Meet Pastor Elijah

elijahOur founder, Pastor Elijah Sebuchu, grew up in extreme poverty in rural Uganda. As one of 38 children in a polygamous family, he slept on the ground without a blanket for most of his childhood and almost died from insect infestations as a result at age eight. It wasn’t until he was fifteen years old that he received his first pair of shoes and eighteen that he felt the satisfaction of a full stomach.

Although his childhood was miserable in many respects, Pastor Elijah was afforded the opportunity of an education, unlike most of the poor in his country. He took advantage of this opportunity, eventually getting a seminary degree from a local university. It wasn’t until after he graduated, however, that Pastor Elijah came to know Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Almost immediately, he began pursuing God’s calling on his life. He became an evangelist, opened his own church in the capital city and planting churches throughout the countryside of Uganda, all under the umbrella of Global Discipleship Ministries(GDM).

As God was growing his church ministry, God also began opening Elijah’s eyes and heart to the droves of orphans wandering aimlessly and helplessly throughout the country. Elijah became increasingly burdened by these children and the seemingly hopeless plight of his country. One day, while in prayer and fasting, God told Elijah that he and his wife, Ruth, were to be His “Hands of Love” to these orphans. God wanted Elijah and Ruth to feed, clothe, shelter, love, and educate these children while speaking God’s truth into their lives.

DSC01982_600x800In obedience to God and with just $10 to their names, Elijah and Ruth traveled to a remote part of Uganda where Elijah had inherited some land. There, they began to build mud and wattle huts with their bare hands. Within two weeks, 188 desperate orphans found their way into their care. The first Hands of Love orphanage, and the children's ministry of GDM, was born.

Pastor Elijah quickly realized that there were not enough resources in Uganda to meet the needs of the orphans. Uganda had been devastated by years of genocide, AIDS, war, and poverty, leaving almost three million orphans without care. Elijah and the orphans needed international help. So, he began sending pleas over the internet.

Eventually, God connected Pastor Elijah to a German man whose network helped Elijah build the first Hands of Love Orphanage and School in Namadhi, the location of the first huts.  John and Linda Gray, friends of the German man, founded Hands of Love UK in 2005, which continues to raise significant support for this rural orphanage.  Barrie and Eileen Jones, two of these Europeans, in turn, introduced Pastor Elijah to their daughter, Anna Latshaw, in the United States, who then became the founder of Hands of Love USA in 2008. As the fundraising arm for GDM, Hands of Love USA began building the second Hands of Love Orphanage and School in Kiteezi, Uganda in 2009.

DSC01907_800x581Currently, over 900 orphans and staff members are being supported through Hands of Love USA, and Hands of Love UK supports 150 more. The Hands of Love Kiteezi School has been rated the fifth best school out of over 40,000 schools in Uganda and the children are loved, fed, clothed, and educated. Most importantly, they are taught every day that their Father in heaven loves them and has a plan and purpose for them.  Classrooms, toilets, a medical center, a dormitory and many other structures have been built or are underway, providing the children and staff with a standard of living that was previously unimaginable. 

In addition to magnificently blessing the Hands of Love orphanages, God has been faithfully expanding the reach of GDM across the breadth of it's other ministries.  Today, 269 Ugandan pastors and their constituants receive spiritual and church leadership training from GDM's church headquarters.  GDM also runs a weekly radio ministry that reaches 30 million people, hosts weekly discipleship groups, and hosts annual conferences including the Pastors Conference, Youth Ablaze and Women's Empowerment.  GDM is dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty in Uganda by educating and empowering strong, Christian leaders.

Even though thousands of lives are being tranformed daily through Global Discipleship Ministries, the vision that God has given to Pastor Elijah Sebuchu and to Hands of Love USA is to save thousands more.  With His guidance and your partnership, we will continue in our mission to transform a nation, one soul at a time.