Students attending The Brook Hill School’s middle school and upper school campuses were able to experience a different culture last week, as the school welcomed the Parental Care Ministries’ Uganda Choir during a special chapel event Tuesday, Oct. 3, inside The Brook Hill Commons.
“Parental Care Ministries exists to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ in East Africa,” said Justin Hayes, PCM Director of Ministry Operations. “We’re mostly in Uganda, but we’re also in other countries around the area. Basically, we’re there to comfort the hurting and to multiply God’s gifts through education and discipleship.”
Hayes said the visit to Brook Hill was beneficial to both the choir and Brook Hill students, allowing for a multicultural experience to unite the two cultures.
“We had a great time visiting Brook Hill,” said Hayes. “One thing that you would think that would divide students from other cultures would be the differences in the two cultures, but it actually seemed to unite them. A lot of times, you think about teenagers and the walls they build up, but then you bring in this Ugandan choir and it breaks down those barriers because of the joy and spirit the choir brings.”
Shawn Rhoads, Brook Hill’s new Director of Campus Ministries, said the PCM Uganda Choir was the first group he wanted to bring to campus after accepting his new position this school year.
“When I started in this capacity, I knew that the Uganda Choir was a group I wanted to bring back to the Brook Hill campus,” said Rhoads. “They always bring a lot of enthusiasm, as well as their example of humility is amazing. It’s no secret that they don’t have a lot of material possessions, but they still have a lot of joy. I wanted our students to see that aspect of life, how much joy they have and how much they love the Lord, despite the situations they’ve faced in life.”
With 25 different countries represented around the world inside of Brook Hill’s student body, Rhoads said the common factor for students of every nationality and ethnicity is belief in Jesus Christ.
“We now have students from 25 different countries, but most of them are from countries in Africa,” said Rhoads. “During the final song, several of our students from that area got on stage and danced with the Ugandan Choir, which I believe allowed those students to experience a little slice of home. Regardless of where the students come from or their socioeconomic status, the commonality is Christ.”
According to literature provided by PCM, the choir is a ministry of PCM Uganda started by Pastor Emmy and Sarah Nnyanzi in 2001, when they began planting churches and loving the fatherless. After adopting 36 children and selling their house to start of school aimed at educating and disciplining the children, the Nnyanzis have given all they have to raise up a generation of Ugandan leaders to bring the gospel to Uganda and around the world.
In 2008, Mark and Monica Barrett, founders of PCM USA, visited the Nnyanzis to see what was taking place in Uganda. After the visit, the Barrets started the nonprofit in the USA to propel what was happening in East Africa.
Since then, PCM has grown from a single school serving 120 orphans and needs children in Southwest Uganda to a thriving ministry with a baby house, primary schools, secondary school, trade school, and university opportunities serving close to 2,000 children, more than 85 pastors and churches, a medical clinic, an internationally touring choir, and a radio station broadcasting the good news of Jesus to millions.
Hayes said that East Arica is among the poorest regions on the planet, where there is a high risk of food and water borne diseases, a shortened life expectancy of 55 years, and less than 500 doctors throughout the region.
Uganda has approximately five million children orphaned due to disease, as well as another one million children orphaned due to economic hardships.
According to the PCM literature, the Ugandan children attending the PCM schools receive instruction by a dedicated staff using a curriculum that provides a Christian education, while also teaching sustainable farming and water resource management.
During the performance at the Brook Hill chapel event, the PCM Uganda Choir performed songs in English and their native language, as well as shared their testimonies with students and staff members. Members of the Uganda Choir also interacted with Brook Hill students throughout the day and during Brook Hill lunch times.
According to Hayes, the Uganda Choir uses the Bible verse of John 15:5 as its motto: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
In addition to their performance at The Brook Hill School, the PCM Uganda Choir also visited several other area churches, schools, and businesses, such as South Springs Baptist Church, Tyler’s Central Baptist Church, Bullard’s Branch Community Church, Andy’s Frozen Custard, Texas College, First Baptist Church in Liberty City, Grace Community School, Green Acres Baptist church, and College Hill Missionary Baptist Church.
The Uganda Choir and PCM also allowed local residents to see a glimpse of life in the African country through participation in a Walk for Water event, held Saturday, Sept. 7, in Tyler’s Bergfeld Park.
In the Walk for Water event, participants began walking from Bergfeld Park with empty “jerry cans” to the nearby children’s park. At the children’s park, attendees filled up the cans from a fountain, then returned to Bergfeld Park and poured the water into LifeStraws, allowing the water to be filter.
After the event, the Uganda Choir performed a concert on the new Bergfeld Park stage, followed by a movie night presented by Tyler Parks featuring Illumination Entertainment’s movie, Sing.
The PCM Uganda Choir made their first journey to the United States in the spring of 2013 with the purpose of sharing the joy and hope of Jesus that is so evident in the children of the organization. Through singing, dancing, and powerful testimonies, the choir shares a unique perspective on life growing up in a third-world country, where they must depend on God for all of their basic needs. With this dependence, the choir members encourage people to remember their same need for God and joy they can find in a life totally reliant on Jesus.
For more information about PCM and the Uganda Choir, visit www.pcminline.org.