To say the Paech family story began when Simon and Aggie married on November 11, 2007 would not be entirely accurate. Even before He created the universe, God knew that He would bring a young man from Australia and a Ugandan woman with five children together and lead them on a journey that would glorify Him.
Aggie is no stranger to poverty and suffering. Before she met Simon and embarked on a journey that would encourage and bless so many others, Aggie lived a far different life. She and her eight siblings were born in the Ugandan slum of Katwe, and their lives were a constant struggle for survival. Her first child was born while Aggie was still in school. Quickly, she found herself taking care of one baby, pregnant with another and trying to find ways to provide for them. Their abusive father frequently left Aggie, and just when she thought she could breathe freely, he would return to abuse her again. It was during this time Aggie cried out to God for mercy, begging Him to care for her and her growing family. One day, that man came home to kill her, and she ran from him for the last time. Aggie and her children continued to live in the slum often getting just one meal a day.
Over the next few years, Aggie served God by teaching in house churches, leading worship, and translating for the Christian missionaries who visited the slums. She speaks many dialects and her work greatly benefited visiting missionaries. No matter how difficult things became for Aggie and her children, she continued to rely on God and trust His provision for them.
In 1995, Simon came to Huntsville, AL to earn a Master’s of Atmospheric Science degree. He finished in 1997 and for the next ten years worked in the university’s atmospheric sciences department. In July 2006, God led Simon to accompany a group on a two-week mission trip to Kampala, Uganda. For ten years he had been sponsoring a boy in Kampala through Compassion International, and when he heard about the trip, he couldn’t believe it! While he saw this as an opportunity to meet his boy, God had much bigger ideas for this Australian atmospheric scientist.
Simon met Aggie for the first time when he walked into the IMFC ministry center in Kampala. There he saw a beautiful, joyful Ugandan woman interacting easily with everyone, and he could not take his eyes off of her. Simon did not know that she was watching him too. Over the years, Aggie had been observing the visiting missionaries, seeing the way the men treated the women with dignity and respect. She wanted a husband like that, and on that day one of them stood before her; and he was clearly smitten. As they got to know each other, she told him she had five children at home. He did not run away! But, he did wait until the last day to tell her his feelings for her. They continued to communicate after he went home, and soon Simon was back in Uganda – this time for three months – working with IMFC alongside Aggie. During that trip, Simon asked her to marry him and her acceptance permanently redirected all the plans he had for his future. Suddenly he was the father of five children he loved as his very own. God increased their blessing when Ivy was born to them a few years later.
Together, Simon and Aggie have made an incredible team. Their widely diverse backgrounds have blended together in a way that helps them bridge the gap between Ugandan needs and the expectations of the western missionary world, virtually knocking down any cultural and language barriers. Their individual spiritual gifts complement each other as they work to serve the people of Uganda, through participation in Manna Ministry, counseling, discipling, church planting and facilitating short-term mission trips to Uganda. However, it is their mutual love for people and willingness to follow God’s lead that makes Uganda Journey a success.
Today, their five older children have relocated to Australia and connected with an amazing church they found within days of their arrival. Sarah is thriving in school and wants to pursue nursing after graduation. Joshua is at the university with the goal of getting into medicine. Abbey is achieving his advanced diploma in screen and media animation and also volunteers in the media department of their church. Sharon completed her hairdressing studies before leaving Uganda and was quickly snapped up by an upmarket salon that does braids, hair extensions and such. The oldest, Brian, has his parents’ real heart for the people suffering in his home country. He is currently building up resources so he can return to Uganda and work in ministry there.