On our second morning here we got up and headed down to the orphanage again after breakfast and helped with the kiddos. By helping, I mean, Carrie & I got to snuggle and feed month old twins 😉
After that, we hopped into the van and headed out to African Hearts, the very same organization we visited the slums with the day prior. We had heard bits and pieces of what they do there at the transitional home, the forever home and the school, but I really had no idea of the impact they were making and what we were going to see.
We arrived at the transitional home to the sound of the band practicing and I was immediately impressed at the fact that Lutaaya teaches them by sound. The talent, it’s raw and it’s nothing short of AMAZING!
The sounds of them practicing echoed throughout the grounds as Uncle Alex (one of the social workers there), gave us a tour of the transitional and the forever home. He showed us the kitchen and the bedrooms, the offices where I flicked through the register and read the stories of the boys there.
As we walked and listened I started to think back on the day prior. I just kept thinking about what an amazing contrast it was. What a transformation and what redemption was taking place.
They are teaching the boys life skills that they can take with them into the world and most importantly, how to love and how to be loved. They are showing them so much grace. Grace, my word for this year. We met the twins who were taken out of the slums last week and already are showing progress and you can see the difference in them. We talked about a boy named Adam who we had met the day prior in the slums. He had two broken legs and who was to be taken out of there *any day now* and brought here to the home. That hope I felt yesterday, it was so apparent here.
After our tour we were treated to the finest band performance I have ever heard. The music was simply magnificent. I sat there in awe as they performed and showered us with their talent. These boys, they each had a story, they each had a past… And now, they each have a future filled with hope. I wish I could share with you everything we heard, and you would quickly realize that African Hearts are literally changing the future of this country, but more importantly, they are changing the future of the individuals. They are empowering these kids, teaching them and loving them. Without judgement and without conditions.
We headed over to the school to finish building a wall around the perimeter of their buildings that team A had started last week. We used local bricks and mortar (hand mixed by our very own team) and let me tell you, there’s a lot of love, sweat and prayers built into that wall.
They fed us an amazing home prepared lunch before they put us to work, and on the way from the bus to the lunch room we stopped to talk with some children. We were sharing with them, taking pictures and laughing. So many high fives, my hands were sore, and then it happened. The full circle I had been told about that happens here so many times over, truly a gift from heaven.
I turned around to say something to Brittany and she was standing with a sweet girl, almost as tall as myself. She was beautiful and the sparkle in her eyes and the smile on her face immediately made me smile, it seemed strangely familiar to me, like I steady knew her somehow. She gave me a great big hug and when Britt introduced us and my heart almost leapt out of my chest.
Out of 500 children at the school, here she was… The sister of the sweet baby girl I was holding in the slums the day before.
I told her about her sister and we were able to show her and leave her with a hard copy of the image that was taken the day prior where I visited with her mom and held her sister. We laughed, we cried, we hugged, we connected.
Before we left we were treated to the most amazing choir and dance performance I’ve ever heard. They sang the anthem of Uganda and songs of their school. They sang songs of thanks to the Young Living Foundation for building their new nursery school and they performed dances. Our team danced with the kiddos and we just enjoyed being with each other. So much laughing. So much fun.
As we left there to walk back to the bus and head home, my sweet friend showed up out of nowhere and hugged me tight. She wanted to take a picture with me and she asked me if I would keep in touch and come visit again. Yes. So much yes. Sweet girl, we will absolutely keep in touch. I don’t think I’ll ever know why I was chosen to be the recipient of that amazing gift, but I know for sure that those girls both have a very special place in my heart and I have a feeling the story doesn’t end there.
The drive home to the guest house wasn’t very long, but my heart kept replaying the sights and sounds of the day. I kept seeing the faces of the people we had met and the their chance at a bright future. They are going to do great things. They are already doing great things.
My word for day two was redemption, and I’m so thankful that the hope I’d seen promised to my heart from the day prior in action.
Whatever your circumstances are, whatever you’re feeling and whatever you’re going through. Hope is not lost. There is always hope and there is always the promise of redemption. Cling to that. Cling to that when the days seem long, when the nights seem cold and when you feel like all the odds are stacked against you.
Hope. Redemption. Promise. Grace. Love.