This week we learned the amazing news that one of our older boys was elected by his entire school to hold the top position of the students as Head Boy. He is given responsibilities to lock things up when classes are done, make sure children get up in the mornings, that they are moving to where they are to be and to hold assemblies and to help with mediation in discipline issues. He is a South Sudanese boy, a new student, in a Ugandan school. This is a major accomplishment and shows his humble and servant heart to do what is right all the time. He has won favor with the staff and students alike. We are so proud of Oturo. He has an amazing testimony of coming from the prison to the palace. I love how God does these things as we trust in Him. Monday he will hand out 900 lollipops, one to every student and teacher, as is the custom of the winners.
I have been making friends with the children of the school as many times I go with the bus just to greet kids, all kids, Ugandan and Sudanese. A few days ago I brought my ukelele and played them some songs and they totally loved it and wanted me to bring it back. Sometimes I drive the bus to pick the kids up and the Ugandan students know me now and come running to greet me. It is so cute. I also get so many incredulous looks from people to see this older white woman driving a big bus thru the town. It just doesn’t happen here. Mostly, foreigners hire drivers because traffic is crazy. I get lots of thumbs up.
Friday our boys came asking for real soccer shoes and they are quite expensive, close to $70 a pair. So I went to Kampala to the used market and our amazing friend, Musa, went on his own while we sat in the car so he could get the best prices without people seeing the color of our skin and asking for triple the price. We sat in the pouring rain for three hours while he relentlessly shopped for us. He got the used shoes for about $19 each and new socks. Our boys were beside themselves with joy that for the first time they got real soccer shoes and not the plastic ones we get in South Sudan.
Saturday was Parents Day at the high school so we went and spent the entire day watching poems and skits and singing and finally got to eat lunch with our kids at almost 5:00 PM! I was exhausted but very happy to see our boarding students and they us. We also befriended six South Sudanese Nuer young men and asked them to join us for lunch. They were really shy and held back until we practically forced them to come and sit. I enjoyed very much talking to them and learning their story. They have no family here but a few relatives in the camps. That is where they spend their holidays, in the refugee camps. It made me so sad. I am trying to think of a way to help these young men. They have been here since 2013 and are just trying to finish school and move on with their lives. Very nice young men. I told them that on Parent’s Day that we are their family and they should always join us and if they need anything just ask and we would see what we could do to help.
The need is so great all over the Sudanese community in all places. There are now 2 million refugees who are living across the borders with no end in sight, 1,000 still coming each day. We help where we can when we can. It’s all we can do. Stop for the ones in front of us, both Ugandan and Sudanese. They are both now in our hearts.
Today we loaded up all of our sound equipment at 6:30 a.m. and all the children and took off for their school to bring church to them. It was amazing. They have 400 students who are full time boarders and we brought our kids too so there were a little over 450. Our children presented songs and creative dancing and their Ugandan children presented theirs and we all praised and worshipped together for two hours! Then I preached a message about all of us being different, no one a copy, yet all of us being the same, no separation. I thanked them for welcoming an entire nation into their school and city and they clapped so loud. I think they like us. It was a good message of working together with our individual giftings, towards the same goals of doing good for Jesus.
Today I am literally exhausted and found myself asleep on our couch on a Sunday afternoon when two of our smaller kids snuck up beside me to take an afternoon siesta too. These are the moments that I treasure, just the quiet and still love of these kids, that they and I fit so well together.
Tomorrow we have another crazy week of doctors visits and lawyer visits and orphanage visits and government leader visits and then on Thursday I am headed to Nairobi to get my visa for Mozambique. It is a two-day process and I will be there for the weekend so wont be in Mozambique until the following week on Tuesday. All of the Iris Global leaders from most of the bases around the world will be there for a time of encouragement and ministry and fellowship. This will be my first time to meet so many of them and I am very excited to hear their stories of what God is doing in their parts of the world.
May God bless the works of our hands and hearts this week as we seek to serve at every opportunity, no matter how small. It is all big in heaven’s eyes.