Third Stop: Uganda! As we made our way to Uganda, I was full of excitement and anticipation. I had the joyous opportunity to go to South Africa on another mission trip 2 summers ago, and I just fell in love with the people. After that trip, I couldn’t wait to come back to Africa. Everyone I had met previously was so passionate, and it was the same for the people in Uganda.
When we arrived to Uganda, we had a great privilege to stay at a resort the first night. It included a bed! We also had great food! More exciting than that, we went on the most beautiful boat ride on Lake Victoria to where it met the Nile River. I was blown away with God’s creation, and to think we are his greatest creation! Praise God!
From the resort, we went straight to Luwanda Children’s Home. The moment our van pulled up, we were surrounded my singing, dancing, and smiling people!! The children and staff were beyond excited to see us, which just made me even more excited. I felt extremely grateful for being there and having the ability to serve the children.
Some of my favorite times with the children were when we were simply dancing. They LOVE to dance, and they are good at it! Dancing with them reminded me of how much I miss it. Not only that, but it reminded me how dance is a form of worship. We can worship God in so many different ways, and he is worthy of it all! When I was dancing with the children I felt connected with them in a way that I can’t explain. They taught me so many new dance moves that I will never forget…haha!
However, there is one specific encounter that had a lasting impact on me. I was sitting in the school library waiting for children to come in, when the librarian, Favor, walked in. I greeted her and asked how she was. She went on to say that she was not feeling good at all, but she had faith she would be better soon. I was able to pray for her and she was thankful for that. After I prayed, she told me that it was her birthday. I immediately got up to go give her a hug. When I was hugging her, she began to cry. I asked if she was okay, and she said yes. Favor was crying tears of joy. She was overwhelmingly thankful for being alive and making it through another year on earth. She explained to me some of her struggles she experienced last year, and it is truly a miracle that she is alive. She felt so undeserving to be alive, but she knew it was for a reason. It was very obvious that Christ is the center of her life. She went on to thank and praise God with her words, as I stood in awe of her faith and passion. The goodness of God brought Favor to tears. She kept saying how life is precious and how important it is that she lives her life for God and for his glory. Her joyful and thankful heart overwhelmed me. After our conversation, I quickly examined my own life and heart. I didn’t have that passionate, overwhelming gratitude that Favor has. I want to live as if it is my last day on earth. I am thankful for my life and I do try to live for God, but it has not been a daily commitment. Matthew 16: 24-25 says, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whosoever loses their life for me will find it’”. I need to wake up every day in full surrender.
Another thing I learned was the importance of having the Lord’s joy. The kids were always smiling and laughing, well for the most part. They would get excited at the littlest things. Similarly, they were happy to just be with us and hold our hands. I got many letters from kids that said thank you for loving me and playing with me. Those things were not difficult or grandiose, but they meant the world to the children. The letters and the never-ending hugs from the children warmed my heart and filled me with the joy of the Lord. I never want to lose that feeling.
Needless to say, I was impacted by the people of Uganda. They are precious, beautiful, and loved by the King of Kings. If God allows, I would absolutely love to come back and love more on the kids.
God is love and his love is perfect for these children and everyone!
Thank you for your continued support and prayers.