Orphaned Heart Ministry
In 2007, I performed my musical testimony, “Lord Make Me the Person You Want Me to be” in Uganda. I was invited to do this in the town of Hoima for 1,500 residents and also at Uganda Christian University (UCU) for nearly 2,000 students. It amazed me how deeply it touched the souls of those in the audience. For some time, having worked with Dr. Sylvia Tamusuza, the founder of Love and Care Family, I found that few orphans talked about their lives. In fact, many did not know the truth of what happened to them as children. To be called an “orphan” is the same word in their vernacular as the word for “garbage”. They felt shackled to share their painful life stories of rejection and abandonment, They were filled with shame just because they were orphans. They also were filled with shame if they were HIV positive. The Holy Spirit began to infuse me with the importance of having a “safe” extended family to share their emotional pain, festering in their hearts and souls.
God also began to open my heart with ideas about how to heal from this heart wound of being an orphan. After my performance at UCU, Sylvia and I asked people to get in groups of 8 or more for sharing and praying. I asked them to lift their prayers up for the plight of orphans in Uganda like incense to the “nostrils” of God. It was rare for prayer for orphans to be publicly done. The AIDS crisis in the 1980’s left Uganda with 2.5 million orphans, yet there was nothing evident in the culture to directly help heal their hearts and souls. After the group prayers, I asked anyone who wanted to be a part of a fellowship group of orphans at UCU to stay, and about 300 students remained. They were the first of what is now the Fellowship of Orphaned Heart.
From that original group of students at UCU, God has created a great leadership team in Uganda, called the “Healing Delegation”. With offices right outside the main gate of UCU they continue to attract students who need inner-healing prayer over their emotional wounds and memories. They are led by Paul Agaba, and Simon Peter Dembe, Sylvia’s nephew, both graduates in law. The team is so dedicated and well-trained that they continue to lead this ministry, now having shared it in Rwanda and parts of Kenya. Through their inspired leadership in East Africa, they have led and organized over 250 conferences and have brought inner-healing to the memories and souls of over 20,000 people since 2012. East Africa is ablaze with the healing fire of the Holy Spirit.
Many wonderful alliances have been forged with churches, dioceses and other colleges. A more recent focus is healing of local evil strongholds resulting from atrocities, such as genocide, war, early slavery and wounds left from Joseph Kony and the LRA in Northern Uganda. God is expanding and deepening our message and freeing many from the shame of being an orphan into the light of day of what it means to be a child of God! I wrote and published a book on this, Healing the Orphaned Heart; Restoring the Heart of a Child of God. It can be purchased by clicking here.
Janet Helms is the Co-Founder and Director of Orphaned Heart Ministries. She is a graduate of Trinity School for Ministry and longtime member of Church of the Ascension in Pittsburgh, PA. Janet has been helping orphans in Uganda since 2001 through a kinship model. Janet is Married to Worth Helms and they live together in Pittsburgh. In 2006, she started working with students from Uganda Christian University (UCU) to bring psychological and spiritual healing to those who have been orphaned by AIDS, polygamy, violence, and abandonment. She helped students to form a spiritual family through sharing their stories, praying for each other, studying Scripture, and doing ministry together. You can contact her here.