In April of 2011 the Lord opened my eyes to the crisis of orphans and ever since that day, my life has been transformed.
Since then I have been diligently praying to know how the Lord could use me to help his children in need. In March of 2012 I learned of an organization called International Voice of the Orphan who take missions teams to the country of Uganda to work in orphanages, do feeding programs in the slums, as well as care for ex-prostitutes from the ages of sixteen to thirty years old.
From my aching and desire of how to help these children, I knew as soon as learned of this organization that I needed to go. I filled out my application and sent off a check and reserved my space on the team for June 3rd.
After we landed at Entebee International Airport we quickly loaded up into three different taxi’s and began the trip to our ‘African hotel’ where we would be staying for two weeks.
Like I mentioned before, I thought I knew what it would be like.
What it would look like. What it would NOT smell like.
I clearly had no idea.
For the next hour we drove through town after town, passing village after village, straight into the capital city of Kampala.
My mind could not accept all that I was seeing.
For miles upon miles, as far as the eye could see:
Aside every dirt road
Behind every “house”
Up every hill
Around every corner
Miles Upon Miles …
complete POVERTY all around.
Little toddler children alone next to extremely busy roads.
Dogs wondering the street. Sleeping anywhere they could. (Some piled three high, dead on the roadside, waiting to be burned.)
Goats roaming the streets looking for anything to eat.
Mopeds called “bota-bota’s” (taxi’s) coming within HAIRS of slamming head-on into your vehicle.
No running water.
No trash system.
No plumbing. .
The ‘homes’ are mounded together by cardboard boxes, brick and mud.
Babies with no diapers.
Toddlers with no clothes.
Shoes? You tell me.
My mind was spinning.
Miles upon miles.
I believe it was at this point that my spirit and my heart went into a bit of a shock.
I truly had no clue how to process or make sense of much of what I was seeing.
Maybe it was just me. Perhaps everyone expected it to be like this…
I sure didn’t.
My spirit was paralyzed.
As bad as it may sound (and at times I admit it sounds negative)
it is truly not the case…
I fell in love with Uganda.
In all the chaos, in all the filth, in all the pollution, in all the need, the Lord was revealing Himself to me in ways that only He can in a situation like this.
To the average Joe, it looked horrible. It smelled horrible. No one in their right mind would bring their family here for a vacation.
This would be absurd.
However, as my spirit went into shock, my God was there ministering to me. It was as if He was sitting right next to me in the taxi whispering in my ear.
It was as if I could hear Him say, “These are my people. The children represent me. What will you do? Will you humble yourself and love my people or will you turn your heart against them? I did not call you for your own selfish gain. I called you to deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow Me, no matter what it looks like. I am calling you. What will it be?”
The taxi ride to our hotel was a great trial for me. Every ounce of my spirit was tested in ways I could not explain.
However, I can tell you this, I weep now at the thought of going back. I would leave tomorrow if I could.
The smells, the filth, the poverty, the hunger, the needs . . . the children . . . the people . . . they have stolen my heart.
I asked the Lord months ago to break my heart for what breaks His . . .
I believe He has started His work.
“He defended the cause of the poor and needy,
and so all went well.
Is that not what it means to know me?’
declares the Lord.”