Uganda - June 23

We did another clinic today. There was a precious little boy with malaria and a 105 degree fever. 84 people tested positive for malaria, actually. He could barely walk, he was so weak. When they gave him the malaria shot, he cried - but as soon as the needle came out, he stopped because he was so fatigued. And even when he was crying, he didn't make any movements to struggle. They hooked him up to an IV bag that they hung to a window with a latex glove that they used to tie it. Eventually, he fell asleep, on the ground, for like six hours. I just wanted to sit there and hold him. When I got back, I thought - I should have prayed with him and his grandmother. How could I not think of that?

Oh, my heart. Less of me, more of You. I need you every day. Every hour. I need to fill myself with You. With Your love. I need Your joy and the thankfulness for those things I do have. I feel like I was more emotionally moved by the things these people go through before I came, when these things were unimaginable. Now that I've seen it all - now that it's been made real for me - I still need Jesus to give me His heart for these people. I guess I'm learning that no matter where we are, we need Him. Coming here and seeing it doesn't solve the problem. I find myself thinking, "if only people could see this! Then they would understand and have perspective." But sadly, that's not true. They wouldn't necessarily feel that compassion and love for these children. They might get it, and be a little more grateful, but likely in a "I'm glad I have what I do" kind of way. We need Jesus.

What does that look like? How do we wake up each morning and remember to surrender everything at the start of the day and have Him fill us up throughout the rest? How do we let go, and let Him move? I need that time with Him. I need to be in constant prayer. God, remind me. Remind me to give it all away, because You gave it all for me. And the only way anything I can do or say is worth anything, is if all of me is filled by You. Show me Your heart, what you would do for the world. For each of these people. How you can make beautiful things out of what we see as broken.


Uganda - June 18

On our 3rd full day in Uganda, we visited a home for children with mental and physical disabilities. In most African countries, children like these are seen as a burden, unwanted, and often thought to be a curse on the family. But here, I met so many joyful souls. I saw so many carefree smiles, children dancing because they were excited to have us there just to spend time with them and love on them. The ones who could walk were pushing the wheelchairs of the ones who couldn't. I was blown away at how happy they were to care for one another.

Three sisters stole my heart that day. Their names were Samal, Amali, and Misilah, and they were 10, 8, and 5 years old. They had no arms - some sort of birth defect probably caused by drugs that the mother took during pregnancy. I talked to Amali the most - she spoke English wonderfully and had the cutest accent. And all 3 of their smiles were the most radiant I have ever seen. Oh my goodness. I just talked and played with them for pretty much the whole time we were there. Amali couldn't walk, so she had a wheelchair, and at one point her sister walked over and just sat on top of her in the chair because she got tired of standing. They were so tiny. I'll never forget seeing her bend completely over so that her tiny fingers (that came directly out of her arm socket) could reach the seat as she seemed to be searching for something. I asked her what she was looking for, and in her little voice, she said "my sweet!" which meant the lollipop I had given her. My heart melted. (One of about 15 times that day.) Then hearing their squeals of laughter while we blew bubbles in their face and they all but flung their bodies to try to reach them. So I picked up Amali and helped her chase the bubbles. Before I put her down, I touched her forehead to mine and told her that Jesus loves her, praying silently that she would know this truth in her heart as she grows up.

I also talked to a girl named Phiona, who was 21. It seemed to brighten her face to find out that I am just 22. She asked me, "Are there children like this in your country?" <3 <3 Yes, Phiona. Just like this. Except they don't have 150 of their closest friends to play with each day.

I've spent some time with disabled kids before, and they've always held a special place in my heart. But something that I can't quite put my finger on was different about these children. Maybe it was the way they helped each other, maybe it was the fearlessness and gleefulness with which they flung themselves into our arms. I feel like this is how Jesus wants us to approach him. Joyfully stumbling toward Him as fast as our sometimes crippled legs will take us.

They also found it hilarious that their tongues were blue from the lollipops :)

God is teaching me so much about myself, about His love for me, and His heart for the world. Of course, His heart breaks for it. He sees the pain and abandonment in these kids' pasts, and He grieves for them and with them. But love conquers all and endures all things. He is able to restore what is lost, and heal what is broken. Where we fall short, His grace abounds all the more. And our pain never becomes too much for Him. And I know that the joy that I saw in these children's eyes was a little bit of Jesus shining through.