital. She makes pancakes for me. These are sold and money used to boost the children’s ministry. But I have always bonded with children right from my class 2 when I was a child myself.
Solome ChosenHope. (African Queen) Uganda jinja district -Mafubira. Email, firstname.lastname@example.org +256755943258. Blessings