“The most beautiful things in life are not just things. They're people and places, memories and pictures. They're feelings filled with moments, smiles and laughter.” Abundant love is given every day when women and children walk into the James place. Inside these gates, smiles are radiant, and laughter is contagious.
This is my second time being an intern at the James place. Last year I had the opportunity to stay at Heal for two months and created relationships that have been strengthened this summer. I didn't know what to expect coming back to Uganda for the second time. I knew I would face different challenges and create new friendships, but I didn't know how God was going to do it. A lot has changed since my last time being here. My heart fills with joy when I think of what God has done through Heal Ministries. From seeing women graduate business school to watching children succeed in preschool, it doesn't go unsaid that Jesus Christ is shining light throughout this place. One of my favorite things I get to do is watch the women make beads and pottery. I sometimes try to help but fail miserably. It’s fascinating to me to see how talented each and every one of them are. Their work ethics inspire me. I work in childcare, and it has taught me a lot about love. They give me more love than I thought possible. It’s a settling feeling knowing that these kids have a safe place where they get to play and love every single day. Although I experience a lot of joy, there are hardships as well.
For me, outside of these gates is a whole other realm. It is filled with heartbreak and loss. I started to wonder why Heal is such a joyful place, and it’s all because of the Lord. But on the other side, the women and children here deal with real pain. The past month I’ve been here, women have dealt with different things from losing family members to having their child get burned or hurt by a car. For some, it’s hard to hear these realities. They don't want to hear that those joyful, smiling faces suffer from these tragedies. Satan loves to see God’s people experience hurt, but the good news is that that will never be the end of the story. The good news is that satan will never win. The good news is that the Lord protects Heal Ministries and will ALWAYS win. It’s incredible to me that Heal Ministries not only keeps families together and empowers women, but that God is truly present in everything and everyone here. It isn't always easy being a missionary, and there are days the Lord truly challenges me, but I get to wake up knowing that these woman and children are loved. Anthony Bourdain once said, “Travel isn't always pretty. It isn't always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts. It even breaks your heart. But thats okay. The journey changes you. It should change you. It leaves marks on your memory. On your heart and on your body. You take something with you and hopefully you leave something good behind.” Being here has changed my life, and I’m thankful that God has shown me what it’s like to love abundantly.