One of the things my kids love to do in school is tell ‘news’. Each day during the appointed time, one by one the kids jump up front like popcorn singing out, “News, News!” All of the other students chime, “Yes please, tell us!” Then they can tell about things like what they ate for supper the night before, if their cousin is visiting, what they did on school holiday, ect. It’s a fun way to get them out of their shells, teaching them stage presence and improving their English.
Well today it’s my turn to tell the news! These past months have been so full, I never really had a chance to catch my breath until this past week when a nasty head cold landed me in bed for a couple days, and rest was no longer voluntary. But the upside of that is a chance to finally put pen to paper!
My 6 weeks in the States were a whirlwind, as I knew they would be. I’m hoping to do a longer post about my brother’s wedding, so stay tuned!
I arrived back in Uganda with a team who were an absolute joy to be with! During their time here, Pam did a mini-teachers’ training with all of my teachers, which they so enjoyed! Meanwhile other team members took over the teaching duties, managing all 63 of my mischievous, overexcited bundles of energy quite successfully… language barrier and all!! I was so grateful for the fresh vision for the teachers and new practical tools for them to help the kids learn faster.
We also had the joy of loading the team, all 32 of our primary kids, and our primary teachers to go ‘on tour’. aka FIELD TRIP!! We drove 2 ½ hours away to Jinja where the kids got to tour the candy making factory at Kakira Sugar works. It was the farthest almost all of them had ever travelled in their lives, and the journey itself was almost as exciting as the tour. Almost.
The tour was awesome. Kids+candy=timeless bond. I know the best part for them was entering the last room where lines of ladies sat hand-wrapping ‘sweeties’ in cellophane. As the kids passed by, the ladies would pour handful after handful of sweeties into eager little black hands and pockets opened wide. It was a miracle that the boys’ shorts, heavy laden with sugar, managed to stay in place on the walk back to the bus.
My favorite part was watching their faces. (since I can’t say I’m too eager to ingest the sweeties after seeing the sanitary conditions they were made in…..:) ) I have a feeling that the looks of unbelief, ecstasy, wonderment, and sheer happiness were a tiny glimpse of what our faces will show entering heaven. Watching them, so many parallels raced through my mind: The long journey of anticipation with only the slightest idea of the pleasures waiting in store for us to enjoy. The bounty laid out in front of us, and all not because of our own merit, but the kindness and generosity of Someone who delights in our pleasure. The inability to contain all the riches we are offered. And the chorus of thanks offered up as a result. My tiny glimpse of heaven for the day!
Last week I also got to make another trip to watch the graduation ceremony of my good friend, Sharon. After a long test of patience, endurance, determination, diligence, and faith in the Lord’s provision, Sharon completed her studies and graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Social Development. If we think getting our BA is a challenge in the States, it’s triply so in Uganda. Sharon comes from a very poor family, that has sacrificed even more for the sake of helping her complete her studies. That struggle made for quite a day of celebration! Celebrating Sharon and her hard work, but even more celebrating the faithfulness of God in bringing her to this point. I felt so privileged and blessed to be with her.
And the last bit of news for now….I got a new roommate!! Coming home, I found the house empty: both of my previous roommates having returned to the States. God knew I would need company, so He brought Callie J Callie will be staying with me until November, and I’ve determined to cherish my time with her for as long as she’s here.
Callie, Me, and Natalie
Sometimes, it’s hard when my life is filled with so many short-term relationships. So many visitors come here for a couple weeks, a couple months, or sometimes even a year. But very few stay longer than that. It’s a temptation sometimes to give up on those relationships before they start. To try to protect myself from the pain of saying goodbye to yet another friend I’ve grown to love. To refrain from pouring time, love, and effort into those relationships simply because they’re going leave again. But the truth is, I am called to love. Wholly, fearlessly, selflessly. To give wholeheartedly in each moment to each person Jesus brings into my life. After all, even Jesus’ disciples had were with him for only 3 years. But I know for sure Jesus loved them better in those 3 years than anyone else could have loved them in a lifetime. So I’ll continue to pray for not my love, but Jesus’ love in each friendship and relationship He brings my way. And I’ll keep deciding to make the most of the moments I do have with people….like dear Callie!