Tomorrow morning I depart from home with two children to travel 28 hours to Uganda. Jack is thankful he homeschools so he can join me on these adventures. Kira has been asking me daily to go to the airport. She asks, “I see Marvin now?” In the car last night she was naming all of the children she can remember in our home, “Musa, Daniel, Lawrence, Christine, Lydia, Desire…” She says “I go to Ganda now?”. Some day she will say, “ I was born in Uganda and my home is there too.”
I certainly feel like my home is there. For this trip, we have decided to get an apartment and keep it for our home away from home. During the last trip I realized it was worth whatever we had to do to be able to walk to the children’s home from where I stay. Driving every day just to get to the children’s home became a hassle, a waste of petrol and a reduction in time I could be at the home. We spent more on guesthouses and hotels last year than it will cost me to keep this apartment. I am so thankful for Robert and Phiona’s hard work in securing a place for us.
It is also my pleasure that friends who want to come serve our children in Uganda will have the use of this apartment. I am thankful for the opportunity to help others, be close to the children, and have a little space to feel like my home away from home. There are some who have traveled to Uganda with Kirabo Seeds and are interested in returning. They will be able to rent our apartment and be close to the children and follow God’s calling to serve. Families who are adopting and wish to serve our children can have the opportunity to use this space.
Last Friday the children in our home received their report cards. Phiona, Robert, Julie and Kiah chew their nails down in anticipation of these scores. In this culture the future hangs entirely upon these numbers for children. While I am looking for signs of effort and improvement, they are looking for excellence. What a celebration it was to see all of our children perform very well! When I was with them in January before this term began the children were all tested for placement and assessment. Oh the long face on Phiona when she saw them was nearly comical. They tested like they had never been to school. It was a bleak forecast for beginning in a better school.
Naturally I hung some incentive out there for them to do their best. I offered a special day of swimming and pony rides at Speke Hotel if their reports showed improvement. They may not comprehend the importance of trying hard in school for the simple fact it is too hard. Until they can conceive for themselves why they should do their best it is perfectly acceptable to help them along term by term with happy personal goals. Truth is I wish to give them fun, but I also don’t want to spoil them, so it works better to get them to feel like they have earned the good times.
Last year when we brought these children to our home, Lydia was a great concern for us. She didn’t understand how to write her name, recognize letters, or even concentrate on what she was being taught. She was the least likely student, uninterested, and slow. The main purpose we hired Kiah to tutor the children was to give Lydia as much attention and help as possible. She’s a sensitive child, quiet, and passive. To bring her forward into the role of student was a challenge. So imagine the screams of delight when Lydia performed not just well, but she was first in her class this term! She has learned how to be a good student and this will take her far in life.
To the people who sponsor our children and help them receive an education this is a reward for you. To see the children grow and learn while receiving love and protection, that is the tangible thank you gift for your donation and sacrifice. It is a great pleasure for me to connect people who love the children and desire to give them hope for a better future. And now to begin to share in the progress and success of these efforts with sponsors is great joy. If someone offered me Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry box in exchange for this experience I wouldn’t take it. ( a horse farm could tempt me but I’d find a way to have both…) So Thank you to all the sponsors who help us monthly to provide for this family.
Oh goodness, it is worth three long flights and a full day in transportation to go there and see their shiny smiles and bright eyes. Each time I visit their English improves dramatically so we are able to communicate. I’m trying to be approachable for them. That’s not easy. Respect is almost a genetic trait there and culturally I am unapproachable by definition of my position. But that’s not who I am, nor how I desire to have relationship with them. They can learn to both respect me and know they are secure to share anything at all (the more the better ) with me and still be safe.
Many people have asked me recently, “do you think this trip will be smooth and without trouble for you?” While I hope so, I have received an important lesson from God that I won’t dismiss. We have come face to face with evil in our work to help orphaned children in ways I hope most people never have to encounter in their lives. After the first experience I thought, “well that was good to know, so we are free and clear from being entangled with such evil again.” It is sort of the feeling of surviving house fire, and thinking no one has two houses burn down in their lifetime so we won’t have to go through this again. But…The same friends who helped us through the first ordeal turned out to be the ones who gave us a worse confrontation with wickedness. That’s when I realized what God was teaching us. Evil will always be there and coming strong at us while we do this work. Always.
That would be enough news to cause most people to run up the white flag and quit. I admit at times I thought about it. But. This work is not about me. It is not my strength that accomplishes any good. All that happens is possible only because God’s strength works through me. He’s my roaring Aslan behind me and I’m a little girl mostly unaware of all that is really happening. All I know is my calling to do this work is real, I surrender myself to a sovereign God, put on my spiritual armor and walk in faith. I can only hope that anyone and everyone who supports this ministry and cares about these children will remember us in their prayers for safety and protection. I believe in the power of prayer. That’s all I ask is you pray that we are wise to perceive evil and still gentle and supple in spirit to do good for the glory of God. (I’ll blog daily from Uganda as the temperamental internet will allow me. Sometimes if possible I will add photos!)