sunshine, JumpRopes and cookies

Today was a beautiful, sunny day in the middle of what the locals call the beginning of rain season. I promised a little boy named Marvin that I would make him sugar cookies last Saturday. And that is why I found myself baking 150 cookies the last two days.

Marvin lives with about 120 brothers and sisters. I knew that they would all want a cookie and Marvin would want his family to have one. Talking about cookies and me baking them is not why I am writing this. Anyone can bake cookies. But not anyone would be so thankful and happy about one sugar cookie. The children at Canaan are very appreciative and thankful. Seeing the smiles and the "thank you", after "thank you" after "thank you" made me stop and take a moment to be thankful myself. I'm thankful that I know Marvin because he has taught me how to be thankful for the little things, the big things, all things. The cookies are just a tool to build relationship.

Marvin sang "Jesus loves the little children" with his little hoarse voice and I was teary eyed listening. Yes He does. Little children that need protection and love. Today also made me think about all the hoop-la going on all over the world about Joseph Kony. If you are reading this and asking "who is Joseph Kony" then you probably have not been on facebook or twitter lately or read all the controversial articles about Invisible Children. I'll leave it up to you to investigate but the truth is: he is the leader of the LRA and caused thousands of deaths. Plain and simple, he should be brought to justice. Regardless what you think about what you read, Invisible Children has done a great job raising awareness and making this horrific war criminal known. Uganda is completely safe from the LRA now and they have been gone since 2006. As I watched Marvin singing, I thought about Invisible Children having the courage to stand up and raise awareness and make a difference. I thought about "Machine Gun Preacher" and many, many, many others that have tried to stand up and fight for children. I am thankful for everyone that has the courage to make a stand. I am thankful that Marvin is still alive and singing today because others have cared. Heal Ministries cares. We care about the abandoned women and children. We care about the orphans. We care about making a difference here where we have been called to serve.

I could hear laughter all around the Canaan Children's Home today. Girls and boys were jumping rope and playing. I took a friends two daughters to hang out with the girls. The girls at Canaan were excited to meet new friends. Watching the girls all hang out reminded me how much we are all just alike but all born with different situations.

I left the village of Buziika and visited my friend Fazirra (probably not spelled correctly) to take her family a basket of cookies. I have mentioned her before and she was there with five of her six children. Shariffe was at school. The rest of them ran up to me and they were so excited that I arrived. I talked with them a few minutes and left the cookies and explained that I just stopped by to say Hi. I left there realizing one thing different about the people here. Time. They have time to accept a visitor and you don't have to call ahead. They are welcoming and want to build relationships. Even if there is a language barrier, I can just sit and smile with them. I have been taking language lessons the last few weeks and Fazirra was so surprised when I spoke to her in her own language. She lit up and smiled bigger than I have seen her smile so far. As I attempt to get to know the people in all the villages and as I research the needs for HEAL's next phase, I am realizing that I must learn to speak their language. I must do everything possible to show that I really am invested and that I really do care. I really do care enough to share the ultimate HOPE and JOY. In their language.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” 1 Peter 3:15