President of the American Mountain Children’s Ministry
|Mpeirwe Ivan Twino
President and Executive Director of the Ugandan Mountain Children’s Ministry
|My name is Michele Pageau and I have had the enormous honor of traveling to Africa since 2003. I am a wife, mother and grandmother here in the United States and a mummy, mum and ma to my family in Uganda. I am doubly blessed to have family and friends on two continents! I am also a Physical Therapist and enjoy photography, reading, animals and nature (not to be confused with gardening!)For two years before I ever went to Africa my heart was struck by the HIV/AIDS crisis. I began to collect any and all information I could on the orphans there. By the time my cousin asked me to join him in Ghana I had collected a large binder filled with articles about the children left behind. For this reason I immediately took his invitation to visit. During that first trip I accepted his offer to run their sponsorship ministry. After 3 years that program ended and I was asked to join a new ministry serving children in Uganda. I moved from West to East Africa and continued to help with child sponsorship traveling to Uganda once a year until December 2011 when I increased my time there from once to twice a year.
In June 2012 as a surprise birthday gift I organized a visit for my Ugandan friend and sponsorship lead, Ivan, back to his home village of Kabale, 420 km from Kampala where we served together. Ivan often referred to his village as “the most beautiful place on earth” yet he had not been back there for years. It seemed the ideal gift! We traveled by van for 8 hours southwest into the mountains bordering Rwanda where they track the Silverback Gorilla. It was there in Kabale while climbing those mountains in Ivan’s village that we both felt called by God to minister and share the love of Jesus for “the least of these” by helping the vulnerable children and families in this primitive peasant farming community. Much help from the west pours into Kampala, the capital city of Uganda but very little help comes to these remote areas because of the lack of “modern conveniences” like running water, toilets and electricity. It is my honor, joy and great blessing to be a part of this ministry and the lives of my family in Uganda.
|I am called Mpeirwe Ivan Twino and I was born in 1977. I studied electrical engineering at Kyambogo University and qualified with an Advanced Diploma majoring in Electronics.I became a believer when I was about 11 years old. Though it is God that changes hearts, I owe it a lot to my mum who kept taking me and my siblings to Sunday school and that is where I found the stories about Jesus captivating and chose to accept him. My passion for ministry stems from a time in my life when I was growing up. It is a tale from riches to rags. My parents provided us with everything until a time when my dad lost his job because he was thrown into jail for a crime he didn’t do. All the resources we had were used up.
Eventually we got thrown out of our house and onto the streets, where we ended up in a slum that was so filthy. I didn’t know that a world like that even existed until the day I entered it. I met many young children who were homeless, sleeping in trenches and half-built houses. They had no parents or had been abused at home and ran away. That is where my heart really got a complete change of attitude. And though I had nothing too, I really felt a deep desire to help them.
Time moved on and I moved out of the slums to a better place because I got a job at a school cooking 40- 50Kgs (80-110lbs) of corn flour a day using a big stick. After a year, I was moved to the accounts department of that school and loved it because I was able to talk to kids and share Christ with them. During that time, a good friend of mine started an orphanage and asked me to join him in ministering to those little orphans. I quit my job easily because I felt it was God who had opened that door for me. I am a qualified technician but have never gotten the desire to do what I studied to do because I feel this huge burden on my heart to help as many vulnerable children as I possibly can. That is what gives me immense joy and not pulling things apart, repairing them and putting them together again. I felt hurting hearts were better areas to repair than electronics. So last year my friend Michele and I felt God calling us to help the children in my home village. There was much need there, but it was often neglected because many ministries focus on urban kids, shunning rural areas and the children there. Since January 2013, I have been serving God and the children here in this village 420km from Kampala. And God has been good; we have many children sponsored from our waiting list. We Thank God for that.