Uganda | Part 2: Arrival & the Day.to.Day
I know their names, I’ve kissed their cheeks, and I’ve hugged their necks.
My life will for ever be changed because of my front row seat to God’s work in Uganda.
We did a lot of praying before signing up to go on this mission trip. Would it be better to just send the money? Will we be able to do enough to help these children? Is it okay that part of our reason for going is for a new perspective? Is there where God is calling us? In the end we felt that Uganda is where God wanted us to go.
On the plane to Uganda, I wrote I’m a little nervous, a bit anxious, and a lot excited all at the same time. I know “me” alone won’t be enough for the people of Uganda and the children of Sozo. What I must remember to calm my anxious heart is that this experience is not about me but it’s about God working through me to love His people.
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” ~Phillipians 1:20
The second we stepped out of the van at House 1 one of the boys at the orphanage came up and took my suitcase. I had come to serve these kids, and they were already serving me.
We immediately changed to head off to church. When we pulled into the “parking lot” they checked our car for a bomb. Hmmmm….besides that first part it was comforting to see that the way those worship on the other side of the world is much like my own church down the road. We sang, we prayed, we listened, and we worshiped the same gracious God!
These kids love fiercely. I don’t know their pasts, and I wasn’t sure what emotional scars would be present as a result of it. But their bright white smiles & the joy in their eyes reminded me of the renewal that comes with life in Christ.
Their sadness & brokenness is gone only to be replaced by smiles & completeness.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come!”
~2 Corinthians 5:17
That is what God’s love working through those of Sozo can do…is doing.
Several mornings it was the team’s job to wake the kids for school. Any guesses on what time they awake?? Well, let’s just say I set my alarm for 3:55 a.m. Although it takes a little prodding for them to arise once they are up they make the most of their mornings. Not only do they shower, comb their hair, get dressed & eat breakfast…they also complete chores which included meticulously making their beds (5 and 6 year olds included), sweeping, mopping the Uganda way (with a bucket & washcloth), and doing the dishes. There is also time for prayer before they catch the school bus at 5:40 a.m.
Each night we were able to join in the kid’s devotion. They gather together to worship their savior EVERY night. We began making a joyful noise to the Lord. Some songs in Lugandan, others in English. My favorite is called That’s Why We Praise Him.
It’s a little staticy, but beautiful still. Then we would spend time in prayer. If I were honest our heads were down so long I started to run out of things to talk to God about, even though the six year old beside me continued fervently. Be still my heat…
Devotion would end with a reading from a child’s devotion book before the kids would share what they had learned that day. They would share everything from memorized bible verses to seeing today that God is the light in the darkness. WOW!
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Here I was thinking I was coming to serve & teach them…and in so many moments they were teaching me and God was revealing himself to me through these children in Uganda.
We were often lucky enough to help serve dinner which usually consisted of starch, carbs, meat, and some more starch. To my surprise I usually liked what I put on my plate. The kids ate the biggest helpings I’ve ever seen. I can’t imagine the joy the Sozo staff felt as they watched each child go from hungry to full.
The aunties & uncles that take care of these children are AMAZING. With a servants heart they spend their days cooking, cleaning, and preparing for the kids to come home from school.
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Their home recently received a washing machine, but they still dry using a clothesline.
And although they have an oven they prefer cooking over these coal burning stoves.
Each night my head hit the pillow in awe of what God is doing in Uganda and continuing to do in me. How His love is suffocating these children and they don’t want to come up for air. His presence is powerful here. He is needed here, TRULY needed. And He is praised for things I know I take for granted such as protection, sustenance, a day without the loss of power, opportunity, and the unconditional love of family.
I wrestle with comfort.
And at risk of being vulnerable, maybe my comfort has lessened my need for God in a tangible way.
If I’m hungry I walk to my overflowing pantry, lonely…talk to III or call my mom, bored…pull out the iPad & scroll through google reader, cold…grab a blanket or a sweatshirt or turn up the heat, need discernment…search in one of my 6 bibles..
These children know what it is to NEED God & to rely on His hands & feet in this world. For them God’s perfect love casts out all fear…and now I truly see how God’s love is better than life.
…I (Jesus) have come that they may have life and to have it more abundantly.
Stay tuned for more…so much more.