so after my blog post yesterday…things really went downhill here. We cannot decide if a stomach virus circled through room 11 at Gately on the Nile…or if it was a bad reaction to the food we ate at the roadside restaurant called ‘Try and Trust’. I will spare the details but lets just say, we tried and we do NOT trust. Little David got the worst of everyone and for a little while it was pretty touch and go. We were afraid that we would be visiting a Ugandan hospital but thank God, we met up with a nurse here at the hotel from Texas and she was here during research on infectious diseases and was able to get us some medicine for David. Overnight, it seemed like a miracle…he was the same ol’ David when he woke up this morning and kept us all on our toes, running around all day. We were truly grateful for the divine placement of the Dr and always recognize that there are no accidental meetings.
All that to say, there was not much excitement for us as far as ‘African adventure’ goes yesterday….unless you want to classify the ‘Try and Trust’ as an adventure…
However, today we got to partake in 2 of the most endearing parts of Africa, its beauty and its children. We began our day by visiting Ekisa. It is a small, special needs orphanage run by a 21 year old girl named Emily with a passion for the overlooked and abandoned. As you can imagine, pulling up and seeing the faces here for the first time, left an instant impression on my heart. We were greeted by 3 boys about the age of 7, one suffering from CP, one an unidentified need and the other with such severe burns on the right side of his body that it was difficult to look at. We were told that his mother had thrown something on him to burn him and then he was abandoned. Walking onto the porch, I was immediately drawn to a little boy sitting with his ‘auntie’ (African nanny). He was propped up against her with an instantly recognizable disability. After falling in love with Theo, I can’t imagine that I could ever walk past a child with hydracephalus without stopping to touch him/her and let them know how special they are. He looked up and reached out to shake my hand, asking me how I was. His speech was not clear but I could make out what he was saying. His head is so huge that it undoubtably weighs much more than the rest of his body, filled with fluid that will never go away. He told me that his name was ‘Arafat’. His nanny told me he was about 8 years old. When you see pictures, you will see how shocking this is. We played for a while and he would keep saying ‘Oh my goodness’ over and over again….it was hilarious. We laughed and he sang and then he kept saying ‘I love you’. It is always so amazing how forgiving and open children can be. How does a child know who to trust and who to love after being neglected and abandoned? Yet, this precious little boy so freely was ready to give love. I can’t help but believe it is because these children are the truest and purest form of angels. I feel closest to God when I am holding them. I feel how thin the vail between heaven and earth is. I have felt this 4 times now, with a little boy named Jacob at the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home. With a little boy named Timothy at the Home of Loving Faithfulness in Hong Kong. Most famously with a little boy named Theo at Maria’s Big House of Hope in Luoyang China. And today, with little Arafat at Ekisa in Uganda Africa. What a journey God has taken me on. I never know if I will see them again this side of heaven. But I do hope that when that day comes, that God will grant me the gift of seeing them all healed and running and full in His glory. If there is no earthly reward for loving the least, surely that must be it, when we can all SEE!
There were others, little Jojo, 4 years old with Downs Syndrome and HIV. Rachel who had polio as a baby and left unable to walk. Joshua who is so new to Ekisa that they have been unable to diagnose him. Zeke, 8, and joyful….with the sweet spirit that seems to be typical with children who have Downs. As close as I feel to God when I have the opportunity to spend time with these incredible children, it is so hard to try and comprehend why there is so much suffering. I go to bed tonight burdened by this thought. Again, wondering why it is always so heavy on my heart. It just never seems like I have enough time to give everything I have to them.
I honestly didn’t mean to go off on all of that. I had planned on just writing briefly to wrap up this indescribable mission. I guess since it is the last night of the trip, it would be difficult not to feel reflective. We spent the afternoon sightseeing at the Nile River. I don’t think I ever thought I would be standing at the Nile River. Its one of those places you read about in 7th grade geography but never really think about going. I’m thankful to be able to see another part of the world.
I feel that the past 17 days have just been a preview. A glimpse of the incredible things that God is doing in Africa…a taste of future opportunity that I may be given to be the Hands and Feet here. Have no doubt that my heart is always in China but I am more than open to being brought back here as well. This children have left a handprint on my heart.
When we drive through the streets of Africa with the windows down, the children all look at us. I don’t think it is a frequent ocurrance for a vanload of white people to travel some of these dirt roads. They line up, waving to us and shouting ‘Mzungu! Mzungu!’. That’s what they call white people here! I think its pretty comical. I hope that as we travel to the airport tomorrow evening, we will see them saying ‘So long Mzungu!’ I also pray that we will see the children of Africa again soon.
Pray for us as we travel home!
Love from Africa!…for the last time…for now