On my first trip to Africa 8 years ago, I met Joshua at Ms Agnes' orphanage. Joshua was 10, and clearly a leader. When he led the children in worship, it was nothing short of divine, and he was the one who worked the paper cutter while they made beads. We made a commitment at that time as a family (and even extended family) to help see that Joshua became all that God intended him to be.
A few years ago, Joshua left Agnes' to live with his grandmother so he could help her. We have seen him almost every year that we have come, and it has been fun to watch him and Robert grow together.
In February, when I was literally crying out to God about how to continue caring for all of "our children" here, I got an email from Joshua! We talked via email, and Moses has checked on him once for me.
On Friday, we went to Joshua's grandmother's house. What a sweet, sweet woman!!!! She was so gracious and kind and welcoming, and so happy to meet Joshua's "mama mzungu!" Even though I didn't understand a word of what she said, she talked to me the whole time anyway, and I got the jist of it, with some help from Moses. The grandmother sells bananas for income, and is intent on making sure that all the children go to school. (Joshua is the fourth of five).
Joshua finished senior level 4 in February and has not been in school this term. His choices are to continue through senior 6, which then means university, or begin training now. We asked him what he dreamed of becoming, and he wants to be a nurse. The best nursing school in Uganda is close to where we used to stay every year, so we were familiar with it. We loaded up Joshua and his report card and took him to Jinja (after receiving an armload of bananas from his Jaaja!). He went to the school and got all the details about applying, and it turns out that the timing is perfect! He can apply in August, interview in Sept, and start in November. We gave him money for his application fee, and we will keep in touch with him to see how it's going and to help him along the way! (I made him pose for a sign by the school. Robert said to him, "this is just what she does.") ;-)
Staying in touch with Joshua is an indescribable gift to me! He had some "brothers and sisters" here too who were SO happy to enjoy bananas from him as a snack! Many of them remember him as a big brother!
We have also been in touch with Christine, from Ms Agnes', and Moses is checking on her. We are going to try to help her into a training program as well.
For those of you who have been praying for us to find Anna, thank you. We know that she is safe. We would still love to be able to have her live here, but in the meantime, we are so grateful to know that she is ok!
As another total bonus, I was walking the children to school last Monday and we caught up with Ruth, from Agnes'! She is living with her sisters, Grace and Rachel (also from Agnes') at an aunt's house. Ruth is in school at the same school our kids attend, so she's in class with her "sisters!" It was so good to see her, and to see them hanging out waiting for each other on the way to school! Ruth even came over during church to say "hi!" Praise God!
I cannot say enough times how gracious God has been through this. He knows where all of his sheep are, and that is enough. The fact that He allows us to know too is enough to make a girl cry... A lot!