One of the best days of my life so far…

Today we landed in Entebbe, Uganda around 9 am. It was nice to know that tonight I get to sleep lying down! Unfortunately, our team members from Indiana did not have any of their luggage arrive in Uganda.  Prayers that their luggage arrives tomorrow would be greatly appreciated! The airport is an hour away from our city, so when it does arrive they will have to backtrack a little.
After getting that situation taken care of, we boarded a bus for the Adoni house which is where we are staying. It is incredible…obviously not the amenities of the United States, but absolutely beautiful and more than I could have ever expected.
We packed up and headed to the orphanage. It is about an hour’s drive to Blessed Hope Academy. The hour’s drive was overwhelming as we passed both breathtaking landscape and heartbreaking poverty. As we pulled on the road leading to the orphanage (mind you that we’re still a quarter of a mile away) we begin to hear this loud noise. First mistaking it for music, we soon realized that it was the kids screaming. As the bus broke into the clearing of the orphanage, over 200 children’s faces were filled with honest joy as they ran screaming towards the bus. Overwhelmed, tears filled all of our eyes. These children did not know us…had never laid eyes on us…but they believed we brought them hope and were beside themselves with excitement. The minute you got off the bus, children were attached to you…holding your hand, your leg, hugging you, and just looking up into your eyes grinning from ear to ear. We made our way over to their assembly area. The children could not stop smiling…they were honestly bursting with happiness. The teachers were all introduced…we were all introduced and then Stuart began to explain to the children why we were here. Josephine begin interpreting and telling the students that we were providing them with mattresses, sheets, comforters, and pillows…Josephine had to stop talking because the children were cheering so loudly. Again with tears in my eyes, it made me stop in amazement that these children found such happiness in things we find so every day.
We had the opportunity to get a tour of the orphanage. It was overwhelming to see the rooms with mattresses on the floor, knowing that multiple kids share each thing mattress. The classrooms are bare with thatched roofs, no walls, and dirt floors. The students played soccer with a trash bag/rubber band soccer ball and shared everything they had. They were so proud of their home and so happy to spend time with each other and their new friends (us!).
It’s only Day One, and I don’t even know how to explain the emotions I have felt in such few hours. I am so thankful I have so much more time left. The children are an exact replica of the child like love God wants us to have. The children of the orphanage performed several of their own worship songs, and you could feel God’s presence. I am so thankful for Pastor Joel and the vision he had for this group. The children have already been a blessing and taught me many things today.  I ask for prayers for our team member’s luggage; I can’t imagine how difficult it is to be in Africa with nothing of your own. Secondly, that we will all have energy and high spirits tomorrow…traveling for 48 hours truly wore us out. Finally, that we can fulfill as many of these children’s hopes and wishes as possible. Thanks for prayers in advance and hope to write again soon!!