I’ve known since God placed this trip to Uganda right smack dab in the middle of my life that my world was going to be rocked in a serious way. It’s been a very humbling experience for me, one filled with thoughts such as “Who decides what makes one persons life better or worse than the next?”. These children have so little and the vast majority have life stories that include more hardships, pain and loss of parents, siblings and other loved ones than anyone I know. The only items they own are identical to every other child there. Yet the happiness, joy and hope these kids have for their lives and their futures is humbling to me. They truly and fully trust in God like few I’ve ever known. They express no doubt whatsoever that He will always provide them with their needs. So, who is better off? The average person who has all of his needs and quite a few of his wants taken care of, but has no hope, no joy, no happiness, no faith in God or a young orphan living in rural Uganda whose heart, soul and mind overflows with all of those things?….I know what I think, what about you?
We started the day watching foot races between a few kids selected from different age groups. The team and kids enjoyed it so much and were cheering each group on just as loudly as the one before. But the group we all loved most and who God used to remind me of a very important lesson was the youngest group, “the babies” they call them. They were the last group and they ran with every bit of spirit, focus and intensity as the older kids. The smallest one could not have been more than 4…maybe 5 years old, tops. The other kids were yards ahead of him, several had already crossed the finish line when he was just passing mid field, but he continued on, running just as hard and with as much intensity as if he still had the chance to win. He wasn’t just last, he was dead last, but he kept running like he was in first place and nearing the finish line with someone hot on his heels! He never gave up. There have been many times in my life that I’ve wanted to give up on various things, a few times this included life itself. God guided me through many dark seasons of life and even though I’ve made it through to better seasons of life, I’ve been reminded this week and today in particular, that I still have much to learn, many truths to be reminded of…and today’s reminder was brought to me by a little Ugandan boy who never gave up. Never, ever give up.
From the races we moved to their beautiful prayer garden for a time of worship. Today was different in that instead of us just leading them in worship, THEY led us first! It was fantastic! Joyous songs of praise lifted high with voices, hands and dancing, quiet songs of reverent worship from pure hearts… Most were in English, but a few were in their native language of Luganda and I think we all agreed last night the songs they sing in Luganda are our favorites. This service was by far the most enjoyable and moving one of the week for me and one that I will cherish the memory of forever.
It’s been a week full of constant amazement and awe at the perseverance, spirit and faith in God these children possess and we all agree that we will be broken-hearted when we have to say our goodbyes tomorrow.
Here are a few photos of today’s activities.