FAMILY... I was walking down the street today returning to the James Place and a little girl came running down the street screaming "jaja Tina, Jaja Tina!". I looked and discovered that it was a 3 year old that is at our place everyday; Nakato. She was out playing with her siblings and mom. I literally teared up because I was as happy to see her as she was to see me. I also teared up because she truly believes that I am her Jaja - her grandma. And that is how it should be. On Sundays we don't see each other usually. She reached me and I grabbed her and hugged her and kissed her as I always do and she just laughed. That is how the love of Jesus is. We can run into His arms at any time and He will embrace us and love us. Nakato's love reminds me of Jesus' love. It is unconditional, innocent, pure and always growing.
As I sat down with her family on the side of the road, she called each one over one-by-one for me to hug them. I hugged each one and she just laughed. That reminds me of Jesus also. He wants us all to love one another and for all of us to be family. Nakato was happy to see her siblings receive the same love. There was no jealousy, just happiness.
Our team that just left felt that family love here at Heal's James Place. They felt it with the staff and the staff kids. They made me realize that God is not only creating family in the community and with the women in the program but also with the staff and teams. Nakato is learning extended love from each team member that holds her and laughs with her. She will be the next generation that will make a difference here in her homeland.
On Saturday morning, a family of siblings that we mentor showed up at the gate. Winnie came running up to remind me that I promised to take them to the fair. She ran up with expectancy and excitement. That reminds me of Jesus. He calls us to run to Him with expectancy and excitement and He gives us full JOY. We are in between teams and so Matthew, Trey, Caroline, Haley, Claire and Kayleigh (interns) all pitched in to help fulfill that promise...........we took Winnie's family and the entire HEAL staff (with their children) to the fair after serving over 200 children in KIDS CLUB Saturday. Everyone was so excited and had so much fun and it was an honor to be able to see the smiles and the laughter. That is what family does. They laugh and share memories together. And, that TOO, reminds me of Jesus. He calls us to love each other as family - to love others more than ourselves and to constantly put others above our own desires.
Family. That is what I am learning in Uganda. HEAL Ministries is making a difference. Not because of me but in spite of me. HEAL has created families everywhere - with other organizations, with the community, with the children in the programs and the mamas. With the U.S. board and the Ugandan board. Family is created with teams that come. Tomorrow, Nakato and all the children at the James Place will be introduced to a new team which will become more extended family. Nakato will more than likely run into their arms. And we try to teach the importance of running into the arms of Jesus. That is where our HOPE is - and that is where our family is rooted.