He was a street kid from Uganda…

We have all seen videos of the cute kids in developing nations that live on the street.

They pull at your heartstrings and all you want to do is help them.

It makes you wonder how bad homelessness really is among children worldwide? Shockingly, there are over 100 million children that are homeless in the streets around the globe. Out of that, around 2 million children are sexually abused and trafficked. 60,000 children die every week from disease and malnutrition around the world. These numbers are truly heartbreaking.

Have you ever wondered why there are so many street kids in developing nations?
There are many reasons why these children live on the street, and while sometimes they are forced into it, more often than not, they choose it.

Reasons for Kids Living on the Streets:
– Abuse in the home.
– Orphaned from losing their parents while at a young age, and no one to take them in.
– A broken home in that a father/mother refuses to accept them. 
– A home of poverty in which the parents cannot afford to support their own children. 

Over the years in visiting Uganda, we have met {and loved} many street kids. It’s broken our hearts to hear their stories. They have incredible resilience, tenacity and determination. In getting to know these street kids, some amazing stories have stood out to us and deserve to be retold.

We would like to introduce you to our friend, (Mugisha) Henry and allow him to tell you his incredible story…

Just a Street Kid

“When people see me today, they think I was born lucky and grew up in a good home. Little do people know that is about as far from the truth as you can get.

My father left my mother when I was just three months old, so I grew up with a single mother raising four kids. She worked hard and faced many tribulations and challenges. She did her best to raise us. Sadly, no matter how hard she tried, nothing ever seemed to work out, and the day came that she succumbed to madness.
When that happened, I was all alone with no parents to care for me. At the age of 7 years old, I left the village I had grown up in and moved to the city to live on the streets.
All I was looking for was a chance at life.

I was unaware of the need for education, parents, and other basic needs of children growing up. Living in the city as a street kid at a young and critical age, proved to be a very dangerous world.
I became a drug addict, using all sorts of drugs to help stop the pain of hunger and make me numb to the cold. I slept in open areas feeling the cold and rain, and yet I would feel nothing because I had drugs.

I was in and out of jail from the age of 11 years old.

I Somehow Escaped

Streetlife can be reduced to the survival of the fittest. I had to carry a knife for protection, steal food so I could eat, use drugs to stop the pain of hunger, and become tough by scaring others just to survive.
Every morning I would find kids dead in the trenches and others wounded by authorities who hated the street kids.
I would cry when I would look at myself and how I was not born into a better family like others. I even tried to kill myself more than three times. I did not want to die, but I also did not want to live in the terrible life I was living in.
This nightmare went on for 10 straight years.

By God’s grace, I survived. To this day I still don’t know how I made it.

When I was 16 years old, I found myself in jail once again. Like other inmates, I was punished every morning by brutal beatings and taken into the field to work the land. They kept us completely naked so that people could tell we were prisoners in case we escaped.
My amazing transformation came one day when I had escaped from prison in Kampala (Uganda’s capital). We were working the fields when a scuffle took place and me and three others took advantage of the distraction to run away as fast as we could. The jail officers pursued us and out of the four of us escapees, two were recaptured very quickly. I was one of the two who got away.

Shortly after escaping, God brought me to the city of Mbarara, which is roughly 5 hours west of Kampala.

A New Hope in Jesus

In Mbarara, I met a man who had also lived on the street as a boy and was now a pastor of a church and a preacher of hope and faith. He brought that message to the forgotten world of the ghettos, sitting with myself and my friends, and preaching to us about Jesus. We did not want to associate with ordinary people at the time, but he seemed different and we were drawn to him.

After building a good friendship with us, he started taking us to church, saving a spot for us, and would feed us after the church service.
Slowly, God started to change my heart. I had nothing and nobody; I had no reason to live a hopeful life.

Yet Jesus gave me hope.

I started to feel like a human again after Jesus came into my life.
I could feel how loved I was by God.
This same pastor invited us to live in the church, but even living at the church things were not that easy. Resources were scarce, and there were some believers who had bad attitudes towards us. While some of my friends chose to run back to the streets, I stayed. 

One day I heard God’s voice speaking to me. I knew nothing about how God could speak to us, but an audible voice said to me, “Henry, you’ll be my vessel and you will serve Me”.
I began to obey the voice of the Lord every time I heard it.
As time passed by, I realized what God was calling me to do, and I felt passionate to serve the Lord. I started reaching out with an evangelism team and began preaching on the streets while visiting the former gang of kids I had run with.
God continued to do amazing and incredible miracles for me. One day, the Lord again whispered to me saying, “Henry, I will teach you English where you will be an international Evangelist and you will be a blessing to my people.”

Since that day, He taught me how to read and write in English, and I began to speak it even though I had no schooling.
God rescued me from the pit of death, and He has made me who I am today. It has been a long time since then, and I have seen His tender mercies upon me and forgotten my past. He wiped away my tears and restored my joy in Him. Looking back and seeing where God picked me, it gives me all the reason to stay humble and continually thank the Lord.

I have developed a passion and love to take God’s love to the unloved. It has become my pleasure to regularly meet with disadvantaged children living on the streets and provide them medical help, food, and God’s love. I believe that the Lord Jesus who saved and transformed me can do it for everyone. “

God says in His word,
“I am the Lord God of all creation, is there anything too hard for me”? Jeremiah 32:27

Sharing God’s Love

We have the highest regard for Henry. Upon meeting him, we learned that he would search out the street kids on a weekly basis in order to give them a meal, take care of medical needs, check in on their overall wellbeing, and pray with them while telling them about Jesus. “Uncle Henry” is what they know him as. The group of young boys that he ministers to are a later generation of the same group of boys that he spent time with when he was on the streets himself. He knows exactly what they are going through and although he has very little, he takes responsibility for them as much as he can. For some of them, that meal he feeds them is the only meal they get all week.

The first year that we went to Uganda, we asked Henry to take us with him on his weekly trip to visit the street boys. We wanted to meet them and spend time with them. After spending the day with this special group of boys, right then and there we decided that we would partner with Henry to support him in his efforts to take care of this group of boys. We told Henry we would commit, by faith, to send a specific amount each and every month so that he would not have to use his own money to feed them, or at least we could supplement his expenses.

Henry put the money that we sent to good use and was able to increase the care that he provided to the street boys. That first year that we visited the Uganda street boys, there were roughly 40 of them, but when we came back the next year to visit the same group, the numbers had increased to over 130 boys! We asked Henry why the numbers had so greatly increased and he said, “With the money you have been sending me regularly, I have been able to visit the boys more often and get more help. We have been feeding them once a day now instead of once a week. Word spreads among the street kids and we are now caring for a much larger number of children.”

We don’t have the funds yet to start an actual “orphanage” but, like Henry, we are being faithful to do what we can with what little we have, and others have come along side to make sure Henry has enough to care for those boys. Who knows, perhaps an orphanage/school can be a possibility some day.

We can make a difference together.

We desire for these boys to know that not only do we love them, but we also see them and we want them to know they are very precious to God and they are not alone. If you would like to be a part of caring for the street children, click the link below to make your donation today.

Henry with the street kids we all support.
He loves them so well.
  • Source: http://www.womenaid.org/

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