This trip with Embrace Uganda has blessed me with such sweet friendships – not only with team members but with the kids and adults we have been working with as well. This is a video of my new friend Sylvia. She is in P7 at Koreng Primary School and will be going to Secondary School next year. During our first work day at the school, I had a lot of down time between teaching the bible story and lunch to spend with the kids. I started talking to Sylvia and some of the other girls in P7 about their lives in Uganda and mine in America. Sylvia and I become very close right from the start. She speaks English very well and was really excited to practice with me so we never ran out of things to talk about. It was such a blessing to see the joy that Embrace Uganda brought her during this week. Sylvia is a boarding student at Koreng PS so she sleeps at the school in a room with 19 other girls. Emily’s ministry Sweet Dreams presented the boarding students with new mattresses. The girls were jumping and cheering they were so excited. Sylvia had been asking me about the mattresses and who would be receiving them, so it was so sweet to see how appreciative she was. Sylvia also received medicine from the medical clinic and was so happy that she would start feeling better soon. We were both very sad to say goodbye to each other since we have no way of communicating or knowing if we will ever meet again. But Sylvia then mentioned something to me that I will never forget – She told me that she will tell God what she wants to say to me and then God will tell me. I don’t know if I will see Sylvia again anytime soon, but I do know that we will continue our friendship in Heaven. I love this song that she sang to me because it so perfectly represents our friendship. What a great thing to look forward to when we can see all of our dear brothers and sisters in Christ again one day in Heaven. I am so blessed by Sylvia’s friendship and look forward to the new ones that will form during the rest of the trip.
Our Embrace Ugandan team has now completed the first full and wonderful week of our trip. As I reflect on many experiences I’m haunted by the first question I was asked. It came from a Koreng Primary student with bright eager eyes. “How is America?” After hearing every principal pray before our introduction programs, being honored with respect from children as they would bow to shake our hands, watching children cover their eyes in awe while praying, my answer came from a despondent spirit. “How is America?” This beautiful Ugandan country had riches in their state of poverty. America has much poverty in our riches. Throughout week one we watched children show responsibility by waking early to sweep the paths, chopping vegetables for lunch, brushing teeth (without an adult near), and by getting themselves up and getting dressed without any help. School children sat on the hard ground in our closing ceremony for three hours listening to community leaders give reports of statistics and updates. The young eyes on the front row were intent on every speaker paying close attention to every word spoken. We sat in the brick open-air space until after dark when the program was complete. Children then walked home alone in the pitch black dark to their huts hidden in lone paths. No entitlement. Not much food. No running water- except for well water that has required a long walk carrying heavy cans. No electricity. And no complaining. Dorothy reminded us of the quote, “If there’s something you need, come to us and we’ll show you how to live without it.”
So “How is America?” We’ve a lot to learn from these Ugandan little ones who are pure in heart humbly dependent on God. This week we celebrate our nation’s birthday and we pray God Bless America.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” -2 Chronicles 7:14