Promise International U.S. Officers & Board of Directors
Israel Mwesigwa, Founder and Chairman Emeritus
“I believe God called me to this ministry. I see blessings in my life daily and I have learned much more about myself, my origin and my people through this work. Through Promise International, the children are building their faith in God while learning to believe in themselves; the community is gaining increased resources; and we are nurturing the children today who will be the cornerstone of African leadership tomorrow.”
Founder of Promise International, Israel Mwesigwa took political asylum in the United States as a result of the oppression of the Ugandan Dictator Idi Amin. When it was safe to return to his home country he realized the tremendous need to care for orphans whose parents had died due to HIV / AIDs. Upon returning home to the U.S., Israel and a group of friends began laying the foundation for what has now become Promise International. Israel’s leadership of Promise International includes frequent mission trips to Uganda to provide the organization and its donors with continuous direct insight into the success and progress of our facilities and programs.
“My commitment and conviction to the mission of PI was cemented by my trip to Uganda in 2007. I experienced a life altering, simplified realization that all children have a human need to not be forgotten. This sounds elementary, however the complexity abounds in the faces of the children when we left the homes. Though we sang and played and nurtured these children throughout the day, our goodbyes needed no words… just a visual commitment from one person to another that they will not be forgotten. The loneliness and yearning in their eyes needed no words. My commitment to the children of PI is to always remind them that our organization will not walk away and forget.”
Lisa Erwin has been active with Promise International for several years. A wife, mother, and child advocate, Lisa is retired after 17 years at Merrill Lynch where she was a Senior Vice President. In addition to her service as a Promise board member, Lisa volunteers as a court appointed special advocate, assisting abused and neglected children as they move through the judicial system. She is also a Fine Art Docent at St. Frances in Houston, Texas.
“Unlike in the U.S., homeless people in Uganda have very few resources where they can seek help. For many Ugandan orphans, Promise International provides the only available place of safety, caring and comfort. These young people deserve the chance to grow up knowing that they are precious children of God.”
Longtime board member and current Secretary Martha Schroeder works as a contractor in the technology industry as a software tester, writer, editor and project manager. Love for her seven grandchildren inspired her to help other children far away. Martha and family first befriended African refugees in the 1970s, and she has ties to Africa that are particularly close to home: a daughter has adopted a child from Africa and another daughter works in the U.S. for an African aid project. Along with her husband, Martha ministers to people in her church and participates in its children’s ministry.
“I have received many testimonials from children, teachers and workers of the life-changing help that they have received from Promise International. 95% of giving goes directly to the children, giving them hope, love and a future.”
Executive Director George Craft brings a unique blend of business acumen grounded in Christian values to Promise International. A seasoned manager with twenty years of experience in business, financial management administration and personnel administration, George currently serves as Pastor of Abundant Grace Church in Southlake, Texas. He believes that God has called him to the ministry to help those in need by demonstrating the love of God through practical action. Married to his wife Kathy for twenty–seven years, George is also the proud father of two sons.
“James 1:27 says, that pure religion is taking care of widows and orphans in their time of distress. The wonderful people on the ground in Uganda, who care for our children, are faithful. They would care for these children whether we helped them, or not. We have the privilege of supporting their God blessed work.”
A financial contributor and volunteer for Promise International, Julie Carson puts her 30 years of multi-media experience in broadcast television to work, to highlight the needs of children, in Africa.
Beverly Herring, Treasurer
Bev Herring has belonged to the Lord Jesus since the Billy Graham Crusade in Houston, Tx in 1952. She has been married to Jim Herring since 1966, the mother of John Herring since 1978 and the Mammaw to Gabriel Herring since 1999. She has worked as office staff in a towboat company, an insurance company and the Washington office of Congressman Manuel Lujan, Jr., R-NM. She has taught high school and was a teaching fellow at the University of Houston in Speech. She has owned her own business including a private practice in medicine where she was an MD specializing in Internal Medicine. Beverly and Jim Herring acting as individuals have supported orphans and a Christian primary school in Uganda since 2007. “Promise International is a God-send to us. Volunteering for Promise is greatly improving our serve.”
Robert and Cathy have been married for over 32 years, and reside in North Richland Hills, TX. They have two sons, Tyler, 25 and Jordan, 21. Cathy is a native of Arkansas and is co-owner/founder of a quilt pattern design business. Robert grew up in Southern Illinois and is a graduate of the Air Force Academy. Since his retirement from the Air Force in 2000, he has worked in the Defense IT industry. He currently works for LGS Innovations, an independent subsidiary of Alcatel-Lucent.
From 1980-2007, both were actively involved in youth sports. They volunteered in a variety of positions; from Little League Baseball President to Youth Football Commissioner, and from Team Mom to Coach. Their passion for helping children prepare for life continues today with Promise International. In May 2009–on a business flight–Robert ‘happened’ to sit next to the founders, Israel and Lydia Mwesigwa, where he learned about their work for the children of Uganda.