A mission team is leaving this Saturday to travel to Uganda. Their first stop is to stay in our Kirabo Seeds apartment. They will go straight off the runway, through the visa line, and over to our place to freshen up. When they are ready to greet the family they will walk a couple blocks to our home where the children will be waiting for them with smiles, squeals, and rapturous appreciation. It’s a scene high on my list of “life’s greatest moments”. I am so thankful this team has agreed to carry two suitcases for me because the children all need new sheets, and pajamas! I also have many collected donations of books, puzzles, games, movies and crafts to send along. There’s even a bone for Samson packed. I am always so content to put books into their hands. To me it is life’s great treasure to have books to read.
This team will spend the first day at our home loving the children and doing crafts with them. The next day they will go out to one of the areas where some of the jjajjas live. The next week they will travel up to Gulu and around to other parts of Uganda serving. These jjajjas have announced to all their friends that Kirabo Seeds has sent some friends to share a meal and teach from God’s word. Donna has collected donations of children’s clothes so she will set up a table of these items and trade them for any bits of food the people can bring. We don’t want anything to be free. A trade maintains dignity for all. The food gathered will be shared in the meal they prepare together that day. To end the day she will project the Jesus movie onto a sheet tied to trees and share the movie in their own Lugandan language! These people are going to have a memory they will talk about for a long time. Phiona can send me photos and I will share here.
I met with this team on Monday night to introduce our ministry to them and see if they had any questions for me. I brought Kira who was dressed to impress carrying one of my purses I gave her filled with her “stuff”. She loves to fill her purse with necessary and useful things like a paper fan, lotion, sunglasses, chapstick, a map, bracelets and a brush for my hair. She is serious about being a girl with her eye on the women to see how it is all done. She stands with her hands on her hips dipping one knee in just so. The only problem is when strangers speak to her she freezes, tries to disappear, and then just hides. It takes a quarter of an hour to warm up to new people, and then she’ll be in laps telling stories.
What I am most excited about for this event with this new team is that our children will participate in serving in the community for the first time. In one year we have taken children who were hardly eating and sleeping on the hard ground to a safe, comfortable environment. They are among the privileged children in Uganda, by a developing country’s standard. We maintain African practices for these children, we haven’t americanized them at all. But they never have to worry if the next meal will come. When they grow out of their clothes, they will have more available. When their shoes need replacing I will make sure they get more. An adult will always be there for them to protect, love, and teach. That’s my job on this side of our world, to continue to provide for their needs. The responsibility these children have now that their worries are gone is to share, have compassion, and serve others. “To whom much is given much is expected.” It would be high treason in our home to become arrogant. Oh, I can just imagine the fury Phiona would have if anyone was caught bragging rather than showing humble gratitude.
Kirabo Seeds is growing a good reputation in the community where our children were found. I visit them each time I go to Uganda and share a lesson from God’s word. We are known for taking the very best care of the children. So many have asked us to take more children as there are so many orphans living with them in the same conditions we found our children. I have a heart to understand how God wants us to answer this cry. Our home is full. Funding what we do is a big job for me. We aren’t able to open another home, not only because of the finances, but also because we don’t have trustworthy staff there to begin another home. I hope we can begin some kind of business training for the people in the community. I hope we can partner with an organization who does micro finance. I would really love to see these people prosper in a way that they can take care of the children in their homes. Families should stay together. I am waiting for God to reveal His plan.
Meanwhile, I work on sales of our Ugandan gifts. We have four consignment shops selling our beautiful crafts, and I’m hoping to find more. The customers love to buy our things knowing it helps a good cause! We also have our online store, www.kiraboseeds.storenvy.com . Our bracelets are the best sellers and we have so many to choose. When I sell forty bracelets it pays for the salary of one of our full time employees, or puts petrol in the van, or pays the rent for a month.
I also work on the sponsor program we have for our children. The sponsors are a special group of people who have chosen to donate $25 a month to help support the needs of the children. This pays for their food, education and medical care. We aim to have three sponsors for each child. Most sponsor programs help a child who lives in their family and it just pays for the education. But we give complete and total care to these children so our costs are much higher. The sponsors can enjoy a penpal relationship with the children. I share the more personal prayer needs of the individual child with their sponsors. This is the most critical part of sponsoring a child. The child appreciates that they are known, and others care for them and love them very much. It is not just all Mama Tonya, there are many people who love them and want to participate in making sure they succeed. It is my great joy to keep the sponsors updated, sending photos and gifts that the children make for them. At Christmas we sent videos from the children to their sponsors! We have a book of sponsors at the children’s home, and it is so dog eared because someone is always looking through it with a wide smile on their face. They NEED to know they are loved and not forgotten.
We have seven spots available in our sponsor program. Sometimes sponsors move on to other projects, and I understand that. I always hope for committed people who truly want to watch the child grow up and reach their goals. Twenty-five dollars and some time sharing your family photos and letters isn’t much for us in this country, but to our children…it is everything. If you are interested in a personal relationship with one of our children, send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org