they would be evangelizing in the streets of Kabalagala, knowing that God wanted ministry in the middle of the growing city. As the street church grew into a tent, then a building, Samalie served alongside the pastor couple as KPC’s accountant.
In 2000, Samalie moved in with her sister Milly and husband, Placide DaSilva, to Thousand Oaks, California. When Dongo visited the U.S. in 2001, he contacted Samalie, and she invited him to visit. Milly and Placide introduced their new Ugandan friend, Pastor Dongo, to their own Pastor, Larry DeWitt, at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village the following Sunday. Milly recalls that they found Pastor Larry right before church started to make an introduction. Even though Pastor Larry met Pastor Dongo five minutes before the service, he recalls, “God put on my heart to be open to this Ugandan brother, and I also trusted the integrity of Milly and Placide.”
needed to be photographers sent to Uganda to take pictures that could tell the story, so when Milly went to Kirk to ask if maybe Calvary should send a team of people to see the work happening on the ground, the church was ready.
Milly recalls that when she asked who should lead such a trip, Pastor Kirk said “This is a great idea and YOU are the leader to do it!” Milly and Placide led that first Calvary Community mission trip with a team of 26 people. More than half of these were high school students who were added to the team at the last minute. The planned high school trip to Zimbabwe had been cancelled due to the political climate at the time. The team returned called and charged to care for the children of Uganda, and the church involvement grew, sending teams every year, sponsoring children, and helping with significant building support for God Cares Schools.
Degna ended up sitting in church that same Sunday that Dongo was introduced. She went up to him after service and told him the story of seeing him the previous day. She recalls, “Pastor Dongo took my hand and said, this is truly a divine appointment.” Degna had many connections, and she soon started making them. She became an ambassador for the ministry, connecting people both in California and other states. Pastor Dongo would stay with Keith and Degna Horton for years to come, and he affectionately called Degna “Madam Secretary” as she would schedule meetings each visit with different churches, schools and individuals that would evolve into lasting partnerships.