Student Profiles

For those of us living in the comfort and security of middle-class America, the situations that some of our students have endured are almost impossible to even imagine. But thanks to the support of our friends, Mountain Mission school has been able to offer hundreds of children a safe haven and a new life in Christ…turning bitter tragedies into powerful testimonies. Here are just a few:

If you’ve been encouraged and blessed by these profiles, and would like to be put on our mailing list to receive future profile cards when we mail them out, please send an email to, or call Tami at 276-2954 x1120.


I came to Mountain Mission School when I was 16, homeless and flunking out of High School. Having moved countless times looking for a stable home, Mountain Mission School has been a safe haven for me. It’ a blessing to not have to worry about where my next meal will come from or having to find a safe place to sleep. MMS has provided me with an excellent education that will help me towards my dream of being a pharmacist or therapist. With God’s help, I plan on attending Emory & Henry in the fall. I am thankful for all He has provided to give me a hope and a future. Thank you for your sponsorship —it has opened the world to me.

— Roosevelt, 2016 Graduate


I started playing trumpet just a year ago, not long before I moved to MMS. I want to be a musician when I grow up and worship the Lord with my trumpet. I love Psalm 150 because it talks about praising the Lord with my trumpet.

Soccer is my favorite sport, but I love basketball, too. I never played basketball before coming to MMS. I’m still learning English, but my favorite subject is Math. I like MMS because it is a good school and I get time to play and practice my trumpet.

My dad always told me to help two or more people when I grow up. MMS is helping me do that. Thank you!

— Emmanuel


DanielSometimes Mountain Mission provides children from intact families opportunities that would otherwise be unattainable. Daniel was from an impoverished family in Portugal that had little hope of offering their son an education or a future. For Daniel, a basketball camp proved to be the bridge between Portugal and Virginia.

“I went to an NBA camp, and I think I got the attention of the president and vice-president of the camp. They said Mountain Mission School in America would be the best school for me.”

Here at MMS, Daniel’s skills advanced so much that he is the first MMS student ever to sign a national letter of intent for a Division I school. He’ll be attending Valparaiso University in Indiana this fall on a basketball scholarship, and this summer will be returning to Portugal to compete on the national team in the Portuguese Basketball Federation.

Mountain Mission has provided Daniel the educational opportunities that were beyond the reach of his family in Portugal, enabling him to discover his strengths in technical studies, and giving him new direction. “I want to play professional basketball, but if I don’t, I’d like to go into Mechanical Engineering.”

Asked what he has liked best about MMS, Daniel has a quick reply. “The studies, everything. All the teachers help you. If you need something, they come to you individually and explain it to you. I never had anything like that in Portugal.”


MulkiSeventy years after Jimmy’s arrival (see story below), Mountain Mission still offers a home to children in tragic circumstances. Just a few months ago, little two-year-old Mulki came to our door in a situation not unlike Jimmy’s. Her mother had died during childbirth, and her father was having difficulty raising Mulki and her brother. The father, a refugee from Africa, had a job, but it was far from his home, and childcare was a constant struggle.

Without a family he could turn to for help—and after exhausting the assistance from local agencies—the father extended a heartfelt plea to Mountain Mission: “I am in a troubled situation. I request that Mountain Mission School see my situation, my problem, to understand and help me and the children. I want them to grow up at the school. I need emergency help.”

Mountain Mission was able to answer his cry, and today, Mulki and her brother have the safe, stable environment her father so desperately desired for his children.

Jimmy Hooker

JimmyMountain Mission is the only home some children have ever known. That was true for Jimmy Hooker, who arrived at Mountain Mission when tragedy struck his family.

“I was brought to Mountain Mission after my mother died in 1942,” Jimmy recalls. “I was four years old. There were three of us: my two sisters were six and eight. My father couldn’t take care of all of us after we lost our mother, so I lived here all the time until I went into the Air Force. It’s been home…it’s still home. That’s why I always say I come from Mountain Mission School.”

Now retired, Jimmy looks back on his years at Mountain Mission and sees the enduring benefits it brought to his life.

“For me, Mountain Mission taught me how to work, how to make a living, how to be respectful…and they taught me about the Lord Jesus Christ. You couldn’t ask for anybody to teach you anything better than that—to love the Lord and be a part of His kingdom. They gave me direction in life, and that’s what they’re doing for the kids here now.”

Yodit Kifle

I believe MMS is a UNIQUE place where God hand picks those who attend and who serve because He has called them to carry His light in a different way. It’s a place where Unique seeds of love are planted. It’s a place where unless you’ve experienced it, you won’t really get it:-) And I’m proud to be UNIQUE because of MMS!

Kadist Mulugeta

MMS laid out a strong foundation of faith that I am able to carry on to this day. Because my foundation is dug deep and laid on a rock, I am always sure of who I am. I am a child of God and nothing can shake me. When I think of MMS, I always think of the strong foundation it gave me.  Luke 6: 47-49

Elie Bizimana – Together we can change the world

Elie-BizimanaI was born in 1994 in the east African country of Rwanda, just after the 100-day genocide that killed over half of our population. Unfortunately my father did not survive. Though I never knew him, my mother told me he was a prayerful, generous and kind man.

The only thing my mother wanted her kids to have was the one thing she never had—an education. So I studied hard, in three different countries with three different cultures: Rwanda, Uganda and the United States.

At school in Uganda, because I couldn’t speak the language, for almost two years I couldn’t talk to friends or write down notes as required. We awoke every day at 3 a.m., and everyday I was beaten with a cane. But despite the hardships, I grew spiritually more than ever, and I saw God working in my life like never before.

One day my mother came to visit me at school. It was a special, funny and unforgettable day. We laughed, we ate, and she told me wise sayings just the way she always did. Three weeks later she was dead of cancer.

I never knew she was even sick.

I was left in the house with my stepfather and two stepbrothers. My stepfather treated me harshly and unfairly, and eventually told me to pack up my things and leave the house. I felt so hopeless and helpless. With no money for school, it seemed I had no future.

But four days later a miracle happened.

Other family members stepped in, paid for me to finish my schooling
in Uganda, and prepared the way for me to come to the United States, to the small town of Grundy—to my new home, Mountain Mission School.

I grew up in a country where children are abused, both physically and mentally. They are repeatedly told they are stupid, useless and unable to make it in life. They are beaten, caned and harassed. Many become orphans. Some run away. Too many become street children and prostitutes.

I got the chance to escape this end. And I want to leave a legacy that will never be forgotten. “Help the hopeless kids around the world”— that’s my vision. That’s my future.

I hope to create a brighter future for these kids by sending a crystal-clear message to all people with ability and resources: Stop for a minute and look at what’s going on around the world and do something. Together we can change the world. My greatest wish is not just to change this generation, but the next generation, as well: to give children a reason to live, a reason to go to school, and the strength and courage to face life.

That’s my plan after college, may God help me. My mother taught me to “love your neighbor as yourself”— and that with a little help here and a little push there, you can change people’s lives.
All it takes is a little push.

A Brighter Future for Hanna Tarko

Hanna PicMy dream was always to work at a patient-focused health facility, and I am currently working for Inova Hospital in Fairfax, Virginia. Thank you so much for your unceasing generosity towards my education. Thanks to MMS, I am working toward a brighter future.
Looking back at my years at Mountain Mission School, I cannot help but feel blessed and highly favored just to have gotten the chance to be a part of a school that is full of love, care, and continuous spiritual growth. MMS strengthened my character and shaped me into a  Christian young lady with values and opinions aligned with the Word of God.

Living in a dorm with forty other girls, I learned the meaning of love, sharing, acceptance and accountability. I was continually  encouraged to come out of my comfort zone and develop physically, mentally and spiritually.

God uses Christians like you to demonstrate his grace to his undeserving children. You made all the difference in my life. I am now willing to give back and serve my community and can be counted on for any task needed.

Mountain Mission School gave me a solid foundation of truth and light by teaching me great Christian values that I will nurture for the rest of my life and use as a measure for my children’s upbringing. I am forever indebted to your devotion.