The HEAL intern (Lynley Voges) is here and helping me prepare the way for three teams that will start arriving in less than two weeks. As we went around to different areas in the villages and to different orphanages, I was reminded how much it means to the children when a friend returns. Seeing the joy on the faces of the children as they saw Lynley again was so rewarding. It was just as rewarding to see the joy in her eyes as she embraced those that she got to know over a year ago on a short term HEAL missions trip.
The value of these short term trips will never be fully known on this side of Heaven. But, on this side, we get to see the love of Christ exemplified between the relationships of those we serve and those that come to serve. It is a beautiful picture that I will get to see again with the three teams getting ready to travel across the world, cross oceans and countries to come and see what God is calling them to do. I'm always thankful for the ones that answer call. Some answer the call by coming. Some answer the call by praying for us. And, some answer the call by sending others. Whatever the call, I'm thankful for God's people that he places together to complete His perfect plan.
We worked with the Canaan Children's Home on Saturday and this is always one of the favorite places for teams to go. I always love seeing the children find creative ways to play and on this day we found them throwing water on a foam mat so that they could jump and up and down on it splashing water! Several other volunteers went along with us and we taught the children a Bible lesson and made bracelets. Charles Cranford, a long time HEAL Ministries mission team member, joined us to help out because he is here in Jinja for the summer. After we finished with the younger children, the male volunteers talked with the older guys at Canaan and I took the female volunteers to a Bible study with the older girls. We talked about love and relationships and then asked the girls if they had any questions. It was a wonderful time because they were able to relate to three girls that were close to their age. We were asked one question by one of the girls that reminded us of the trials that many young girls face in poverty. She told us that she knows about girls at school that want good clothes and shoes and so they meet with older men that have money and give their bodies to them. She asked the three American girls what they do when they struggle with things that they want and how they avoid temptation. I was so proud of the three young ladies that were with me because they never acted shocked and answered each question with confidence that could have only come from God. The Canaan girls were so happy to be talking girl talk. It was just another example of how valuable these short term teams are because the girls here want to relate to girls similar to them from across the world.
We left Canaan and checked on Fazirra and Fred (the little boy that was burned badly two weeks ago). I am very pleased with how well Fred is doing. The children always run out to greet us and as usual, Shariff came smiling while holding a younger sibling. He is such a special young boy that I know God has big plans for. And, these short term teams are bringing more shoes and school backpacks. I'm probably most excited for the day that I get to walk up to Shariff and hand him his new backpack. It's just one of many, many reasons that I'm anxious for the teams to arrive so they, too, can fall in love with God's people in Uganda! Let the Summer Team Work Begin!
"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success."
- Henry Ford