School in Uganda has ended for the year. Since the end of November our Kirabo Seeds family has been enjoying their “summer break”. This is the time of year when mission teams should be visiting to work with children because they aren’t in school. But in usual American fashion we do what is convenient for us, first. (I don’t mind taking a stab at my own race. I DON’T think we have everything right.) This is why I don’t go to Uganda in the summer time and when people ask me if I am leading a team I say sorry, no, not when the children are in school. Their school has brutal hours. They are up at 5:am, off to school at 6: and do not return until 5:30 p.m. And worst of all, they have half day school on Saturdays. If I visited them when they are in school I wouldn’t see them at all until they were worn out and ready to eat and fall into bed. I visit them at the end of each term when they are free. I can arrange my schedule to theirs because I work for them, and since Jack home schools, so can he. They will enjoy a long “summer” break until the end of January.
The first thing they did after school let out is to work hard towards their third community outreach. This time they took their bible lessons, stories, songs and games to Daniel’s neighborhood. A few days before the event Robert visited jjajja and asked her to spread the word in the community among the children that Kirabo Seeds would come and have special activities for children on Saturday. He also delivered enough food to feed everyone. Jjajja collected her friends and they planned to cook and serve on that day. I’m thankful God has been faithful to continue to provide funds to Kirabo Seeds so we can not only keep our children in our home, but also reach out and help the community.
Our kids spent a week planning their event. Who was going to preach? What songs should we teach? What story books should we share? What games would be best? Who is going to give their personal testimony? They sorted it all out, practiced, and had a no fail plan by Saturday. What I appreciate most about this preparation is the extreme enthusiasm each of the children have for the event. At no point did an adult have to “motivate” them to participate. They WANT to share what’s been given to them so richly in their home. This makes the Mama Tonya in me crumble to a heap and cry with gratitude.
Saturday morning they all put on their Kirabo Seeds t-shirts, bandanas I gave them, red backpacks full of their lesson plans and activities and loaded up into the van. As they drove through the neighborhood of Daniel’s jjajja they saw children in their Sunday clothes sitting on the stoops waiting. When the children saw our van arrive they began to run along side it and behind squealing with anticipation that it wouldn’t be an ordinary day. I can close my eyes and see this so clearly. It is rare in Uganda for the celebrations to be centered around the children. Yes, foreigners come and do amazing things with them, but in this case, it is the Ugandans providing this activity, not the whites. The children got to feel special for a day. They will never forget.
A hundred children participated that Saturday all wearing the best they could. In Phiona’s words, “when we arrived 40 children were already gathered in a small tent praising The Lord. When they saw our van, the volume of their praises increased out of excitement and the pleasure of seeing fellow kids. Some came running to us and hugged us, others shyly stayed in their sits not knowing what exactly to do and the rest just kept drumming and singing and shouting. We really felt welcomed and honored to be a part of it all. Glory is to our God.”
Phiona settled them and made introductions. She told the group how we came to be called Kirabo Seeds and why we were there. She said, “our kids are seeds that have been planted in this country, being watered by giving them an education, food love, a bed and above all God’s word which will help them flourish and produce healthy fruits for glory of God. We also weed and prune them to remove any unwanted behaviors that may seem to outgrow the real plant.” (they all giggled at that)
Angela, Lydia and Victoria led praise and worship. The village kids joined and led with them. They clapped, drummed and shook local gourd instruments among the loud and beautiful children’s voices.
Musa preached God’s word to the group with a message from 1 John 3 about sharing. This is a young man who had lost all hope at age ten and gave us the most trouble when we first opened our home. And now he has the confidence with the knowledge of the bible to share it publicly with his peers. He said to the crowd, “God blesses us with things and we find that there are people that don’t have what we have. When we are in such a situation lets learn to share with others what we have”. He continued to say that we should do the same with talents that God has given us. He asked the kids to tell him what talents they think they have. Some said giving, others playing football and others helping. Musa wrapped up by saying that some people have been blessed with preaching God’s word, let them share God’s word so that people can give their lives to Jesus. That’s when Phiona gave the message of salvation and an invitation.
Our children spoke in English and Phiona and Kia had to translate into Lugandan. This is greatly respected as a sign of excellent education. Our children showed their gratitude for their education by using English. It also inspires children who are in school to aspire to use their English. Angela read a story about the Good Samaritan. They listened attentively, eyes sparkling with so much eagerness to know what was next in the story. Angela made it interactive for them by asking questions for the kids to relate to characters in the story. This is what is given to our childrne each day during their devotions, and now they have learned to give it to others. Her confidence is such a blessing. She also read the story about the greedy rich farmer in the bible. She finished by saying that we should focus on storing our treasures in heaven and not on earth.
Next they served lunch but we have learned from practice to organize it and control it or there would be a swarm of pushing rushing children fighting for their meal. They sat them in groups and called one group at a time to be served. The impatience was clear but it was a good lesson. As usual kids appear out of the bushes when food is cooking! Everyone was served.
After lunch Ronald, Daniel, Paul and Peter taught them 2 new songs. The kids loved them and learned them really fast. Then Musa gave a memory verse from Luke 3:11. Then they played games. We passed out sweets to those who were the best with the question and answer sessions about what they learned that day.
The gathered adults were appreciative. A Sunday school teacher from a nearby church said we should come again soon. She said, “what you are doing is going to impact these kid’s lives forever.” Our children felt it was the best outreach so far because the children were so attentive and eager to learn. There wasn’t too much naughty behavior because they were organized. Our children were encouraged that what they were doing was important and meaningful so now they are eager to do this event many times in many places.
After I read the report on this event I felt deeply shifted in my heart. I was drowning in gratitude that God used me to get an event like this to happen. I was actually so thankful I wasn’t there. I want this to be about Ugandans working with Ugandans. They know I’m back there some where, but I’m not the important one. God is the one who gets this all done and he’ll do it with me or without me. And the enemies who try to stop it will be trampled. Would you believe, just this week, two people took Kirabo Seeds to court so they could shut us down and liquidate the land so they could take a share. Can you imagine who would want to prevent us from doing good work such as this for the children in Uganda? All I know is that God has a plan and I wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side.
I conclude with knowing God can just take me now. If this is all my life amounted to it is well with my soul. To serve him and see these children blossom from little seeds is more than I ever hoped to see in this life. And this couldn’t be accomplished without all of our sponsors who provide for the needs of our children, and the stores who sell our merchandise and help us spread the word while raising funds. You all have helped make an event like this happen. These are your treasures in heaven.
Ok, one more thing. This Christmas Kirabo Seeds has received unexpected donations to gift the ministry. We unanimously agreed to use these funds to buy a sound system, generator, and hopefully a projector to show the Jesus film to village children in Uganda everywhere. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! It’s just so amazing to me that I don’t even solicit donations and God just provides to our ministry. He knows what we need. However, if you are interested in joining our group of sponsors we have six spots available and I can promise you will be as blessed as the child in our home. Just send me an email and we can chat about it. firstname.lastname@example.org