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Day Three and Day Four: How One Man’s Legacy is Changing Uganda



  • January 20, 2013
Photo of Vernon brewer
Vernon Brewer

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Yesterday our team traveled from Zimbabwe to Uganda—a country that has endured decades of terror, tragedy, and devastation at the hands of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).  It’s a place where the AIDS epidemic is relentless, where orphans wander the streets. The effects of poverty have been devastating, leaving millions without hope.

Katwe, Uganda | Today we had the honor of worshiping at Saint’s Gate Church, located in the heart of Katwe’s slums. The area is surrounded by open sewers and overrun by crime. The women resort to prostitution in order to survive. This is where my long-time friend, John Michael Mugerwa saw that the need for hope was the greatest.

John Michael was tragically killed over a year ago in a car accident. He left behind his wife Evah, who helped him care for 1,500 AIDS orphans at Destiny Children’s Home through World Help’s Child Sponsorship Program. He also pastored a growing congregation of 1,500 more at Saint’s Gate Church and was a respected leader in the community.

The loss was tremendous. The children at Destiny loved John Michael. He was a father figure to them. A leader. One of the only positive role models many of them ever had.

But John Michael’s legacy is living on. Today, I got to see it firsthand.

As I looked out over the crowds gathered at Saint’s Gate—thousands of faces, old and young—I saw the vision of one man.

Senior Vice President Tom Thompson and I were both able to share with the gathering. God was able to accomplish the miraculous: over 100 people made decisions for Christ. It was incredible.

Here’s a short video clip of our worship time:

Watch Worship At Saint’s Gate in Katwe Slum, Uganda on Vimeo

Saint’s Gate is unyielding in their desire to reach their community with the Gospel. Through the generous partnership of Seacoast Grace Church in southern California, they have a new building to call their own. It will be a beacon of hope in the slums—a place of refuge for thousands.

Right now, Saint’s Gate is busy training up young leaders to go and plant churches all over the city. They have ministries to reach widows and orphans. They’re fighting AIDS and preventable diseases, offering victims help for today and hope tomorrow. Everything I saw reflected John Michael’s vision. His wife, Evah, is doing a phenomenal job in his place. And today, I had the privilege of seeing how his legacy is building a brighter future for Uganda.

Thousands will have a second chance because of John Michael. Their lives will never be the same because of what he built during his short life on earth. Generations of children will carry his legacy with them.

I know I’ll never forget his impact. Thank you, John Michael.

John Michael, Evah, and Cyrus with newly rescued babies

Dearly missed World Help partner John Michael (pictured left) whose legacy will not be forgotten.

Tom Thompson speaking at Saint's Gate Church

Senior Vice President Tom Thompson speaking to the Saint’s Gate congregation.

Vernon Brewer and Evah at Saint's Gate Church in Katwe, Uganda

Evah Mugerwa continues to lead Destiny Children’s Home with excellence and passion.

Saint's Gate in Katwe, Uganda

Saint’s Gate celebrates the completion of its much-needed new roof, a generous donation from Seacoast Grace Church.

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