There are no words adequate enough to describe what I’ve experienced the past couple weeks. It would be easy to explain the differences in culture, the people I met, the kids we played with, the squatty potties….but all of that is nothing compared to how powerful and loving God is and what he has done and continues to do for the people of Uganda.
Love God, love your neighbor, go into all the nations to make disciples and baptize them in the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit..those are three things we are accountable for. This became real to me, it is legitimately all that matters in this life.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love children. The Ugandan children were beautiful, and so unloved. There was a church service in Jinja on an island on Lake Victoria (which feeds the Nile River) where there were mostly children, a few women, and one man (the pastor). I sat on a bench with children clinging to me, laying their heads in my lap, holding my hand…at the end of the service the pastor called the orphans up to the front so we could pray over them. I lost it when half the kids I had been sitting with came and stood next to me. Why have these precious ones been abandoned? According to Amy Washington, who started Kupendwa Ministries, “orphans” in Uganda are not actually orphans. This usually means they have been abandoned by one parent (usually the father) or both and they are staying with relatives. My heart physically aches for them. I know Amy feels the same.
Allow me to talk about her for a minute. She is the most amazing late-20s individual I have ever met. She has adopted one Ugandan child and fosters at least six more. At least one of these is HIV positive. Oh yeah, and she’s single. She has more passion for people than I’ve seen in a long time, even people she just met. When there is a need, she meets it. For example, she heard of this paralyzed man, Alex, who needed his hut to be repaired and she sent us there to do it. When we got there he asked for a mattress (because he had been sleeping on the mud floor with a single dirty blanket for years) and posho (which is the cheapest, blandest food in Uganda), they were delivered to him that day. Some of the guys on our team even carried him to his new bed. Amy cried and prayed over this man and poured herself out, pleading for his life and for his soul. That’s the kind of passion I want for other people. I’ve barely begun speaking of Amy, though. She started an organization called Kupendwa Ministries, which takes in abandoned teenage mothers. She is “Mommy Amy” to about thirty people I think, maybe more. The girls at Kupendwa learn about Jesus’ love every single day and they are taught skills so that they have a chance of making a life of their own with their child one day. Additionally, they homeschool at the Kupendwa Maternity Home, so they could even have a chance to go to college. They also have the opportunity to go to counseling every week to work through and pray for their past issues that still affect them today. They are beautiful women who I could tell God is teaching. Amy has given a lot of responsibility of the ministry to house manager, Ruth, and social worker, Winnie, which is so cool because now it is the Ugandans leading other Ugandans instead of Americans coming in and showing people how to be American and how to be a christian. Winnie and Ruth can communicate more openly and easily and they know more about Ugandan culture and how everything works than any American would.
Another thing…because of a conversation I had with Amy, I have decided to go back to school for sure. I was kind of on the border before, but now I see the importance. I’m thinking I may do nutrition and also become a certified midwife.
I have more than plenty to say, but I’ll leave it for another time.