On Monday, both of us were able to visit our sponsor children through World Vision. They are children that live with their families, but their families are very poor. Our monthly support helps them and their community by providing things like wells, English education, and AIDS awareness. The day started early by meeting the World Vision staff in Kampala. From there, they drove us about five hours southwest to the district of Rakai. We first visited Andrea's child, Peace, and her family.
Having been to Africa before, I am used to the excitement that the village children have when a "mzungu"visits. However, I was completely overwhelmed at the response of Peace's family and friends. There were at least 15 children that greeted us by the truck. Then, they led us up the pathway to the hut they had so sweetly decorated. Later, the father told us that everyone had gathered for this special event and was so excited. But, because we were a little later than expected, they began to lose hope and thought maybe we weren't coming. He was thrilled when we finally arrived!
We brought some gifts for our girls and their families. Here you see Peace enjoying some of the stickers I gave her. As part of the special event, classmates of Peace's sister came from school to sing us a few songs and share a poem. I am amazed at their innate rhythm and beautiful voices.
I think I was most touched by their sacrificial giving. Nearing the end of our time together, Peace and her family went inside their humble house and came out presenting gifts to me! I was shocked! Here I was wanting to give to her family and they were blessing me! I could not believe their generosity - especially knowing they do not have much to give. I received handmade dolls and soccer balls, a basket, two floor mats, LOTS of fruit, and two live chickens!! It was more than I knew what to do with, but I knew I had to accept their gifts because they were given out of love. Not only that, but they were given with SO much joy! Not once did I feel like this was something they had to do. It reminded me of the story of the widow's mite and how she gave all she had. It challenged me in the way I give to my Lord. This was a day I will not soon forget. I will continue to keep in touch with Peace and her family through writing letters and praying for them.
After we spent time with Peace and her family, we went to visit Annah. Annah has been a sweet picture on my fridge as a reminder to pray for her. After this trip...the pictures of many memories will always be in my heart! We parked by the road and walked about a quarter mile to where Annah and her family live. As we got closer, you could hear a song Annah and her friends were singing, "We are very happy...to see you." I don't know if she understood how happy I was to see HER!
Annah, her friends, and her family all congregated and we all talked to each other through our translator. I was so excited to give them the gifts I had brought! I don't think anyone was more excited than her brother, who was VERY excited to receive this soccer ball!!!
They also gave me fruit with a couple handmade things. This basket is something Annah and her family made for me. They were telling me how they made it! It's made out of the plastic that they buy flour out of.
Sometimes it's very overwhelming to know of the many people around the world that are starving and are in need of food, water, and education. All around the world, there are so many that could use help. What I have realized this summer is that there is something we can all do to make a difference, however small it might seem to us.
It reminds me of the story of the old man who walks by a young boy on the beach. The tide had just gone out leaving thousands of starfish on shore that would dry out and die before the tide ever came back in. The old man told the young boy, "Do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile. You can not possibly make a difference." The young boy bent down, picked up one starfish, threw it back into the water and then told the old man, "I made a difference to that one!"
The irony is that I might be the one that is sending monthly support, but I feel like Annah is making a bigger difference in me!