I met with my missions pastor, Omar Garcia, last week to talk about how to organize our goals for the Kyengera Orphanage. This is a man who has built orphanages, safe houses and led countless mission trips all over the world, if anyone can take me to the bullet points of our project, he is the one. And he gave us good clear direction for our “mission”. Doctor Cindy Anthis joined us for the meeting because her heart has been deeply affected and linked to the children in this orphanage. She and her husband were medical missionaries for three years in Nigeria so if anyone knows about getting medical care established for an orphanage, she is the one, and she’s eager to partner with us.
Stop for a moment. There have been times in my life where I have lamented that I don’t have skills that are important enough for God to accomplish a great work through me. I’m a stay at home mom, good with a camera, ok with words, but how can that really ease the pain of those suffering? When the medical team arrived while we were in Kampala and we met them for the first time I had to fight against my own jealous heart. I have so often wished I had medical skills to “really” help people. I wasn’t feeling a little fleeting jealousy like a dust bunny that disappears with the breeze of walking by it. I was having a big three headed ugly monster with the name jealous that I had to do battle with and defeat.
Back in my twenties when I could have made the commitment to study medicine, (something I always wanted – to be a surgeon!) I was getting married and making babies. And that frankly was something I had never planned on doing, but once I met Craig and then met Jesus, all my plans became like that dust bunny. God had other plans for me. And so here I am with five children and a new ministry in Africa looking at my forty-third birthday and still feeling like I’m in my twenties. I may not have the medical skills, but somehow God has used what I’ve got to bring the help to the children. I just have to say this is a most satisfying feeling, to know that God can use what I do have to offer. There’s this feeling in my soul of a great assembly of calm and order like a colossal mess that just supernaturally leaps onto shelves in a pretty display with good light and soft music playing in the background. And I get to stand before it and marvel at the artistic display. This is exactly what God is doing for us. There’s a big mess of need all around the issues of these children. And he’s providing all the people who can step up and give what they have to offer, and the result is a beautiful arrangement of children who have no parents and yet will grow up knowing they are loved and cared for by a great God who uses simple people like me to bring attention to their need so others can share their talents and gifts.
So in our meeting, we set a date for the mission trip: Departing June 17 and being home by June 26- and those are rough dates depending on the flights. So far we have Emily and her father (Craig’s oldest brother) who is an Anesthesiologist, Dr. Anthis, and her teenage son and our family. We aren’t organizing a sightseeing tour of Uganda, so we have to narrow down our mission for this week. And this seems to be the detail that we have to wait to see what God shows us. We will do medical care to the orphanage and the local widows. I have contacts to get some Ugandan nurses to work alongside the doctors so the orphanage has a local contact in time of question or need. Dr. Anthis is going to train one of the orphan’s volunteer moms how to do basic “Dr. Mom” care for the kids. We will stock them with supplies also. The nursing students who come along and help will benefit from learning from American Doctors, who do get the best training in the world. For the rest of us we will be disciple the older kids about spiritual and emotional growth and development, and do bible school activities with the younger children. We are hoping we can have land by June and begin the project of getting the garden started so the community can learn to grow their own food. Much of what we hope to do depends largely on what God sends to us in terms of talents and timing. So I ask you, do you feel you can partner with us in some way? …prayer…sponsoring an orphan to go to school …a special skill…ideas…construction…oh my do we really need a dentist to join us…or…simply, donations of clothes or blankets….
I was surprised to see God could use what little I had to offer, so don’t doubt what a big God can do through you. Actually, at this point, the response should be “I don’t really know”, but if you have a burden for these kids and it latches onto you in the same way it has for all of us involved, then God will show you how to share yourself with them. In future posts I’ll begin to reveal some of our many projects and needs. Your response may be as simple as buying a child their first pair of shoes, or sponsoring their education, or even coming on the mission trip or building them a play ground. None of us knows what God has planned! But, when we all surrender ourselves, and listen to God, great things are accomplished. And the lives of children who have suffered abandonment, death of a parent, terrible hunger, neglect, cold,tooth aches, sickness and loneliness will forever be changed because we followed where God sent our hearts. As for me, for all the adventures I’ve been on around this big world, I’ve never felt the same ecstatic joy as when I’ve given something to a child who has nothing. There’s no feeling equal to it with words that can fully express the extent of the rapture. My heart is clutched to the hope that everyone can know that feeling… to know that they know that they know that God used them to improve the life of a child. Everyone is welcome to partner with us to improve the lives of these beautiful brilliant children.