Friday, November 15, 2013

Uganda - What are you thankful for?

Today was yet another amazing, eye-opening day filled with the Lord’s presence.  We woke up this morning greeted by a wonderful breakfast which included: Pat and Linda’s hash browns and eggs and Mama Nancy’s mouth-watering banana bread. (Oh, the food is just so fresh and delicious here!)
When we walked out of the compound doors, to begin our adventures of home visitation, we found about 10 little faces sitting there waiting for and watching us.  We soon came to figure out that they had been waiting there, so that they could receive some shoes.  So within the next few minutes all the kids had new shoes, the girls had on new pillowcase dresses, and the little boys got new t-shirts.  The glow of the smiles, excitement, and thankfulness were priceless.  We could not wait to experience this scene again, so we hopped into the van and we took off on our journey.

With our “fearless pilot” Bumba at the wheel, we were driven into the middle of nowhere.  Along our way there, we waved to kids who were walking along the street. They waved back, and then literally starting chasing the van shouting and smiling, until we came to a stop.  When we climbed out of the van, the trunk was opened, and shoes and clothes began to be handed out.  Once again the excitement on the faces of these kids (about 45) and their guardians (about 15) was contagious, although there were a few little babies who cried at their first sight of the “Muzungus”. 

After distributing the clothes and shoes, we got the chance to share our faith and say a prayer over the people there, which was super neat!  Following this, we hopped back into the van; heading to the next location, we discovered there was a huge chunk of metal stuck in one of the front wheels.  Luckily, there was a spare, but flat tire in the back, so the two men got to work changing it.  While waiting on the side of the road, some people from the huts nearby walked up to us…many of them had little to no clothes on.  Thanks to the metal chunk in the tire, which was most definitely the work of our outstanding Lord, we were able to give these kids clothes and shoes, and see the glow come to life on their faces.  

During the afternoon most team members had the opportunity to continue home visitations, bringing many smiles to all involved.  Two team members got to have special times with the children that they sponsor through Orphan’s Heart.  (If you are reading this now, you should check into sponsoring a child!  For a small price, you too can impact the life of a child who otherwise would not have the opportunity to attend a good school, have basic needs provided, and to know that there are people who care.  It is worth every penny!)

Pat and Sydney traveled with Pastor Charles into Mbale to visit sister and brother, Esther and Bumba, at their boarding schools.  Pat has been sponsoring them for the past year.  They were both excited to see “Mama” Pat.  Her heart was blessed to see how well they are doing in school.  It was a special time shared between “Mimi” (Pat), granddaughter (Sydney), and both sponsored children. 

Shannon, along with Christine, was able to visit with the family of her sponsored child Vicky.  It was an amazing experience to see where Vicky lives, to meet her mother, father, grandmother, brothers, sisters, and extended family.  Walking into Vicky’s personal world, her home, and her family really touched Shannon’s heart.  Vicky was at school during this visit, but great conversation and prayers took place.  Shannon even taught all the kids how to play, “Duck, Duck, Goose,” which caused much confusion, laughter, and joy.  They had their own “Ugandan” version of the game by the time it ended.  

The entire group of kids took off running through the corn field, and Shannon had no idea what was happening.  Then, they caught it... a prized rooster was what they were after.  Vicky’s father bound its legs and handed it to Shannon for the walk home.  Thankfully, it was put in a bag to help contain the wings and legs.  This family -- with over 15 kids in the home, much illness, and many other needs -- sacrificed this rooster to show their gratitude.  One can only imagine what they could have used this rooster for if they had not been trying to show how thankful they were, not only for Vicky’s sponsorship, but also for the shoes and clothes all the other kids received yesterday at the compound.

So, what are you thankful for?  How do you express it?  May we all be as genuine as these beautiful people whom we encountered today!  They have so little (by our standards), yet they are willing to sacrifice BIG.  However, none of us can imagine the greatest sacrifice ever made, when God sent His only Son to die as a perfect sacrifice for all of our sins.  Lord, may we never take this for granted!

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