When planning our trip to Uganda, several times I wondered what I would do to stay busy while the guys were busy working on the building. Several trips to Kampala and a visit to Bethel Covenant College to check on the progress of the 7 LVCH boarding school children filled the first few days. Once the shipping container arrived in Nkumba, there was plenty of unpacking and sorting to do. The 40 boxes of thrift-center clothing and shoes had to be sorted by size and gender. Then I repacked some of the items to be sent to the other orphanages and children that we support. There were 50 boxes of school supplies, paper, and books to be sorted through and divided up. It was exciting to see the overwhelming joy that these items brought to people that have so little. Thank you to everyone involved in donating, collecting and packing all of these ‘extras’!
On Saturday, our last day, we invited the kids from Nkumba Orphanage, Nkumba Christian School, and all of the kids in the neighborhood to a sports day and Bible School program. Several hundred children played football (soccer), relay races, catch, and Frisbee in a large field overlooking Lake Victoria. Afterward, we all walked back to Nkumba Presbyterian Church where craft projects were handed out. There were foam crosses to decorate with stickers and colorful beads and crosses to string into necklaces. Under the leadership of Richard Kayemba, an LVCH orphan and a recent graduate of Westminster Theological College, the children sang song after song.
There were some familiar songs and some Ugandan songs, and it was inspiring to watch these children sing praises to the Lord. Several of the days I did trade in my skirt for work pants, and I helped ‘labor’ on the construction site. It was during this time that I met my ‘son’ Ivan. Ivan is an orphan, but not part of the orphanage. He is 25 years old and a member of Nkumba Presbyterian Church. For several weeks before our arrival and while we were there, Ivan had been working at the orphanage providing day labor to dig the septic tank and soak pit, to lay the foundation that we built on, and help in the construction.
One day Ivan approached me with a question—“Can I please call you Mommy?” He explained that his father had died when he was 12 and his mother died when he was 17. Since then he had lived on the streets taking care of himself. Since his Mother’s death, he told me that he had prayed to God that he would have someone who he could call ‘Mommy’ and he felt God had finally answered his prayers. So I now have the privilege of calling Ivan my son and through emails we continue to encourage each other.
Although we may make plans, I’ve learned that you never know what or who God has waiting for you.