Gerald Tugume, Founder of hope ministries uganda, Executive director
Barbara Kyomugisha, Procedure and logistics manager, Director of masiiko pregnancy care center
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 two beautiful sons, Samuel Daniel His Grace and Mugisha Joshua Derry.
SONYA SCHWEIGHARDT, Executive Director AND co-FOUNDER OF HOPE MINISTRIES UGANDA:USA
Russell Schweighardt, co-founder of hope ministries uganda:usa, Operations director in usa
Sonya, with her husband Russell of 26 years, have been adoption and orphan advocates for over 15 years. Their hearts desire has been to reach the unreachable and to share the love of Jesus with the least of these. Sonya has been given a passion to work with children and women in all walks of life. Russell's heart is to pour into boys and men to help them to understand what it means to be a godly man. God has blessed Russell and Sonya with 15 amazing children (3 birthed from the womb, 12 birthed from the heart). Their hearts are passionate about missions and sharing the gospel message through being the hands and feet of Jesus. With over half of their 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. Russell's background as a respiratory therapist, orphan care advocate, teacher of the gospel message, and heart for serving has prepared him for this new God adventure.
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.
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. Barry is a 2016 graduate of Fruitland Baptist Bible College. He and his wife Rebecca are current applicants
with the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Barry is the church planting pastor
of Two Rivers Community Church in Plymouth, NH and founding director of White Mountain Ministries. Barry
serves as the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of New England Fellowship of Evangelicals which
operates Rumney Bible Conference Center and White Mountain Camps, as well as The Happy T Ranch Youth
Camp. Barry also serves as the Secretary of the Board of Directors for Hope Ministries: Uganda, an Orphanage
and school in Kisoro, Western Region Uganda. Barry and Rebecca make their home in the White Mountain
region of New Hampshire, seeking to live their lives fulfilling the great commission to go and seek the lost.
Leah Stirewalt, Board member
A virtually life-long resident of the mountains of Western North Carolina, Leah now makes her home in Hickory, NC, where she and her husband moved to be closer to his work. However, Leah became “twice-widowed” in February 2017 when her beloved Joel was called home to Heaven after a brief illness (following the death of her previous husband in May 2011). She is now solo-parenting their four adopted young children, three from Bulgaria and one from local foster care. Additionally, she has one adult daughter in college, and four adult bonus children and two precious grand babies from her marriage to Joel.
Since July of 2017, Leah has been serving her family in a full-time role, but has worked extensively in non-profit ministry settings since the age of fifteen in various capacities. She most recently served with the Billy Graham Association through the arm of Blue Ridge Broadcasting, the radio ministry founded by Dr. Graham.
Leah is passionate about ministering to women, especially other widows, in addition to advocating for orphans and children from hard places. She served on the speaking team of Speaking Thru Me Ministries, on the writing team from A Widow’s Might, a division of a New Season Ministries and has traveled both domestically and internationally sharing the love of Jesus to women from all walks of life. Leah has also published a book, Rescued and Restored, which chronicles her first year of widowhood following the loss of her previous husband in 2011.
Having already served in Liberia, Africa through leading women’s conferences, Leah is excited to work with the team from Hope Ministries Uganda, to use her gifts and spread her passions into the eastern part of the continent. She wants nothing more than to teach others how to live a life of victory in Christ Jesus – regardless of their past, regardless of their brokenness, and regardless of personal tragedies they’ve had to endure. She knows first-hand, Christ can heal broken hearts, spirits, and souls. If all is stripped away, He’s simply enough!