Grace International Children’s Foundation USA Inc. is a private, international faith-based charity. Our mission is to build and operate children’s homes which serve some of the orphans of East Africa. GICF USA Inc. is our operating and fund raising arm in the United States. The IRS has classified us as a Public Charity and granted 501(c)(3) tax-deductible status.
WHO WE ARE
Lulwanda Children’s Home is located near Mbale, Uganda, and currently is home to 120 orphans. Lulwanda is operated by Grace International Foundation Ltd., a registered Ugandan NGO (Non-Governmental Organization). Funding for Lulwanda and our other operations in Africa comes from GICF USA.
MEET OUR GICF UGANDA LEADERSHIP
All of our day-to-day operations in Uganda are managed by our Ugandan Leadership Team. Left to right:
- Ryan Kelley – Medical and Discipleship Coordinator
- Paul Isabirye – LCH Administrator
- Osama Eid – Treasurer
This team manages the activities of approximately 45 staff members on location, who actually provide the care and schooling to the orphaned children. This leadership team in turn reports to the Local Management Committee under the direction of chairman Pastor Morris Ogenga.
GICF USA is a body of volunteers from all walks of life – medical professionals, homemakers, engineers, accountants – each committed to helping the orphans of Africa by using their God given talents.
MEET OUR GICF USA LEADERSHIP
Larry Hoelscher has enjoyed travelling to Uganda since 2001, participating in church planting mission trips and overseeing the operation and construction of Lulwanda Children’s Home. Mr. Hoelscher, a founding board member of GICF (since 2001), has served the Foundation as Construction Committee Chairman and President. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board.
“GICF is unique in that it is powered by our volunteers’ love of the purpose and vision of this organization. It is my goal that their love and trust is honored.”
Mr. Hoelscher is married to Leslie (Dee Dee) Hoelscher. They have two sons, Jamison and Christopher, both Texas A&M Aggies. They reside in Magnolia, Texas and are members of Tomball Bible Church where Larry and Dee Dee are active members of the Missions Committee. Professionally, Mr. Hoelscher’s career spanned 33 years in the gas pipeline industry.
John Waggoner has worked in the research, service, and operating sectors of the petroleum industry after completing his Petroleum Engineering degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. He and his wife, Lauren, have lived in the Houston area and attended Grace Community Bible Church since 2002. Since then, they have actively participated in GICF fund raisers and various ministries at Grace, where both serve in positions of leadership. John and Lauren have two children.
John comes onto the GICF Board to serve the Lord through serving the orphaned children of Uganda. There are significant challenges ahead of them beyond the immediate need for food, health, and shelter. The Lulwanda Children’s Home provides the educational, religious, and character development tools that will help them make good decisions for themselves, their neighbors, and their country, and ultimately to become productive citizens of Uganda.
Karla Bogaard is a Preacher’s kid and Air Force Brat who moved every three years of her life until she settled in Houston Texas in 1991. She is a registered nurse and currently works at MD Anderson Cancer Center as a clinical trials auditor.
Karla attends Grace Community Bible Church and has volunteered with GICF for several years processing/depositing the donations.
Keith is a native of Louisiana and received his BS and MBA from Louisiana Tech University in accounting. He is retired after working in various accounting groups of Shell Oil Company for nearly forty years. Keith and his wife Donna have been married for over forty years and have four grown children and six grandchildren.
Keith has served his local churches in various areas including teaching Bible, treasurer and elder. And he has participated in mission trips both locally and globally including both Uganda and Kenya from 2007-2010 as well as Cuba. He became familiar with GICF and Covenant Bible Institute of Theology (CBIT) during the trips to eastern Africa. CBIT is a bible college which trains pastors and church leaders to serve in eastern Africa. Keith also serves on the board and as treasurer of CBIT
Pastor Morris Ogenga
Pastor Morris Ogenga is Bishop of the Presbyterian Bible Church of East Africa, and Senior Pastor of Mbale Presbyterian Church. He is one of the founding members of GICF. Pastor Ogenga is Chairman of the Lulwanda Children’s Home (LCH) Local Management Committee. Pastor Ogenga grew up in Kenya but has long lived in Uganda. He, his wife Aidah and their family live in Mbale, Uganda.
Philip A. Norby was born in Van Nuys, California. Mr. Norby was a founding board member of GICF in 2001. He served as GICF’s Treasurer for 11 years. Mr. Norby and his family were on a church planting team in 1999 which visited the village of Bulolelo, where the Lulwanda Children’s Home was eventually built.
He and his wife continue to be involved in East Africa church planting, leading or participating on mission teams annually. They are part of Newberg Christian Fellowship in Oregon.
Mr. Norby received degrees in geology from California Lutheran University and master’s degree from California State University at Northridge. He has recently retired from the energy industry after spending 35 years in various technical and managerial roles for Unocal and Chevron. He and his wife Denise spent nearly ten years in overseas’ postings, having lived in Thailand, Norway, Indonesia, and Senegal. They currently live in Newberg, Oregon. They have three children, Krista, Jared, and Paul, and three grandchildren.
Rob Marshall began volunteering with GICF in 2002 and assumed the role of President in 2004, a position he held until November 2017. During this time, Mr. Marshall made some 15 trips to Lulwanda, and was instrumental in leading the GICF organization through the slow but steady expansion from 13 to currently 120 orphaned children in their care.
Mr. Marshall, a native of Canada, is a degreed Professional Engineer who retired after 33 years in the oil industry. His work has taken him and his family to live and work in Canada, Norway, Russia, Egypt, Italy, and the United States. He and his wife Cathy (who also has spent considerable time managing GICF’s Child Sponsorship program as a volunteer) consider it a privilege to serve the Lord to the benefit of the children of Uganda.
John Palmer began volunteering with GICF in 2014 as a fulltime missionary living in Mbale Uganda. He was the Treasurer and Development Coordinator of GICF Uganda from February 2014 through June 2018. While in Uganda, he helped launch the Tendo Campus for older children, oversaw the farm expansion program, and was instrumental in the transition from a Dormitory model at Lulwanda to a more nurturing Home style model.
John and his wife Bobbi have been married for 20 years and they have two children, Jackson and Lilly. He is the President of Falcon Design Consultants, a civil engineering and planning firm headquartered near Atlanta Ga. He and his family have forever been changed in an amazing way due to their service and life in Uganda serving with Lulwanda Children’s Home.
Mike Thrasher began travelling to Lulwanda Children’s Home in 2006 with Cypress Creek Church of Wimberley, Texas. Although involved in meaningful mission opportunities since 1973, the visits to Lulwanda “changed his life forever”; Mr. Thrasher and his wife Mary felt God’s call to focus on the educational needs of the children and teachers of Lulwanda, and each year they lead a team to bring training and supplies to the Primary School. Mr. Thrasher serves on the board of GICF with a focus on education.
Mr. Thrasher graduated from Angelo State University with a Bachelors degree in Business and worked for Thrasher Trucking Company in Monahans, Texas (where he was born and raised), for 9 years before relocating to San Marcos, Texas. There, the Thrashers opened The Spring Christian Shoppe, a Christian bookstore. Currently Mr. Thrasher is President of Books are the Beginning, a non-profit focusing on literacy in Uganda, Kenya and the U.S.
Michael was raised in West Texas and reluctantly moved to the Houston area in 2000 when he took a job in the oil industry. Now the big city seems a little smaller, due largely to the wonderful friends Michael and his family have made along the way. Michael and Jennifer have 7 kids and have enjoyed being part of the Children and Youth ministries at Grace Community Bible Church. They have participated in mission trips both domestically and to Mexico. Michael joined the GICF Board in 2020 out of a desire to serve God through the various ministries aimed at raising and equipping orphaned children of Uganda into productive leaders of their society.
GICF Mission Statement
Grace International Children’s Foundation (GICF) will establish sustainable loving homes for orphans in East Africa that develop children to reach their full potential.
GICF Vision Statement
Our vision is captured in the following six themes:
We are committed to stewardship of finances and transparent accountability to our donors and supporters. Our vision is to instill these values in the children under our care.
Care of the Children
Our vision for Lulwanda Children’s Home (LCH) is to provide a safe, loving home environment for the children God has entrusted to us, including nutritious meals, creative playtime activities, superior education and complete medical care.
Health care is provided through on-site medical personnel, with first aid and screening services provided at Lulwanda for the children and staff.
Our vision is to build and operate a complete Primary School where English, math, science, computer and life skills will be taught. We will care for the children until their ability-appropriate level of education (secondary school, trade school, university) is complete, then provide one year of living expenses. These endeavors will prepare the children to enter the Ugandan workforce as self-sustaining productive citizens.
Our vision is to seek ways to demonstrate God’s love for others in East Africa, thereby extending the impact of GICF. This includes bringing children from the local area into Lulwanda Primary School (on a fee basis), the Good Neighbour Program, and numerous humanitarian efforts
Additional Children’s Homes or Programs
Our vision is to continue developing LCH with a longer-term view of establishing additional homes as we are blessed with provision and funding. Although a different living arrangement model may be adopted, Lulwanda Children’s Home is the base from which future child care will be administered and training provided for future staff.
Grace International Children’s Foundation was created in response to the urgent need to care for children abandoned or left orphans by the AIDS epidemic in Uganda and the rest of East Africa. GICF is a private, international faith-based charity organized for the purposes of building and operating children’s homes for these children.
GICF was organized by Grace Community Bible Church of Richmond, Texas, and the Presbyterian Bible Church of East Africa, led by Pastor Morris Ogenga. GICF USA is a body of volunteers from all walks of life – medical professionals, homemakers, engineers, accountants – each committed to helping the orphans of Africa using their God given talents.
Lulwanda Children’s Home is operated by Grace International Children’s Foundation Ltd., a registered Ugandan NGO (Non-Governmental Organization), led by Chairman Morris Ogenga. Our operating and fund raising arm in the United States is GICF USA Inc., which the IRS has classified as a Public Charity and granted 501(c)(3) tax-deductible status.
In 2004, GICF built its first children’s home, the Lulwanda Children’s Home, near the city of Mbale, Uganda. Lulwanda Children’s Home began operations on December 1, 2004. The children’s home operates under license from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Lulwanda Primary School operates under license from the Ministry of Education and Sports.
GICF is a faith-based organization