The Ones Behind It All
Meet the People in Charge!
Operations Director Stateside - Brenda Davenport serves HEAL stateside by providing operational support and maintains and manages our overall financial records. Brenda makes sure that HEAL operates with integrity and takes care of all legal filings. She ensures HEAL runs with excellence stateside and offers support to the Ugandan team as needed. Her attention to detail with the ability to love and build relationships is an added perk. Brenda has a strong passion to serve and believes in the mission and vision of HEAL.
Founder and Executive Director of HEAL Ministries and the James Place –
Tina Weir is HEAL’s heart, hands and feet on the ground in Uganda. Her deep commitment to the abandoned women and orphans there is both inspiring and daunting. Her personal story is one of grief, healing, and faith that God has used to impact lives across the globe. Read more of Tina's story here!
Operations Director in Uganda –
Trey Weir has been the glue that keeps the James Place running! Trey has been a part of the James Place since 2012. He has a desire to train others in operating the James Place to ensure sustainability. His experience in project and staff management has been a key to the success of the James Place operations. Trey loves working with his hands and because of his passion to build and to love others well, the James Place is a warm and inviting place!
Development Director – Shae Hinson lives in Bethesda, TN on a farm with his wife and three children. He is a follower of Christ and serves as an elder at his local church. Shae's experience serving on many boards is an added bonus as a friend to HEAL. He will focus on the stateside relationships that allow HEAL to accomplish the mission in Jinja. Shae’s background brings a wide perspective to the team from his ministry and business experience. He has lived for two years as a missionary in the Andes Mountains, has been to Jinja twice, has bought/grown/sold a medical billing business, and has worked with many organizations to bring structure and consistency to key business functions.
Meet the James Place Management Team!
Assistant to Operations & Management Staff –
Joshua Isiko is a trustworthy employee that helps us with the day to day operations. His joyful disposition at the James Place is contagious!
Manager of Women's Ministry Programs –
Julian Tumusiime is a diligent employee who oversees all of the women in our programs. She’s versatile and can be found pitching in where needed in every department!
Manager of Sewing Department –
Sylvia Matovu is a dedicated leader that has moved up to management. She loves to teach the women sewing and encourages them to never give up.
Childcare Supervisor & Educational Supervisor –
Rebecca Ndyesinga is a passionate employee who works very hard. She helps take care of all of the children in our program and is a great mom to her two kids. She just decided to return to school to further her education.
Supervisor of Security/
Dennis Okello is a dedicated employee over our Security and gate. Dennis is the first friendly face seen by all who enter the gates and he monitors and takes this job very seriously for the safety of everyone on the property.
Manager of Administration and Marketing – Betty Ross is our marketing coordinator and oversees all administration. Betty is a valuable team player that oversees the books, policies & procedures, and records of all the programs. She has a genuine love and passion for the women in the programs and makes certain that the products they produce are top quality and ready to sell.
Meet the James Place Supervisors!
Supervisor of Nutrition/Cook – Babiyre Hajire is an incredible employee that cooks all of the meals for our children, women, and staff. She prepares delicious and nutritious meals for everyone at the James Place, literally cooking hundreds of meals a week!
Childcare Supervisor –
Jennifer Ajok is a reliable employee who knows and loves all 60 children and makes sure everything runs smoothly. We appreciate her deep love for the children and her devotion and passion for the James Place mission.
Supervisor of Cleaning Services –
Harriett Naisanga is a hardworking employee who makes sure every building is clean and ready for all who enter it. She’s a trustworthy mother of 4, and is always looking to help others.
Pottery Supervisor –
Parvin Kiwumulo started in our program in the emergency shelter. She quickly developed skills in pottery and became a full time staff as a result of her hard work.
Childcare Teacher & Educational Supervisor –
Aisha Wanyenze is an awesome teacher who believes in the value and importance of our preschool program. She does an amazing job teaching our four and five year olds to get them ready for Primary 1!
Childcare Supervisor –
Joyce Kibwle has many years of experience taking care of children. Joyce is an added leader that adds wisdom, humility and inspiration! She is an incredibly hard worker and we are thrilled to have her on our team!
Supervisor of Property/ Shamba –
Edward Tuhiirirwe is an entertaining employee who cleans our compound and helps with any projects around the James Place. His biggest joy is making others laugh and you’ll catch him singing while he’s working.
Widows Supervisor –
Susan Odur is a widow that was added to mentor our women in childcare after her retirement from Amani Baby Cottage. She now oversees all of the widows in our program and does special projects with them.
Supervisor of Education & Art Department – Barbara Lanyero is an awesome addition to our team who does a great job teaching our preschool children and teaching English to those who need it around the James Place. Barbara's gifts in art and education is a bonus to our programs.
Laundry Services Supervisor – Gloria Apio is a humble employee who is always kind and ready to serve. She makes certain that all uniforms are clean and all childcare needs are met for the day. Gloria is always smiling with a twinkle in her eyes!
Pottery Supervisor –
Grace Achiro is a true potter at heart. She has quickly excelled at this skill and has become one of the best potter in our group. She is humble and uses her skills to teach the others around her.
English Teacher/ KIDS Club Curriculum Coordinator – Ruth Kitego has a love for children and educating others that is amazing to watch! She loves teaching her fellow Ugandans the native language and loves teaching our hundreds of kids about Jesus.
Meet the Other Essential James Place Staff!
Social Worker –
Jackie Musekwa is an ambitious employee who initially helped teach our preschoolers and taught in childcare and now has her social work degree and assists Diana monitoring everyone involved in our program.
Social Worker –
Rachel Namaganda is an energetic employee who recently graduated with her degree in Social Work. She just transitioned from working with the kids daily to serving as one of our primary social workers in the office!
Kitchen Assistant –
Loy Nangobi has been a dedicated artisan in our program since the gates opened at the James Place. Loy was a needed addition to the kitchen and she works hard to make sure hygiene is top notch!
Childcare Teacher & Preschool Teacher –
Joanita Namboze first served as a local intern and was so great with the kids that we decided to hire her! She is a wonderful addition to our team. Joan has a humble spirit and great attitude.
Childcare Teacher –
Sylvia Nandera is positive and creative, finding new games and activities to keep the children entertained. Her son was one of the first preschool graduates from the James Place and he’s excelling in Primary school!
Childcare Teacher –
Moreen Nalugwa has been a dedicated and hard working woman in our artisan program since the beginning. Moreen was one of the first women to join our bible study program in Masese and now is one of our hardest working additions to the childcare program.
Childcare Teacher -
Hellen Nabirye is a mom of 4 who works hard to take care of not only her own children, but the children in our childcare program. Hellen’s passion and love for others helps to make our childcare program the best one in Jinja.
Childcare Teacher –
Rebecca Abenakyo was hired from our artisan program to help take care of our children. She has a beautiful daughter and works hard to take care of her and all of our other children. Rebecca works hard and is ready to make a difference in childcare!
Childcare Teacher –
Mary Nafula is another addition to the staff because of our partnership with JPCC. She has a deep love for the Lord and that is evident in the way she is raising her two children and helping take care of our little ones.
Childcare Teacher –
Sara Naisanga is a widow and our newest addition to childcare. She loves taking care of children and serving others. Sara has the experience that our department needed and we look forward to her leadership.
Childcare Teacher –
Aisha (AJ) Namakula is a joyful addition to childcare department. She is always smiling and came to us as a direct result of our partnership with JPCC. AJ's vibrant and energetic personality is a plus to childcare.
Childcare Teacher –
Sharon Abaou is the daughter of Gloria, our Laundry supervisor, and her son is now in our childcare program which means we have 3 generations actively involved at the James Place! Sharon has the young energy that we needed!
Laundry Services –
Nora Lala is one of our hardest workers and sings with joy while assuring that hundreds of diapers are cleaned daily. Nora is very flexible and willing to work where needed in any department.
Laundry/Cleaning Services – Lydia Babirye is a friendly employee who helps with laundry and cleaning different areas on the property. Her adorable twin boys can often be found trying to get to her while she’s working throughout the day.
Laundry Services –
Night Nangobi has been in our program for several years. She is a very hard working woman and that carries over into washing everything by hand! We are very delighted to have Night as a full time staff member.
Shamba/Property Upkeep – Wilber Byansi is a joyful employee who can always be found with a smile on his face. He is hardworking and genuinely cares about the upkeep of the compound. He is a great male role model for all of our children
Daytime Security –
Fortunate Amumpaire is our female security guard and is a joyful employee to have around. Fortunate has a smile to greet every person as they enter the gates.
Night Security/Guard –
Robert Kaakamwa is a gentle and trusted James Place staff employee who works through the night to protect our compound. He loves his family and loves what we represent. “I love that families are important at the James Place.”
Husbandry Manager –
Paul Candwong Kica is our first Husbandry Manager. He has a passion for all animals and is the key to making our goat program a huge success so that our children receive nutritional care. He does a great job keeping the animals safe, clean and healthy!
Artisan Assistant –
Zalika Sakali has been dedicated and working hard in our artisan and sewing program since the gates opened. Her superb work ethics showed us that she was the perfect addition to assist in making sure all of the products are top quality!
Artisan Assistant –
Zauja Namugosa is no new face to HEAL. She has been a dedicated woman in our artisan and sewing program for over 3 years. Adding Zauja helps us with quality control and productivity.
Jewelry Artisan –
Doreen Irachan has been dedicated and working hard in our artisan program for years. She works with the ladies in quality control to make sure that all artisan products are consistent.
Jewelry Artisan –
Deborah Akello gives such attention to detail and has been a consistent bonus in our artisan program for years. She is a leader in the beading program and makes sure that all products are true to type as noted in the online shop.
Artisan Floater –
Sylvia Nakintu has been in our artisan program for quite some time. She is the perfect addition for making sure our products get finished on time! She will float to all the artisan programs assisting where needed and her versatile, humble attitude is perfect this!
Leather & Sewing Artisan – Edith Namulondo is another new addition to the leather and sewing products. Edith’s skills in the artisan and sewing department are top notch and her loyal and dedicated work ethics are a plus to the artisan department.
Leather & Sewing Artisan – Jennifer Akinyi has been an enthusiastic and devoted artisan over the years and an expert in our sewing department. Her knowledge and skills are the asset we needed to oversee the new leather goods and products produced in the sewing department.
Pottery Artisan –
Paddy Eva is a skilled artisan in our program that was the first full time staff in our pottery department. Her attention to detail creates beautiful products and her tenacious talent and desire to teach others is a bonus.
Pottery Artisan –
Betty Kwagala was one of the first women in our program. She is a completely new person in Christ and now creates lovely pieces in our pottery program. You can always find Betty smiling and singing.
Pottery Artisan –
Teresa Awori is a widow in our artisan program that has been added to the pottery program. Teresa’s wise patience and skills is a plus for the women training in pottery.
Artisan Paper Cutter Teacher – Brian Mungujakisa assists us in getting all of the paper for the hand-rolled beads the ladies make and cuts it so they can roll them! He also is training our women the trade of paper cutting so that they can cut the papers as a business and for us.
Meet HEAL's Volunteer Long Term Interns!
Nursing Intern –
Lindsey Sletner has joined the team to serve the medical needs of the James Place. She is from Eau Claire, WI and studied at Oral Roberts University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. "I have spent the past two years working in a Burn Critical Care Unit in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Also, I have previously participated in many different mission trips." We are grateful for Lindsey's heart to serve our staff, women, and children's medical needs!
Education Intern -
Courtney Erickson will serve with us in our childcare and Preschool department. She's from Snellville, GA and attended Georgia College & State University, graduating with a degree in Middle Grades Education. "I was a student teacher for two years, teaching English and Social Studies to students of all ages and I have also coached a variety of sports at different ages." We are thankful for her and her willingness to teach our little ones!
Education Intern – Katherine Christopher will serve with us in the childcare and English department. She is from Birmingham, AL and attended Auburn University, graduating with a degree in Elementary Education. "I have had experience in the classroom for five years and have worked for a preschool ministry." She instantly created special bonds with the children because of her contagious smile and eager servant’s heart!
(Ever wonder where the heck in Uganda we are?! Check out our town above!)
Meet the U.S Board of Directors!
Chairman of the Board – Rodney Syler has a quiet and humble leadership quality that serves HEAL Ministries well. He was passionate about the mission and vision of HEAL for five years serving as a board director before visiting the James Place. After his visit in 2015, he discovered the reality of God’s work firsthand. Rodney became more dedicated and agreed to accept the position of the chairman after seeing God’s work in action in Jinja. Rodney brings field experience to HEAL. He has served in mission work in the field in Kentucky and in the Dominican Republic. He has worked in engineering the last 30 years and has 13 U.S. patents. Rodney is full of innovative ideas and is always looking for ways to improve the James Place. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife, Lisa. They have three children and three grandchildren and are active role models in their lives. Rodney loves family and has a natural fit with HEAL Ministries.
Finance Committee Chair –
Steve Morris in an undergraduate from UT Knoxville and a retired VP/COO of UPS. He has lived around the world and served on many non-profit boards including UT Alumni, UT Foundation, Boy Scouts of America, UT president’s counsel and chairman of the UT Foundation Board of Directors. He and his wife, Laura, are avid lovers of HEAL Ministries. Steve has been to the James Place and saw the vision and mission lived out. Steve and Laura love the family focus and the sustainability aspect of HEAL, but love more the fact that it is all Christ-centered. Steve’s joyful disposition and knowledge in finance helps the ministry in many levels.
Treasurer – Lynley Voges is an energetic friend of HEAL Ministries and brings a dynamic enthusiasm to the board. Lynley has a degree in Communication Studies and is currently studying to be a Child Life Specialist. She has a strong desire to work with the board in keeping HEAL current in the U.S. Lynley has a passion for spreading the mission and vision of HEAL to others and will be involved in the marketing department promoting the artisan products. She has a strong love for her family and loves that she can promote family preservation all over the world. Lynley's creative gifts in communications and fashion will be a huge plus to the ministry. She has been instrumental in the past in promoting teams, interns and benefit concerts for HEAL and we look forward to her involvement in a new way!
Secretary – Lisa Syler is an educator, artist, mother of three and grandmother of three. Lisa is the epitome of hard work! She is a natural leader and has a strong passion for what HEAL Ministries stands for. It is at the James Place where she learned about the important needs and focus of family preservation and sustainability. Her favorite thing about being a part of HEAL is building relationships with the women and children that we serve. Lisa has experience serving with several other organizations and churches. She served in the Dominican Republic for 14 years and has served with HEAL Ministries for five years in the field. Lisa states, “There's no place I'd rather be, besides home, than at the James Place, serving the women, children and staff. I return home overflowing with blessings bestowed upon me by those I have come to love in Uganda.”
Field Advisor & Fundraising –Sam Davis is a passionate friend that is a common face around the James Place. He and his wife (Suzie) of 45 years are frequent visitors. Their shared passion made them a perfect new blend to the board of directors. Sam comes with experience as a board member. He is a founding board member of the Network of International Christian Schools where he has served as the President and now continues to serve as a board director. He has also served on the board of Evangelical Christian School and the Women of Hope. Sam has a deep desire to serve others and is an advocate of HEAL's mission and vision. Sam's career as a pilot for Federal Express has given him a deep international love. He has served in the military abroad and now resides in Memphis with his wife where his number one passion is being a dad to 5 and a grandfather to 9 children. Sam's strong love for family preservation is evident in his own family and evident when he serves passionately alongside us both in Uganda and state side.
Field Advisor & Fundraising –Suzie Davis is a wife, mother, grandmother and friend. Her contagious smile and kindness is a plus to the organization. Suzie and her husband, Sam, are very passionate about the Jinja community and HEAL feels that their union is one ordained by God. Suzie is a retired independent pharmacist and homemaker. She has served on the First Evangelical Church mission board and has served as a leader in her community discipling young ladies. Suzie loves everything about the James Place and what it represents. She sees the hope of families staying together and longs to be a part of something that is bigger than ourselves. Suzie and Sam have been involved in the Jinja community for years serving Good Shepherd's Fold orphanage and JPCC. They have both visited the James Place several times and it is always a joy to see them serve the women and children that need hope and encouragement.
Marketing and Fundraising –Jill Brothers lives in beautiful Franklin, Tennessee, but is rarely at “home.” She is married to a professional athlete (Rex Brothers) and his job takes them many places throughout the year. Jill is passionate about the Ugandan people as well as serving and leading women. She brings experience in Public Relations and love for fashion to the HEAL board. Jill has experience working with other non-profit organizations and has a deep love for empowering women. She is currently working on her Master's in Practical Theology. Jill and Rex have experienced The James Place together and have a deep passion for the vision and mission of HEAL Ministries. Family preservation is on their heart and Jill will be super busy the next year as they welcome a new baby into their own family!
Fashion and Social Media – Elizabeth Wilcox loves HEAL Ministries and is a strong advocate for HEAL. She served in the field with HEAL for a year as a preschool teacher’s assistant, admin assistant, and fashion adviser in the artisan program. She has bachelors in Psychology and within the next year will be starting graduate school to get her masters in adolescent counseling. Elizabeth loves to serve the Lord in many different ways. Her love for family and God has blessed her immensely. She loves to travel, volunteer, and cooking is her passion! Elizabeth says that her mother is her role model and is in the fashion industry and they love exploring new fads and trends as a team. Elizabeth’s experience at the James Place for one year adds immeasurable value to the board. She loves to assists with social media in various ways and has a strong passion for the vision and mission of HEAL Ministries.
Fashion Advisor – Judy Wilcox became involved with HEAL because her daughter served for a year in Jinja, Uganda. After visiting the James Place, she became passionate about the vision and mission. She is a consultant for W by Worth and has been selling their line of clothing for over 10 years. She has a great fashion sense and is excited to bring that to HEAL’s artisan program. God is her foundation and then comes family. She believes in family preservation and helping others and has been involved with The Next Door, a non-profit organization that helps women of all ages; backgrounds and ethnicity work through their struggles in a nurturing, God-loving environment. Her expertise in the non-profit world, in empowering women, and knowledge of fashion brings a new dimension to HEAL Ministries.
Field & Medical Advisor – Suzanna Barnhart is a bright young lady that lives in Memphis with her wonderful husband, Nathan. She has been a pediatric nurse for the past 4 years, and she will be graduating with her family nurse practitioner degree in December 2017. She has a passion for international travel and new cultures. Suzanna has served on local church medical missions committees and has connected many people to international missions. Uganda is a home away from home for Suzanna. She completed an internship for Good Shepherd’s Fold orphanage in 2011, which left a giant, “Uganda size” hole in her heart. Since 2011, she has been a frequent visitor to Uganda serving for weeks and months in the field and has developed many strong relationships with various ministries, including HEAL at the James Place. Suzanna has a passion for discipleship of women and promoting health education and and is excited to dig in and assists HEAL in these areas.
Board Advisor –
Marti Scudder has served as a board advisor to HEAL from the very beginning. She served with the founding board members and brings wise counsel and advice to the current board regarding HEAL’s history and development. Marti is the co-founder of MDI (Missions Development International). Since 1990, Marti has lent her leadership to multiple ministries and boards, and she has served as Director of World Missions for a large church. Marti believes in the mission and vision of HEAL Ministries and counsels our Founder and Director of the James Place in the field. Marti and her husband, Gary, live in Nashville and have two adult children. Becoming grandparents has been one of the biggest blessings in their lives.
Widows Advisor & Educational Advisor –
Annie Kopp lives with her husband, Jay, in San Diego. Her children and grandchildren keep her busy! Ann has served on several boards, including church boards. She has been a mentor of MOPS for 3 years. Ann’s own personal past in dealing with the death of her first husband gave her a passion and desire to encourage and help widows. She loves the mission and vision of HEAL and believes in family preservation. The James Place brought together her love for widows and education, and her love for the Ugandan children. She believes that serving on the HEAL board is an opportunity to get involved in deeper ways. Her elementary education degree and teaching experience makes her the appropriate education advisor to add to the board. She has always had a heart for children and learning and loves the educational aspect of the James Place
Board Advisor –
Steve Lorenz has served as HEAL’s board advisor since 2007. He was the first to advise our Founder that HEAL would evolve and look very different down the road. Steve’s wise counsel has been most valuable during each transition the ministry has experienced. In 1991, Steve retired from the music industry work and went on to a senior staff position of a large church as Director of Missions Development. He has worked in international missions ever since serving on twenty-three different corporate and industry boards. We are thankful to have his experience guiding our board and our founder. Steve lives with his wife, Marilyn, in Nashville, Tennessee and they enjoy visiting their adult children and grandchildren across America.
Missions and Spiritual Advisor – Johnny Long lives in Cordova, TN and is married to his high school sweetheart, Lucy and they have one adult son. After a successful 25 year career in the Transportation & Logistics Industry, Johnny felt led to answer the call to join Hope Church in Memphis in a full time capacity. He has served in leadership at Hope as a 2 time Elder, Deacon and key volunteer for several ministries at Hope as well. Most recently Johnny works on staff as the Director of Global Outreach. He has been active in the Memphis community for years, serving on non-profit boards. Johnny has a heart and passion for global ministries and particularly, HEAL Ministries. While he travels around the world leading teams for the HOPE Church, he says that Uganda has a special place in his heart, particularly the James Place. Johnny will be of value to the board as he knows how to run a successful business and he has extensive knowledge of global missions.
Meet the Ugandan Board of Directors!
Chairman of the Ugandan Board –
Surjit Bharj is a successful business man in the Jinja community. Surj is a definite strength of the James Place. He assures that all legal requirements are timely and in order. He also oversees the Ugandan Board of Directors. Surj has a passion for helping those less fortunate and is a firm believer in the James Place mission, vision and goals. He has been instrumental in getting the James Place operating under all appropriate licenses on a yearly basis.
Vice Chairman of the Ugandan Board –
Trey Weir not only serves as the Director of Operations at the James Place, but also serves an important role on the Ugandan board. Trey works with Surjit closely to assure that all documents and licensing are renewed on time for the NGO and CBO. Trey oversees the budget and staff of the James Place and gives quarterly operational reports to both the Ugandan and U.S. board directors.
Carolyn Jacobsen has a love for family preservation and it is no accident that her organization (JPCC) and HEAL got together. Carolyn has wisdom in keeping young girls with their babies and adds tremendous value to the James Place programs. Her 15 years of experience in the field is an asset to the board.
Secretary – Sylvia Matovu is a part of the management staff at the James Place. Sylvia is a wealth of information for the Ugandan board. Sylvia assures that all programs line up with the mission and vision of HEAL. She gives quarterly reports to the board about the women’s progress in the programs.
Board Director & Vision Advisor – Tina Weir is the Executive Director of the James Place. Tina’s goal is to make certain all programs run with accountability. Tina reports to the board quarterly about all activities and goals. She is a direct liaison to the U.S. board in reporting monthly updates. Tina’s passion and love for the James Place is evident and you can read more of her story here.
Board Director & Medical Advisor – Dr. Charles Kalumuna has a passion and desire to treat the community of the James Place medically. He serves as a board director and makes sure that all medical clinics are approved by the government as well as making sure all programs of the James Place are Ugandan specific and appropriate.
Social Work Advisor –
Agatha Orena comes to the board with an unbiased viewpoint. She is employed as the Supervisor of Social Work at Amani Baby Cottage. She loves the vision and mission of HEAL and adds helpful ideas and policies for the James Place. Agatha’s years of serving in the field produces wise counsel to the board when making decisions that are best for each program.
U.S. Communications –
Steve Morris is a U.S. board director that serves as a liaison on the Ugandan board. Steve ensures that there is beneficial communication and understanding between the two boards. Steve loves the James Place and gives financial advice as well as passion and love for all the women and children in the programs. His past experience, passion for HEAL's success and love of the ministry helps the U.S. and Ugandan boards make the best practice decisions.
Marketing & Social Media – Tripp Weir has a passion for HEAL Ministries and loves the James Place. He has a desire for the ministry to be best represented on social media. Tripp's tenacious skills help the board in strategic marketing ideas. Tripp loves storytelling and communications and has been a key to HEAL's successful people reach. Because Tripp has creative writing techniques that compel others to engage in our stories, he has directed HEAL in spreading awareness.