The best part of my day is when I receive photos on my phone from Phiona showing me the bright shining faces of the children in our home in Uganda. I had a long conversation on the phone with Phiona yesterday. This young woman is managing so much work for us and doing such a great job. I can’t wait to see her again. I could hear the pleading in her voice for me to get there because she needs some reinforcement. She would like to lean on me a little, and I understand.
The first Sunday that the children were at their new home they went to the closest little local church for worship. But this Sunday Phiona had them walk a little farther to a church I have visited with Abdul. A Korean missionary runs this ministry and I knew when we bought our land that we would want our children to be under their care. So after their visit Phiona asked them to choose which church from the two they have visited that they would like to attend, and they all agreed on the new one. She said, “that’s good because they asked me to be the Sunday school teacher every Sunday!”
I am pleased to report that I was given faulty information last week after the hospital visit. Only two of the children are HIV positive, not four. Phiona tells me that all of the children are good at keeping perfect time for taking the medicine. I know how hard it must be for a Ugandan to have to think about what time it is and be so perfectly punctual twice a day. But as Phiona said, the most important thing is they get their medicines on time. And so everyone adjusts for the good of the child.
I love to hear about the way the children are becoming their own family. Two weeks ago they first met in the van on the way to the home. And now they behave like brothers and sisters. The older ones help the little ones get ready for school. They all clean up dishes and do laundry. They clean up the house together before going to bed, and they make their beds in the morning. I suppose after the hard work they used to do this must seem like fun. It certainly gives me a lump in my throat to imagine them forming a family.
Our mission statement comes from Psalm 68:5 “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families.” Our goal was simply to find the children who are orphaned with no one caring for them and make a home, create a family for them where they know they are safe, loved, protected, nurtured, educated, and taught to know the One and only who rescued them. All so they can grow up Ugandan and make an impact on their society for God’s glory.
One of the littlest girls had the most miserable face in her introduction photo that Phiona took. She had two little children she cared for at age 7, and that means she took care of toddlers all day all night while her old sick jjajja tried to sell something or work a bit to get some food to eat. She refused to find her smile for Phiona on that introduction day. And I can’t blame her. But now Phiona tells me she is the happiest child of them all. She always seeks to be helpful and is never found without her sweet wide smile.
There is so much joy for us here to know how much these children’s lives have changed. Undescribable joy. The struggles, the hard work, the endless hours with me behind a computer screen, the legal toil, all of it is unremarkable in the presence of seeing these lives turned around.
Watching these children discover that they can know security, and be set free to be a child and discover what exactly God has put inside their hearts that makes them unique is what I can describe as : THRILLING. So for a girl who likes to stretch out to her farthest edges, seek thrills when they are to be found, and do the things that people say are possible, I’ve never in my life felt so much purpose, satisfaction or conviction to carry on as when I see these children in a home we were called to prepare for them. We refuse to take the credit. The glory in this achievement all belongs to God. He pushed us into this, He equipped us, provided for needs, supplied the willing helping hands and opened the doors.
Lately in my mind I catch myself thinking, “I have nineteen children.” Five in America and fourteen in Uganda. What wonder there is in that truth. To say I’m eager to meet them is a complete understatement. There’s as much anticipation for our family to make this trip as there was when we were preparing to go meet baby Kira. Maybe more. We actually own more land in Uganda than we do in America, and we haven’t even walked upon it yet. We are so hopeful and eager to hear from God as we stroll the land. There’s so much anticipation in our hearts to know what the next step will be for Kirabo Seeds. What will God tell us to do next?