How It Started: This ministry began in Uganda in August, 2006 when an American, Janet Helms, performed her musical testimony, “Lord Make Me the Person You Want Me to Be” for the student body at UgandaChristianUniversity with Dr. Sylvia Tamusuza. It was written by Janet to tell the story of God bringing the two of them together to help an orphaned child in Uganda. Janet and her husband fell in love with this little girl in 1999 but were unsuccessful in adopting her and bringing her to America. Sylvia and Janet met in the U.S. in 2001 and Sylvia offered to take the child into her home and give her love and care if Janet and Worth would pay for the child’s Boarding School. Through these relationships, God began to open Janet’s eyes to the problems orphan face in East Africa.
Following that performance, students were invited to the microphone to talk about their experience as orphans. Everyone listened closely as testimony came forth. The orphan crisis became startlingly clear since it is rarely discussed among Africans because they are filled with shame to admit they are orphaned. A concert of prayer over the orphan problem was sent up by the three hundred students and staff who participated. Janet asked if any students were interested in forming a fellowship of orphaned students at UgandaChristianUniversity to begin to share, pray, and study scripture together in an emotionally safe environment. Approximately one-hundred students signed-up to form what today is the HOPE Fellowship (Healing, Overcoming, Prayer and Empowerment).
On the Quest to Heal the Soul of the Orphaned Person: During that trip in 2006, Dr. Sylvia, who works with orphans in Uganda, told Janet that all of the education and programs created to help the orphan will never fundamentally change them because they suffer from the spirit of rejection and abandonment. Their hearts are broken and cannot accept or give love. Janet began to discern that Sylvia was right. So when she returned to the U.S. she began a quest…. to find the answer to help orphans heal from the spirit of rejection and abandonment. She was led to learn about inner-healing prayer. She attended an “Emotionally Free” Conference in 2008 designed by Rita Bennett in Washington. There she found how important inner-healing prayer was to bring healing to the broken heart. She continued to attend other conferences led by respected, Biblically-based teachers in inner-healing prayer throughout the U.S., and began to realize she needed to take this healing to the HOPE Fellowship at UgandaChristianUniversity. The HOPE Fellowship was meeting and sharing their stories, but needed to have the deep healing of their hearts to change.
The First Healing the Orphaned Heart Conference: In the summer of 2011, Janet, Dr. Wendy LeMarquand and Cheran Cherok worked together to create the first inner-healing prayer conference to heal the Orphaned Heart held at Uganda Christian University, in partnership with the Counseling and Chaplaincy Departments, Over eighty students, staff and clergy attended with remarkable results. Representatives came from South Sudan, the Congo, Tanzania and Kenya in addition to those from Uganda. It was received enthusiastically with open arms from all in attendance.
One pastor from the Congo said, “We never knew the name of what we suffered from, but it is clear it is the Orphaned Heart. We must spread this message because right now in my country the civil war is over, but the orphans I work with say they are waiting for one thing…. To get old enough to buy a gun to kill the people who killed their parents. God has given us this window of opportunity to bring this message before war begins again”.
A Summary from then until the present: After that first conference, the HOPE Fellowship flourished and grew. Many of the graduates have taken this healing message to their villages to share the message. We have had conferences in such places as in Kigali, Rwanda for representatives of the Archdiocese of the Anglican Church of Rwanda; a babies’ home in Uganda in a village; and at a young people’s event. Invitations are streaming in to bring this healing movement of the Holy Spirit to various areas of East Africa. We know God is calling us to spread the message of Holy Spirit healing by the power of Jesus Christ and the Cross because so many hurting people are responding to the message and wanting to tell others.