For years, Dr. Tim and Janice McCall planned to again serve as missionaries outside the U.S. once their youngest son started college. They made several summer trips with Baylor students to learn Spanish in Belize and other countries where they thought God might later lead them. But God called Tim and Janice to a war-torn country in Africa.
In 2005 at World Mandate, a missions conference hosted annually by Waco's Antioch Community Church, the McCalls were watching George Otis's documentary, Unconventional War, about the longest running rebel movement in Africa led by Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army.
"Tim felt that God was saying, 'Everything in your life has been preamble; Uganda is the main event,' Janice recalls. "Tim asked God to speak to me individually, and within five minutes I leaned over to Tim and says, 'That's where we need to go!'"
Originally from Memphis, Tenn., Tim, BA '71, was a NoZe Brother and a member of the medical club at Baylor. Janice Moore, BA '71, BMEd '72, from Abilene, Texas, was a member of Theta sorority and was involved in the music school, playing in the Baylor Orchestra. The couple has four children; Mary Orewiler, BSN '00, David, BSEd '03, MSEd '08, Andrew, MSW '09, and Stephen; and 11 grandchildren.
God had vision for a location along the Nile River that would serve as a place of refuge and a beacon of hope for the people of Northern Uganda. Today, Restoration Gateway consists of 700 acres along the bank of that famous waterway.
"We knew that God's vision of Restoration Gateway was not humanly possible, and we had no idea how He would accomplish it," Tim says. "It has been so amazing to watch the vision fulfilled before our eyes and with 'eyes of faith' to even see the uncompleted facets of the vision brought to completion."
The four primary components of the ministry are healthcare, orphan care, empowerment, and ministry to the church. Restoration Gateway is nearing completion of a 180-bed hospital and gathering materials needed to operate it by the middle of 2017. A fully functioning dental center is up and running, and mobile medical clinics provide outreach to the community.
The Oaks of Righteousness Primary School, a ministry of Restoration Gateway, educates the 140 orphans who live at Restoration Gateway, with a secondary school started in January 2016. Eight children live in each of the houses with Ugandan house moms, and more homes are being built to house more kids.
"Dr. McCall believes God has a plan for the kids as the future leaders of Uganda," says Brint Patrick, BBA '94, a third-generation Baylor grad and U.S. executive director of Restoration Gateway. "We don't want to export them; we want to equip and empower them to make a difference in their home country."
Empowerment has many facets, but many of the endeavors--healthcare, agriculture, construction, sewing, mechanics, driver's education--develop practical skill sets with training components so that the students can also teach others.
Restoration Gateway has a community church and also brings in pastors and worship leaders from the U.S. to offer additional training and encouragement to pastors from around the region. They also offer discipleship to the approximately 120 Ugandans who work at Restoration Gateway.
"Right now God is really highlighting this joy component at Restoration Gateway," Patrick says. "After all the violence and hopelessness, now we are focusing on the positivity, the joy, and the excitement we feel now not only in the lives of the kids, but also among our visitors, many of whom say that they weren't prepared to experience the deep-seeded joy that there is a hope for the future, that there's restoration from the past. It's something we see shining through on a daily basis."
This was not the McCalls’ first stint as missionaries in Africa. Janice and Tim were Southern Baptist missionaries in Nigeria from 1983-94. From then until 2006, Tim taught his board specialty of family medicine at the Waco Family Health Center & Residency Program where he also established the International Medicine Department for young doctors interested in international medicine and missions.
"Truly stepping out in faith is like letting go of everything that is YOU and falling into the arms of God," says Tim, who gives full credit to God for everything that has happened at Restoration Gateway. "We know God is doing something here today as great as parting the Red Sea by building a Christ-centered community positioned to be part of restoring war-torn northern Uganda and this whole region of the globe."
Even while on another continent living for nearly a decade in a repurposed shipping container, the McCalls have remained a vital part of the Baylor family, with connections in departments across campus that are assisting with the needs of Restoration Gateway.
"We have many long friendships with Baylor professors and many new ones with Baylor students who have heard us speak and many who have come to Restoration Gateway to give of themselves," Janice says. "Restoration Gateway will one day be home to a large university, and we believe that Baylor will be part of that somehow. A number of departments are leading out in this, and Baylor's desire to propel her students into the world fits perfectly into what God is doing here in Uganda."
Primary goals are completing the hospital and attracting volunteers and professional employees with all kinds of professional skills. For example, an accountant recently spent three months balancing the books. The organization's highest staffing need is a chief operating officer, Patrick says.
We are seeing restoration in the lives of people here and others connected with what we are doing. I think any time you join God in what He's doing, you have an opportunity to experience the fullness of Christ. And that’s really our hope for all people."
"The most challenging thing about our time in Uganda is daily giving everything over to the Lord and letting His Holy Spirit lead," Tim says, "but the spiritual rewards have been tremendous, and the greatest physical rewards have been watching God provide hope and a future for over 150 children and babies who now call Restoration Gateway home."