Gem Village Groundbreaking

The gem village land

Gem Village Groundbreaking

The building begins

Dear Sweet Friends,

We are so excited that this long-awaited week is finally here! For several years you have prayed with us and stood with us as we searched for land to call, our forever home.

Finally, after diligently searching for years – the Gem land was found! A beautiful piece of 88.8 acres with fertile soil, beautiful trees, and open spaces just longing to be called home. We were overjoyed when you gave generously to make this land a reality! In April of 2017, we officially purchased the Gem Village land and dreamed of the day building would begin.

The gem village land

In September of 2017, we hosted a team from Engineering Ministries International a team of engineers and architects from around the world. This wonderful team included those from Iran, America, Canada, Australia, Ethiopia, and Uganda. Each day they heard our hearts, dreamed with us and eventually developed the master plan for The Gem Village. In just a little over a week with the team, the first building designs were finished as well as a master plan. Our dream of a fully accessible village for our Gems was becoming a reality!

Then Christmas season came around and so many of you gave above and beyond and the funds to build not one but four homes!! You guys blew our socks right off!

In Spring of 2018 began the detailed designs of the Gem’s homes. This would allow us to have blueprints and officially get the ball rolling towards building!

The Engineers and architects have worked tirelessly, and the dream placed on our hearts from God is about to come into fruition and we couldn’t be more excited! This past week we hosted a team of contractors who will be making bids on the actual building, which EMI will oversee. The proposals have all been submitted and now begins the time where we review the bids and get to choose a contractor that will make this village a reality for our Gems!

This Thursday, October 11th, 2018 is the official groundbreaking ceremony! We are overjoyed and so humbled that this long journey has led us here. We couldn’t have come this far without prayer and each of you! Thank you for praying for us, supporting this vision and walking this long road with us. We are so thankful for you! We truly wouldn’t have come this far if it wasn’t for you. On behalf of our precious Gems thank you, thank you, thank you!

Lots of Love from Uganda, – EmmaLee & Joshua Quisenberry and the whole IVO and Gem team


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.


August News

Special Needs Awareness March

This past month has been full! We had a wonderful month of July with our Anniversary party as we celebrated four years of Gems! It was a beautiful time as we rejoiced in God’s faithfulness of all that he has done in our ministry.

We also had the incredible opportunity to march to raise awareness for special needs along with many other participating organizations. We were able to close one of the busiest roads in Kampala to raise awareness and share with others the infinite value of every person with special needs! Special thanks to the Special Children’s Trust for all their hard work and advocacy!

Bethany is passionate about sharing that every person has value!

Some of our staff and Gems marching to change the stigma one step at a time.

Collins was all smiles while we marched.

Anniversary Celebration

We were so honored to host on our anniversary celebration a member of Uganda’s Cabinet The Minister of Youth and Children Affairs of Uganda Nakawala Florance.


This past month we had several Gems who celebrated their birthdays! We celebrated our Jesse who turned 10 years old, Justin who turned 7 years old, and Jackson who turned 6 years old.

Josiah with nanny Grace

We had a birthday party with cake, gifts and lots of music! Special thanks to Jesse’s sponsor who sent money for his birthday gift. Jesse felt so loved because of you!

Jesse with his nanny Susan

Prayer Requests

  • Provision and favor as the blueprints are approved by the government and we are granted building permits – We wait and trust that God’s timing is perfect but we are anxious to break ground for building in September.
  • Wisdom for our board of Directors as our Engineering Manager meets with potential contractors to secure one for the build. We are praying for someone with a tender heart for special needs to help make this vision a reality.
  • Healing for Joey as he overcomes his sickness and protein deficiency that he has struggled with.  
  • A new reliable van for our ministry – provision and plenty of space for wheelchairs. We have some money set aside but with taxes and the increase in the currency, we do not yet have enough to buy a van. We trust that God will meet all of our needs!

Lots of Love, – The Gem Foundation

World Down Syndrome Day

It’s World Down Syndrome Day and we couldn’t let it pass without highlighting our precious girl Noel. Noel is a sassy bundle of fun, an even brighter light shining her joy in our Gem home. One of our children Noel We are so thankful she is a Gem! #NothingDownAboutIt #TheGemFoundation

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!

Jackson is Joyfully Resettled

In August of 2014 Jackson was transferred into our home. He has brought us such love and joy. We believe that caring for each treasure is a privilege wether they be reunited with their family, with our home for a short season or with us longterm. Every Gem deserves a safe, protected and loving home. Jackson came into our home as a tiny one with several mild special needs. He is gentle, kind and loves to be held and cuddled. He quickly stole our nannies’ hearts. When Jackson first came into the care of another children’s home it was because the situation with his biological mom was not good. Later on his biological mom passed away. Soon after, Jackson was transferred to The Gem Foundation to better care for his many special needs. At The Gem Foundation – we do diligent investigations into a child’s background to trace and see whether a relative may be known that would be able to care for them. We know a family is the best place for a child to grow and thrive. Sometime ago we were approched by Jackson’s biological Grandma. She inquired,along with his uncle, if she would be allowed to care for him.Jackson has grown through love, care and therapy and we were overjoyed that his family had come forward and not only accepted him with his special needs but they love Jackson, and they longed for the day he would be able to come home to them. It is with great joy and happiness we share with you that after many assessments and careful months of preperation and planning Jackson has left our home here at The Gem Foundation and been resettled with his Grandmother. He is surrounded by relatives and family who truly love and care for him. Praise Jesus for the great things He has done! There is no greater joy than seeing Jackson thrive in his family and in life! We had the incredible opportunity to travel there for his welcoming home party. It seemed as if the whole village attended the celebration! There were speeches, a bonfire, lots of delicious food and so many hugs! God has been so faithful and we are so excited to continue to watch our precious Jackson thrive. He will always be one of our Gems and although tears were shed and we miss him – we rejoice seeing him in his family where he belongs! Please know we will continue to support and be there for Jackson’s family as he grows. We share this story with you with great joy!