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Longing for Family

“We have had many friends in ministry over the years, both locally and globally,” said Robert Mponye, who leads Lifehouse Community Church and the King’s Kid School in Uganda. “But those friendships never developed into family relationships. Not until now.”

For more than twenty years, Robert and his wife, Esther, have been caring for vulnerable children and inviting them into their own family. The ministry of King’s Kid School in Mityana, Uganda had a humble beginning when they received an orphan girl into their small house and cared for her like she was one of their own. Five years later, the couple started the school, where today more than one hundred children are full-time residents and almost four hundred attend daily classes (to read this story, go to

Under the leadership of the Mponyes, this ministry experienced significant growth and came to include a network of churches, Bible school, vocational school, children’s choir, medical clinic, evangelistic outreaches, agricultural projects and more. However, all the while, Robert’s vision was not just local, but global. “I am passionate about the kingdom of God,” said Robert, “and that kingdom crosses boundaries and oceans. It is much bigger than Uganda.”

Robert knew that their small network of churches in Uganda needed partners in ministry that could give them a broader focus, a taste of God’s universal kingdom on earth. “I was looking for likeminded people across the oceans that we could work together with for the expansion of God’s kingdom.”

In 2018, Robert was introduced to Doug Hiebert, Multiply’s Regional Team Leader for Sub-Saharan Africa. Doug visited Robert in Uganda and the two leaders immediately made a strong connection. “Robert already had some partnerships with isolated leaders and a couple of small churches,” said Doug Hiebert. “But they hadn’t built strong bonds. I sensed that Robert was longing for family.”

For Robert, the connection with Doug immediately felt like a friendship and the hope to build a partnership with Multiply was born in his heart. “When we talked about working together, Doug emphasized the family aspect of relationships,” said Robert. “I immediately wanted to be a part of that.” 

Healthy partnership, for both Robert and Doug, meant walking together in transparency and trust. “It feels like we have known each other for many years,” said Robert of his friendship with Doug. “When we talk, I share with him how I really feel, and I expect the same from him. We’ve learned to believe in each other, to trust each other.”

“I am passionate about the kingdom of God, and that kingdom crosses boundaries and oceans. It is much bigger than Uganda.”

Doug added. “We have very open and honest conversations about ministry, about faith, about everything. We have become close friends, which is truly a blessing, because good relationship is at the heart of partnership.”

Robert also added keen insight into the importance of spiritual maturity in healthy partnerships. “We were looking for people who honoured God,” he said plainly, “people who understood the value of both the horizontal and vertical relationship. Because we didn’t just want to do our own thing. It wasn’t about our vision, or their vision, but about seeking God’s vision together.”

From the very beginning, Doug was impressed with this aspect of Robert’s character and spiritual depth. “Here was a humble servant leader who was not interested in building his own kingdom,” said Doug, “but he was actively seeking the good of others, giving leadership away and enabling others to grow.”

Doug also noticed that partnership, for Robert, was not based on an exchange of money. The ministries in Uganda under Robert’s leadership were already flourishing and producing lasting fruit. “We all have needs,” said Robert, “but our vision must be bigger than our needs. Doug and I are learning to relate to each other according to our vision.” 

“Ultimately, we offer each other relationship,” said Doug of Multiply’s partnership in Uganda. “We will give and receive in this partnership, and they will do the same. There will be funding and trips, but most of all we will exchange encouragement and faith.” 

Robert and Esther have hosted several people from Multiply in Uganda, and they look forward to hosting more. In 2020, teams from North America were scheduled to visit Uganda, but the global pandemic delayed those plans. “Our visitors from Multiply have said that their faith has been inspired while visiting us,” said Robert. “We feel so privileged. I treasure that as something eternal. It’s so encouraging. We look forward to hosting more visitors and teams, so we can serve and learn together.” 

One of the early visitors to Uganda, just prior to COVID-19, was Vic Wiens, who was encouraged to meet Robert when he was told that the Lifehouse family of churches was interested in joining the global MB family. Vic went as the Multiply liaison for the International Community of MBs (ICOMB). Reflecting on his visit, Vic said, “An almost immediate affinity developed with Robert. I found him likeable and like-minded in almost every respect. Robert and Esther have huge hearts and huge vision, much of which has already been implemented. Since that trip, our mutual appreciation seems only to be growing.”

As recently as last month, Doug Hiebert had the opportunity to be with Robert in Uganda, and he was struck again by the faith that this partner in ministry was displaying. After his visit, Doug wrote, “For Robert and his team, there is such a dependence on God, a belief that God alone can bring change and transformation, that he is alive and present and active, that he can supply their needs. That kind of faith is inspiring, enlivening, and contagious!”

Multiply’s partnership in Uganda is thriving, and their partners there are eager to invest their resources and energies globally. “We are not only asking how we can continue to grow a healthy partnership, but we are praying for the churches in North America,” said Robert. “We are praying for Multiply, for blessing, for revival, for discernment, for the right people. Together, we can have greater impact on the world for Jesus.”


Is God calling you to serve with the team in Uganda? To learn more about current service opportunities, go to

To watch a recent video about King’s Kid School in Uganda, go to

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