After a month in Uganda I can’t think of a simpler pleasures that would give me more joy than seeing my husband and Jordan at the airport, sleeping in my own bed, or awaking to the sounds of home and my own strong rich coffee. The tower of work to do is intimidating me just a little bit. Before I touch all that I’ve missed while away, and prepare to fly to North Carolina on Saturday for the beach reunion, I need to sit Indian style in my writing spot and be grateful for what God accomplished through us on our adventure.
I first of all thank everyone who prayed for us during this journey, because without fuel of prayer the engine can stall, but we just kept picking up speed. And thank you for following the stories here on my blog. I wish it were possible to share everything that we experienced, but I suppose I will save that summation for the book. Once I’m home from vacation (I need one) and functioning again (hard to imagine), reacquainted with my horse (can’t wait), my objective for the next six months is to write the memoir of the birth of Kirabo Seeds. If you would pray for this project I would appreciate it! My hopes are that we can fund our ministry in Uganda by selling a lot of books. We’ll see what the Lord has planned for my writing and this adventure he’s given us. One can’t make this stuff up like the adventure he has given us.
What I feel certain of is I know the ending of the first memoir and it was revealed to us on this trip. When we were at the original “orphanage” that we’ve struggled to help against their reluctance to help themselves, and the woman proclaimed from the pulpit that it was me, Mama Tonya who was responsible for the suffering and hurt the children experience every day because I wasn’t providing enough…well… I felt a cord cut.
Even though I had such a tight noose around our baby organization’s neck as we got started, God continued to use us towards his main goal. The right team members were panned out to the top sparkling for us like gold, and others fell through the holes and washed away. These are people who put the children first, and see our work as their opportunity first to serve God and do ministry with their lives, and second make a modest living at it as they serve. Those who looked at Kirabo Seeds and saw our white skin and dollar signs next to it, they washed away. God will be faithful to reveal the true intentions of those who seek to get rich and they don’t belong in our organization or anywhere near it. We are doing ministry. Hello? Orphan care isn’t about getting rich.
We make mistakes, we get easily lured by the clouds and foam in the water that rolls in our way. But with time, all the dirt settles, the water clears and we can see the real intentions and motivations behind those who wish to stand beside Kirabo Seeds. Learning the hard way seems to be the only way forward, and though we feel a little battered and bruised, we are moving forward behind a great God who has a firm plan for HIS children. I know I can either get in line, or get out of the way. I would caution anyone who gets in line with us and has personal motivation to line their pockets with ministry money, a bright light will be shone on those choices, and you may find yourself with less than you started with as a result. God’s work is serious business, and he has a lot to say about strict rules when it comes to finances.
When I first spent the night at the children’s home upon arrival, I learned we were in dire need of a bigger team to care for fourteen children. God provided it with impressive speed. Julie and Phiona had been working day and night for weeks without much help, and I could see evidence of burnout in their faces. Now we have someone who comes nine to five to help Julie with house work and cooking every day. (she’s happy to have another adult to talk to!) Julie loves her job! She loves cooking and is just so happy when she can turn on her new stove without using a match! That’s a real luxury to have an automatic ignition. I want her to be happy, she’s doing a hard important job.
We have a schedule of people coming every afternoon when the children are out of school to guide their activities and discipline as necessary. They will practice reading, build legos, do bible lessons, finish homework, and make crafts. George and Irene will come once a week and she can counsel the children, and he can oversee their behaviors as a father figure. The children will be able to know what a good godly marriage looks like as they experience love from them. We have Robert who will drive our new van, and he’s moved nearby so he can be available for midnight runs to the clinic. He’s well educated in social work, has a mind for ministry, is so gentle and loving with the children, yet firm and willing to discipline them as needed. I thank God for bringing this man to us. Someday when we have a larger place for the children, he’ll stay on the boy’s side of the house full time.
And there’s our sweet strong Phiona who does everything all the time. There were some months a while back when I didn’t have enough work for her and she felt bad about it, and I reminded her, there will come a time when you have more to do than you can believe, rest up for that time. Such a time has come and passed, I hope she feels the relief and support of our good team. She looked like a wilted flower at one point as the month came to three weeks and she said, “I request a few days off when you go home! I’m worn out.” I understood completely, but I could see she had forgotten another team of seven would be with us after I left, so I decided we could rest and vacation together. Before we flew home from Uganda we spent four nights in the prettiest resort in kampala where it looks like paradise. We dined, we slept, we walked the beautiful gardens, gazed at Lake Victoria and let God restore our weary bodies. It was a wonderful time as we rented a two bedroom apartment and she stayed with our family. It was as if she were the big sister. I embrace her like she is my daughter and it was fun to blend her into our family without a seam.
By the time we were to depart at the airport it was rushed and hectic as we were separated without a real hug and goodbye. But I knew for sure that might be best, because we talk every day and we will surely see eachother again very soon. We don’t have to say goodbye, our lives are so deeply entwined that no space between us can ever be more significant than the mutual life purpose we share. And God has us tightly bound together with a big love.
The day Craig left to return to the states was a melancholy day for me. I stayed in my room with Kira and cried a lot. I lost my one to lean on and share the load, the one who understands me and loves me. I knew I had to be stronger and I wasn’t sure I could do it alone. Phiona told me that’s how she was feeling the whole day I was going to be leaving. I understood. She and I have been doing this work together from the very beginning. It is hard, demanding, and often requires far more than we think we have to give. It is always fun when she and I can do it together, and the parting hurts so much that we are tender and sore for days. I feel it too. But God steps into that gap and helps us stand alone until we can be together again like good soldiers fighting for the children who have no one else to fight for them if we don’t! That’s a job I consider an honor to do. When I close my eyes at night I thank God for not only my five children who circle in my daily life, but also for the fourteen in Uganda who call me “mama”. This is what I consider the abundant life. I hope we can add more children when the time is right and our place is bigger. And we our team agrees once we get a good system into place God will open that door so we can expand our care. Being able to help the helpless and fatherless, this is what I know for sure is why I have a blessed life. Thank you ALL out there who support us in this big work. You are more than welcome to jump in deeper if you feel led to do so, just let me know and I’ll find a place for you.