how Shine was born
/// our founders
Through several trips to Uganda since 2009 and their family putting down roots along the Nile River in 2016, God grew Matt & Lovelyn's hearts for His people there. They found joyful, resilient, hard-working, loving people who often found it very difficult to provide just basic needs for their families: food, safe shelter, clean water, medical care, and education. Sometimes these needs were so difficult to meet that families were being torn apart and children actually becoming orphans due to poverty.
When they saw this up close within the families of their children's friends in the village in which were living, God spoke very clearly that their community in the Western world could partner with their new community in Uganda to uplift and empower. That is when the village empowerment initiative, Shine, was born. Shine seeks to preserve families, prevent orphans, and proclaim the Gospel.
Shine is located in a rural village along the Nile River about 15 minutes outside of Jinja, Uganda. We are a holistic ministry that desires to see families thrive in self sufficiency. Everything we do is out of the love we’ve been shown from the Lord through Jesus.
Shine has a large community center hut as a central location for our programs. Our 12 staff members utilize the hut daily for different programs including: men, women, & teen Bible studies, children’s ministry, women’s empowerment program teaching & training, tutoring, and community program meetings. This is also where 550+ children gather every Saturday morning for food, worship, the Word, & playing.
The empowerment program comes alongside mothers to either help them learn new skills or sharpen skills they already have, along with business classes. We work together with them to create a business plan that meets their specific goals, give them capital to launch it, & follow up with support and troubleshooting. While they are in the empowerment program, Shine sends their children to school by paying their school fees, supplies, and uniforms. Eventually, the families begin taking on some of this cost as they work toward total self sufficiency and we prepare for a new class of mothers in the empowerment program.
The Shine property also includes lodging for several of the teen boys in our program who did not have family caring for them. They are now in boarding school and have a place to stay and be mentored when they come home for holiday breaks. According to their headmasters, and evidenced by their improving grades, they are some of the hardest working and diligent students at their schools. When back home at Shine, they have become wonderful role models for the younger children; they often help lead worship, can be found doing extra studying with our education coordinator, & jumping in to help with anything around Shine’s compound & ministries.
Right outside the community center hut is a clean water well that is open to all the people in the village. Prior to this well, families were walking long distances &/or collecting water from the Nile River.
Shine has God-sized dreams of eventually having a big, beautiful playground, agriculture for self sustainability, a clinic, and school in the future. In every step and at every moment, we pray Shine will be a place of joy, refuge, and a light to the village, for the glory of God.
/// our ministry