Last night, I was saying to God, "I love this work have called us to, and have enjoyed this trip tremendously, because it has been all about relationship. Sometimes, though, I wish we had a project we could point to in order to say, "I did THIS while I was in Uganda."
He showed me, throughout the day today, that we're called to be here for the little projects -- Like yesterday's laundry with Damili. Today, when I arrived at Agnes', I had a wonderful surprise! Faith, one of the older girls, was there! Faith was originally from a Muslim family. Her name was Medina. She came to Agnes' when she was small, and was renamed Faith. A few months ago, Faith's older sister, who is grown and has a husband and children, came to get her (presumably to be a help to her.). We missed her terribly, Agnes was very sad to let her go, and we have prayed for her. Wednesday night, Faith returned to the orphanage!!!! Unfortunately, her sister left one day and never came back, and the grandmother who had taken Faith to Ms Agnes years ago helped her return. She was so excited to be there, and so excited to see us, but her excitement couldn't have matched mine and Agnes'! She was anxious to return to school with her friends from the orphanage, so Agnes called yesterday and found out that she only has to pay a fine for not coming at the start of the term, and she can go! We have paid her fine, and she can go back tomorrow! Praise God!
Robert was playing with the children during their school break, and noticed that Emma had a bad sore on his leg. Robert was able to clean it and care for it, and we were able to help Agnes with medical costs for arranging for him to see a dr if it doesn't begin healing soon.
Then we went with Agnes out to the "land." This is not the garden we planted last year, but 2 acres she has that is not connected to the orphanage, on which she grows maize and all sorts of other things. I go every year and admire it and take pictures. Today, however, she had other plans and needed our help! She wanted to take the children a special treat with some of the goods that were ripe. And so our jungle adventure began! (I'm not exaggerating!!!). There is one path around the perimeter, then you just veer off into jungle when Agnes sees something ripe!
What the pictures do not show are the huge ants, spiky caterpillars, rat holes, millipedes, and other creepy crawlies we were stepping over, on, and around! :-). We made it, though, and when we pulled up at Agnes' later with bananas, kasaba, corn, and sugar cane, the children all came running out to help us unload the car!
Agnes, Edward, and I met at the hotel tonight to go over a lot of business, and Agnes told me the children had huge smiles at the sweet roasted corn they got to eat with dinner! :-)
The rest of the maize will be ready in July, and she and the children spend an entire day out there harvesting it, and we hire a huge truck to bring it all home! She kept saying she wished we could be there, but I'm pretty sure we only provide comic relief!
There are sometimes in our lives when we don't need huge projects done for us, we just need someone to come alongside us and help with whatever is going on right then. A friend who will come over to talk just when you need it. Dinner delivered to your door when you can't get all the way around. A neighbor who drops pedialyte on your doorstep because your children are sick and your husband is out of town. A relative who helps fold your mountains of laundry while you chat together. A friend who takes your small children for the afternoon so that you can breathe, or comes to sit with your newborn so you can shower. These are the times when you feel like God sees you and hears you, because He has sent you a little "help." That's what our yearly visits have become here. We are not tourists, and yet we're also not here with a big project in mind. We're just here to help. To say, "God knows you and sees you, and has sent some help."
Before we arrived, our medical team was working in a clinic one day when a young boy was hit by a boda boda (motorcycle) on the street just outside the makeshift clinic. The clinic had no medical doctors that day, but had an ENT. He immediately ran to get the boy, whose head was badly injured and beginning to swell. Through a series of completely divine circumstances, the boy reached the hospital and was healed. It's not unreasonable to say that this would not have been the outcome had our clinic not been there at that time. God purposed that visit, and those people, for that moment in this child's life.
Our help is not always that dramatic, but while we're here, we must remain completely open and available, ready to give whatever help is needed --- laundry or children or gardening. When I am here or back at home, I want to keep my eyes and ears this open all the time, ready to be the helping hands and feet God wants to send those around me. (He knows, though, that I'm much better at holding babies than I am at picking corn!).