Mornings in Uganda are fresh. The air is crisp, the birds sing tropical songs I cannot recognize, and the sounds of people working carry have rhythm. The rooster crows early but I think everyone ignores him. Some lonely dog in the distance howls in response to the cock. First thing I do is open the windows and let in the fresh air and tap my toe to the sounds of my home in Uganda. I brew some Ugandan coffee, sit with my computer and consider what I shall share with you. Two weeks in Uganda provides me with two months of blog material. Each day I learn and understand more about this fascinating culture. The experience gives me insight on how to keep our children Ugandan and yet give them opportunity to fulfill their God given potential. The last thing I want to do is impose western culture on them, so I have to be careful.
Phiona tells stories of her childhood living in the bush with her grandmother and uncles. Her mother sent her there for a few years because the school was better and cheaper. She was around nine, same age as the majority of our children in our home. She ran to school a long way, and for lunch she would run home gathering sticks for the fire along the way. She sorted beans, and started the meal for everyone in the home. She ate a little, ran back to school. When she was able to eat that meal later she had to serve all her uncles on her knees before she could have anything to eat. Then she did all the cleaning by herself. She was the servant girl for years. At Christmas time her granny took them to the local shop and they were able to have a treat of one soda. That’s how they celebrated Christmas! She said she was so jealous of those who rode in a motorcar because when the rains come they can just get inside, but she had to run in the rain.
We were sharing with the children during evening devotion time what it means to wait on God. They have many personal prayer requests and they are so expectant that when they have to wait they begin to doubt God is there listening and caring. I shared how I have always hoped to learn to ride a horse, but I had to wait until I was 43 years old to do it! Phiona shared how now she has sugar to eat and a car to ride in when it rains. She told the children, “God has to grow you up before you can be ready for the responsibility of what you ask him for!”
Kiah challenged the children reminding them to look at what God has already done for them. She said “you have all lost your parents, do you remember how you felt about that? At that time God knew he would start Kirabo Seeds so you would have a big family with lots of love and excellent care. Do you think if your parents were alive you would have a life like you have now?” They all shook their heads. She said, “Be careful you don’t want more when you have already been given so much. Spend more time giving God thanks than asking for what you want. And begin to ask God what you can do for him since he has done so much for you! He will be quick to answer those prayers!”
Everyone went around in a circle sharing the prayer request they have had for a long time. Then Phiona asked them to choose two people to pray for every day. When she heard my request for help in our ongoing ministry she told everyone to pray for me too because they benefit from the answer of that prayer! They laughed. I’ll send the prayer requests to all of the sponsors of the children so they can also pray for what is on their young hearts.
One night after devotion time I had the great honor and privilege to pass out the letters and cards sponsors sent to me to deliver to the children. I was so thankful I had something to give every child. My great fear is that someone will be left out of such an occasion. I passed out the manila envelopes and the children pulled out the letters. Their eyes were bright and they began reading right away. If they could not read they asked for help. They spent the next hour enjoying the gift of friendship. They asked me right away to get my computer so they could see photos of their sponsors again. Some sent maps, or cards with humorous photos. Others sent an email I printed. It doesn’t matter how they come, it only matters that a friend far away reached the children.
Jim and Vicky King were with us that night to experience the children receiving their mail. It was a unique insight for them as sponsors to see the excitement and joy it brings the children to hear from friends. The joy was tangible and so motivating for future opportunities to connect with the children.
These letters are better than any gift we could give them. This shows them they are remembered and loved. They have a friend to write to and it gives them so much joy. The next day they got busy answering all of the letters and now I have a nice stack to bring home for every sponsor. I do this every visit I make and the children especially enjoy sharing their lives.
Kenny has been giving the children computer lessons. I brought two computers with me this trip that were donated. They are practicing their typing skills and soon when they are proficient they will each get an email address! Then they can send emails to me which I will forward to their sponsors!! They are so excited to be able to do this modern communication in between my letter writing visits.
We have some space available for sponsors if you or someone you know is interested in having a relationship with a child in our home. The very inside of our work here is shared with sponsors, the personal information that I would never share on the internet. It is a warm family of people who understand what we are doing and support us faithfully, I am so thankful for this help and encouragement. This simple gift of $25 a month and letter writing changes the lives of these children. It is a small way to share the uncommon love of God with a child.