KAMPALA, UGANDA – Richmond’s childhood was a painful and challenging one, marked by extreme poverty, illness, loss and hopelessness. His family often went without food. He suffered from malaria almost a dozen times, and his father was murdered. When he was sponsored and began attending Compassion’s child development center at a local church, the healthcare, education, and love he received changed his life dramatically.
As hope grew, Richmond quickly began excelling in school. After graduating, he was chosen for Compassion’s Leadership Development Program, which gave him the opportunity to earn a university degree. This ultimately shaped the trajectory of his entire life, building in him a heart for inciting transformational change in individuals, communities and nations.
Richmond resides in Kampala, Uganda with his wife, Rosette. The church he pastors is the very same one that hosted the Compassion program that altered his story forever.
I remember when my mum said to us there was no money for food. That ushered us into a place where we were now going to the street to fend for food. Hunger began to set in, lack of water. I was a kid. I didn’t have time to be a child anymore.
As I lived like this on a daily basis poverty began to speak to me as a child. I felt I was nothing. I didn’t matter. Nobody cared to know my name. The best way to describe who I was and what I thought was the word hopeless.
My mother in tears approached one of her friends just to share with her and her friend shared about Compassion. Compassion staff members immediately came to our home. I remember them coming with files to get details of who we were, what my story was. I got the news that a young lady, she was 15 years old, a teenager. She had decided to sponsor me.
I cannot find the words to describe the joy that filled our home when we got the news ‘Richmond you’ve got a sponsor, which means you can now go back to school.’ It means food will be given to us because of you.
I began to walk into that reality that ushered in me an opportunity to rekindle this hope that was taken away.
Heather began to write to me. To hear words like ‘Richmond I love you, Richmond I’m praying for you. They began to bring healing into places that were destroyed by voices and poverty and my self image.
I remember my day June 3, 1996, I walked forward to accept the Lord Jesus into my heart. I began to feel wow I have been released from poverty. I have been released.
God began to continue the leadership within me and then I felt fully called to pursue pastoral ministry. I began the Pastors Discipleship Network a ministry that exists to equip pastors and I spend a lot of my life training and equipping pastors in the Word of God.
Looking back into my life and looking at where I am now and what I’m doing, I don’t think of any of this would have been possible without Compassion. Compassion works.
Everything that was in the program has build me to where I am now. Poverty is not just a lack of money, the lack of material food and water.
Poverty is in, it’s deep. My name is Richmond Wandera and I was released from poverty in Jesus’ name.
Compassion International is a Christian child development charity organization dedicated to releasing children from poverty. Our ministry to children is twofold: We work through local churches to provide child development programs to deliver children from economic, physical, social and spiritual poverty, enabling them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults. And we speak out for children in poverty – informing, motivating and equipping others to become advocates for children.
Source: Global News Alliance, Richmond’s Story: From Poverty to Pastor in Uganda