She stayed.

Written By: Adam H.

Good evening from Murchison Falls, Uganda.

This is the last of my daily updates from Uganda.  We leave Entebbe International Airport at 11:30pm tomorrow night and, God willing, I will arrive home in Tallahassee at 7:00pm Saturday night.  To get there, we will take one ferry, one six-hour bus ride and three airplanes.  But knowing that Amy, Hugh, Michael and Haley will be waiting at my final stop to greet me will make the trip easy!

In the last 24 hours, we have taken two safari rides and a trip down the Nile River.  We’ve seen, at very short distances (less than 20 feet), elephants, giraffes, hippos and many more of God’s creation.  It was amazing.

However, as our group gathered tonight for our final Wow time, reflecting on the “wow” moments of the trip, not one person mentioned the incredible, majestic beauty we had just seen.

Instead, we were all wowed by Momma Katherine.

You see, 21 years ago, Katherine Hines was an up and coming accounting professional at Coopers & Lybrand (now PriceWaterhouseCoopers) based in Denver.  But God is bigger and better than debits and credits.  He called Katherine to Uganda.  And she went.

The local pastor she met up with told me they never thought the young American girl would stay.  She got malaria, but she stayed.  She was thrown off a motor bike taxi, into the mud, but she stayed.  She had to travel 12 hours just to make a phone call to the United States, but she stayed.  She survived bad water, no air conditioning, unreliable electricity and sometimes primitive conditions, but she stayed.

She stayed.

Now 21 years later, God has established through Katherine, the Hines Ugandan Ministries in Kamonkoli, Uganda.  The ministry includes a sponsorship program that serves 300 kids today and has served hundreds, if not thousands, more in the last two decades.  These kids are enrolled in school, receive medical care, are provided two meals a day, a mattress, school uniforms and their families receive large food baskets six times a year.  On the school campus, you will also find a medical clinic, that provides very inexpensive care for the local village and a clean water well that all in the area can use to access clean water.  In and around Katherine’s home you will find 28 kids living in one of four houses who today call her Momma Katherine.  She even brought flush toilets to the area – something no one in Kamonkoli had ever seen prior to Katherine’s arrival.

All because she stayed.

Living in Katherine’s home is a young boy who, just last Christmas, was begging for food on the streets of a nearby city.  There is a young princess whose smile melts the heart of every visitor.  There are young men with big dreams to conquer and change the world.

And they can…because she stayed.

Tonight, staying with us in our hotel is Bumba.  He’s 30 years old, holds a Master’s degree in environmental sciences and is a senior leader in the Hines Ugandan Ministries.  He was once a child sponsored though the ministry.  One of the social workers at Hines, Sarah, was once a child sponsored though the ministry.  And so was David, now a lieutenant in the Ugandan Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Today, Bumba, Sarah and David and hundreds more are all successful professionals and serving God’s Kingdom well…because she stayed.

While we are all leaving Uganda tomorrow night, a part of our hearts are staying here.  Staying to encourage Katherine.  To lift her up in prayer.  To support her ministry and the kids who call her “Momma.”

And we leave part of hearts here for one reason…
She stayed.


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