Meet the ROWAN Team

From engineers to nurses, pastors to development workers, Americans to Africans to Singaporeans, the ROWAN team has one thing in common: Vision.

Each person with their own calling & passion for ROWAN brings their own unique way of loving & providing for those who live on the margins. With local leadership & international support, ROWAN works as a team to empower widows & orphans in Uganda by saying “yes” to the impossible.

Pastor Paul Nyende – Founder

Pastor Paul Nyende founded ROWAN Uganda in 2004. As head pastor of the Church of God in the village of Mawanga, he also fills leadership roles at the public school, in the local work of Compassion International, at the Mawanga Clinic & with Church of God missionaries.

He was born in Mawanga in 1964 & has always felt a strong calling to minister his own people. Even after living in Kampala during his early years, he made his way back to pastor a rural church. People see him as a father to the fatherless, counselor to the lost, an encourager to the downtrodden & a mobilizer of the body of Christ. Though he has experienced persecution & hardship, he presses on with grace & humility. He is an excellent role model for the Mawanga community & a man after God’s own heart. Forever committed to his native village, he says, “Mawanga may not be on the map of the world, but it is on the map of Jesus Christ!”

Pastor Paul lives in Mawanga with his lovely wife Edith & their eight children. However, a visitor will find many other children living in his home.

Kelsey Hargadine – Co-Founder

Kelsey is the co-founder & visionary behind ROWAN. Her responsibilities include coordinating teams, networking, fundraising & working as the head spokesperson.

She was born & raised on a ranch in California. After accepting Christ as a teenager, God gave her a unique desire to serve in Africa. In 2002, she ventured to Mawanga, Uganda, on her first mission trip. Little did she know that would be the beginning of a lifelong calling to build God’s Kingdom in Africa. Traveling to more than 17 countries in the last eight years, Kelsey has developed a passion & zeal for every nation, tribe & tongue. But if you ask her today, she would say her heart is “always in Uganda.”

Kelsey holds a bachelors degree in Human Communication from Colorado Christian University & a masters in International Intercultural Communication from the University of Denver. She lives with her husband Thaddeus in Colorado & frequently ventures to Uganda as she serves full time with ROWAN.

Lauren Kraus – Program Manager

Lauren recently returned from a 4 month trip to Uganda with her husband Ben to assist ROWAN in creating a Land Rights and Protection program! Together with the local community, she sensitized our widows to their land rights along with supporting all ROWAN programs alongside her husband Ben.

Back stateside, she is currently running our Sponsorship program, International Team Department and Social Media.

Matt Ridenour – Board Member

Matt is a member of Acton Faith Bible Church in California. He is a venture capitalist & brings years of finance & business experience to ROWAN’s Board. He has a particular passion for developing micro-enterprise & establishing micro-loan programs.

Matt lives in Southern California with his wife & three children (9 chickens, 4 dogs & 3 horses!).

Liz Kliewer- Colorado Intern

Liz recently signed on as our very own writer/editor! She keeps the stories coming onto our website. She also has a passion for our sponsorship program and assists in connecting sponsors to their sponsees.
Liz currently resides in Colorado Springs.

Crystal Miller – Creative Director & Board Member

Crystal is our creative director and new USA board member. She inspires other creatives to join our team, whether they are photographers, artists, musicians, etc.

Born and raised in Colorado, Crystal grew a heart for the Lord, the nations, and photography. After working with Samaritan’s Purse, Food for the Hungry and many other wonderful organizations, she had the opportunity to visit Uganda in 2013. Not only did she bless us with her gift of photography, her heart was forever imprinted by her Mawanga family. If she is not busy raising her two beautiful children, she is encouraging other creatives to join our team. Starting in 2015 she will join the USA Board of Directors.

Elaina Griffith – Administrator

Elaina is the ROWAN administrator who focuses on donor relations and short-term team preparation. Elaina has been our fearless volunteer since 2005. ROWAN would not be where it is without her complete investment into this ministry.

Elaina lives in Acton, California along with her husband and 3 daughters.

David Wafula – Uganda Board Member & Program Strategist

All of us in the ROWAN family call David “Wafu.” Wafu’s full time role includes mentoring, strategic planning & communication. He is a visionary who thinks outside the box. He has been under Pastor Paul’s spiritual care since he was a child & is passionate about ROWAN. He believes ministry to those living on the margins is the biblical response to Jesus’ parable: “I was sick & you did not nurse me…”

David was born in 1970 in rural Uganda. He holds an M.A. in Leadership, a B.A. in Bible & Theology & a Certificate in Education. David & his wife, Idah, have two beautiful daughters.

Christopher – Operation Manager

Christopher serves as the Operations manager in Mawanga, where he oversees 12 ROWAN staff along with Pastor Paul. He organizes weekly home visits, overseas all programs including literacy, savings groups, Saturday children’s programs and reporting.

Christopher grew up in Mawanga & are active in the church under Pastor Paul. They have been by his side since ROWAN began in 2004. In the toughest of circumstances, they are the ones smiling with the joy of the Lord, the source of their strength.

Sam Kifuko – Local Administrator

Sam helps Christopher oversee programs, conduct home visits and manages Saturday Program for the children. Sam has been with ROWAN for 4 years and is a huge blessing to this ministry.

Sam was born and raised in Mawanga. He received his Theology Degree in Nairobi, Kenya.

Jim attends Watoto Church Central & is a graduate of Makere University. He currently works for UPEC: Uganda Environment Center as well as NTV: The local news station for the younger Ugandan generation. One would even find Jim on billboards downtown marketing local cell phone companies. He is a bright young man that is making a difference in his nation. His next dream? Attending Hillsong college in Australia.

John Lubogo – Micro Enterprise Manager

John assists ROWAN by overseeing agricultural projects across all ROWAN zones (7). He helps train and equip zones to become self-reliant.

John is married to his beautiful wife Monica and has 7 children. He was born and raised in Mawanga and feels called to give back to his community.

Christine and Rachel – Nurses

Christine and Rachel just started with ROWAN in June 2015. Together they are sensitizing our ROWAN community to health and nutrition, distributing HIV medication monthly, attending to house calls for medical needs, counseling those who need a loving listening ear, and assisting with our Saturday program for our children. They live at our center and truly giving their lives for this community.

Eseza Kimumwe – Cook

Eseza is our full time cook for all our programs: Saturday Children’s Day, Literacy classes, seminars, trainings and more. She always has a smile on her face and serves wholeheartedly.

Ivan Kirunze – Literacy Teacher

Ivan has been teaching our adult literacy class for the past two years. They meet once a week and have anywhere from 40-80 adults per week!

John Wabwire – Compound Manager

John takes care of our grounds and always serves with a smile!

Robert Bogere – Landscaper and Builder

Godfrey Balidawa – Security Guard