a day in Uganda

Today was a hard day emotionally. Everyone on the team shared an honest range of emotions and feelings felt throughout the day: joy, fear, sadness, overwhelming thoughts, stress, tears and laughter. We started our drive to Ekisa - which means grace. Emily and Emily (the two young ladies that started the ministry) seem too young to have something so magnificent. And, yet, as we met one Emily, it was evident that she was doing what God intended.

She has started a special needs orphanage. Right now, there are 13 children. 13 children that are loved individually all day. The vision that God gave these young ladies goes far beyond just taking care of orphans with special needs. They have hired a staff of approximately 20 adults that are all handicapped. They have hired people that would not have jobs otherwise. They provide transportation for the staff and meals and their children are able to go with them when needed.
As a result of this awesome vision, all the people living in the home and working in the home are blessed. As a result of this vision instilled by our Creator, we are able to see the children and staff at Ekisa from God's perspective. The team realized through an emotional group time that God is more evident at Ekisa. Some would look and question God but we were able to be present with the awesome 100% evidence that God is real and that everything has a purpose to glorify Him even when we can't make sense of it all.
Steven is doing great. He still can't communicate fully with us but he can laugh and love and kiss our cheeks. We met him at Amani and now he and Debra and Jason are at Ekisa doing awesome. Debra is great. She knows her name when she is called and smiles as we hold her. Jason runs to us as he wakes up from nap reminding us all of the God that wants us in relationship with His people. Rachel cannot walk but never appears sad. She laughs as we play London Bridge and we are reminded that God is real. One little boy gave us such sweet joy as he mimicked everything we said while another little boy kicked a soccor ball and made us teary. His name is Walter and he should not be alive. His mother poured acid on him when he was a child and while it is hard to see the purpose in this extreme sad situation, we see God when he laughs and smiles at Ekisa. He is loved. All the children at Ekisa are loved and well taken care of and today was a great day for the team. We are looking forward to going back.
We did a few minor projects for Ekisa - cleaning out a shed, organizing shelves in the kitchen, trying to repair a wheelchair, etc. But, the truth is they didn't need us - they honored us by allowing us to work for them. The real project that God intended was to teach us today that all His people are the same - we all just need love.
We ended our night with an African Choir that was performing downtown Jinja. They were so joyful and full of the Lord. The choir praised God and made us realize that our God is so awesome and full of personality. When we left dinner to head to the concert, we were emotionally drained and God provided us with a way to laugh and sing and dance tonight.