By 8:00 am, I was out the door and heading down the back roads towards Loving Hearts Children's Home. Traffic was bad, but Vincent knew a back route. I had reached out to Miriam and asked if I could visit her, and provide an update on Andrew Assimwe since he left with us almost 4 years ago.
I thought the clay mud roads might be bad since we had one of the hardest rain storms I can remember last night. But they turned out just fine. Last year, they relocated into a new campus just down the street and this was what I saw as we entered the gate:
Miriam, not only remembered us, she asked about each of our children by name. She especially remembered Andie, "who was so shy at first, but then became so outgoing in the end."
The staff and some of the kids gathered in front of my computer and projector where I showed them a video, showed photos and told stories of Drew's life over the past four years.
Then I was given a tour of the new compound. It was clean, well laid out and an amazing place for them to continue in their quest to serve these young orphans. By the way, all of them are from Kampala because the government won't allow any more orphans to enter in from other parts of the country.
I got down on the ground and started playing with the kids. They took me back to a time where we were just getting to know Lil' Storm for the first time. As I got up, several of them came after me and grabbed my hand. They wanted me to hold them and to play. A flood of emotions came back. This is a amazing work that they do here.
I asked Miriam of some practical needs and she gave me the same answer from 4 years ago, "diapers, wipes and mosquito nets." So I am on a mission to deliver to her these things before I leave.
We returned home for breakfast and then I found myself waking up on my bed with someone knocking on my door. I guess I had taken a desperately need nap. "Uncle Jeff, it is time to go to the school."
Miriam took advantage of our drive time and shared another story about how she is using the Scripture she is learning into a practical application. It first started with a conversation with her daughter this morning. Then, she has some friends with a newborn and they had not heard Proverbs 22:6, "train up a child in the ways of the Lord and when they are grown, they will not depart from it." So she went ahead and started to show them what they verse is saying and some suggestions on how they can use it. I am so proud of her!
We arrived at school, where Victoria and Peter are the only two kids at KS whose grade level has started, but the rest return next week. I wanted to see the campus. So off we went. I met the headmaster and several of the kids. It was a great environment for them to live, study, grow and learn. It even has a trampoline and pool!
We came home and started the final teaching program of the trip. The older kids proceeded to dissect Proverbs 22:6 according to the ways they had learned. And then we talked about the fruit of an avocado tree (like this one in their front yard) being more avocado trees. I challenged them to find that friend and invest in them - to be an avocado tree.
It was probably our best session of the week and I hope they will continue to approach Scripture like an elephant.
Tomorrow is Saturday and I promised to take them to the beach on Lake Victoria and have a BBQ. It has required a lot of planning and effort, but they are so excited because this is something they rarely get a chance to do. Victoria and Peter's friends are all jealous because they were dismissed for the weekend where everyone else will still be in school. (Yes they have classes on the weekend here). Desire told me he was gong to bed early so that tomorrow would come sooner.
One thing I can say after living here for a few days, is that the kids & staff here are unbelievably hard workers. They all have a role and they work together to get these things done. They sing, laugh and joke around, but the work gets done. Mama Irene is a very special woman. She is so gifted with her leadership skills knowing how to talk to each person. She is very involved and doesn't just tell them what to do, she participates in the work with them
And finally, everyone here loves to hug. When you greet people, or even friends of friends that you do not know, you give them a hug. There is something very personable and warm about that. We need more of this in the rest of the world.
So I am sending you all hug right now! In Christ - Jeff