Life started out well for Richmond. He had five siblings and a mother and father who loved him dearly. They were blessed. His father was a hard-working lawyer—the breadwinner for the family. Richmond could go to school and had everything he needed. But all of this changed in an instant.

When Richmond was eight, his life and everything he had known was ripped from him. Richmond returned home from school one day and found out that his father had been brutally murdered in the presence of his mother.

“That day I recall walking away from the chaos and the mourning that took over the environment at home and walked to the main highway. I sat beside the road with tears in my eyes. I looked up to the heavens and said, ‘Lord you can raise the dead. Please raise my father’. When I arrived back home I saw that my father was still dead, yet in that moment, a strange peace came upon me. I began to realise that this was my life and I had to face the days ahead without my father.”

After Richmond’s father’s death, the family was thrown out of the house they were living in as they could no longer afford to live there. They ended up in a slum community called Nuguru. “I had never seen such a dark, broken and hopeless community before.” His mother’s health suffered and Richmond said he vividly remembers the day his mother announced there was no money left, even to afford the cheapest of meals. “We knew our time had come to grow up and scrounge for food on the streets for survival.”

Untitled-design-(1).jpg
Richmond visiting the Nuguru slum in Uganda, where he and his family used to live after his father’s tragic death.

Richmond said poverty has two faces, a visible one and an invisible one. “Invisible poverty for me is the voice that influences one’s self-concept, self-image, and self-worth. It robs children of joy, purpose, meaning, happiness and hope. You can solve elements of visible poverty but it’s a lot harder to solve invisible poverty —it takes time, words and presence.”

One day Compassion, Tearfund’s partner, came into Richmond’s home and told him he had a sponsor. Not only did that change his life but his family’s as well. From that day on, the chains of his physical, emotional and spiritual poverty were broken by one 15-year-old girl called Heather in America. 

“She told me in her letters that she loved me, prayed for me often and deeply cared for me. She demonstrated her love and commitment through sacrificial giving every month to help me go to school and receive health care, even though she was a teenager herself. She sent stickers, Christmas cards and never forgot my birthday. I am forever grateful for Heather—my sponsor who lived simply so I could simply live.

When Richmond joined Compassion, he didn’t believe in Jesus, but when he received his first bible and began to engage in weekly bible programmes at church, he heard a story about Joseph from the bible that impacted him and at the age of 14, he made a decision to follow Jesus.“By the time I was 19, all my siblings had followed me and also became Christians. My mother soon after also gave her life to Jesus at our local Compassion centre.”

Richmond carried on to study and graduated with Honours in Accounting. He went on to do his Master’s Degree in Spiritual Formation and Discipleship, which placed him among the top 10 percent of pastors in Uganda with an education. He then founded the Pastors Discipleship Network.

Untitled-design-(2).jpgToday, Richmond is a sought after preacher and speaker who continues to strengthen the church in Uganda and incite transformational change in the lives of many.

“My mission was to bring training to untrained pastors in order to deepen the church and advance the gospel in healthy churches. By the grace of God, now 10 years later, we have brought training and hope to over 6000 pastors across four countries in East Africa. I look back to where this first started and I see a 15-year-old girl.”

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