Uganda photo banner.

The Founders

Director Aaron playing guitar.

Aaron Twagirayesu: Mission to Serve

Once you learn the history of Shechinah Grace Ministry's project manager Aaron and his wife Naome, it is easy to understand their motivation to do the important work they do. Both have a unique story of how they spent a part of their childhood lives in the care of an orphanage, or others in the community. The impact of these experiences shape the way they care for the orphan and vulnerable children they welcome into the centre, with the most important provision being love.

In addition to all of Aaron's responsibilities and project manager, he is also a pastor for a congregation in the nearby community of Kamuwunga. Faith guides Aaron in everything he does, including his vision for Shechinah Grace and the community. Aaron shares part of his story here:

I (Twagirayesu Aaron) and my wife (Naome Twagirayesu), have five children, twin boys (Kakuru Andrew and Kato Abel) and three girls (Precious Uwase, Jemimah Umutesi and Zoe Kantengwa Olive). We got married on May 29th 2004.

I was born and grew up in Uganda, at the age of six my father and my mother separated, which exposed I and my elder sister of 9 years to uncertainty of life. Left to grow with a single mother who was illiterate, never went to school or even had any family to lean on. In fact we grew without any close relative, up to this day we do not know any human being who might be related to our dad. In 1982, God opened a door of the saving grace to our family.

My sister, stopped school when she was in grade 8, for me to continue because our mother could not support both of us in school. By grade 10 I also could not continue, mom could not afford my education. But God remained faithful, he later opened a door into an orphanage (Besaniya children's village Mukono) who took me up and sponsored my vocational studies, little did I know that God is beginning to place a calling in my heart for children who are leading the life I led. I did not know it shall be or even become a rebirth of such honourable calling. Since then it became my desire and hope that some day I will begin a children's centre, to give hope to the hopeless.

It was in 2006 when I was working with Africa New life ministries in Rwanda, when a Canadian couple from Uganda visited to attend a wedding for the C.E.O of the organization and I was asked to tour the couple the project activities as they waited for the wedding day. The Canadian couple later in the day invited me for a dinner, in the middle of our conversation they ask me if I would love to work with them, and so this is how my wife and I became house parents at Eagles Wings where we cared for 24 orphaned children. It is at this place that I met a young volunteer girl from Canada, Susy Loewen. We quickly learned how we shared a common vision. I confided in her and shared with her the calling placed on my heart. We continued to talk when Susy returned to Canada.

In 2009 I felt a strong conviction to step forward and resign from Eagles Wings, and by faith begin on the vision that I bore for a long time. I bought a small piece of land and had began constructing a house. It is from this point that I asked Susy if there was any opportunity to turn this property into a children's centre. Praise the lord she whole heartedly embraced the idea and started running fundraisers to begin. Today we run both an orphanage and a primary school.

Susy

Susy Loewen: Passion for Africa

Susy was born and lived in a small village in rural Mexico before travelling with her family to Canada, where they eventually settled in the small town of Morris, MB when Susy was 8 years old. Though she currently resides in Winnipeg where she is completing a degree in International Development from the University of Winnipeg, Susy remains connected to her family and community back in Morris. From very early on Susy dreamed of travelling to Africa. Today she has put the plans in motion to soon call Uganda home. She shares a bit with us here:

I had always had a passion for Africa and knew that I had to go there and volunteer one day. My opportunity came in 2007 when I was accepted as a volunteers for Eagles Wings Children's Village. It didn't take long for me to know that I would be involved in Africa all my life, although at that time I didnt know it would be Uganda specifically. It was at this organization that I met Aaron and Naome, house parents at the orphanage. Aaron quickly became my mentor, counsellor and friend. I called him my second father. It was through this closeness that we began to tell each other our hopes and dreams for the future. It turned out we had the same dream. We both had wished for as long as we could remember to begin our own organization. I returned home after 3 months and promised I would be back after 3 years.

Aaron and I remained close through emails and phonecalls never losing touch. It was in 2009 that he began to tell me he wanted to make some real life changes that would allow us to take the first step towards our common dream. In 2010 he emailed me and informed me that he had resigned from his position and that he was waiting for me to take my own steps so that we might begin Shechinah Grace Ministry. I found no hesitation in me, and by March 2010 I hosted my first fundraiser volleyball tournament.