SONYA SCHWEIGHARDT, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER OF HOPE MINISTRIES UGANDA:USA
Sonya, with her husband Russell of 25 years, have been adoption and orphan advocates for over 15 years. Her heart has been to reach the unreachable and to share the love of Jesus with the least of these. She has been given a passion to work with children and women in all walks of life. God has blessed her with 15 amazing children (3 birthed from the womb, 12 birthed from the heart). Her heart is passionate about missions and sharing the gospel message through being the hands and feet of Jesus. With over half of her children from Africa, the Lord has drawn her and Russell to international missions in Africa. “Go!” has been the motto in their home. Go and be the hands and feet and do for God with what has been placed in your hand. With her background as an occupational therapist, orphan care advocate, Daring Daughters leader, and teacher of the gospel message, God has given her passions that runs deep and a heart to serve in a special way.
God began birthing the ministry in Sonya’s heart back in 2004. In 2014, God opened the door into Uganda and then after a year of praying with Russell, God directed them onto the path to meeting Gerald Tugume and his wife Barbara with Hope Ministries Uganda. 2015 was a life changing moment as they began to see the journey that the Lord had prepared them for over the years. Uganda has become home in their hearts.
BRAD MCNEELY, VICE PRESIDENT AND CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
Brad’s passions are family and serving where God leads him. Brad and Amy have been married for 18 years and blessed with two children, Conley and Anna. He has served on multiple church leadership boards and currently guides a team devoted to sharing Godly male principles with the ladies of Safe Harbor Rescue Mission. He has also been on mission trips and enjoys cooking for the Ironman of Discovery CFC.
For the last 29 years Brad has worked meeting the cushioning needs of the upholstered furniture industry. His experience includes managing people, products and processes as well as innovation and design.
Barry J. Pierce, Secretary/Treasurer
Barry, and his wife Rebecca, met on the mission field, while both were serving on short term construction projects in Alaska. Three years later they were married, and have been deeply rooted in missions and ministry together. Barry’s background in construction and maintenance has provided ample opportunities to serve God through a wide variety of hands on ministries, which has allowed him to serve in multiple states throughout America, as well as in Canada, Mexico, Malawi, South Africa, and Ecuador. Barry felt God’s calling into full time ministry while serving in New Hampshire, and is currently a full time student at Fruitland Bible College in Hendersonville, NC., seeking a degree in Christian Ministry, with a focus on Church Planting and Missions. He serves as chairman of the missions team at his home church, where Rebecca uses her accounting degree as the Financial Administrator. After Barry’s upcoming graduation in
December 2016, they will be seeking God’s appointment in full time ministry.
Judah Baguma, board member
Judah Baguma was born in Kampala, Uganda. Growing up his life was not an easy one as his father walked out of his life at a young age, and he was left trying to find money for his school fees and food for the family. Somehow God always provided for them. Judah first began serving God at Redeemed of the the Lord Evangelistic Church in Kampala, praying overnight prayers and leading the praise and worship team. Judah has experience leading crusades and preaching to thousands of people and seeing them come to Christ through these crusades. He had the opportunity to come to the US in 2005 as part of a cultural team that shared Uganda's praise and worship with churches across America. He met his wife that year in one of those churches, unbeknownst to him. He came back on another tour in early 2006, and again in August 2006 to stay. He and his wife were married September 5, 2006. They have three children, Lindsay, Josiah, and Olivia. Judah and Jennifer serve as missionaries to Uganda in their church, Gideon House of God in Hanover, Maryland. Judah is a regular speaker at the church. Judah's heart is to see God glorified in all that is done.
Gerald Tugume, Founder of hope ministries uganda
Gerald was born in western Uganda and orphaned at a young age. He experienced many hard realities early on in his life, but the hand of God was always upon him. The harsh conditions and experiences that Gerald grew up in prepared him for the destiny that God had for him in starting his NGO, Hope Ministries Uganda. A trip through his work to do Gorilla Tracking lead to Gerald hearing about the plight of the Batwa. Gerald left his work team as they were headed into the rain forest and instead searched for the Batwa. God pressed in on his heart and he eventually left the city of Kampala and sold everything he had to move to Rubuguri in the Kisoro District of south west Uganda. After a year of reaching out to the Batwa, he was able to win their trust and began leading them to Jesus Christ. Gerald had known his wife, Barbara at University where they did small ministries together in collecting school supplies for poor children. After leaving Kampala, he and Barbara lost contact. After some time the Lord pressed Barbara into Gerald's heart reminding him of her heart and desire to serve and share the Gospel message. Gerald contacted Barbara and shared his heart with her. After some time, the Lord confirmed to Gerald that they were suppose to serve together as husband and wife. They were married in 2015. The Lord has blessed them with a beautiful son, Samuel Daniel His Grace.
Steven Kaweesa, On ground coordinator
Steven is a 23 year old young man residing in Uganda, East Africa. Steven was born in on of the suburbs in Kampala and raised by a single mother, Robinah. He attended a local school and in 2009 he was able to finish high school with the help of a sponsorship program. There after moving to Nairobi, Kenya to complete a short course in multi-media. Together with his two sisters and three brothers, Steven has grown in the knowledge of God since he was a little boy and he is so passionate about sharing who God is and who He has been in his life until now to his fellow young people. He is a passionate guy in the music and worship ministry and he serves in a local church in the worship and creative arts ministry as a worship leader and band assistant head. He traveled with Mom Sonya on her very first trip to the Batwa and has been a part of the team since that first trip in May, 2015.