Hallo from Mbale, Uganda!!
Welcome to the land of warm greetings, precious smiles, and BIG faith in the Lord.
So, let me tell ya a little about what’s going on in the pearl of Africa:
The majority of Ugandan citizens identify as Roman Catholic, however there is still a significant Muslim population, many schools and orphanages in the area of Mbale, where we were staying, were either Christian or Muslim.
That being said, most of Mbale citizens live in small villages in the area, and within the villages there is a heavy influence of the belief in witch doctors and witchcraft, giving the enemy a present hold over these villages.
Even with all this of spiritual warfare going on in this town, it still doesn’t stop the powerful forces of the Lord to work in the hearts and lives of Ugandans.
I saw this most in the hearts of the orphans at Lwanda Children’s Home, where we were working (aka playing) while we were here.
I had the privilege of leading the P6 (6th and 7th grade) girls bible study for the time we were here. Each day the teachers would leave and we would get a whole hour to sit, talk, and get a better understanding of Gods word and how it affects their lives.
The Lord knew I had experience loving and teaching girls the exact same age at camp my two previous summers, and I can’t believe I had the opportunity to work girls the same age that I know how to reach and understand. I knew exactly what to say, what problems they are going through and what to tell them to encourage them.
Or… So I thought.
Just when I think I’ve gotten it all taken care of and I know exactly what to do, the Lord has a different idea to grow me and challenge me in reaching the hearts of his children.
One thing is the same: no matter where you are from, whether America or Uganda, if you are a 12 year old girl you are going to be emotional. School pressures, mean girls, all mixed in with puberty and hormones have made for an emotionally sensitive people group. I was well acquainted with these at camp, so the fact that my girls were a bit emotional at times didn’t surprise me at all.
What DID surprise me though, was what topics they were particularly emotional about.
These children have been clearly been through more than any of us can imagine. I can’t even begin to type out their stories without feeling physical pain in my heart. But because of their hard life many of these girls put up walls that I made a point to break down throughout the week. Simply by speaking truth and loving on these girls, I could already see growth and light being brought into their lives.
On our last day, I had most of my girls come to me with tears in their eyes. I stood and held my beautiful, hurting girls as they clung to me asking me not to leave.
Let me tell you, saying goodbye to these girls was one of the hardest things that I have ever done.
In saying goodbye, I told every one of them “Remember, you can do anything you set your mind too. You can be anything you want. Don’t let anyone else tell you different.”
If they weren’t already crying when I said this, they would either start too or cry even harder.
I wondered how often they have someone tell them that. Judging by their response, I knew it was slim to none.
But there, saying goodbye to these girls I had grown to love so so much, I realized that this is the one thing that the Lord calls us to do.
To go to the nations, and to love.
To seek out where each person needs to be loved the most and meet them there.
That’s exactly what Jesus does for us: He came down and met us when we needed Him most.
I was blessed, humbled, challenged, and changed by Uganda and giant chunk of my heart was left Lwanda Children’s Home with those girls.
The Lord is definitely moving and workin in heart, and I can’t believe I only have two more stops to go!
Talk to ya in France!!