Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Day 2 part 1: return ministries

Day two: home visits with return

in front of our hotel, Adonai
our team
Today seems like too much to sum up. I feel like in Uganda I have experienced more of a range of emotions in one day than I do on average in a week or two in the US.

To start off our day, two of our team members were detained outside the embassy for taking a picture of the us embassy. 45 minutes later they were released. Way to start the day. ;)
Once we got to return, Pastor Samuel passed out the clothes we had brought to the kids there. They bowed as they received their gift and went quickly to change. It was so fun seeing them in the clothes and how excited they were!
Pastor Samuel- Return Ministries                                                excited about his clothes!
The Chick-fi-ladies with Joel in his CFA hat and winshape dry fit shirt!

wearing our Brazilian Winshape camps shirt! 

Today we walked a few miles around a nearby community Return works with and delivered gift bags to 13 single mothers or grandmothers and their children. Each house we delivered toothbrushes, feminine pads, vitamins, medicines, and clothes for each child in the home. The community was I guess what you would guess of semi-rural Africa, no running water or electricity. It was a community of dirt streets, half naked children running around amongst chickens, dogs, and women trying to make a living selling roots or other vegetables. A creek ran through the community. It broke my heart as I saw a little three year old boy down near the edge filling up his jugs in the creek as human fecal matter winded it's way through the water.

giving out toothpaste/vitamins etc. Samuel explaining how to use it all

this little boy peeked out as we prayed over his home and mama.

I probably had two of the most powerful moments of the trip so far today. First, as we would walk in each home we would give these gifts. These homes were made out of hand laid brick, wood slats nailed together, or sheets of corrugated metal bolted together. They were about a 10x10 or so with a shower door curtain and dirt floor. At each home we prayed for the family. As pastor Samuel told us the story of one woman in particular, the spirit burdened my heart to pray for them. Her husband was into witchcraft. After she accepted Christ he decided to leave her. I literally felt the power of God go out of me as I covered their home in prayer and the protection of the holy spirit over their home, hearts and children. It was indescribable. Another woman had 4 children, her husband died of aids and she sold fried cassava root outside her small home to bring income to feed the children. Another grandmother, 75 or more, was taking care of 5 children.
After the 8th or 9th home we walked through, a sweet teenage girl found me in the streets and we started walking arm in arm. Her name was Helen and she had great English. After a 'get to know you' chit chat, I asked her if she knew Jesus and she said yes, that he was her hope. Her dad died of what she called "the sickness" in 2009 and her mom left her and her 3 other siblings shortly after. Helen was 11 at that time and was the caretaker for her family. She went to this community where her aunt lives and she took them in. She told me that her aunt had three children that were younger than her. So her aunt and grandfather pooled resources to pay school fees so that hopefully Helen could in turn get an education and job so she could provide for her siblings in the future. She told me about the responsibility that lies on her shoulders to take care of them because there is not enough money for her siblings to attend school. I asked her what she wanted to do after school and in her most beautiful English with a lugandan accent she said " I have big dreams. I want to be a meteorologist and a social worker to help families. And I also want to be a defender of the orphan". Chills took over my sweaty body as I walked arm in arm with this sweet orphan who has the world on her shoulders, yet is hearing and obeying the command of God on her life to care for the fatherless. Tears came to my eyes as I told her what a special girl she was, how God was writing a beautiful story for her, how she was a special instrument he was going to used in mighty ways, and about the joy, work ethic, and dreams God has blessed her with. It would take me pages to type out the other amazing points in our conversation. However after she walked with me miles from her home, just to spend more time together, we got back to the church and I prayed over her, gave her our family picture, and left. She has made and imprint on my heart and I am writing this all down so I will not forget to pray that Helen will be an instrument of change in Uganda. Please remember her in your prayers as well.
After we got back to pastor Samuels house I had my first true squashy potty experience. So glad I only packed skirts for the week!
Then we ate lunch with sweet Samuel and Sarah as I heard from Samuel about their ministry needs and hopes for a school, land, and agriculture land to let the community to have sustainable resources. His vision is incredible and God has poured wisdom in that man amazingly. He is a father to two of his own, but the only father to many. He has full NGO (their version of 501c3) status, a board of 7 Ugandan pastors, lawyers and businessmen. All he lacks are funds. They only have money to feed the kids in the community two days a week. Feeding 159 kids twice a week costs about 110$,175$ if they provide meat and veggies. Please consider partnering with him. I definitely will be. They also need children sponsored if you go on the website you can do that there. This is orphan prevention. The sponsor money provides food, school and medical for the mother and kids so the mother doesn't have to leave or turn to prostituting. He asked me if we were still interested in adoption, there were several, hundreds he even said, children he knew in need of it. That tugged at this mamas heart strings and I'm not quite convinced I will not be living in Uganda this summer finishing up court proceedings. ;) I'm under the Lord's direction and lots more prayers to come on that.
We also gave out headbands to the kids that live under Samuels care, we shaved heads with the electric shavers we brought and put headbands on those newly shaven heads. We made balloon animals with them and enjoyed playing with the kids at samuel's home!
this little guy wearing an Auburn shirt I brought and a gators hat Alison brought :)

Sharon and Israel- Pastor samuel's son

Alison and Irene

putting the headbands on

Deborah who helps take care of the kids there and Pearl- Samuel's precious daughter

the girls in their new headbands!


oh sweet Pearl in her CFA hat!

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