People in Uganda eat fried grasshoppers like we eat popcorn at a movie. Phiona loves them. I think when I was a child I drew the line that I would not eat bugs. I can’t do it. The grasshoppers come in like an old testament plague in December. I remember during our adoption seeing children running after them, catching them, and putting them in a tin can. And everywhere people sell them on the street from large plastic containers. I pass, but I appreciate their ability to use what God has sent their way.
All the food that our kids have been craving will soon be at their finger tips as they fly home tonight with Erica. Kevin, Jack and Kira will stay with me here to help with the new team who arrived yesterday. In the evening we had a long talk about our work as it is now closing with the first team.
We explored attributes that are necessary for a missionary and the kids made a good list: adaptability, diligence, passion, able to get along with others, humility, perseverance, emotional stability, being filled with the spirit rather than the self, and having a sense of humor.
We explored the highs and lows of the weeks and discovered that mission work is hard. There are as many obstacles and frustrations as there are joys. This is not romantic work where we swoop in and become the most fabulous thing these orphans have ever known by giving them things and more things and entertain them with elaborate programs. We practiced giving them ourselves, our hearts, our prayers, our hugs, and our smiles rather than our things. I think we realized these are far better gifts because material gifts set up expectations for the next visit and it teaches them to want more. We are hoping to breed contentment.
Our children were surprised how simple activities like coloring, tickling, kicking a ball, reading a book and playing with legos can mean so much and last so long. High tech entertainment isn’t necessary…here anyway. They were all a little sad to return home where people are spoiled and don’t truly appreciate the simple things in life. And I think if they are honest they are afraid of slipping back into those tendencies and expectations themselves. I know it’s always a challenge for me.
Phiona shared from her heart explaining how these children have lived their lives and the tears began to roll. She explained that these kids have transformed in the six weeks they have been in our home. They were shy, hopeless, they didn’t know how to hug, they have never been free to play and they have been the caretakers and workers. Now they run to us and hug, climb on our laps and cuddle. Where once they were beaten, chased away, shouted at and ignored, now they cared for and loved very much. They are becoming a family and their real personalities are emerging which means they feel comfortable and safe.
They will never forget the play time they had with their American family. And I’m convinced their American family won’t ever be the same after these precious weeks with these children. Sniff. Sniff.
We can’t help everyone here. The needs are too great. It hurts so much to be approached for help and know they are outside our boundary of influence. We can always pray. When I am approached by a need I put my arm around that person and pray for them on the spot to have their needs met. For Kirabo Seeds, we have carefully sought out the most vulnerable children and drawn our line there. If we grow it will be ever so slowly so we don’t lose the full impact of God’s grace and love on each and every child. We don’t want to pack them in and boast about our numbers. We want to reach the deepest place in each child in our care and help them know for sure that God has a plan for their lives, and we’ll walk alongside them in love and with protection to help them discover it and follow it. If we only ever help fourteen children, well that will be satisfying enough. But, I am willing to work harder and help more children when and if God makes it known. For now, we have our hands FULL getting our structure of care established for the children we embrace.