It’s been another crazy week. Some things never change….but I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. I went to Ishaka Uganda on Tuesday to take one of our university students back to school after her short holiday with us. It is Kampala International University Mbarara CampusWestern Uganda and is one of the best nursing schools in Uganda. It is a huge and beautiful campus and it was one of the most beautiful parts of Uganda that I have been to so far. Only it was very cold. We had to wear jackets and it rains all year round there. It is the growing place of matooke, Uganda’s staple food, which is a type of hard banana that is cooked and mashed but is thicker than mashed potatoes. We had the best time and the best visit, catching up and telling stories of our days in South Sudan. Amani is an amazing girl and is really doing so good for someone who had to fend for herself in a new country with no one to help her. She is going to be an amazing nurse.
I came home to the news of one of my girls being overly punished physically by a teacher so I immediately went to the school the next morning to find out what happened. In the process I learned that about fourteen of my kids have been so disrespectful and undisciplined that the teachers even fear to discipline them. They have even called themselves the Iris Gang. My heart broke in two, my mind went blank, and I felt so much shame because here we had been telling everyone that all of our kids were so wonderful.
All day I cried and I prayed and I asked God what do I say to this? What is going on here. What have I spent the last eight years doing? That night we brought every border home and had a three-hour family meeting. I was very open and honest about my shame to be known as Iris in this town right now. I said that I don’t even want to say that I am from Iris, but that I just take care of children. I told them I was not ashamed of them but of what their behavior had brought upon our name and all that we are trying to do to change the people’s negative mindset about the South Sudanese people. We were supposed to be different? What happened? Now we are lumped together with everyone else. How do we fix this?
The guilty children were very sorry and many were crying because they knew that what they had been doing has brought us down. So we all agreed that they will finish the year as day scholars, not boarding, and Monday we will again go in front of the school and apologize for this disrespect. Each one of these are also to write a letter to their teacher asking for forgiveness for acting the way they have. Very few of the Ugandan children act like this. Our head boy is South Sudanese, one of our kids, and he attests to this. He too is so embarrassed at how we have been acting.
I have received many encouraging words from many people around the world and all tell me that it is a part of being a teenager. But two people who run two of the largest orphanages in Africa, one being Watoto and another used to in Zimbabwe, say they have had the same problem with their children thinking they are better than others because whites sponsor their every need. This is the problem we are having here in Africa and so we are trying a godly and loving way to fix this. We still believe in staying a family and finding a solution so that these children continue to know that they are special and loved will always be and will continue to be sponsored. So now we are working on changing the entitlement mindset by coming up with strategies this holiday season for them to earn their school fees for next year. Their Christmas will not be extravagant, but will still be special. Us white people will no longer go to the school except on family visitation days. This has caused the most problems the administration is saying. When the children see the whites coming every day our children puff up with pride that they have rich parents taking care of their every need, which we have been guilty of doing. No other Ugandan boarding student has their mommy or daddy coming to the school every day. We have been here a year now and they know the rules. So from today forward only our Sudanese teacher and our Ugandan social worker will handle all school issues, and not every day or even every week.
We are learning as we go in this new country but things will get better. They always do. God works together those things for the good of those who love Him. And our kids love God, They are just trying to keep their identity intact as foreigners in a foreign country. It has to be hard for them. We give them grace but with a firm hand and discipline.
Today I had the extreme pleasure of preaching at my first Ugandan church and I don’t think they expected this fiery 56 year old lady to rock their world through the power of the Holy Spirit. He really messed up some hearts today with His radical love and 90% of the church came forward to put themselves in the offering plate. It was a powerful message of what can God do with our little lives when we say yes. I started at 9:30 with the Sunday School kids and went right into the adult service so we didn’t end till 1:30. I love the African church where time is not important. Holy Spirit is important and if He isn’t finished then we keep ministering, I took five of our young teen boys with me and they were wrecked, even crying, and came forward to put themselves in the offering plate saying God I am ALL yours. I say yes to whatever you want. Of course tears ran down this mamas face.
I offered to pay one of my spiritual son’s university fees so he can leave the refugee camp. This was a month ago. He said, “I can’t leave my sheep, they need more of Jesus and He has called me to give them moiré and so I stay.” I am just undone by these kids, this generation saying yes to Jesus. My life is so crazy upside down with so much favor that I cant even comprehend why God is doing this for us.
Once again, the government of Uganda sent their officials with all their fingerprint and camera machines to our house to register all of our kids all weekend long from early morning till 6:00 every night. And they are coming back next weekend to finish! They are not being paid for this and they didn’t have to come, but they did it for us! We have given them a token of appreciation of course.
Then when I was talking to the preacher from the church today, he asked me how our NGO is going. I told him we have it, in five months we got it it all. He was astounded. He said this does not happen in Uganda. It takes a year, even two. I said the favor of the Lord keeps chasing us down and knocking us over. I just got my three-year visa approved. I have talked to some missionaries who after fiver years are still waiting! My faith in my GOD cannot be any bigger and no one can tell me that I cannot have something if it is His plan. I praise God for the Uganda people, for their kindness to us and I will always be grateful to these beautiful people for saving our lives by giving us a place to live and helping is so much. They are true ambassadors of love.
I end by saying yet again, I am God’s business and he is the manager, owner, operator. He has all the funding, all the plans, and I just wait for Him to tell me what needs to be done and when. This is Kingdom living here on earth. God will do everything He desires as long as someone is available to say yes. We have 120 court cases to start next week and it is again going to cost a lot of money. They wont wait for Christmas to be done. Again, God will make all this happen for us and I don’t worry about these things or even look at my bank account. I say this to encourage you to keep taking those steps of faith saying yes God we will do what is needed to be done and we will not worry about how it is gong to happen because you are the business manager. You got this!
We all have something that God is asking us to do each day. If we say yes, He will do it. I would love to hear your testimonies of what God has done for you when you said yes. We are all in this together and every testimony is equally as important as the next, no one any better than the other. I am so glad to call you all family and am excited with how He will bind us all together to do great things for Him and with Him!
We love you and are so proud and glad to call you ALL family! Be blessed with so much favor this week that you can’t even wrap your mind around it. And if you get major favor, email me and testify! I want to know God us working for you because He is so very intentional!