Monthly Archives: March 2018

Uganda (part 3) An African Surprise: wheelchair distribution

Uganda (part 3).  An African Surprise: wheelchair distribution

February 18-25, We were in Uganda visiting On His Path projects.

The first morning at the hotel, as usual I was up well ahead of the others, I was in the dining area enjoying my coffee.    A group came in and sat at the big table next to me.    They were young Ugandan men and women.  Many were wearing t shirts that said “it’s not about the wheels”.    I knew instantly that this was a “Joni and friends Wheels for the World” shirt.   I have one.   (JAF is a HUGE wheelchair ministry that topports wheelchair Ministries across the globe…including our friends at Bethel in Guatemala.) Moments later, the leader of this group entered the room…in his wheelchair.

Not knowing a stranger, I initiated conversation with the group.  The team had arrived the night before, as we did.   They actually saw us as we checked in, with 2 wheelchairs that we had brought to give to Dr, Lucy’s clinic.

They wondered “what’s up with them.”  They were in the area for the week to prepare for a wheelchair distribution!    REALLY??!!   They were doing several days of preparation, training local volunteers in wheelchair assembly, fitting and more importantly how to share the Gospel in the process of fitting the wheelchair.  Needless to say, I was excited!

As the week progressed, we visited with Francis and his team at breakfast and again in the evenings.   We learned more about their ministry.  Father’s Heart Mobility Ministry.

I especially appreciate Francis’ story….from their website.

FRANCIS MUGWANYA – founder & director

I was born in the central area of Uganda in 1978. I am the 2nd born of my parents; I come from a “small” family of 9! I have been very blessed to have both of my parents and they have always loved me and cared for me.

In 2010 the Lord gave me the wonderful gift of Adrienne to be my wife. We now serve together along with our children.

When I was 3 years old I got polio and have been unable to walk since that time. My parents tried to seek medical help for me but Uganda in those days was very unstable and good health care was not available. I was forced to crawl on my hands and knees to get around. I hated always being dirty. In Uganda people with disabilities are mocked and considered to be 2nd class or cursed. I hated the names they called me and stayed close to home where I was safe.

When I was 8 years old my parents and my extended relatives tried to figure out what to do with me. Most 8 year olds should be in school but it was so far for me to crawl there and back. Some people did not think I was even worth educating since “cripples don’t amount to anything”. I am thankful that my parents loved me enough to decide that I could go to school. My father bought a bicycle, which was a luxury item in those days, for my older brother to use to take me to school and back.

I am forever grateful to my older brother Fred. He tirelessly and selflessly struggled so I could have an education. Every morning he would take me to school on the back of the bicycle then after dropping me off he would ride it back home and walk himself to his school. We had to leave the bicycle at home during the day so no one would steal it. At mid-day my classes ended so he would leave his school, go home, pick up the bicycle, ride to my school, pick me up and take me home then he would walk back to his school for afternoon classes. He did this every day without complaining. We had fun riding a bike and also had our share of spills as the bike was so big Fred could hardly ride it!

Meanwhile my dad made several trips with me to the capital city of Kampala looking for a wheelchair. These trips would take all day on the bad roads and there was a terrible post-war fuel shortage which made the trip very expensive as well. Many times my dad and I would go to yet another place he had heard might have a wheelchair. He would carry me on his back through town to get to some of the places. We inquired and knocked and asked and tried but we always came back disappointed. We tried for years to find a wheelchair but there didn’t seem to be any in Uganda!

Finally our prayers were answered! One day when I was 11 years old an organization that helps kids with disabilities miraculously gave me a wheelchair! My life dramatically changed that day! Now I have my freedom to move around! Now I can participate in society like everyone else. I could go to school. I could go watch football games. I could go to church. This gift began to change my identity.

Growing up I started to believe what everyone said about me. I believed I was useless and crippled. But then with my new wheelchair I began to go to church and my life dramatically changed again! I asked my youth pastor why he always was smiling. He told me it was “this Jesus of mine” and I told him I wanted Jesus too then! I wanted the joy that he had. I accepted Jesus as my personal Saviour when I was 12 years old and God gave me my smile! Throughout the next several years the Lord blessed me with discipleship from a godly man who taught me what the Bible has to say about my true identity. God knit all the parts of my body together and created me wonderfully (PS139); He made me in His image (Gen1:27); and best of all He has planned for me to be His very own son. I am a child of God! He is my Father.

Today I am compelled to share the love of the Father with those who do not know Him yet. God alone can change their lives! And I am compelled to give mobility to those who are right now still crawling in the dirt. I cannot sit idly by, I must use whatever the Lord has given me to be a blessing to someone. There are over 2.5 million people with disabilities in Uganda still living in the mud, still thinking they are cursed, still hopeless. We have been given the wonderful opportunity of making a difference in their lives! Will you join us?

This is from their Facebook page…….”Thanks to 2 donors in the UK this family now has a brighter future! The    3 sets of twins will be going to school for the first time this year!”


Francis told me that their ministry hosts 1 distribution each month all over the country.    They provide a free wheelchair to the needy.   Last year their ministry fitted 2000 wheelchairs!  Their ministry is supported my many churches in the US and Canada.    They receive a few wheelchairs from Wheels for the World, and receive the majority of their chairs from Free Wheelchair Mission, based in California.  FWM manufacturers wheelchairs (in Chin) for international distribution.    Molly from FWM was at the event to represent the company and help with the event.    John and I exchanged alot of ideas and discussed wheelchair designs with Molly.

There are no coincidences in life.   Some may say,  “that was really a lucky coincidence that you met them,”.   No way!    God had this planned all along!     Friday we actually had a free day for doing a few touristy things.    This opened the door for us to attend the wheelchair distribution, that was 10 minutes from our hotel!

When I arrived, what I saw was oddly familiar.    Families were arriving, carrying their loved ones.

There was a truck that backed in…..the back filled with people coming to receive their wheelchairs!  I helped unload and carry the kids to their seats.

Inside the building the team was setting up their fitting stations.  Outside, a tent was set up to shield the recipients from the sun, as they waited.



Francis then gave a message to the people.   He told them what was to happen today and also how God was to receive the Glory for their new wheelchair.      The people then would be called inside to be fitted in their free wheelchair.    After fitting, they had the opportunity to meet with local pastors, where they could receive a Bible and hear more about the Gospel.   MANY accepted the Lord at this, and all, events.  Again….,this was soooo familiar!

That evening, I spoke with Francis about his format….the message, the fitting, the pastors.   I asked if he got this format idea from Joni and friends.   No, he said from the beginning, this was how he did it.    God provided this format. What was an AWESOME revelation was…. this format is EXACTLY the same as Bethel Ministries International’s at at the distributions in Guatemala!

From the moment I met Francis I could tell he was also very genuine in his mission.    HE told me a story that truly confirmed this!    Francis told me a big company liked what they were doing in providing mobility to the needy.    He said they offered to provide significant financial support and send teams down to support his team in fittings at the distributions.    They had one stipulation…..That when they came to help,  he must omit the Gospel focus.    Francis said he told them,   “We need the support, and the people need the chairs….but they need the Gospel as much or more.   No thank you!”      AMEN!

Corinthians 15:58

So then, dear brothers and sisters, be firm. Do not be moved! 

Always be outstanding in the work of the Lord,

knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.





Uganda (part 2) Dr. Lucy’s Clinic

Uganda (part 2) Dr Lucy

We were blessed this week to meet with another On His Path project.

Dr Lucy is 30 years old.     She is a very special lady.   Her giant smile and crushing hugs warmly welcomed us to Uganda!

She was an orphan.  Her dad died when she was little.  Her mom when she was 13.  She however, was a gifted student, who every year in school was #1 in her class.  This provided the benefit of receiving full tuition for school!

She then, through scholarship, was able to attend medical school.

After graduating, Lucy  went to work for the national hospital doing general practice.

While working she learned of a leadership fellowship that led her to the University of Iowa for a few weeks.    God had a side trip planned for her.   Through people she met, she travelled to meet John at MD.   A wonderful partnership began at that point!    Seeing Lucy’s deep faith and hearing her vision, OHP was on board immediately.

                            We brought 2 wheelchairs and 5 canes for her to use at the clinic.

Her vision was a clinic she had started in her little “town” where she lived.   Not a town really…..a few storefronts surrounded by many shacks and more shacks scattered in the hills around the town.   She wanted to provide medical service to the needy.   Initially, it was a 2 room clinic.   OHP provided funding for her to rent and renovate the building.  Although still very small, her space tripled in size.   She has a small lab, 2 tiny rooms with beds for overnight patients, a consultation room, and an examination room.   The front counter is stocked with medicines for walk in needs.

Dr Lucy works Monday through Friday at the big national hospital until 3 .    She makes only $250/month!   Yes, no typo.. $250 a month!   We figured that’s around $1.60 an hour.  Thats not the end of the day…..

Every day Dr Lucy goes home to her little clinic and sees patients Monday through Friday from 4-8 or 9pm!  And All day Saturday!  This work is donated mission work.   Not a paying job.

She does general medicine, family planning, and through all her work, she provides biblical counseling!

Her vision now is to further serve her local,and surrounding communities by having remote,  2 day, FREE clinics.   They would set up tents, doctors from the hospital would donate their time and they would treat the people far from town.  The VERY poor!   Malaria treatment is the big item here.   This and other general medical treatment.   Her vision is to treat 1,000 patients per clinic;  2-3 clinics per year.

Needs uncovered at this visit.

1  A refrigerator, so she can store basic medicines at the clinic.

2  Possible financial assistance with the proposed clinics

3.  We brought her 2 wheelchairs and 5 canes to use and distribute

After our visit,  Lucy and her landlord of the clinic served us a meal!   The landlady cooked it herself.

We ate at her home adjacent to the clinic.  They wanted us to experience an authentic Ugandan meal.   Did we ever!   Fried chicken, Chipatti -a tortilla type bread, Matoke – a boiled green banana staple that resembled mashed potatoes, a goat stew, boiled kale, and a few other things I don’t recall.   We were humbled by their generosity.  The food was very good!

Lucy then took us deep in the hills to show one site where she wanted to do her first clinic.   Extreme poverty was seen on that drive!    The community desperately needs her!




She then proudly showed us her home, where we met her 7 year old daughter Hailey.    (What a doll!).  Lucy is a single mom who shares a remote home with another single mom with 2 kids.   It was a very humble home without electricity or running water, but it was her home and she was very proud of It!    We were very blessed to be welcomed into her home.

Although we never asked, we do want to follow up regarding Hailey.   Dr Lucy works so hard serving the community and makes very little.     But she SERVES with the most generous heart!    We assume Haily is in school.   We feel that we would like to find a sponsor for Hailey’s school expenses, just to bless her and Lucy!

We will always remember Dr Lucy and Hailey.  We will continue to pray for her.  We also pray she finds a good man for a husband who can help her in life and her mission!

Uganda (part 1)

Uganda (part 1)

by Rick Fulton

February 18- 25, Bob Meyer and I had a fantastic opportunity to travel to Kampala, Uganda Africa with John Mitchell founder of  On His Path.  (Mission: Mobility operates as a part of OHP).  Our mission was to meet with Pastor Francis Makoha and to experience the many projects in his ministry that OHP supports.

Pastor Francis

Francis made a great impression on me when I met him a few years ago when he was in Iowa to speak at the OHP banquet.    From that point I felt he was genuine.    After spending the week with him, I KNEW HE IS THE REAL DEAL!

 Pastor Francis Mokoha and his wife Topista

After meeting him in Iowa and HEARING about his various projects his simple approach to ministry and supporting those in need, I felt his mission embodied James 1:27

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

After this week, seeing and touching his ministry firsthand confirmed my initial thoughts!    This Godly man and his ministry is a perfect fit for On His Path!

We visited projects that were mainly visions that pastor Francis had years ago.   With the grant help of OHP, these visions have become reality.  All with a two fold goal.

  1. To help socially and economically  transform the lives of those in need.
  2.  To share the Gospel at ALL times in the process.

The carpentry shop.

This is the newest venture.    The shop consists of several men whomake doors and small pieces of furniture.    Their work is very solid and done very well!    No power tools here!    Hand sanding,  hand saws,  hammers!    No Dewalt power sanders, no Craftsman circular saws!  This provides jobs, and it also serves as vocational training for men to go out and get jobs at carpentry shops in the future.

The sewing center.

This tiny shop was busy!    We experienced 7 women at the shop.  One was operating a mechanical knitting machine.   She was knitting sweaters when we were there.   There were also scarves for sale, that she had made.  The sweater panels were then sewn together by a Singer foot-powered sewing machine.   The sewing machine was operated with a HUGE smile, by Topista – Pastor Francis’ wife.  She manages the sewing center.     The other ladies were doing beading Work.   They made bracelets, and purses (large and small).  There were also many colorful sewn dresses for sale.

The sewing center is providing opportunities for local widows.   They are taught the trade, so they can eventually branch out on their own and sew for themselves to make a living.   We read the permit that the shop was granted by the City.   It read, (get exact wording). “To socially and economically help to transform…..”

The metal shop.

The shop was quite impressive!   There were two men who were in charge of shop.  They were the vocational teachers of this shop/school.

Stanley is the primary leader here.   He is a member of Francis’ church.   He also is completely deaf.   Being deaf, many see him as “useless” to society.    But God brought him (and many other deaf men) to Francis to prove they can be functional in society, gifted with their trade.   Driving up and down the road, there are metal shops everywhere.  Tiny shops, like the school, that make iron doors and gates, bunk beds, metal window frames, and small charcoal stoves.

This was but a vision prior to OHP grants.   Through the benefit of OHP, they have tools.    The welder purchased with the grant provides the primary tool for their craft.    We were actually surprised they cut the rerod and tube steel and flat steel with a hand hacksaw!    When asked why not use an electric chopsaw.    a.  They didn’t have one.    b.  They decided not to buy one because the erratic electricity is a problem.   They often go a day without power.   “We can always cut metal with the handsaw….power or no power”

We at first laughed at the saw.   It wasn’t a saw like we might buy at a Walmart or Menards.    This was homemade!  From Rerod!    It was HEAVY!    Stanley had made it!   We told them we would buy them good light ones like we have in America.   They laughed.  “Those are junk…..we break them.   We like ours!”  Once again, we Americans think we have it all figured out.  NOT!

We decided this saw was made by STANLEY Tools -Uganda division!   When home we are going to find him a Stanley tools hat and shirt!

We were all humbled and impressed by these men.  Especially Stanley.

We also watched Stanley take recycled steel and fabricate a small charcoal grill/stove.     EVERYONE uses these.    Stanley can personally fabricate 3-4 of these each day.   We were amazed!

Since it began in 2012, 120 men have been taught the trade by Stanley, and have moved on to metal shops and are providing for their families.

The school and orphanage.

The WORST part of the trip was that the morning we were to travel 4 hours by car to visit the school and orphanage, JOHN WAS SICK!    He sadly said there was no way he could make the drive.    It killed us, and John as well!   This school/orphanage is the pinnacle of the projects in Uganda for OHP.   So, Bob and I were the Ambassadors for OHP today.

We took the long road, east to Busia.  This is on the eastern border with Kenya.  This is a MAJOR highway.   It was very busy with semi traffic hauling fuel and goods from the ports in Kenya to central Africa.   I especially enjoyed the drive to see the thousands of acres of sugarcane and tea fields.    All done with hand labor!

When we neared Busia, we stopped along the road and saw wild baboons.    Pretty much the extent of our roadside safari.    We were excited to see them.

























Now, I have heard much about the God’s Mercy  school and orphanage over the years, but until I got to see it and experience it, I truly didn’t understand.    WOW!

The school consists of 200 children.   70 are true orphans.  Most of the others are from families who simply can’t afford to feed and educate them.   At this school they are provided an opportunity to learn and succeed in life.

There are 10 teachers and 8 support staff at the school, including cooks, house mothers for the dorms and workers.

The kids have breakfast (porridge) at 10 am, after some class.  They have lunch at 1 (beans and posho) (posho is boiled corn meal that is like thick oatmeal, but almost the consistency of a wet cake.  It is a staple of all Ugandans) and supper at 6.(posho and beans again)

Praise God for Francis and his vision.

When OHP first came to Busia, the school had 3 classrooms, 60 students and 1 dorm, where the kids all slept on the floor.

Following John’s first visit back in 2012, needs were identified, and as the years progressed, this facility has grown beautifully.  Thanks to God for putting Pastor Francis and OHP together.

Since this partnership began:

Additional classrooms have been added.

2 dorms have been built.   One for the boys and one for the girls.

Triple bunk beds in each so the kiddos don’t have to sleep on the floor!

A large building that is the dining hall and church for the kids and staff.

A brick wall has been built to provide security for the school.

A housing unit has been built to provide living quarters for the 18 staff members.  (1 room  apartments that are quite nice!   A very nice benefit to help retain the teachers)

An expansion project on the kitchen building.

An out building that has a grain mill.    Here they grind the corn to make the posho which is a staple in their diet.  They also grind corn for people in the community for a fee to help with school expenses.

Solar panels have been mounted on some of the buildings to provide a little electricity.   Otherwise, there is no electricity.

Bob and I were awestruck by what we saw and experienced!  Such a beautiful facility nestled back in the middle of nowhere.   So peaceful.  A true Godly sanctuary for these kids!     We entered each classroom where the bright smiling faces greeted us.    We watched them do their work, and sing songs.

These kids are learning what is important!  God first, then the basics of school.    They are taught primarily in English!

Many of the kids wore sweaters that we saw being knit in the sewing center.  I didn’t ask, bit I would assume the uniforms were made at the sewing center as well.

We were blessed to have an assembly in the courtyard where we were serenaded by a few groups of kids.    Bible songs and some recited Scripture.

                                           “We are the Mountain Movers”       CLICK on photo FOR VIDEO



                                                              Psalm 91:1 click on photo for video


The whole forum and setting was beautiful.    If only John (and Jean) were here!    I know John’s face would HURT from the giant smile that he would have on his face.   Not his normal smile, but a smile that I’ve seen all week….a smile that comes from deep inside.   A smile of humility that God is using he, Jean and OHP to further HIS kingdom in such beautiful ways.    A smile, seeing and knowing that Pastor Francis and his ministry are sincere and good stewards of the grants OHP has provided!

Pastor Francis next showed us that he had purchased property behind the existing school grounds.   Property not funded by OHP directly.   This property was purchased from the profits  generated through the metal shop, the carpentry shop, the sewing center and grinding mill.

Bob and I agreed that this was proof that the seed scattered by OHP had truly blossomed beautifully!

Where do we go from here?    The purpose of this trip was to visit and evaluate and see how God has used the donations of OHP to help the ministry of Pastor Francis.     Secondarily, to identify future needs.  Needs uncovered for future growth of Pastor Francis’ Uganda projects.

  1. A well inside the compound, complete with electric pump.  Currently, they must hand pump water from a well outside the property at a community well.
  2. More solar to provide light and power the future well pump.
  3. Funding to help with teacher salaries to retain the teachers.
  4. Additional funding to supplement the nutritional needs of the kids.
  5. Funding to establish a small chicken production operation at the site.  They could provide eggs for the kids meals.   The grinding mill already is on site to produce the feed for the chickens.   Bob’s expertise was instrumental in this project.
  6. Funding for additional sewing machines to possibly open another sewing center
  7.  Funding for tools at the carpenter shop.
  8.    Funding for additional tools at the metal shop.

I will never forget my time in Uganda!    I am blessed to have had the opportunity to experience what God is doing in Uganda through OHP.  My life has been blessed to have met Pastor Francis and to see his selfless, Godly leadership.

One my favorite reoccurring memories of this week will always be that John and Francis make quite an amazing pair!  Throughout the week, while we drove between projects, John would regularly shout “PRAISE THE LORD!”   This was ALWAYS, without hesitation, followed by Francis, enthusiastically, and emphatically shouting “AMEN!”

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

Proverbs 27:17

                  “Thank you John. Thank you Jean. Thank you On HIS Path!”    Click on photo for video