Staff Spotlight: Meet Henry

We thought it would be fun to share a wee glimpse behind the scenes into some of the daily activities and therapies happening at The Gem.

Did you realize that we have over 60+ staff who work around the clock in shifts to care for our most precious Gems? 

One of our incredible staff is Henry. Henry has cerebral palsy and has overcome great struggles because of God’s amazing love coupled with Henry’s mom believing Henry could do anything! Henry diligently studied, devoting long hours to his education and eventually graduated from university with a tech degree! He uses his talents to teach our Gem’s lessons on learning how to type and further their communication skills. 

Throughout the week our Gems take lessons from Henry. He is a patient, kind, encouraging teacher. Bethany has been working especially hard in her typing lessons and she is now able to type and can even write full sentences and stories! How cool is that?

We are so proud of Bethany for her diligence in studying with Henry and that together with our staff’s dedicated love and support our Gems know that their future is incredibly bright!


Dear Friends,

Thank you for your messages of concern and for praying for our precious Gems with Josh and me. Each message was such a comfort to our souls – we are encouraged knowing you are “with us”.

March 21st the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Uganda. Open-air markets have been closed and most have gone into a rush to stock up on supplies. As of March 22nd at midnight the airport in Entebbe was officially closed to all flights coming or going and all borders are sealed.

Two weeks ago, while watching the events unfold around the world we began preparing, with extra caution, to finalize our Emergency Plan for the safety of our Gems. Because of our Gem’s special needs and the reality that many of our Gems have weakened immune systems causing them to be medically fragile, we are very cautious and want to be sure we do everything possible to protect them. Our Emergency Plan consists of nannies and other staff members volunteering to quarantine with the Gems. Did I mention how much we love and adore our dedicated staff?!? Many have volunteered to be quarantined with them should it come to that.

We believe it is wise to have 3 months of medications and other items for all the various medical needs. We have already filled our oxygen cylinders in the event of an emergency and we have been working to stock the Gem’s bulk food. We want to be as ready as possible should the government call for a full lockdown. Due to the circumstances, we do have some financial needs to cover putting the Emergency Plan in place for our Gems medical needs as well as stored food. Would you be willing to give to help us protect our Gems?   Above all else, please know we are praying for you – that God’s arms will comfort and protect you and give you peace. If there is a need that we can be praying for you specifically about, please reach out to us so that we can, together with our team on the ground, be praying for you.
The 3 month supply of medications and food will cost $10,000. Will you help us?

“I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings, you will find refuge .”

– Psalm 91:2-4a.

Love from Uganda, Emma and Josh

Leila One Year Later

Do you remember our precious Leila? It has now been just over a year since she came home to us in January of 2019, having been a victim of severe malnutrition and neglect. Her eyes held so much heartache.

Because of our generous donors, Leila was able to receive emergency medical care, intense therapy, and excellent nutrition. Within just a few months Leila was a completely different person as she experienced the unconditional love of Christ through Gem nurses, staff and nannies. It was amazing to see Leila’s transformation throughout her healing journey. Before long Leila began to smile, dance and praise Jesus! And what a thrill when this past fall Leila was reunited with her biological mom!

We continue to follow up and check on her and we were very excited to have her come and be a part of Night to Shine. She arrived with her Mom in her fanciest dress. If you were to look back just one year ago and see how far Leila has come it is truly astounding. God has been so faithful in bringing healing and redemption to our precious Leila!

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Tears filled my eyes as I watched her being crowned Prom Queen. God is so faithful friends, even when all hope looked lost for Leila He alone brought healing and now our sweet girl is truly a living story of redemption.

It is because of you, our generous donors, we are able to provide a safe place of hope and healing for Gems just like Leila. From all of us on behalf of our precious Gems, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Love from Uganda,

Emma Quisenberry

Director at The Gem Foundation

Meet Patience

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Meet Patience. She came home to us weighing only 6 pounds and was already 7-years-old. Patience was suffering from severe neglect and obvious malnutrition, her loose skin clung to her bones as she peered at us from sunken eyes. She had endured so much in her seven long years of suffering.

Patience had arrived late at night, and as we held her close, our nurse inserted a feeding tube. Her mouth clicked as she longed to eat. We whispered that she was safe now, so very loved and that she would be okay. Every few hours a few more syringes of special formula would be put through her feeding tube, little by little with tender loving care from our team of nurses she began to improve.


Light began to fill Patience’s eyes, and soon she was recognizing voices and familiar faces. She began to smile when spoken to, she began to trust and slowly her frail little body began putting on weight. Patience is now weighing a whopping 13 pounds! She still has a long road to recovery, but we are so excited to continue to see her healing take place

Oh, sweet Patience you are so very, very loved!!

Would you like to be a part of Patience’ journey to heal and thrive? You can become her sponsor today by signing up here.


Sharing Our Dreams for the Future!

As we enter this most exciting season in the history of The Gem, I thought I would share my heart, because this dream has been in the making for a really long time!

When I was just six-and-a-half-years-old God laid upon my heart a desire to become a missionary to Africa. By the time I was eight, Uganda was my focus. My parents have a video of me, on my 8th birthday, telling them that when I grew up, I was moving to Uganda to care for the orphans! I longed and prayed for the day that it would become a reality. In July of 2008, my feet touched Ugandan soil for the first time, and I knew I was home. Over the next 5 years I would travel to Uganda primarily leading mission teams with my dad, but allowing me to get better acquainted with this beautiful country I now call home.

At the same time, over the years God began to burden my heart specifically for special needs. Time after time God would place a child on my heart, and I knew I had to do something. I was confidant that He was calling me to open a home for abandoned children with special needs. A home that would specialize in caring for children with special needs. We would strive for excellence and to be the best at what we do. We would offer education, therapy, medical treatment, most importantly love and teach them about Jesus. We would show them that they were chosen, valued, and loved by God.

One day I heard God speak so clearly that I would call the ministry “The Gem Foundation.” In Uganda and many parts of the World, children born with special needs are seen as a curse, and because of that, they are often abandoned. A Gem is something that is valuable, precious and priceless and yet often it’s value is not known. For us, we want, together, to restore that value and impart to others the infinite worth of each little Gem.

Joshua and EmmaLee Quisenberry

In just one month I will have the joy of celebrating my 5th anniversary of permanently moving to Uganda and calling it my home. What a journey it has been! After living here for two years, God called my now husband, Josh, to join my side and together we’ve had the joy of caring for over 48+ children with severe special needs.

The Gem has been renting a home in Kampala, and it has served its purpose well, but its space is limited. Also, the air of Kampala makes it difficult for our tube babies and those with lung and heart issues. We knew the Gems needed a permanent home!

Knowing the need, many of you generously gave to help The Gem buy land. Now that the land has been purchased, a team of architects and engineers (EMI) came from all over the world and worked for weeks to draw up the master plan. Every night they asked us questions as they tweaked the plans to best suit our Gems many needs. We told them that we dream of the day when our Gems have clean air, a space that is fully accessible to wheelchairs and a village where there are no limitations. We long for the day where we have homes with just 12 children in each home. We don’t want to be an institution but more of a family. We dream of a medical center for our children to receive treatment. We dream of a school where there is a place for every child to go to class!

Architectural rendition of a future Gem home
Architectural rendition of a future Gem home

They heard our hearts and worked hard. The plans have been drawn up and are ready to go! But now we need your help!

Would you partner with us and make this Christmas wish a reality?

Be a part of giving our Gems a place to call home! Every gift makes an impact and helps us reach our new home.

Ways you can be a part:

Share with your church and get your church involved. Share our posts and tag friends so more people can see and partner with us to make this wish a reality! Host an event or bake sale to raise money for the homes for our Gems. Unable to give financially? That’s okay! We also need prayer partners!

Thank you for being a part of caring for our precious Gems! We couldn’t do what we do without you!

Lots of Love,

Joshua and EmmaLee Quisenberry,

The Gem Foundation and all 39 of our precious Gems:

Tony, Joram, Zeke, Pearl, Francis, Hannah, Haura, Justin, Johnie, Hamza, Mattie, Joshua, Bethany, Anita, Joey, Shafik, Zachariah, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Jesse,Isaac, Elijah,David, Elizabeth,Hudson, Moses, Jonah, Caleb, Jane, Collin, Josiah, Latif, Sandy, Shakira, Mercy, Noel, Zoe, baby Esther and baby Amos!