Yesterday we had two more sessions of VBS, this time at the UG512 Child Development Center.
As the bus turned the corner to enter the center and church property, kids were clapping, dancing, shouting and waving. They were so excited to welcome us. We are beginning a new relationship with this center, so they are not as familiar with having Mzungu (American) visitors. As soon as we stepped off the bus, they grabbed our hands, gave us hugs and fought for our love and attention. We realized right away these kids need our love just as much, if not more so, than the kids at UG511. What a tremendous blessing to have so many children to love! It means so much to these kids to know that Mzungus love them. That we have taken the time to teach them lessons, crafts and games and spent time getting to know them. They have promised to pray God will allow us to return and bring others with us.
While we led the second session of VBS, four of the team members were blessed with an opportunity to do home visits with their recently sponsored children. These children were so proud to meet their sponsors, introduce them to their families and show them their homes.
Thank you again for your continued prayers. We can feel God’s presence and see Him answering your prayers each day as we work to serve Him and these precious men, women and children. God is so good and has blessed this trip immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine!
Usually the focus while we are in Uganda is on the children. We spend all day giving them our attention and loving on them. Yesterday however, was all about the women and men. We spent the entire day with the Kigungu Compassion staff and church staff. It was a day completely focused on building our relationship with them and getting to know each other on a more personal level.
Bob and Mark spent the day delivering all of the groceries we purchased last night for each of our families and then spending time with some of the men.
The women started out the day with morning tea and worship songs and then our group offered guidance on how the staff can counsel other women. We then took a crowded yet joyful bus ride to Faze 3 restaurant for lunch. Most of the women cook all of their own food, so some had never been to a restaurant. They work so hard for the church, Compassion children and their families, so we were delighted to give them a break from cooking and treat them to a relaxing meal. What a tremendous blessing to see the huge smiles on their faces!
After we returned to the church, we asked the Ugandan women to write down their prayer requests and then each of our team members took turns praying over the women.
We ended the day by giving each woman a bag full of goodies. Our goal was to be a blessing to them because they are always such a blessing to us!
As our bus approached the church today, laboring over the giant ruts in the dusty dirt road, we could hear the sound of worship coming from the church some distance away.
Immediately our excitement rose to new levels as the sound of hundreds of worshipers praising God mixed with the joyful squeals of the children as they jumped up and down, waving us a joyous welcome.
At that point the Holy Spirit fills you with that Godly, indescribable joy that we all long for. Then the indescribable peace that transcends all understanding wrapped its arms around us and escorted us into the church.
Our team joined their worship team on stage, dancing and singing to those African beats that take you to new heights. We knew that the Holy Spirit was in this place, we knew that Jesus was there, and we knew it was a special time with our God.
Mark Taylor was the guest preacher of the day and began his sermon talking about the responsibility of every believer, including those in Kigungu, to go out and meet the needs of the world, including their responsibility to share what they have with their neighbors that have less.
The sermon moved on to the topic of children. Specifically The responsibility of every person in Africa to cherish their children and all the children of Africa. As Mark spoke about everyone’s responsibility to protect all of the children, a commotion began outside the church gate.
A woman was beating a two-year old child. As the child fell, the woman began screaming and kicking the child as he lay there in the dirt. A Compassion representative rushed to the child’s aid, taking the child from the woman, who was not the child’s mother. The police arrived and took the woman and the child away.
Satan could not step onto the property of Kigungu Deliverance Church today. The Spirit of God prevented it. So he stood outside the gate, hating the church, hating the worshipers, hating those who came so far on behalf of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And Satan made sure we knew he was there lurking, hating and waiting to devour.
We had an awesome day today and we were not so gently reminded of the dangers around us. We are reminded that bathing this team in prayer is critical to our safety. Please pray with us and for us.
Yesterday was a wonderful day of Vacation Bible School with the children at the UG511 Child Development Center. We had two sessions of VBS with the theme “God is always with us”. The kids really enjoyed the lessons, crafts and games. We even had some kids who refused to go home!
Today in Uganda we were able to celebrate both! We started out attending project day classes with the Compassion children. We attended Bible, music and life skills classes. The children attend these sessions every Saturday as part of their Compassion curriculum. It was rewarding to see Hazel Dell’s Faith Promise funds put into practical application in the knitting room and computer lab. These are resources the children would not have access to without the generous donations from Hazel Dell. Christmas Gift #1 – The day got even more exciting when we showed the kids the videos from their sponsors. It was tear-jerking to see the kids’ reactions to the videos. What a precious gift for the children to see their sponsors and hear them say, “I love you, and I am proud of you. I am praying for you”. Christmas Gift #2 – We had the privilege of presenting the children with the gifts sent from their sponsors. Each time a name was called the children would listen on the edge of their seats waiting to hear their name. When someone else’s name was called instead, they would clap and cheer and then resume their position on the edge of their seats. Lots of names were never called, but thanks to your generous donations, we were able to present a gallon size bag full of gifts to each child. It was like Christmas morning! Thank you for making it possible and for loving these precious children! We wrapped up the day with a debrief back at our hotel. To our surprise and delight, the hotel had prepared an Independence Day cake for us! It was so thoughtful for them to remember how special this day is for us Americans. Independence Day and Christmas all in one. What a fabulous day!
Yesterday was a very personal day for all of the team members. So much so I have struggled to put it into words. It’s hard to describe the moment you first meet your sponsored child, gather them into your arms and feel the immediate bond. This is your child; not biological and not your own, but the child God has chosen for you. The child God has given you the privilege to love. The privilege to show Christ’s love to one of the least of these. It is an amazing honor. The only thing better is when you get to come back and be reunited with your child. When you turn the corner and see him standing there waiting for you. The smiles, the hugs, the tears you know they are yours and you are their Mzungu. Words are not enough.
We have finally arrived in Uganda and praise God for our safe travels. As you can probably imagine the 30 hour journey was long and tiring, but we actually arrived in Entebbe 20 minutes ahead of schedule! If you have ever traveled outside of the U.S. you know that is truly a miracle.
Tomorrow our schedule is to tour the UG511 Compassion Child Development Center, spend time with our sponsored children and visit our sponsored children’s homes. We expect tomorrow to be a day filled with joy as we are reunited with our children or meeting them for the first time.
For now, it’s bedtime…
We made it safely to Chicago, and all 14 of us and our 28 suitcases are checked in and through security! Now we’re anxiously waiting to board our plane to Amsterdam. We have two long flights and then will arrive in Uganda Wednesday afternoon around 3:30pm ET.
We appreciate your prayers for safe travel and health for the team. We also ask you to pray God will continue to prepare our hearts for our time in Uganda. We’re excited to see what He has planned and pray Jesus will be glorified over the next two weeks.