I apologize for the late blog post. We had a very long day yesterday as well as a very long day today. I have been excused from a group meeting tonight so that I can fill you in.
Yesterday a very groggy group rose for breakfast. When we finished we loaded the bus for another long drive to UG459. It was the day we would be hosting a VBS day for all of the children. Because it was a work day the bus ride took about 3 hours instead of 2. When we arrived we received the same overwhelmingly exciting welcome as we had the day before. After the greeting the day gets a little chaotic so I hope you can keep up, I know we struggled to. We first performed some worship songs for the children. Some, they didn’t quite grasp and others they seemed to enjoy. Following we played around and then it was time for lunch. Members of the team had the opportunity of serving the meal to the children. When everyone finished eating. We made a trek up to the church for the puppet show which was an absolute hit. I couldn’t help but smile every time the children screamed and cheered every time a new character appeared above the black curtain. Following the puppet show it was an absolute free for all. Children chasing you around, children grabbing you and pulling you from place to place. We intended on having crafts and games, none of which got accomplished. A game of volleyball quickly became a mosh pit. We shut that down as soon as we realized there would be more injuries than children actually having a good time. When the time came to distribute gifts… well, we were 41 gifts short. Jenny made a quick decision to dip into the games bag and 41 gifts were created. We like to think is was God’s reenactment of Jesus feeding the 5,000. Mostly because at the same time the chaos was occurring, he bestowed the blessing of a double rainbow outside. By the end of the day the team was frazzled, stressed and exhausted. All before we entered the bus for a ride nearly 4 hours long. What we learned was that no matter how hard we try we are never in control, God is. No part of that day discouraged us from wanting to return to our lovely friends in Mityana. In the end…
In complete disregard to yesterday, the majority of our team had a good nights rest. We know God loves our team because we were able to rise a little later this morning. We met for breakfast and it was time to discuss how the day was going to go. We were learning the newest plan, Plan C but its Uganda which means we knew to be flexible. We would be hosting VBS for the young ones in the morning and a Teen Conference in the afternoon. But first, we got to go shopping for our families and soon enough we were entering the gates to home once again UG511. The women of the project had prepared a traditional dance for us. They performed as we all sat under a tent looking out across the beautiful lake Victoria with the most refreshing breeze blowing across the project grounds. UG511 can truly feel like a paradise. The women invited us to join us in there traditional dance and I can definitely tell you that I didn’t get my moves from my mother and most certainly not from my brother. Even my little boy Adam knew how to shake it. After the dance it was time for tea. I finished early and decided to join the young girls jump roping outside. Soon enough it was time for the puppet show. In the least boastful way possible I think I make a pretty good puppeteer. Although the children didn’t share as much enthusiasm as UG459 they seemed to truly love the show. we sang a closing song and then passed out Burger King crowns to all of the children to show them that they are God’s princes and princesses. Having the opportunity to crown God’s very own royalty doesn’t come around very often. It will be impossible to wipe their cheesy smiles from our memory. When the crowning ceremony finally ended it was time to refuel and have some lunch. When I finished, I looked for ways I could help in order to keep the program moving. Also because my Mom was Facilitator of the day and I didn’t want to receive a lecture later that day if i wasn’t helping as much as possible. I walked up to the top of the hill and into Deliverance Church. I found all teens of the project helping to gather the materials needed for craft, also while making ones of their own. Minutes later felt a tug on my skirt. Little Adam had followed me up the hill with his lunch and I couldn’t have been more honored he took his lunch to-go for me. “Nange,” the children called out meaning “even me,” in order to solicit help or show off their new ribbon wand. We were able this time to organize somewhat of a rotation. Once the children finished their craft they were instructed to exit the church for games. The sight I saw exiting the church was one of the best ones I have seen yet. 100’s of crowned little ones chasing 1 wild one, CJ. Games closed out our day with the little children and the rest of the day was planned to be devoted to the teens. In previous years they had felt excluded from our interest and our love and we wanted to show them that this was truly not the case.
The teen conference opened up with a skit performed by my Dad, Chuck, and my brother, CJ. I sat in the front conversing with the teens, some shy and I was able to convince I wasn’t going to bite. It was the fist time in the trip someone guessed at least in the ball park of my age and they were spot on. “22, I can see it,” they explained. I have to admit, it was a real confidence booster since I had been getting age 10 throughout the trip. One of the boys sitting next to me explained how difficult it was to understand us sometimes although they speak very good English. It’s the equivalent to what we hear when they speak to us in English, a very thick accent. The translator took away a little bit of the humor from the skit but they were still able to make them laugh a few times. The skit was about how God knows us.He knew us before we were conceived, before we were born, what is in our minds, everything. We never have to be ashamed because God loves us unconditionally. Sharon helped to reiterate the skit and then we split into small groups.
Sue Cheung and I were partnered together and I think we made a great team. The girls were handed a piece of card stock and asked to write their name and decorate it in a way that described who they were. Sue shared some of the her commitments that she had written on hers. When I shared how a project used each letter of my name to describe me, the girls wanted us to do the same for each of them. They exclaimed, “wow,” every time Sue and I used words like amazing, wonderful, and incredible to describe them. These children don’t know how special and beautiful they are. We discussed things like they’re future professions: Journalist, Doctor, Lawyer, Nurse, Hostess, Teacher. Their chores: mopping, washing dishes, carrying water, washing their brothers and sisters. The most disturbing thing to hear was that their biggest fear was of the “night dancers” in their village, warlocks to enter or surround their house at night to cast spells on them. Not only this but we learned yesterday that UG 459 has a problem with child disappearances. The witchcraft worshipers sometime use children as human sacrifices. Some of the children, boys and girls, had pierced ears as a way of preventing this because it makes them no longer “pure.” Some babies would disappear from the hospital when the mother’s are asleep from giving birth.We ask for your prayers for these people’s safety and security.
As we closed out the session with the girls we asked if they had any questions they could write them on a note card and give them to us when we see them today. We handed out gift bag that contained a notebook, a headband and . Sometimes the girls will have to miss school because they don’t have the proper products for their cycle. They were very grateful and said they would have questions about them today. It was so amazing to see these girls open up.
Although these past few days were long, they have been nothing but rewarding.
Not only did we conquer these last two days, we survived!
The Uganda Survivalists
The Uganda Warriors
The Uganda Addicts