Bringing the message of hope across the nation, the Ugandan Kids Choir visited Abiding Savior Lutheran Church in Mounds View last week.
The group gave two infectious and lively performances on July 23, one in the morning during the church service and one in the evening which was open to the public.
The Ugandan Kids Choir is sponsored by Childcare Worldwide, a Christian child sponsorship ministry dedicated to improving lives and building a future for poor children around the world.
Each choir is made up of 10 sponsored children who come from the poorest parts of Uganda. They are chosen for their enthusiasm, ability and dedication — all qualities which make them potential leaders when they return to their communities.
The organization arranges nationwide tours around the United States for the Ugandan Kids Choir to bring their traditional music and dance to different churches and communities.
“It’s definitely all about connecting two different cultures,” the Ugandan Kids Choir tour leader Michelle Holstein said. “It’s a great opportunity to share culture of Uganda and the traditions of music with people here in the United States.”
Holstein added that one of the goals of the program is to bring awareness of children living in poverty.
“We are inviting people to also join in on helping to make a difference in the lives of kids on the other side of the world through donations and gifts if they would so choose,” she said.
The group has been traveling for two months and will be performing at churches across the nation for a total of 11 months. The children and group members are provided with host families, generally church members, as they make their way across the United States.
Pastor Lisa Richardson said she has had a wonderful experience hosting three children, teacher Keera Godfrey and Holstein.
“We’ve gotten to know one another, share meals together, just to share daily life as well as the concert,” Richardson said. “All of the host families, its been such a joy for them.”
“What they have to give is so amazing and beautiful,” she added. “They give hope, joy, song and dance. We have received far more than we have given. We have been very blessed.”
Music director Karen Tulinomubezi and Godfrey work with the children to teach them how to drum, dance and sing. The two are from Uganda and agreed that it has been one of their dreams to be able to work with children as a career.
“It’s so amazing to be teaching other people to do what you are doing,” Godfrey shared. He said he has been dancing and drumming since he was young. “I’m so glad to be with our choir here and I’m so glad to be able to meet all these new people.”
Tulinomubezi teaches the children the music, choreography and harmonies.
“It’s really a privilege to be working with kids because I’ve loved kids ever since I was young,” she said. “It helps me build my career, but it also helps me to learn more with them and I enjoy being around them.”
The entire group was very thankful of the hospitality of Abiding Savior Lutheran Church.
“I felt so welcomed and I was so excited to see that people are welcoming us,” Godfrey said. “We came here to share our needs back home, so when you welcome us, it shows us the love that you have for us.”
Richardson added that the entire group has made their way into the hearts of the people of the ministry.
“There was just so much gained. This was such a great experience,” Richardson said.