This is McKinsey Rebecca Cook’s Story.
Not the story of her passing in a tragic car accident on Interstate 95 in Dillon County, South Carolina, but what the dash represents in between the dates on her grave marker and what is happening now as a result of the dash. 9/29/1994 marks her birth here on earth – 2/2/2015 marks the day she gained her angel wings and met Jesus in person.
McKinsey was raised to be strong, confident, loving, kind and generous. These qualities prepared her for a Mission trip to Kampala, Uganda at the young age of 18. As her feet touched the African soil for the first time, life as she knew it changed forever. Her first message home “I have found my forever home mama!” absolutely frightened me. She spoke of the love and acceptance she had found in this place that was so far away. When she returned to the states it was clear that something deep in her soul had changed. A trip that she thought was designed for her to give back to a community was in fact a tool for God to show her his plan. Together they set in motion a chain of events that would lead to so much more. God had called her back to Uganda and she would rather die than not be obedient. Here is her confirmation to go to Uganda.
While in Uganda, McKinsey and the Mission team she traveled with worked with local Ugandans to break ground on the site of a future boy’s home. The home was intended to house boys living on the streets of Kampala. In this house they would not only receive the basic necessities of life like food, water, shelter and an education but they would learn what it felt like to be loved, to find hope for the future and above all, to learn about Jesus. On March 2, 2015, we received word that the boy’s home in Kampala had been named McKinsey House.
Fast forward to July 2015, I found myself on a plane with 3 of McKinsey’s friends and a New Spring Church Mission team headed to Uganda. As her mom, I felt like I should visit the people and place that captured her heart. My intention was to go, see, be seen and return home to start putting my life back together. I am a confident and very capable woman, used to being in charge, whether in my professional life or my home life. God totally wrecked that for me in 10 short days! Stepping outside of the airport, the wall crashed down when Desire Barugahare, McKinsey’s African Mum took me into her arms. I have never been so humbled in my life. To meet Desire and her husband George, McKinsey’s friends, and all of the volunteers, the kids, aunties and uncles was simply more than I could have ever imagined.
I have a hard time describing my week there to people here in the states…. It was very emotional, my daughter was there with me, and I felt her always! She showed me what she saw, I felt the love she had for the street boys, the love that was given to her from her African family….. I laughed and cried, hugged and played, soaked in every moment of healing, peace and comfort that was available to me. Since her passing, I have not felt her presence anywhere as strongly as I did in Africa. She was everywhere there. In the boys home, on the Nile River, in Jinja, at Street School, the Heroes Program, at Freedom Church. She was a tour guide for me to the place she so dearly loved.
This story doesn’t end there. I have since returned to Uganda on my own, two more times to learn more about the work God is doing there, rescuing abandoned children from the harsh streets of Kampala. During these last two trips I had the amazing opportunity to understand more about what is being done to raise the street kids into the future leaders of Uganda.
I have also been amazed at the outpouring of love, affection and financial support that has been offered to continue McKinsey’s legacy of giving back to the street kids in Uganda. As time has passed, I have been blessed to be a vessel of many resources made available to these children from others. And not too long ago, I had a vision of continuing her legacy to love; serve and restore hope to abandoned children in Uganda by opening up a 501c3 certified non-profit organization named The McKinsey Foundation.
As we are just in the infancy stages of planning future projects, the dreams God has placed in my heart are HUGE. The ultimate goal of the foundation is to look back in the years to come and have NO child left on the streets of Kampala to fend for themselves. Through your generous donations, we will love and serve these children, ensuring they are fed, clothed, are re-settled off the streets, we will provide them with the means to be educated and grow them into future leaders of Uganda!
This story doesn’t end here. God called her to Africa and gave her this mission. The Foundation is here to continue her legacy and carry out this noble call to love, serve and restore hope to abounded children in Uganda.