Donny graduated from Baylor University two weeks ago. We had a fun weekend in Waco with extended family traveling from all over the country to celebrate with him. Every parent who watches a first-born walk the graduation stage has a bundle of exploding emotion happening all at once. Craig and I are often a little confused to realize our son has done what we feel oftentimes was just yesterday for ourselves. He’s going to A&M in the fall to get a masters in Human Resources management. Funny, he has realized he’s specifically gifted in the same way his father is and so he will pursue a similar career. It is an amazing feeling to see your child work hard, achieve, and pursue a goal that will give him complete independence from the nest. Most importantly we know he is following God’s plan for his life, not ours. He’s made the big transfer from being accountable to his parents to accountable to God for the choices he makes with his life. That was my only goal for him. Craig and I need to hope we can get that done four more times.
Jordan celebrates his nineteenth birthday today! He finished his freshman year of college at Oklahoma Baptist University immersed in the culture of college and lapping up his Christian education. He is thinking about international missions! I know someone who does that! ( I could have been exceedingly thankful for the education he’s receiving … seems though I always have to learn things the hard knock way.) He continues to lift weights and the dude is huge. His goal seems to be to at least lift the same max that Craig did at his age. Jordan wasn’t one to embrace high school, but now that he can study what is interesting to him, he loves school. When he is passionate about something he’s brilliant.
Both of our college boys sought summer internships but nothing really surfaced that was useful. Craig and I agreed we weren’t giving them a holiday at home. That’s not the LaTorre way. We offered them internships in Uganda, and they both embraced the opportunity enthusiastically. So, on Thursday morning they flew to Uganda to work at the Kirabo Seeds children’s home. They’ll be there for half the summer serving and working long hours. Donny can help us with some HR administration as we develop some internal structure. And Jordan is getting three credits for this work if he writes a few papers and reads a few books! He looks forward to teaching the children in devotions. This is something I definitely need to pursue with some universities. I’d be interested in offering long-term internships like Christopher was able to do at our home and be able to work in partnership with educators.
Jordan and Donny had their first day together with the family yesterday. The children were beyond excited to receive these boys for half the summer. They only met Jordan shortly after opening our home, but Donny was there in January with us. Christopher and I came up with a job description for interns so our boys sat down with a list of jobs, ways of participating, directions for serving, and a rigorous schedule to follow. If they think helping with Kira is tiring, they are in for an education about tired when they try to put 17 kids to bed on time for the first time. I giggle to imagine them collapsing after that ordeal.
On their first day Phiona sent me photos of them peeling potatoes and cooking chipote bread. I warned the boys that they have to ask Auntie Julie three times for a job. The first time she will say no. Then she will look at you the second time to see if you mean it. The third time she will hand you a knife and some work. I was happy to see them doing kitchen work. It must have been a real spectacle for the children because in their culture men don’t do kitchen work. In our house though, they do. That’s one downside of having an opinionated American on the team.
They also slaughtered a few chickens yesterday. Jordan had no idea all this special food and prep was to celebrate his birthday today. See, if you are a special guest and you are celebrating an occasion in Uganda, a chicken will be slaughtered in your honor and you will eat it! Auntie Julie is also making a cake, which is done only on special occasions. This is not a culture of desert eaters. My Jordan is a big teddy bear. He’s all mush in his heart and tender with devoted love. His loyalty to family and friends outshines anything I’ve ever seen in other relationships. This birthday celebration will mean a lot to him. It will show him this is his family too.
I have to say it is the best feeling to know our two eldest sons have chosen to go to Uganda for an extended amount of time and serve the children and staff at Kirabo Seeds. This is going to stretch them in ways only God and orphan care can do. They are eager to lean hard on God and learn things that can’t be found on the comfort of our couch here at home. They are hoping to discover parts of themselves they have yet to uncover, plans God has, directions for the future, understanding and living out of ideas as they become life in practice.
It is one thing to think about making a difference. It’s really something when you take the leap, become vulnerable, take risks and actually GO make a difference. It can’t be read in a book. It can’t be found in a class or small group. It makes no difference as an idea. I frankly got really tired of talking about what Christians should do in small groups. It was the greatest relief of my life when we were able to serve God by opening an orphanage in Uganda. I like to get my hands in there and get dirty. I was eager to make a lifetime commitment to the cause. I’d lay my life down for this work. It is the greatest relief to feel secure knowing I’m inside God’s will for my life, no matter how hard it can be. I hope my children find that. I love it that we can connect people with the same desire to help us as sponsors to our children. It is our family of sponsors who are really making this work possible! The children know God has softened the hearts of sponsors to care for them, and help them have an education, medical care, home, parenting, safety and love. Now, I am so excited to see how this opportunity to serve is going to affect our boys.