H3, abbreviated for “Heads, Hearts, & Hands,” is a group of “Christians committed to supporting ongoing work in Uganda.” Or so their website says ( What that means, is this ministry which actually originated and operates from the USA, works with newly established ministry in Uganda in three particular ways: 1. By sending medical mission teams to Uganda to work there with established medical professionals, medical facilities, and local businesses. 2. By sending financial support from H3 USA to H3 Uganda to meet community needs—whether they be physical, medical, or spiritual— and to support seminary students at African Bible College. 3. By providing financial resources for Ugandan women to be educated and find employment, so that they are able to support themselves and their families without fear of being taken advantage of or abused.

This is a lot for one single organization to take on. Much understanding about local community need in Uganda is required, and wisdom of how to provide aid in ways that bring about actual change. Their name provides the visual of how it began and continues to operate: by learning and thinking through their mission, by hearts whose motivation is to share the love of Christ, and by working hard to get the job done.

Dr. Mike McDonald, an Emergency Room Doctor from Bryan, Texas, founded and continues to lead H3. He says it was “never my idea.” Dr. Mike began his career as a doctor in the U.S. Army. While stationed in Germany, he was sent on a humanitarian assignment to Africa, where he helped for a week in a clinic at a school. He enjoyed the work and felt some sense of calling to come back to that continent and do similar work in the future. In 2010, he joined a short-term mission trip to Ethiopia at the request of a friend. Again, he had a sense of calling. When he returned home, he began exploring opportunities, not at all sure where God was leading him. 

One of the people Dr. Mike reached out to at that time was his former pastor, from when he had done his residency in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Mike knew that his friend had recently begun teaching at African Bible University in Kampala, Uganda. He asked him if the university had a clinic or some ministry in medicine that he could come and help with. The answer was negative to that specific question, but his friend did mention that there was a woman in his church who was in the medical community, trained as an ultrasound tech. He thought maybe she could help Dr. Mike, so he connected them by email. She was more positive. “Yes,” she replied. “If you come, we’ll have something for you.”

Ugandan clinic team

Dr. Mike learned that a couple guys from his church were scheduled to take part at a spiritual emphasis week at African Bible University. He decided to tag along with them so he could meet the ultrasound tech, Esther, and find out more about doing a medical clinic in Kampala. After that, things happened fast. Esther took Dr. Mike around town to pharmacies so that he could pick up medicine. Someone set up a tent in a field in the slums. Dr. Mike, Esther, and her friends in the medical field—a volunteer nurse and an interpreter—helped. They worked from morning till dark. There was a tentful of patients. 

It was then that Dr. Mike knew. This was the place. He basically spent the next year trying to organize a little better for his next trip back in 2012. This time, a nurse from the States went with him. Once there, a couple of Ugandans had been recruited from a church and a couple more from the university. Every year since then, Dr. Mike has returned. “We’ve done it a little better, a little bigger, a little differently,” he says. “We have refined our process. The next year I brought three nurses. The year after that I took my friend, Chris, who is an attorney, to explore some business parts of it.” In 2016, H3 became a non-profit organization. 

Sometimes Dr. Mike would visit Uganda between clinic cycles. During these visits, he would look for hospitals to partner with, local surgeons to do surgery for the clinic’s patients, and a Ugandan church to partner with. He met with New City Community Church’s Pastor (PCA affiliation), Rodgers, and Kennedy, a church member and professional in both marketing and social work who had always helped with the clinics. He always included Esther and enlisted her help on these visits. Dr. Mike shared his vision for the future with them, which was for the long term, “to work himself out of a job.”

Clinic in Uganda

That involved a short-term goal of coming alongside New City Community Church (NCCC) and establishing the clinics as a ministry of that congregation. “White people in the Ugandan community draw crowds,” Dr. Mike explains. “Especially when they come from far away. So we come to draw the crowds. But it’s primarily the church’s ministry.”

Things have continued to develop much like Dr. Mike envisioned. As NCCC has taken on more ownership and responsibility of the clinic’s work, the church finds themselves doing follow up ministry and opening new doors within the community in which to minister. The process continues to be refined, but during each clinic the medical team identifies patients that need long term health care. These are referred to partnering local physicians who provide all the follow-up health care. H3 pays for the patients’ medicine and surgeries. The funds are sent to NCCC which distributes them. Over the years, this church ministry has become H3 Uganda—an NGO with its own Ugandan Board, Director, and staff.

NCCC now organizes for each clinic: meals, housing, transportation to and from the airport for the team members coming from the U.S., which now number 20+. NCCC provides 40-50 volunteers to help during the clinic and also provides the tents for each clinic. Fifteen hundred to 2,000 people came to the last two clinics (2018 and 2019). Each clinic lasts for three days. The gates have to be closed in the afternoon, even with people waiting, since there is never a time when nobody is waiting. Even so, the medical team works each day until well after darkness. NCCC advertises the clinics on local radio stations, and with brochures widely distributed all over Kampala and surrounding areas. 

Pastor Rodgers and Dr. Mike McDonald

After people arrive at the site of the clinic, they must register and wait to be called. While they wait, students, pastors, and professors at African Bible University, preach. A separate counseling tent allows individuals to meet with lay volunteers to discuss what’s on their hearts and to be prayed with. Medical services include cancer screening, pediatric care, and even ob/gyn. 

Once, a pregnant mother came who was in active labor. She wasn’t able to afford a hospital so she came to the clinic, although the clinic is not set up to deliver babies. The clinic transported her to a hospital and paid her hospital costs. Unbelievable to those of us in this country, the entire bill was a little over $200. Dr. Mike’s daughter back in Texas heard about the story, and raised the money to pay the hospital bill by sharing the need with her second grade class at her Christian school.                                                                                                                                    

Dr. Mike explains how the clinic processes the individual needs of each patient. “We want to identify the patients with needs we can fix, and we will fix them. At the end of the clinic we break things down into what is going to be needed after we leave, by color.” Reds need surgery or some type of significant help. Yellow means the patient has been diagnosed with a chronic illness. Blue represents physical or spiritual needs that the church will follow up on.                                                                                                      

Dr. Mike says his experience talking to Ugandan professionals, is that usually when Americans come in to help they are self-sufficient and do little to encourage those they help to use the local medical community. Dr. Mike believes that is what is different about the ministry of H3.  “It’s very important to me that we not detract from what is already there, but that we add to it,” he says. “We’re very intentional about the way that we structure things, to buy all medicine that we give out from local pharmacists. When someone needs surgery, I don’t want them leaving the country to have it done. We want to add to the local infrastructure, which is why for our chronic patients we want to send them to a doctor who is already in Uganda. I think from my experience, that’s pretty unique.”

Brochure announcing clinic to Ugandans

On the Ugandan side of H3, Pastor Rodgers says, “Partnering with H3 has been like a breath of fresh air.” He says NCCC views H3 as an answer to prayer. “Now people can see not just what we say, but what we do according to our beliefs. Being a local congregation with not much funding we were not able to relay our dream of ministering wholistically to those in our community. H3 came with emphasis on the whole person. It was a timely answer to our prayers. H3 has given us a boost medically and practically. People are seeing action by faithful preaching and also meeting the needs of so many people medically, through counselling, in scholarships and providing for the needy, hungry, and jobless. Through H3, the people in our community are able to see Christ in action. They are able to see that He cares about their physical needs as much as He cares about their eternal needs.”

There has not been an H3 mission team sent to Uganda since 2019. One had to be cancelled in April 2020 because of Covid-19. Covid restrictions have prevented any more being scheduled. But through the ministry of H3 Uganda, and thanks to financial support from H3 USA, many received help during the pandemic. In 2020, H3 Uganda reached out to nearly 600 people with food packages that were desperately needed. Scholarships were given to three girls so that they could finish school. 

Pastor Rodgers explains the need for these. “Many young girls drop out of school because their parents can’t support them or they are orphans. Or maybe they have been living with relatives who mistreated them so they ran away. There is usually only one option for girls who drop out of school, and that is to get married. They have to find somebody to support them. They usually are easily taken advantage of even in marriage. By getting them back to school we are literally protecting them from potential abuses and giving them hope.”

Dr. Mike says H3 hasn’t done a lot of fund raising over the years. The cost of medicine bought in Uganda is much less that what it would be in the U.S. For example, blood pressure meds for one person in Uganda costs about $10 a year. But now that H3 Uganda has been established, many ongoing needs are being brought to the attention of H3 USA. The proposed annual budget for H3 Uganda for the coming year is bigger than it has ever been. To learn more about how you might be able to help either with financial donations or as a member of a medical mission team, please go to the H3 website at

Dr. Mike is considering expanding H3 to other East African nations. He says he is open to the idea, although so far it has never logistically worked out. Who knows how God might lead? As Dr. Mike says, H3 wasn’t his idea. But thanks to God working through Dr. Mike and the many that have and continue to co-labor with him, it is a ministry touching more and more people in Uganda with the love of Jesus Christ. 


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