The James Place

The James Place. When I begin to imagine how to describe what this place embodies, two words come to mind. The first word is joy, a joy that I have never seen before, a joy that I didn't know could be attained, a joy that fills every human being that ever steps foot onto this compound. When you experience women and children that come from nothing, you begin to further understand what it means to have true joy; to have a joy that is not controlled by success or circumstances but a joy that is affected by one thing. Jesus. Their joyful spirits are not rooted in their image but rather rooted in the joyfulness of being alive, having another living breathing day on this earth. That is true joy. 

The second characteristic that screams out to me when I think of the James Place is love. Try and imagine this for a minute. You are twenty years old, in a completely foreign country, definitely jet-lagged, and wondering why God called you here. You wake up your first morning in Uganda and you head over to a place you've been picturing and imagining for weeks. You step onto the red tinted dirt and immediately are flooded with beautiful children. These children immediately love you without any conditions. They love you because you're a new friend to play with, or because you have long blonde hair that they can learn to braid, or because you will push them on the swing for an hour, or give them kisses in the morning when you arrive. These kids love you without any conditions and it doesn't stop with the children. It weaves its way throughout the entire community of the James Place, through every staff member and every child I have experienced; what the Bible describes as unconditional love. A love that meets you where you're at, a love that doesn’t expect anything from you, a love without conditions. 

A place that captures your heart within seconds. A place that sees a need and meets it. A place that embodies Jesus through the joy and love given and received day in and day out.  The James Place is a special place.

- Gracie Benward, Volunteer Intern