As we get ready to go back to the States for a visit, many have asked us if we are happy and excited to go “home”. I am happy to be able to see family and friends we haven’t seen in two years and seven months! But for us it is a visit, we are home and the thought of leaving home for six weeks has brought tremendous stress and anxiety for me. You think about leaving your home for six weeks and you will understand. I pray that those we are coming to visit can be patient and understand that just as we had to get used to the culture here, it will be in reverse when we go back. We have learned a new way of life, have different routines here. Life is much slower here than in America and living in a third world country is so different.. There is a different president since we left and as we can watch from afar, we see so many changes in America. So yes, I’m excited but also anxious! The first part will be the hardest, happy to see loved ones but feeling overwhelmed and bombarded – dealing with jet lag (we will travel close to thirty hours) and time change. There is a seven to eight hour difference so getting used to it at first will be hard. And then we will have to do it all again when we get back! This is our time of the year to have a break and relax and all of the visiting with family and friends will be joyful but tiring so I pray everyone will understand that the last part of our trip will just be for us three. To have quiet and rest and be refreshed and ready to come back with a new outlook and strength.
We went to visit our kids today, we haven’t seen them since taking them to school. I have worried about them adjusting and missed them so much. There’s a hole in Sunday School now where Naomi used to be. I didn’t realize until I saw her just how much I missed her. She came running as soon as she saw the car and it didn’t take long for the rest of them to come to us. Plus about fifty other students! They were all just finishing morning break and porridge so we got to talk with them before they went back to class. The first pictures was my attempt to only get our five – but as you can see I didn’t succeed! The next thing I know all kids dropped to their knees and there was quiet. The bell had rung and everyone got back up and went to class. The head master called our kids over so that we could have a few minutes with just them. They say they are adjusting well, they like their classes. The only problem they are having with the older three is that they can’t read. It is sad, but very few schools out in the villages teach reading. They learn everything by rote and memorization. There are no textbooks. And if they are taught to read it is English or Luganda but they speak Lusoga. It is quite confusing.
The two little ones had no stockings on, one didn’t have shoestrings – they were “lost” and they had lost their key to their metal locker that they keep their things in. Apparently there was a matron that was maybe not able to keep up with the little ones. We were told there is a new matron. Their stockings may be in there, but Jenifer warned them and us that they have to keep everything locked up because if not, everything will be stolen. We were prepared for that since they have never been away to school. So, I brought back a small list of things they need and Jenifer will take it to them (along with the spare keys we kept!) on Saturday.
The first thing the girls said to me was the school was having their party on Saturday, are we going to be there. Children that board stay for approximately two and a half months a term/three terms. Most parents don’t see them until holidays or on visitation day – which is Saturday. They come to visit and bring the kids food and candy and such. So I know they didn’t want to be left out not having family there. I had to break the news that we wouldn’t be there and I could see their happy expressions just fall. But I told them Jenifer is cooking for them and going to brings all kinds of good stuff and spend the day with them and they were happy again! We brought them cookies, fruit, juice and pocket money for the cantina today. We also told Jenifer that she needs to tell their father to go visit. He promised us he would go visit the first week but has not. I doubt he ever does. It’s shameful to just send your children away and not even know if they are taken care of or being abused. He knows nothing except our reputation so he I’m sure he is just relieved they are not his responsibility. Not that he felt that way when they were here, or do much to contribute to them. He was mostly living with his other wives and leaving five small children to fend for themselves.
God is good, all the time and I am thankful everyday that he brought them into our lives. That they have grown healthier, happier and now with the opportunity given them will gain knowledge. Not just reading and writing but also they are in a Christian community where they will learn everyday about Jesus – not just on Sunday! I believe with all my heart that God’s mission for us here is the children all around us. I believe that having relationship and teaching them God’s ways at a young age will give them a chance for a better life, a chance to change their community and eventually bring change to a country. What we put into our hearts and minds is what will come out so everyday I ask God for opportunities to love one more child!
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6