MEMBERS of a church which has bases across Richmond and County Durham have visited Uganda to work with a charity which helps children and families in need.

Influence Church associate Pastor Richard McGuinness led a team of 12 members who have all sponsored children in Uganda, and visited projects which support pre and post-natal care, nutrition, and vaccinations.

Mr McGuinness said: "Several individual members of the church have been sponsoring children through Compassion UK for more than 10 years, and around two years ago the charity contacted us to work together more formally."

The team got to see first-hand 70 of the 100 children that members of Influence Church sponsor each month. Thanks to the sponsorship funding, children now all have access to daily meals, family support and, most importantly, health care. Healthcare that has transformed children like Yudaya’s life. Last year, Yudaya’s mother was close to death due to HIV. She explained to the team that she had prayed she would die as life had become too difficult. She could no longer walk as she was so weak.

Thankfully, a Richmond family sponsored Yudaya, Through this sponsorship, her mother has received a course of anti viral medication and is now able to work to provide for her family. Yudaya is also thriving.

Mr McGuinness said: “I have visited Rwanda before so I did know a little of what to expect, but it can still be difficult to see.

"The little boy I sponsor, Ronald, is two, and lives in an urban slum in a tiny mud shack. They might not have a lot of money but they do care a lot about community, family, and they appreciate what they do have.

"The group all came home and felt we appreciated what we had all the more – we all learned a lot from the visit."

"At Influence Church we are committed to making a difference.

"Sometimes that looks like a food bank and job club on our own doorstep, but it also includes helping those who have no other chance."

To hear more about Compassion UK and child sponsorship, national leader for the charity Tim Robertson is giving a presentation on Sunday, April 7, 11am at Influence Church, Victoria Road, Richmond; and 5pm in the Methodist Church Hall, Barnard Castle; and in the Baptist Church, Bishop Auckland.