I cried when we left the orphanage a year ago. The kids were all so sad to see us leave, we had learned their names, and a big part of me felt guilty to be leaving them. They were just a bunch of kids and even in a place called "Raising Up Hope for Uganda" I still felt a sense of hopelessness.
We had spent just two weeks living there. We had eaten rice and beans everyday, tried to remember enough elementary school grammar to teach some semblance of English classes, and worked hard to remember each of the 42 kids' names. Most importantly though, we had decided to do something after we left.
It could have been all too routine. Go to a poor foreign country, love and take pictures with a bunch of really cute kids, have your heart break for them, and then leave feeling sad and guilty only to convince yourself that there is nothing that you could do. That has been me too many times. It was almost us again.
We had no clue what we were doing. We don't know much now, but we knew even less back then. We had not finished college yet, we had only lived in Uganda for 5 months, what could we do to really make a difference?
I am learning that the act of doing, is less pressing then the need to be available to respond. It is as if we are the axis and all of these wonderful people are moving and working around us. Patrick and William who are leading the orphanage, the kids who are all in school and studying diligently, our donors who continue to amaze us with the generosity and love, and a board of directors who has graciously lead and supported us. All it took was for us to choose to get up and stand straight to allow the Body of Christ to come alive and respond to each other.
It has been a year. Since we first left Uganda 48 wonderful individuals and families have partnered with us by giving financially, because of their generosity we have paid the school fees of 42 students for 4 school terms, we have been granted 501c3 tax exemption by the IRS, and the 4 members of our Board of Directors continue to give of their wisdom and time.
On Tuesday we are going back. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to look back on where the Lord has brought us since we were last in Uganda. First thing I want to do is hug each of those kids. I have a feeling they will remember us. They will call us Auntie Sonja and Pastor Caleb. Instead of making up English lessons, we will get to help them with their homework after school. At night they will play the drums and sing and dance and pray. We will talk with William and Patrick we will strive to lead in wisdom as we discuss finances and plan for the future. We will pray for partnerships and leadership from those older and wiser who are also serving in Uganda. And after another two short weeks I will cry again, maybe even more. But I will be thankful that a year ago we had not decided that we couldn't do anything.
With Love, Sonja
(In the midst of unreliable internet we are going to try to keep this updated while we are there so keep checking back.)