Five years ago, Sonja and I watched 42 kids in Uganda head off to school for the first time. On my recent trip to Uganda, I showed the kids pictures from that first trip in 2010. They had never seen old pictures of themselves. We clicked through pictures from 2010-2015 and they pointed, laughed, and clapped as they saw themselves. They have five years of overwhelmingly good memories. For kids whose memories have been the sort that you try to forget, being a part of creating 5 years of good memories is probably the most significant thing I have ever done.
Today, Beautiful Response is partnering with Raising Up Hope for Uganda to provide food, support, housing, and education for 58 kids. Raising Up Hope helps an additional 21 students by rescuing them from slums in Kampala and placing them in boarding school. A further 140 children are receiving an education through Raising Up Hope’s day school. Well over 200 children’s lives are profoundly different because of our work with RUHU.
At 21, Sonja and I naively embraced a responsibility we had no business embracing. We often think back on how outrageous and impulsive it was to promise an education to Victoria, Arnold, Sylvia and the other kids at RUHU. Two weeks ago on my 5th trip to Uganda, 5+ years into our relationship with RUHU my eyes started tearing up when the 14 kids at St. Mark’s High School walked up to the bench where I was waiting for them. They were not kids anymore. They were young men and women with confidence and passion, multi-lingual, on their way to universities and lives of service and leadership.
In 2010, Sonja and I were clueless. The growth of RUHU and the success that Beautiful Response has had are daily reminders to us that God can take naive faith and turn it into something far surpassing what we could ever ask or imagine. We are more confident today of the excellent care and academic opportunity that RUHU is providing than we were five years ago. We are starting to glimpse just how impactful an outlandish decision made 5 years ago will turn out to be.
To those who have given financially to ensure that these kids receive what they need in order to grow into their potential, thank you. Your giving over the past five years has accomplished a lot!
The next five years are going to be amazing. The first RUHU kids will graduate! We will cheer them on, help them find jobs, and establish lives. The littlest ones will make five more years of good memories. There will be triumphs and struggles. We cannot see what the next five years will hold, but if you had told me what the last five would have been like, I wouldn’t have believed you anyways.