A list of things to do

In my journal there is a list of things that I wanted to wrap my head around-things that we needed to talk to Patrick and William about.  Things to say and to do and to check off of a list.

In nine days we try to take on the task of having a year's worth of conversations.
We try to cover a year's worth of issues.
We try to sing a year's worth of songs and pray a year's worth of prayers. 
We hold the children tightly hoping that nine days will be enough. 

In nine days we do a lot.  We are so thankful for all of the things we were able to accomplish.  Here are a few highlights from this trip:
  • We moved forward with hiring additional staff to help run the orphanage.  The staff there is becoming a beautiful team of compassionate and wise individuals.
  • We purchased 7 brand new bunk beds and carted them from Kampala to the orphanage in Bulenga.  Almost all of the kids have their own beds now, which is a serious improvement! 
  • Sonja and I got to attend a parent teacher conference for many of the kids.  It was such a joy to represent them-to get their grades back and see how they are doing.  It is an honor for us to get to be proud of them.
  • We visted a house across the road that is for sale.  One of our goals was to identify a way for the orphanage to phyisically expand.  The fact that a large fenced in house across the street from the orphanage is being sold by someone who appreciates Patrick and William's work is miraculous. 
  • We took all of the children into Kampala to get immunizations and dewormed.
  • We sat with them and read with them, sang with them and danced with them.
We did a lot.  Most of the things on my list are checked off, and I am grateful for that.  That is good.

Check. Line Through. X.

But there are lots of people with lists. The orphanage always reminds me that my value to them is not in the lists that I bring.  There are lots of people who come to Uganda with lists.  It is easy to make a list of all the things that need to get done-all the things that should be fixed.

Lists are easy.

I enter the gate of the orphanage with my lists and the delusion that human effort can generate the sort of transformation we need-the sort of transformation that it takes to make nine days last an entire year.

But at the orphanage, we spend the first two hours of every day in prayer and worship. We spend the last hour of everyday in prayer and worship. We set our lists down, under our hard chairs and we ignore them while we worship. 

We ignore our lists and turn together towards the creator. 

And this turn makes all the difference.  It is our primary work as Christians.  It is a turn I don't make very often on my own.  But it makes all the difference.

It means that this list in my journal, this list that now has the checks and the lines and the x's was a list worth making.