Olyotya!

Olyotya! In the beautiful and complex language of Lugandan, this means “How are you?”

It’s difficult to believe we’ve been here for four days. It feels longer, and I mean that in a very positive way! We were so thoroughly accepted and loved from the very first moment we stepped off the bus that it felt like we were family. It is a completely natural feeling to get up in the morning and spend time with the children. As anxious as I am to get back to my own family, our time here is too short.

I wanted to share part of a letter that I received from one of the children. Rachael, a beautiful girl who loves math and wants to be an accountant, wrote that her life is good but she sometimes feels bad with a headache and stomach ache. When this happens she likes to remember her favorite Bible verse, Philippians 4: 6-7. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” The apostle Paul, who wrote these words, knew what he was talking about, and apparently so does Rachael! When she is sick, she doesn’t have medicine or a doctor readily available, she has the words of God. Rachael says, “When I read that chapter, everything is good in God.” As I read this verse I just sat there in wonder at the faith and conviction these children have in God. Our Sweet Sleep team and these children are on equal footing when it comes to loving our God and having faith that He will provide. In fact, it is the children who are continually inspiring us in our faith. However, what we were able to bring to these children, with the help of all of you who are reading this, are the wonderful and much needed beds, the Bibles (which the children treat with such respect and excitement), and a tremendous amount of love and hugs. Beyond all else, these children want to be lovingly hugged and talked to. I want to say a HUGE thank you to all of you who helped our team get to Uganda. These schools and these children could certainly use money, but the children desire our love, up close and personal, even more.

This week has been amazing. God’s presence is obvious. Tomorrow we get to celebrate with a birthday party for the children! We can’t wait! Thanks to you all, the donations from Central UMC Vacation Bible School, and many others, we have an incredible number of gifts for the kids, teachers, and staff at the Adonai house (where we sleep). We even have party decorations, crafts and games planned. It will be a day I’m sure all of us will cherish.

Once again, webale (thank you), for continued prayers and support.

With love,

Melissa Counts

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