Team Uganda Update – Part 1

30 Jun

WOW – where to even begin?!

These past 3 days have been action packed, hence the reason you haven’t heard from me yet. I am going to try to recap everything for you here, although these few words won’t even come close to describing all that we have seen and experienced in this short time.

We arrived really late on Friday night and got settled into our first place and in the bed around 11-12pm. We were up and on the road at 9am and went to the Greenhouse Orphanage. Our team LOVED it there. It was the perfect place to start our time in Uganda because it was so action-packed. Jet lag had NO chance with us that day. : )  We arrived to children singing and welcoming us to their place. They haven’t had visitors in several weeks so they were so excited to see us. Once we were welcomed, we got a tour of the place and learned about the history of Greenhouse. Quite amazing that Kevin, the founder, was actually an orphan himself at an early age and started the orphanage when he was 16 years old. Now he is 24 years old and cares for about 70 children along with his wife and other volunteers. It was evident that those children were loved. They were so joyful and loved spending time with us! We broke up into groups; several of us joined the children and cooked various dishes for lunch and the others set up a volleyball net that we brought as a gift and played outside (along with other sports and arts/crafts). We had an amazing lunch with them and then walked down a dirt road to a nearby community field where we had races and other games. We laughed our heads off as three teams competed in wheelbarrow races, one-leg hops, crab walks and izzy dizzy. : )  However, leaving was a different story. The kids didn’t give us a “typical” orphan departure experience. Instead of closing off toward the end of the day because they knew we were leaving and acting apathetic, they were crying and very sad as we started loading up the bus. It took a while to finally say goodbyes because we didn’t want to leave, but we eventually pulled ourselves away. There wasn’t a single dry eye of those on our team. Super hard experience to go through, so we are trying to figure out how to process that and see what God wants to do in us as a result.

The following morning we woke up early and were on the road by 8am to head to Kampala to our next destination. We attended the Watoto Church. It was an amazing experience! It’s one of the biggest churches in Uganda. We worshipped there and then went directly to the Watoto Villlage after church where 4 families welcomed our group into their homes for lunch. The village that we went to is one of the 2 villages in the Kampala area, both housing over 900 orphans! It was quite amazing to see the model of Watoto. The team loved being there and had a great experience.

Last night we got back late and took some time to organize all of our donated supplies. We arranged everything from medical supplies, sports equipment, school supplies, baby items (formula, diapers, clothes), arts/crafts, etc. We have 16 tubs of items to deliver to various places that we visit this week, so it will be great to meet some needs as we go.

Today was especially hard. We went to a place that takes in children that have been abandoned by families and rescued from the streets, have run away from abusive homes (or been taken by social workers), or have lost families due to death or because of other reasons. Over 150 children live there now, most of them cycling in and out of this place for various reasons. We spent the morning playing with the kids and helped to clean up around the place. We provided the funds to provide a nice lunch for them which included chicken, rice and potatoes….so some of us helped to prepare that and then we served lunch to them later in the day. We were also able to help get water to the facility, so now they don’t have to send the kids to gather water from various places throughout the community! Now they can wash dishes in a sink, do laundry and provide water for the children to take baths. We are so excited to help meet this specific need.

Please keep our team in your prayers as we continue to serve this week. This journey has been especially hard on us emotionally. It’s so easy to disengage because of the pain that we are feeling, whether it’s because we are uncomfortable or because we don’t want to say goodbye or can’t stand to see anymore suffering of these children. But we are praying that God would allow us to walk in HIS compassion this week and continue to pour out everything we have for the sake of those who don’t get the love and attention that they so desperately crave. Compassion means “to suffer with” so we are learning what that word truly means.  It’s easy to believe that you’re a compassionate person until you’re in the middle of suffering and start allowing yourself to “suffer with” another individual. I believe that it’s in those moments that God truly opens our eyes and breaks our hearts because of the depravity of our world and the spiritual and physical bondage and pain that people are living in. We, as Americans, have NO IDEA what is going on around the world, so coming face-to-face with these individuals and seeing their conditions and hearing their stories in absolutely heart-breaking. Please pray that we continue  to ENGAGE this week and not just long for home because it’s comfortable for us physically and emotionally. Pray that we would walk in His strength and love this week and that those we come in contact with would know that it’s Christ who we are visiting and caring for as we serve the orphan here in Uganda (Matthew 25).

Thanks for your prayers! We appreciate you and will continue to provide updates as we go. Tomorrow we are heading to an orphanage that takes in abandoned babies, so we will be working with infants all day. We will visit a school in the slums in the afternoon and will experience those conditions as well. Will be another tough  day, so pray that we will love well and be a light wherever we go.

Much love from Team Uganda!! Everyone sends their greetings, love and hugs. : )

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One Response to “Team Uganda Update – Part 1”

  1. Stefanie June 30, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    I pray you all see God at work, feel His kind of peace, and be guided by His kind of love. God bless you and keep you safe. In Jesus’ name.

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