From “Cry Baby” to Respected Leader

Lawrence, who once was so shy he was considered a “cry baby,” now bursts with confidence at Makerere University Business School in Uganda.

The first day he went to the university, with support from our Leadership Development Program, he could not believe it. He marveled at the expanse of the campus, gaped at the beautiful buildings and thanked God for this opportunity of a lifetime. He was determined to achieve his dreams — among them a passion for leadership.

Lawrence had grown up a very shy boy. In fact, many times he was a victim of false accusations but he never defended himself. He simply cried. He grew up with his parents and three brothers. They struggled through life. His father, a fisherman and sole earner in the home, contracted cancer and painfully passed away when Lawrence was 10.

Lawrence as a young boy standing by a tree in a yellow shirt

Life was tough. Lawrence’s mother did not have a job but depended on peasant farming. The family had little food. They skipped breakfast, had a cup of porridge for lunch, and usually ate posho (mingled maize flour) with avocado or greens for supper. On a good day they would eat beans and posho.

This was their routine. The boys grew thinner each day and often fell sick.

“Whenever we fell sick, Mum bathed us with herbs and told us to sleep and cover ourselves till we were warm. She could not afford medication.”

When Lawrence joined the Lugazi Child Development Center, it was a great relief for his family. The first thing he did was seek treatment for a terrible toothache that had bothered him for more than seven months because of lack of medication.

He received lots of love at the child development center and anticipated going back every Saturday.

At the center, children were given milk, eggs, bread and bananas for breakfast. At lunch they received rice and meat or matooke (plantain), beans and peas. Sometimes they enjoyed sodas. It was like he was experiencing a whole new life.

Lawrence as a young man standing in front of the university

“Our director, staff and volunteers at the center loved me very much. The director treated me like his own child.

When I was in primary grade 2, they taught us about Jesus and the things He did when He was our age. I liked Jesus very much and I gave my life to Him.”

With support and love from our staff, Lawrence discovered his God-given potential and self worth. Little by little he gained confidence in himself and stopped being so shy. He joined the school choir and always stood in front.

Lawrence also learned at an early age to take on leadership positions and to always act with integrity. Later, when he joined the university, he believed he was the leader the students needed. Today he perceives himself as a leader of integrity who adds value to his followers.

In his first year at the university Lawrence became the representative for Baganda Nkobaza Mbogo Student Association. In his second year he was elected as the speaker; now in his third year he is the chairman and leads more than 500 students in the association.

The Baganda Nkobaza Mbogo Student Association is a national association aimed at preserving the culture of the Baganda, a people group living in central Uganda.

It is not an easy thing to balance culture and the teachings of Jesus Christ. And not many people understood how Lawrence could say he was chairman of this association and yet confess Christ as his Lord and Savior.

Lawrence and his classmates outside of Uganda University

“I believe that as Christians we should take up all positions. Perhaps if someone who is deeply rooted in the culture was chairman, many evil practices would be encouraged. But I bring change and I can influence fellow students. They see my walk in Christ and I believe I influence them a lot.”

Lawrence is also the chairperson for the Family of Christ Ministry, where he leads 53 students. On top of that, he leads the Leadership Development Program fellowship at his university and is the treasurer of the gents ministry called Men of the Original Image.

He is grateful to all of his sponsors and to his church because, without this support, it would have been hard for him to make it in life. Lawrence is excited at what God is doing and once he is out of university he hopes to start his own businesses in coffee and dairy.

He also aspires to join national politics. His initial target is the seat for Member of Parliament for his home area, Buikwe West, in 2016.

Lawrence is grateful to Compassion and to his church for loving him.

Lawrence standing by a statue seeking knowledge to serve by Makera University in Uganda

“I have seen Compassion International struggle to see that I reach where I am today. They have given me so much support and so many things. From the time I joined the ministry, I felt like there was an invisible hand holding me up. I was so happy!

I am in the Leadership Development Program and I feel you are really investing in me. You want me to be the best leader, the best future parent, and an honest and compassionate person.

The Leadership Development Program has shaped me well and I am very grateful. Now I feel ready to face the world and contribute to it.”

10 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Victoria April 17, 2012

    May God always be the center of Compassion International Ministry and recieve the praise for all the recorded and yet to be recorded success of His Children. Amen.

  2. Stephanie Green February 10, 2012

    Thank you, Caroline…this is beautiful! I LOVED reading about Lawrence!! This leads me to ask a question, though. Is there any reason why I could not send a copy of this post to one of my boys in Uganda? He has told me he aspires to attend Makerere University himself AND…he attended Lugazi Child Development Center (until a recent move to another Compassion project). I think Wasswa would be really inspired to read this but didn’t know if there were any privacy issues that would prevent me from sharing this wonderful story with him. Hope someone can let me know as I’d love to put this in the mail to him.Thanks!!

    1. Carol April 16, 2012

      Hi Stephanie, thank you for loving a child in Uganda. Please go ahead and send a copy of this post to Wasswa. I pray that this story will inspire him. I have Lawrence’s consent to share this story. God bless you.

  3. Cheri Duchrow February 10, 2012

    Wow – Lawrence you are wonderful! What a surprise to see this article here. I met Lawrence last fall in Uganda and there was so much joy on that day the tears flowed and the Holy Spirit moved. I am humbled to be Lawrence’s correspondent sponsor and everytime I receive one of his letters his enthusiasm and joy leap off of the paper. He packages so much love into a letter that it is bursting. It is always a joyous day to recieve a letter but his letters truly flow with joy. He is amazingly talented and composes worship songs. I was honored to get to video tape one of them. He will truly move people and is a true disciple of the Lord. Praying for you Lawrence as I do everyday! Keep lighting up the world with your smile and your spirit! Praise the Lord for giving me yet another glimpse of your wonderful soul!

  4. Nancy Young February 9, 2012

    What an inspiration to read, Caroline. Thanks! Lawrence, keep up the great work. I love hearing about LDP students! So proud of you!

  5. Ruth February 9, 2012

    Wonderful story! One of my sponsor girls has just been accepted to this same university in Uganda so it looks like a great place to study at.

  6. jamie February 9, 2012

    This wonderful story affirms that I made the right decision a few days ago when I sponsored a young man from Ethiopia in the Leadership Development Program. While reading his biography, it struck me what a heart he has for Christ and I knew that I had to act. I have the resources, and if not me then who? Watching him grow and follow the plan God has for him will be a blessing to me!

  7. Aroma February 9, 2012

    Awesome. God is so good.

  8. Christine February 9, 2012


    Words can’t express how this blesses. Thank you for taking the time to write Lawrence’s story. It’s a testimony of Love.

  9. Lindsay February 9, 2012

    Lawrence is an inspiration to us all and a true testament to what our sponsorships can do. God bless him!

Add a Comment

Read the ground rules for comments.