Back in Jinja

H.E.A.L. Ministries is back in Jinja. We are partnering with Harpeth Hall to give a team of 12 an experience that they will never get.

The girls are getting more than a community service credit. They are getting life time memories that they will cherish forever. And, we have only been here one day. It took two days to get here and one day to bond and figure out that life is much bigger than ourselves.
After 18 hours on the plane with 23 packed suitcases full of supplies, lots of delirious laughter, a midnight check in Entebbe, a three hour bus ride through Kampala, we finally arrived in Jinja. What a delight! the views that team experienced alone was worth it! During the first 24 hours we have accomplished alot. We played with the children in the Amazima program and the team got to see first hand what this program is all about. Since we were here last in July, they have completed an awesome playground, began construction on a chapel that will serve as an English teaching facility, added more children to the program and gave over 100 families goats for Christmas! The founder and leader of the program (Katie Davis) homeschools 13 girls while running this awesome ministry and writing a book (and she is only 21 years old!) and say she has been busy since July is an understatement! It was great for the team to see the difference of how one small, joyful, young lady can make a difference.
We spent a few hours playing with the kids and I could see the transition of our team members. They got out of the bus reluctant when we first arrived and left hugging the children, reluctantly to get back in the bus. Its' the small things that God uses on these trips over and over to change our hearts and to see the world from His point of view: a smile from a child, a hug from a mom, a little boy coming up to just sit with you and hold your hand, or seeing over 400 children laughing and playing and leaving with bags of rice, beans and flour for their families. We'll have the privilege of returning next Saturday to assist with the cooking, cleaning and serving.
After we left the Amazima program, we visted the Canaan Childrens Home. This orphanage has 125 children that are loved on and given a second chance at life. Children that each have a story that is almost unbearable to read about. They have had parents that sold them, abandoned them, surrendered them to the LRA, or just simply did not want them. Pastor Isaac loves them and teaches them that they are valuable in God's eyes and can make a difference. They are happy, educated and loved. It will be a joy for our team to serve this orphanage.
After a full day of seeing Jinja, including stopping downtown to get a coke and see the market, we relaxes in our Guest House and ate pizza. How very American of us the first day! At the end of the day we each shared stories of what we experienced in just one short 24 hours. The stories shared included; how incredible it is to see the older siblings taking care of the younger ones, how joyful everyone is here in the worst of conditions, how beautiful the scenery is, how beautiful the Ugandan people are, how relational the Ugandan people are, how eager to the Ugandans are to trust and receive our friendship. We have much to experience the next two weeks and the first day opened our hearts to receive exactly what we are supposed to on this journey!