Before our sons departed for six weeks in Uganda we had many long talks about how they should approach this work. Donny, fresh with his business diploma in hand is eager to conquer all things organizational and structural. Jordan with his first year of college down and a wealth of ministry classes tucked in his pocket is ready to overhaul the teaching of God’s word to the children.
I couldn’t be happier for their initiative and enthusiasm to get involved in our passion for orphan care and ministry in Uganda. This is a stunning realized dream for me. When we began this work over three years ago, in their teenage eyes this was something “mom and dad are doing and we go along”. Now, it is something they also know belongs to them and they WANT to get their hands dirty. But something reminded me of the feeling when I am riding my horse and he has an impulse other than what I asked, and takes the chance to have a gallop during the warmup. I become the passenger rather than the leader. A quick “whoa Boy” reminds him we have a program and we start at the beginning not the end.
Craig and I counseled the boys with the simple reminder: “no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care”. I personally endured great persecution in that culture for this work and never quit. I keep going back for more even though it can be excruciatingly difficult. They know how much I care and they trust me. So we suggested the boys go in and serve, get involved in all the jobs that happen in the house. With their actions they can show everyone, especially the children, that we help first, share ideas second, make changes last.
This is what Uncle Kenny wrote about them in the first four days of their adventure:
“It was really nice welcoming Donny and Jordan at the house because the kids are really enjoying their trip since they are involved in everything with kids together. The boys are doing a great work at the house because they are involved in every kind of work like cooking, cleaning, supervision together with us.
We are really happy that Donny and Jordan are here with us because they are showing a very good example to the kids of showing them that work is not for the kids only, but by getting involved in everything and also showing them that they need to work without arguing among themselves and doing work with love, passion, generosity and calmness.”
Now, as our sons observe how the children’s home operates, who participates, what the needs are then they can work together with everyone to create opportunity for improvement. They participated in the team meeting with the staff for the first time yesterday. They were able to work with everyone with ideas and now their ideas are welcome! Motivating the children to do their chores in a timely way with excellence is an ongoing battle. (for every parent on earth!!) So they had a lively discussion about how to improve this situation. Jordan has realized it is time to separate the younger children from the older children for devotions. He is so right about that, it is something that has been overlooked for a long time. So they’ll try that for a while and see if we can get the little ones to be more involved and thinking at a level where they are able.
As their mother, I’m thankful my eldest sons are sharing this experience. I look forward to seeing their faith strengthen. I hope they learn to lean on each other, and encourage one another. My greatest hope is that this experience for them will anchor their friendship, their brotherhood for a lifetime. It is so rare for brothers in their early adult years to share a foreign mission assignment together. I’m on the front row, eyes wide, toes tapping, waiting to see what God will do.