From Emily Slenk, Volunteer Intern:
Someone once told me that everyone will have the chance to do something that knocks them off their feet and exceeds their wildest dreams. Never in my life would I have dreamed that I would end up here in Jinja, Uganda, interning at the James place, but WOW do I feel honored and blessed that God chose to send me here.
Life here in Uganda is both beautiful and challenging. I’ve have learned so much about this place, myself, and about Jesus. I feel blessed and honored to be able to experience the lifestyle here and these real life experiences will forever change my perspective on the things I have at home.
Daily life here is a crazy adventure, but I absolutely love it! From the moment I wake up to the time I go to bed my heart beats for the women and kids that I have met here. The relationships I have formed are friendships that will go far beyond my time in Jinja. Whether it be the happy laughter of the kids, the singing and worship of fellowship on Fridays, the flowers kids hand me from the ground, the daily washing of my crocs, the bandaids I get to stick on scraped knees, and every moment in between, I see Jesus shining through these people.
The biggest takeaway I have from my time here is to BE BRAVE. Meet the new person, smile when language is a barrier, laugh when I goof, weep with those whose hearts are broken and celebrate with those who are experiencing joy. Search for Jesus in the little things, allow myself to feel all the emotions, find the people that go unnoticed, and take every single opportunity that is given to me to learn more about this crazy amazing place. There is a lot of new experiences that arise each day. From riding bodas to get around, or walking down the red Ugandan dirt roads to discover the markets and cute shops, there is never a dull moment! I go to bed each night exhausted from the activities of the day, but I wake up excited to see what each new day entails. To the women and kids at the James Place, I’ve only been here for seven weeks and the time has come for me to return home… but you will forever hold a piece of my heart here. Thank you for being Jesus to me in my sweet sweet home away from home.
From Erica Slenk, Volunteer Intern:
My heart is so full. These past seven weeks in Jinja, Uganda have filled me with so much joy. I have had the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone and grow in ways I didn’t think was possible. As much as I love each and every one of the people here, I know God loves them indefinitely more. These people have faith in God like I have never seen before. They have taught me more about what it looks like to have complete trust in God. God is here, and He is working.
I am beyond grateful for the relationships I have made throughout my time here at the James Place. Every morning, as I walk through the gates, I’m greeted with hugs and warm welcomes. The preschoolers come running up to me saying, “teacher Erica, teacher Erica!” The sweet babies come walking over to grab onto my legs and give me a hug. It has also been amazing to sit beside the hard working and talented artisans at the James Place. These close relationships I have formed with the women and children is going to make leaving so hard. The love and compassion they have shown me is something I will never forget.
Spending time in the preschool has been an amazing experience! I have loved seeing all of the passion the teachers have for teaching, and the love that they give their students. The children are receiving a Christian education that will change their lives. I am so excited to see how the preschool at the James Place continues to grow and impact the lives of children!
As I say goodbye to these beautiful people and this wonderful place, I know this will not be goodbye forever. I will never forget about the amazing women and children here, and the work they are doing. The James Place is something really special, and it will always have a piece of my heart.