Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tids and Bits of Uganda

I'm still not quite sure how to tell all the stories that we were privileged to be a part of during our trip to Uganda. There are so many and I'm trying to figure out when and how to tell what and which. It will come eventually. But for now, there are a few things I can put to words tonight:

Our team was amazing. Seriously the best group of people I have ever traveled with (I've traveled with quite a few). No complaining, no bickering or attitudes, everyone got alone great and each person was always willing to jump in and serve wherever their help was needed. 

God handpicked some incredible people to be a part of this team, including Faith, who has a deaf daughter and was able to sign with a couple of the deaf orphans we worked with (wow! was that heartwarming to watch.) Dianna and Jeff, who each had years of children ministry (teaching and music) under their belts and were able to lead our VBS sessions with tons of heart and energy. Katie and Anne, who always had a sea of children around them (seriously - they were kid magnets) and never seemed to loose the energy to smile, love and play with all of them. Welch, our southern gentleman who took such good big-brother-style care of all that gals and set up WiFi for the orphanage (hello!) Everyone - Bret, Simon, Stephanie, Kim, Shelby, Ron, Angie, Maddie, Brenda (and Devin :-) - brought something incredibly special to our team and it was amazing to see such a clear example of the different parts of the body of Christ working so seamlessly together. 

The children we worked with were some of the sweetest I've ever met. Not only were they (for the most part) polite, eager to learn, full of smiles, fun, silly, cuddly and adorable, they were such little love sponges. I know the reason behind their deep need for love is a sad one, but even so, it was such a joy to shower love on those precious kids and receive back their eager love tenfold. Being able to tell them that they are made in God's image and because of God's love for them they are never truly orphaned, was so beautiful.

Pictured left is my little love sponge Jane. She lives at Cannan's Children Home and was my little shadow the whole week. She'd wait for me when we had team meetings/meals, and come running to me with the biggest smile on her face every morning. The first time I met her, she fell asleep in my lap within an hour of our introduction. Melt. My. Heart. She fell asleep in my arms two other times and once I got to carry her to bed and tuck her in. I love this sweet girl and it was so hard to leave her.

The adults who cared for these children were unbelievable and the influence that their love and discipleship has on these kids is so obvious. For the most part we worked with children who are being (in some form or fashion) cared for by a group of Christian adults, but occasionally we would have some of the neighbor kids join our group. The difference in behavior between these children and the children that had positive adult influences was night and day. It was bittersweet to see - wonderful to see what a difference those adults were making in the lives of the kids they serve, but sad to see how many children were still without that influence. I'll talk more about each of these leaders and their work in future posts.

More to come soon, but right now I don't think I can fight off the jet lag any longer. Good night and fingers crossed that I don't wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 2:00am for the third morning in a row...

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