I joined Brittany's team at Sangaalo. They were out looking at the newly purchased land and I arrived just in time for lunch and bath time. I fed four babies, Brandon, Nicole, Isaac and Taylor their lunch and then proceeded to the baby washing station.
The aunties have it down to orderly routine. I stood over an empty basin with a clean water bucket next to me. I had a fresh wash clothe for each baby and a bar of soap. One by one, I was handed a naked baby. I washed them, head to toe, and passed them on to the next auntie, who lotions them up with Vaseline and then dressed them. I love getting to spend extra time with the little ones and watching them grow. Many I've known since they were brand new.
Brittany's team was heading to Kampala and I joined her to head towards the airport to pick up my team. I waited anxiously for those infamous Go. Be. Love shirts to come through he baggage claim doors. It seemed like hours, but finally we were all together! No lost bags! I roomed with Calllie, my new coleader, and we prayed together.
The next morning, we got on the road to head towards Jinja. We all got to know each other a little bit. We got settled in at Providence Guesthouse, and headed straight to Abide Ministries.
Abide strives to prevent children from becoming orphans. They are referred families by the government or social workers that would have abandoned them due to poverty. They then help those families by teaching them a trade and helping them keep their kids. The moms LOVED us being there. We played with the children, danced and sang worship songs. We prayed for their needs. Such sweet families.
Our team is building relationships. As a leader, I love watching them come closer to each other and grow in their spirituality.
Last night, I was woken to a high pitched scream, and the words, "there's a bat in my mosquito net!"
Today, we took the team into the village of Wakissi to work with Healing Faith. Healing Faith works to educated, prevent and treat Malaria. We taught the kids the creation story and had a blast singing and dancing together. A parachute had been donated and the kids absolutely loved it! Jason, from Healing Faith, tested and treated a few positive Malaria cases.I have seen him do it many times. It's almost as if I have become desensitized to it. I sometimes forget the severity of it and the impact Malaria has on those deep in the village with limited to no income and treatment. One of the Missionary Kids got really emotional watching a girl about her own age suffer with many if the symptoms. It brought her to tears and then I remembered THIS is why I come. THIS is why I bring people here. To be affected. To see with their own eyes. To be changed.
Wow! That's all I can say! Our team spent the day walking thru about 2.5 miles of rural Ugandan village bush. We walked until we found any type of shelter where families may live and sleep. With a translator, we told them why we were there. We explained that we came to educate about Malaria and were sharing the love of Jesus. We found that many families had no idea what caused malaria. They all welcomed us into there homes. They all wanted prayer, they all received nets over all sleeping areas. It was awesome to see the smiling faces, the receptiveness and joy to have visitors.
As we were traveling, we came across a Jaja (grandmother) that had just lost her son. It is customary for a tarp to be hung and for visitors to come and sit with them. We sat, and grieved with her. Although you would never know she was suffering from a loss, because she was so happy we had come.
The genuine happiness that comes from such simple acts is admirable.
After an amazing church service at Acacia church, we headed to Sangaalo Baby Cottage. We spent the rest of the day loving on little ones. We brought over 100 cloth diapers and about 70 cans of formula. It was awesome changing the kids from their rag diapers into their new cloth diapers. We showed the workers how to use them. No more rags!
Our Nurse and Nurse Practitioner checked all the babies. Two needed medication and we were able to make a trip to the pharmacy.
I always love seeing the kids growing up! I've been visiting these babies for three years, it's awesome to watch the changes.
Today we were the first Visiting Orphans team to get to work with Sole Hope. Sole Hope treats children with jiggers and then fits them with shoes to prevent future outbreaks. We divided up into stations. We have foot scrubbers, chigger removal, shoe fitting and education. As the children were finished, we entertained them until all others had gone thru. Truly a team favorite!
The day of rest...and much needed. We took a boat road on the Nile river and FIVE team members wanted to be baptized. What an honor!
We arrived in Kampala the night before and headed to market to buy a few things for our feast. We woke up early and started cutting up meat and vegetables. The kids played outside taking turns loving on us. Like many children lacking parental involvement, they craved any touch or affection we could give them. Every time I left the kitchen to check on my team, there was always about 5-10 children waiting for me to scoop them up in my arms. It's overwhelming. They all deserve individual attention. They all deserve my love. I do my best. I make sure to acknowledge them all, and they all get "I love you and you are beautiful" from me. I've mastered saying it in their native tongue of Luganda. The children were served beef soup and fried rabbit! One of the boys who lives at the children's home, David, has been building a rabbit business for over a year. I promised him I would buy from him last November so he was elated when I followed thru.
After a long day of feeding and loving on kids, we headed up for rest. My team was completely overwhelmed by the huge need for love. I've seen it many times. All I can do is smile. When my team members are broken down in tears, I know that God is breaking their hearts for what breaks His. That is the whole purpose! He wants more for us! He wants US to be the solution! We have to take that pain we feel and use it to change things. To have an impact. To be His hands and feet! I. LOVE. THIS. STUFF!
Today was our last day as a team. We participated in a chapel service with about 400 children in a small church. As always, their worship was over the top!
This team rocked it! We young and old, single and married with kids, all different denominations and from all over the US and Germany. We all came together to serve and to love. Mission accomplished!