Investments in children’s education repaid in legacy of caring
In the summer of 2002, Jovia Kabuye walked from her apartment to worship at Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, for the first time. Several members soon formed a strong relationship with her, drawn to her spirituality and perceptible specialness.
Jovia had come to America to work and make money for her children’s education. It was a big sacrifice for her and her husband, Cyprian, as well as for their children because she was so far away – and for so long. Both parents realized, however, that without an education, their children’s futures were doomed in a poor third–world country.
Jovia continued to make friends at the church. As the time approached for her to return home, several of the members in her sharing group became concerned about how her children would be able to continue their education. Following discussions, the group decided to provide financial aid for Jovia so that she could keep the children in school.
From sharing the Bible to living it
Upon returning home, Jovia began hosting adult Bible study sessions in her home in the evenings. Even as she pursued her own studies to gain ordination for pastoral ministry, she continued her Bible sessions with the adults and began daytime sessions for the neighborhood children. Many of these children were orphans – without homes or relatives to care for them. Jovia’s warm heart reached out to them and she gathered them in. Before long, she had a small orphanage and a school up and running. Today, Gateway Mercy Ministries has more than fifty children in residence and provides elementary school classes for all the youngsters.
Jovia’s vision becomes her children’s mission
Even as Jovia worked in her several ministries, her own children worked beside her in the orphanage whenever home from school. So far, all but one, Jackie, have finished high school – a notable achievement in Uganda. Four of her daughters have finished college – one with a degree in nursing, two in teacher education, and one in business. Another daughter, Phiona, plans to enter college to study nursing this year. A son, Nasser, finished his degree this past summer in teacher education. He plans to join his three sisters, Sylvia, Rebecca and Lillian, in teaching and working in the orphanage. Sadly, Jovia passed away in 2006, but her grown children have shared in Jovia’s vision for the orphanage and the children. After their beloved mother’s untimely death, in her honor, they have set aside their own plans and have stepped in to keep Gateway Mercy Ministries and Jovia’s dream alive and well.