Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Goal #93 COMPLETE: Visiting Our Compassion Family

More progress on my Project 101 in 1001 list. Read about my journey here.

Goal #93 - Visit Compassion sponsor girls in Uganda - COMPLETE!

When I hesitantly put this goal on the list, I could only half-imagine that it could ever possibly happen and yet, by God's provision and timing, I was able to accomplish this life-long dream (so much more than a goal to me) within the first year of Project 101 in 1001. (And just in the nick-of-time too, now that we have twins on the way!)

My first exposure to Compassion International was at a young age. My parents began sponsoring a little boy from Haiti named Ethny when I was about five or six years old. Enthy was our family's sponsor child until he graduated the program at around twenty-years-old. As he and I were close in age, we "grew-up" together via letters and photos. When I was very young, I would have reoccurring dreams about meeting Ethny in Haiti and playing with him there. This never happened sadly, but that experience lit a passion in my heart for the ministry of Compassion.

When I became a sponsor myself in 2006, I remembered those dreams about visiting Ethny and desperately hoped that someday I would get to visit my own sponsor children in Uganda. On March 22, 2011 that life-long dream became a reality! 

Allow me to proudly introduce you to my beautiful girls:

This is Rachael (who I have mistakenly been calling "Nazziwa" for the past four years... apparently Nazziwa is her last name. That was a little embarrassing to straighten out during our introduction. Oops.) When we first saw each other, we ran into the each other's arms for a long embrace full of lots of laughter. Neither of us could believe this meeting could really be happening. After four years of sharing our lives through letters, it was wonderfully surreal to be talking face-to-face.

This lovely girl is twenty-years-old and hopes study for her teaching certificate when she graduates high school next year. Teaching young children about Jesus in Sunday school is her main passion and she loves to sing. In one of her first letters to me she wrote, "I hope I get to meet you someday, I would like to sing for you." I held her to that promise during our visit and discovered my girl has a lovely voice! She sang a song from Hillsong United and it was simply beautiful.

This smiley little thing is eight-year-old Barbra, who wants to be a nurse when she grows up so she can care for the babies in the hospitals and orphanages. Barbra was very shy at first meeting, and being from a rural part of northern Uganda, doesn't speak much English. We had to communicate through a translator (who insisted Barbra was usually a chatterbox) which made breaking down her shy barriers a little more difficult, but eventually she warmed up to both Devin and I.

Another reason she may have been shy is that she has had little, to no exposure to "Muzugos" or "white people." The translator told me that on the seven-hour bus ride to Kampala, Barbra saw a white lady out the window and exclaimed, "I get to meet one of those today! That's what my sponsor looks like!" Too cute. We also got to meet Babra's mother and baby brother Ambrose (right), which was an honor we hadn't originally planned on.

Just for fun, Devin and I performed a swing dance for the girls, family and Compassion workers present. We told them we wanted to show them some American dancing since we had been blessed to see so many African dances while in Uganda. Partner dances are rare in Uganda so all the spinning and twirling delighted our little audience. Chris, the Compassion center director told us, "I need to learn how to move like that!" and then tried to mimic us with a move that can only be described as something resembling dancing spaghetti.

Another fun part of the visit was when Devin and I announced to the girls that we were expecting twins (something that is considered a huge honor in Uganda.) Rachael especially squealed with delight and I teased her that it was because of her prayers (she insisted on praying that God would give us children even though I explained to her in my letters that we were not planning on starting a family for a while yet.) 

It was an incredible, surreal, unbelievable experience meeting these girls and I wish our short visit could have lasted longer (we were literally leaving for the airport three hours after the visit began). However short, it is something I will never forget. These girls are amazing and I am so blessed and honored to be their sponsor. I am so excited to write them this week now that we've met and hugged and talked face-to-face.

No other goal on my list could possibly compare to the last two I've blogged about. Completing the remaining goals seems almost trivial now. Hang with me if I seem less-than-enthused for a while about the remaining 609 days of Project 101 in 1001. I'll get there - probably.


  1. Oh, this is so beautiful! :) I have tears in my eyes even now just imagining these two meetings. We've been sponsoring Denis (who is also listed last name first on all the information Compassion sends us, must be how they order their names in Uganda) for six years now and would LOVE to go and meet him one day. What a blessing that you were able to do this and share your incredible news with them! :)

  2. Okay, I totally have goosebumps reading that Rachael has been praying YOU'D HAVE CHILDREN!!! Rock on, Rachael and God!!

    This is awesome, Jen. Love the pictures. What a blessing!!

  3. Oh, wow! What a blessing! Thank you for sharing!

    I just found out that there is a Ghana trip planned for 2012 and I am just praying that God will work a miracle and allow me to go and meet our first CI child, Precious.


Got some Notions of your own about this post? Share them!