I know I have left you all hanging on by just a thread and so I will do my best to update you on what has been happening the last couple of days.
It would be an understatement to say that it has been a long and exhausting week but the blessings we have received undoubtedly out weighs the troubles we have endured. Yesterday was our project day at UG511. It was nice to have a day of unplanned activities which gave us time to interact in the way that they presented themselves to us. When we arrived, we were met at the gates with lots of smiling children. We exited the bus and immediately got pulled to different places within the project. After about 15 min we decided it was time to bring out the kites. UG511 is right next to Lake Victoria. The breeze from the lake made it the perfect place to fly a kite. I wish you could have seen the kind of excitement these bestowed in the children. It was like they were seeing Superman soar through the skies. My sister Carley’s sponsor child who almost never smiles, was giggling and grinning from ear to ear. Moments later we were called in the church as the children had prepared a song and dance for us. Following their dance, a boy about 10-12 years old, gave us a sermon. Future preacher of Uganda I tell you because we were all very impressed. We had a little bit longer to play before it was time for lunch. I know most of us praise God we had time to refuel before what was to come. The project had planned what they called, “The Uganda Olympics,” a series of games that we were going to compete in. It was going to be three Ugandans against, 3 Mzungus. We only ended up competing in one game but we can all agree that it was more than enough. The games was to carry water in our hands from one side of the yard to the other and pour it into as glass bottle. Cj, my mom Joanne and I were the first to compete. My mom won but only because when the bottles were moved closer her got confused with mine. I let her have her glory in that victory but that is the truth I swear. To close the day we gave all the children their sponsor gifts and those that did not get a gift from their sponsor received a gift bag that we had prepared for them. Next was home visits, something I know we had all been waiting for.
About 20 of us loaded the bus to make our way around the village, anxiously waiting to see our second families. My brother CJ and I made two stops. The first stop was to my sister’s sponsor child’s, Elijah’s home. We were welcomed by his mother, his siblings, neighboring children and adults. She welcomed us into her home and expressed how happy she was to have us there. Elijah showed us his school work and we were able to show him a video my sister had recorded for him, while having the translator translate. Compassion children cherish their sponsors and any communication they are able to have with them. That is why it is important to write. We prayed over their family and then it was time to say our goodbyes, (actually our see you soons). Next stop was my little Adam’s house and I couldn’t be more excited to hug his mother. I met her outside the home with a big warm hug. After entering the house we began catching up on what I had missed out on for the last year. Last year they had asked that I would pray her husband would get a job close to home. I was so incredibly happy to hear that he had gotten a job selling fish but it it very far away from home. I will continue to pray he finds one close to home as I know how much he loves his family. Adam’s mother was able to start a business with some of the money I had sent Adam as a family gift. Their eldest daughter recently had a baby so Adam’s parents are now grandparents. I was able to meet 4 out of 6 of Adam’s siblings and I also got to check out Adam’s progress in school. I am a very proud sponsor, his grades were all A’s and B’s Saying, “see you soon,” is always the hardest part but I know I will be back to see them again. We were headed back to the hotel to have dinner with some graduate’s from Compassion’s LDP, Leadership Development Program
A very groggy, ill and exhausted team of 17 shuffled our way into the dining room. We love our Ugandan children but boy did they know how to drain us of our energy. Still while trying to remain enthusiastic, we greeted our LDP guests. We had no idea of the kind of blessing they were going to be to us. Pastor Amis opened the dinner with a speech. He announced his retirement, something he described in one of the most amusing ways, he said, ” I’m not retiring, I’m refireing.” He continued, “There is no unemployment in the kingdom of God.” Each shared with us an individually emotional and inspiring testimony. Each an incredible success story. None of these kids had an easy childhood growing up in poverty. Some having a father they never knew, parents who passed away early, and families who just didn’t have the means to care for them properly. When they entered into the Compassion program and were sponsored, they described it as one of the greatest miracles that a person in their community could ask for. Each one of them has been reborn and the passion they have for Christ was almost tangible. When the time came, they applied to the LDP program which is a program that has about 600-1000 applicants but only 100 are accepted. The accepted applicants have tuition, board and the leadership program’s expenses paid for by their LDP sponsor’s. Pauline is actually sponsored by Hazel Dell Christian and she will be graduating from the university in January. It was amazing to hear them say they were going to be the change their nation’s needs, the generation that’s going to make a difference. I know we could all see that was fact. These leaders are going to change the world.
After hearing something like that,
you no longer have to pretend to be enthusiastic.
The Uganda Enthusiasts
The Uganda Survivalists
The Uganda Warriors
The Uganda Addicts