Archive for February 16th, 2008
When a bunch of Internet/blogger types head to Uganda, what would you expect to happen?
Knowing the way our adversary works, you can imagine we have battled Internet issues all week long. I have not been able to get my email to work for several days.
My family hasn’t heard from me in at least three days. So here goes a note to my family on my blog — I find it quite ironic that while I’m on a blogging trip, the only way I can get a personal message to my family is through my blog. So here goes …
To My Precious Family — Donna, Megan, Zach & Mandy,
I’m headed home! My heart has been pointed there for several days. I miss you all terribly and I can’t wait to see you. I’ve got wonderful things to share with you — too many to be captured by a few articles and blog posts. But, more than wanting talk TO you, I want to hear FROM you. I want to hear your voices, to see your faces, and to learn how your week went last week. Most of all, I’m looking forward to being home and being with you!
This has been an amazing trip with a wonderful group of people. No one would have put us together by looking at our personalities and past experiences. We’re quite a collection! But, I believe we all feel that God did what no one else would dare to do: He did bring us together in this far away place. Compassion International and the children of Africa were His vehicles to do it.
There are funny stories to tell about each of my new friends, but I will share those some other time. You’ve read their blogs and probably seen some of their videos. You probably know more about what they’ve said than I do, because we haven’t been able to read each others’ posts.
So, before we leave on the plane to brings each of us home, our team will gather one more time. We’ll share the Lord’s Supper together. We’ll remember the Lord and His sacrifice for us. I know that I’ll miss being able to do this with you.
I know that my journey home will seem longer than the one coming here, because I can’t wait to see you. Yet I will also leave a part of my heart here in Uganda. When I get home, I will tell you more about your new little sister, the little girl we sponsor, and I think you will understand what I mean. Until then, please know that I love each you and hope that we can all do something like this together.
Love you forever,
P.S. Donna, I want to especially tell you how precious you were to hide a card for each day in my luggage. I can’t say everything on my heart to you face-to-face. Until then, 3 squeezes!
“Tonight,” Stephen said, “we are going to put the icing on the cake. Tonight, we are going to put the roof on the building.”
We had made our way to a wonderful evening dinner. While the food and atmosphere were good, we were anticpating something much more exciting. Our table was about to meet Dennis and Atofia. We were a bit nervous, but mostly excited. For several days, our band of weary bloggers had seen the first hand work of in the trenches. Now we were going to meet the finished person of Compassion. Completely overwhelmed with the need and the incredible work being done and the commitment of the Compassion workers — volunteer and paid — we were ready to see where all of this would lead.
For me, I needed some tangible hope to hang onto. I still would cry everytime I thought about leaving our Compassion child in that innermost, darkest part of the slum where she lived. I needed hope that she had a chance at any kind of life, much less the life I will pray for her to find.Our Compassion child had begun her relatonship with a Compassion project through CSP. CSP (Child Survival Project) involves internvention in high risk situations for very young children. The purpose is to rescue children in bad health situations — situations often involving an HIV positive mother and a deceased or sick father. Intervention often occurs before the child is born to prevent the mother’s HIV condition from being transmitted to her child. Health, hygiene, and habits are key parts of the education, mentoring, and help. Proper nutrition and immunizations are key as these children stay in the program until they are between 3 and 3 1/2 years old. We had seen some of the work that goes on in the neighborhood church/Compassion CSP projects on our home visits where we met children and their parents. We were always invited to pray with them and learn about their lives. From CSP, children are moved into CDSP (Child Sponsorship Project). CDSP is where those us who have been sponsors participate directly. This is more than sending a monthly check to help these children receive education, hygiene/nutrition help, spiritual training, including exposure to Christ if they have not already learned about Jesus. A sponsor also gets to write the children and pray for them regularly. We get to help with Christmas and birthday gifts, as well. This caries the children through their primary and secondary educations in a well monitored and surpervised program through a local church.
This night, however, we were getting to have “the icing on the cake.” Each of our tables would visit with an LDP young man and woman.
We heard first from Atofia. Quiet spoken and a bit shy, like most Ugandans, Atofia began to share her story. Heartbeaking, agonizingly difficult challenges had confronted at every turn in her life. She came from abject, country poverty. Now she was about to graduate from the university with a degree in IT — computer information technology. She had saved a little money, not much but enough to get started, and wanted to go back to her home village to be a benefit to them. Articulate and thoughtful, she was also thankful to God and faith was communicated naturally in every sentence. My immediate prayer was simply, “Dear God, please use our family, our support, and these people, so our little Compassion girl can turn out this way. I know it’s impossible, but you have shown that it can be done with Atofia. Thank you for this moment. Thank you for this yung woman. Thank you, thank you. Through Jesus I pray this can be true. Amen.”
Dennis shared an even more horrific story of his life from an early age. His testimony was a blessing. He is doing great things already, trying to help other children in like situations to his own. He is passionate and a great communicator.
Both of these were chosen to be part of the Leadership Development Project (LDP). While sponsorship for Compassion children is just a little more than a dollar a day (currently $32 per month), LDP particants need $300 per month, but this pays for room, board, books, and their college education. Atofia and Dennis show they are worth the investment and a whole lot more.
For me, however, I will remember Atofia and her soft voice, her shy manner, and her beautiful smile. I will cling to the dream that our little Compassion gir — with her soft voice, her shy manner, and her beautiful smile — will someday sit at table giving her testimony after receiving her university degree, and our family will be there cheering all the way.
This is our prayer. This is our hope. This would truly be the icing on our cake!
Dear God, please let this be true for our little girl!
(Why not make it true in another life? You can sponsor a Compassion child just like we do. I believe you will find it more than worth your investment. I know, because I’ve seen it come true!)