Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cutie Pie Chaos - VALERIE

Valerie, here. Using Stuart's identity to sign in as mine is not working.

Our first full day in Uganda and what a day! We took a whirlwind tour of the city of Kampala, outlying areas, and two orphanages. It was a day filled with overwhelming experiences and images. The city is a hustling, bustling metropolis filled with merchants, storefronts, honking cars making four or more lanes on a road built for two, with bicycles and motorcycles screaming by on either side. And then there's the dichotomy of the city: people nicely dressed for the most part, all seemingly chatting on their cell phone contrasted against a backdrop of sheer poverty and need. The people are beautiful. The shiny ebony tone of their skin, their smiling eyes and welcoming voices.

We pulled up at Caring Heart this morning, the first of our two orphanages we're visiting this week, and were welcomed by a throng of children running to meet us as we pulled into their driveway. With windows down, the soft melody of a song I can only assume they made up just for us, flooded our van. "We are SO happy...so happy to see you here today...We are so happy...to see you...here today. So happy!"


After confirming with the director, we realized the sheer number of kids we were dealing with and had to reassess our game plan. For the 350 orphans we were expecting, the actual number was closer to 500-600. We spent a lot of time loving on these guys, cuddling, trying to learn names. Lugandan was overwhelming the spoken language here so we relied heavily on translators and the teachers to help us communicate. Following introductions of our team to everyone and then a song and dance program from them for us, we broke out into smaller groups. While half of the place was outside, getting fresh air and playing games, the rest stayed inside the meeting hall and worked on an arts and craft project.

After saying our goodbyes and loading on the van, we continued on to Africa Greater Life this afternoon. Again, the welcome mat was rolled out for us in the form of tiny faces and huge smiles. At this orphanage, the number of children present met our expectations of roughly 100. They, too, took us into a meeting hall and entertained us with beautiful music and hypnotizing dances. We shared in worship and then again, broke out into smaller groups to spend time getting to know our kids. I don't think any team member walked around with a free hand or arm the entire time.

It was a long, hot, hard day but oh so rewarding. Our only prayer is that these children and the people who care for them on a daily basis will see in us - in our expense and effort to get here, in our hugs and handshakes, in our presentations and games and arts & crafts projects - that there is a God. A God who created each one special and unique. Who knows their names. Who has not forsaken them. This is just one way for Him to say "well, hi there."

6 comments:

  1. Valerie, thanks for your word pictures and allowing us to share the experience. Kathryn, our prayers continue and am so thankful for the loving hearts that comprise your team. Love you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Give praise to His name...all yea people...praise the Lord Most High! Blessings to the team and thanking Him for the incredible miracles along the way! Our great friend Stacey Spain is with you.....let her know we are praying and asking God's comfort and strength for all. What an amazing GIFT God has given to each of us who know individually the people on this trip! May He transform each of you, and each of those you serve this week, and may you be energized and aware of His Glory as it is revealed! Praises!! And blessings!!

    Laura Horton

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous3:03 PM

    Valerie....you paint the pictures with your words so beautifully of the needs these children have to be shown love, and the ways you all are showing them God's love. I continue to be amazed by the work of Sweet Sleep and the commitment and faithfulness of each member. I go to bed each night thinking of you and you are first in my thoughts each morning. Many prayers are sent for this mission and each person. :) Brenda

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love it! God must have known about some more kids that needed some love. Have fun!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Karen Kephart12:45 PM

    You guys are the hands, feet, and arms of Christ. He has commissioned you to be there physically to put your arms around these children and to let them know that God loves them. What an awesome task this is! Reach out and touch.......Christ did! (and still does) Karen Kephart

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey Stacey, Its your sister. Your kids are Great! Everything is fine here. I have been looking at the pics and reading about the trip and wanted to cry. Not because of sadness but because of the Joy that God is using ya'll to bring to those precious children and people. I can't wait to hear about the trip. Praying for all of you, and am very proud of you! Ya'll are doing what God has called all of us to do. SERVE! That is where our Joy comes from. LOVE YOU VERY MUCH! Stephanie :)

    ReplyDelete