Meet Pastor Anthony
A man with a traumatic childhood obeys the Lord’s calling to help children in need.
The first thing I noticed about Anthony was his friendliness, but there’s also calmness and gentleness about him that I felt almost immediately. He currently runs a children’s home in Rhino Camp and his love for the children seems to flow from every word he says. I remember on one visit, he had a friend show us around the home while he disappeared into a small hut on the property. We peeked in later and found him helping one of the younger children with their homework. He taught with patience I've rarely seen before. This side of Anthony is why his past surprised me, but also helped me understand why he cares so deeply about helping children who have endured far too much for their few years.
Anthony was 10 years old when the soldiers came to his home. He was arrested and forced to become a child soldier. He served for 5 years, before being transferred to vice-president’s house where he became a food taster. Daily, he made sure nobody had attempted to poison the vice-president. Thinking about his past Anthony quietly shared, “Being a child soldier was traumatic… I lived a calloused life then.” But, his life changed dramatically in 2005. One night he happened upon an evangelical crusade and decided to follow Christ; that same day, the vice-president died in an air crash.
Soon after the death, his commander came and asked, “What are your plans for the future?” It was impossible for him to stay in the vice-president’s house now and it wasn’t particularly safe for him to remain in South Sudan. Anthony shared his desire to return to school, having only reached P3 (3rdgrade) before his arrest. His commander arranged for Anthony to complete his education in Uganda.
After school, Anthony briefly returned home, but in “2016 we ran again for Uganda.” Sadly he said, “[My] whole life has been just war.” This time, he set off, walking from South Sudan to Uganda, and eventually settled in Rhino Refugee Settlement. Little did he know, he would be starting a children’s home the following year.
It began with a girl named Vanessa.* Vanessa came to live with Anthony after being abandoned by the woman she was living with. Soon another girl, Grace,* came to live with them. Grace was 16 years old. She had fled South Sudan with a neighboring family but they mistreated her. Soon after arriving in the camps, the wife began selling Grace’s body to men. During that time, Grace began spending time at Anthony’s church, where she heard the gospel and decided to follow Christ. Then, the wife decided to move to a nearby town, where she continued to prostitute Grace. Grace ran back to the Rhino Camp and sought refuge with Anthony and his unconventional family.
As time passed, more children who were orphaned, unaccompanied, abused, or mistreated sought safety with Anthony. Looking back on that time, he told us, “We did not go out and look for them. Some of them just came and begin to live with us in my house. I was wondering what is going on. Here, I was so so scared.” One day, a woman approached him saying, “These children are really mistreated. I think it is God that is leading them to you. If you can, please host them.” Anthony’s eyes lit up as he shared with us what happened next, “Then God reminded me of what He had told me in 2007!” It was as if God said, “This is what I told you about. This is what is happening in the camps.” That day, after his conversation with the woman, Anthony immediately went to find his Bible to see where he had written God’s words 10 years ago.
In that moment he decided, “Okay, this is what I will do.”
10 years prior, in 2007, Anthony had been praying at his church and the pastor told the congregation to ask God, “What do You want me to do with my future?” Anthony said, “As I was praying, God told me that I’m going to take care of the street kids, vulnerable kids, and orphans.” That day, he wrote God’s words down to be a reminder to himself. We later asked if we could see the Bible he had written in. He was so excited to show us that he quickly found his shoes and ran to his house to find it and bring it back to the children’s home.
Soon after deciding to take care of the children in need, Anthony met a group from Germany working in Rhino Camp. He told them, “We are trusting God to have a children’s home in the camp because we really see there’s a need. There are so many children in this place that are really suffering so so so so much, so much.” He shared his vision for the home is to raise young people who follow the Lord and live lives of integrity, no matter what their future holds. Little by little, Anthony’s vision was realized. Various organizations and individuals provided the funds and supplies to build and furnish 2 buildings, one for the boys to live in and one for the girls. Looking back Anthony said, “We established this place just by faith. And the truth is, we have been seeing the hand of God.”
50 children now call Hope Children's Home their home. It isn't much, just 2 brightly painted one-room brick building and a thatch hut, but for those children is a refuge.
- Pray for the children who are trying to deal with rejection and other emotional and psychological trauma
- Pray that the children of Hope Home can receive a good education, something that is not easy in the refugee camps
- Pray for the lack of water throughout the camps, that rainy season will replenish the water sources
- Pray for the food situation at Hope Home. The adults who brought the children to Uganda keep the children on their ration cards even if the kids no longer live with them. So the children’s home leaders are trying to get the children to their own ration cards. Until then, Anthony and the mamas at the home are using their rations to help feed the children.