Peace to the Ground Update- Uganda

June 03, 2013

It’s been another epic week in Uganda! I can’t believe how fast the days have passed & as I reflect each night, I’m amazed by how much can fit into an African day!
The week was off to a perfect start as I had the privilege of attending the inaugural church service held at Smile Africa Ministries. It was beautiful-the 4-hour service flew by & I didn’t want it to end! The boarders have a choir team that led us in praise & worship, one of the older boarders shared a message, another shared her testimony, & Michael also shared a message.  It was a blessing to be able to have fellowship with the children- their faith is so abundant & so genuine.  I look forward to seeing how God will use this new service to reach those in the local community.
This week brought many answered prayers in regards to our current BFR Kids family.  Everyone is in awe of the improvements made by Evelyn- she is a completely new girl! Her appetite has increased drastically & she has gained 1 lb this past week!! This small girl has a HUGE personality that surfaces more each day!
She has begun crawling on her hands & feet & she loves to practice walking & now only needs the assistance of 1 hand.
Ocheing is her new morning walking partner :)
We are all just blown away by her progression & I am confident that before I leave Uganda I will witness her first step & hear her first spoken word. Not only has Evelyn shown a transformation this past week, but her brother Kemu has also shown improvement. He is no longer the timid boy that I remember meeting- he has become more outgoing & wears a permanent smile that suits him so well :)
To top off all the good news about our BFR Kids’ family- their aunt/caregiver Alice is the newest addition to the group of women at Smile Africa that make Papers of Peace beads for the beautiful BFR necklaces!!!
The women have given her a warm welcome & it has been a joy to work alongside her. She was beyond ecstatic when we proposed the idea to her & every time I glance at her working in the craft room, she is smiling! Alice is so thankful to have the opportunity to contribute to the needs of her children & she feels very empowered.
Clovis’ health is another big answered prayer- he continues to gain strength each day!  He has been much more talkative, walks around the Smile Africa grounds everyday, & has even begun requesting specific meals. The school term began on Monday & that has motivated him to gain strength quickly so he can return to his studies. He requested a schoolbook & pen when the other children received theirs & I’m certain that he’ll be back in class in no time!
So many memorable moments this week, but one of my highlights was getting the opportunity to talk individually with a few of the kids and gather information in hopes of finding them sponsors.  I feel so passionately about this because I’ve witnessed how a sponsorship can change the lives of these children & their families. All of these children have remarkable stories- I love learning of their past & getting to hear of their future ambitions. With God, all things are possible, & these children are limitless!
As they share with me their dreams of becoming doctors, teachers, lawyers, pilots, community leaders, pastors, etc. I have no doubt that they are capable. Their backgrounds have given them the determination & strength needed to achieve these goals.  These children are going to be world-changers…they are our future! I truly believe in each & every one of them!!
As we all look forward to the BFR team arriving this coming week, I’d like to end by sharing the greatest thing I’ve learned here to encourage these team members & any others considering coming on a future trip. Many times we question how we will be able to contribute to the people we serve. I have been reminded daily that the most important quality you can possess is love & God will take care of the rest.  Sometimes we question what to say, how to say it, or we worry about language barriers & cultural differences.  As I reflect upon the most memorable moments of my time here, words can’t adequately describe them because words are often insufficient. Our actions are what truly matter.
 I’ve learned that the universal language is love & that it is desired by all people, regardless of age or culture.  As I type this, so many concrete examples of this come to my mind….my morning walks which always begin solo & end as I enter the gates of Smile with a few kids hanging on me, desiring to be touched; my interactions with Alice that have always been nonverbal, yet have been so powerful; the widow that recognized me in town & although we couldn’t verbally communicate, she grasped my hand & we walked together & then she put my arm around her shoulder & held me tightly as we continued to walk; the crying babies that are soothed as they are held; the hundreds of hugs that I give out & receive daily; etc. Don’t we all desire to be loved? These children are hungry for it. So for you to be present & show them love, you have given them the greatest gift possible. When they can see love in a tangible way, it is easier for them to understand the love that our Father has for us. There is a reason that love is the greatest commandment- it is so powerful! I thank God for using these children to teach me how to love deeper, with a boundless love like He has for us.
Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:18 -Kelsey