When I was a kid, I always had big dreams. Ever since I can remember, I said I was going to be a doctor. Since the thought of blood and guts grosses me out, that left me with a PhD. I was going to be a professor and write books or something...not really sure, but I knew I would get it. For the past 2 falls, I had planned on applying to programs and I even started last year. Then I came to Africa...
I had every intention of studying during this year to take the GRE, but it never happened. I don't know why, I have the time..sort of, but I haven't picked up a book once.
Friday as I was riding on a boda, I wondered what I was doing, how I ended up in Africa. That was never part of the plan...and I HAD plans. So during my ride, I thought of all the things I always thought I would do by now, but haven't. The list was kind of long, with the PhD only the beginning. Of course kids, a good job, marriage, nice house, all the typical stuff was also on the list. I was quickly snapped back to reality by the boda ride and forgot about my list and went about my day.
Yesterday, I took my kids to the zoo with a friend. When I say my kids, I mean the 3 boys that I put in school and stay at another home. I love them so dearly, that I would do anything for them and I might as well have given birth to them because I can't imagine loving anyone more than I love them. It was exactly what I needed, a relaxing day away from the city, the noise, the chaos. The zoo is right on Lake Victoria, so after we walked through the zoo, the kids went to the beach while I sat at the restaurant on the terrace. While I was sitting there, admiring the beauty of Uganda and talking about the kids, I realized how my list is out the window. My priorities are so different anymore and realize somethings may never happen. However, some of the things I already have, maybe not in the conventional sense but I have...
I have 3 children that totally depend on me and some days even call me mom. I love them so incredibly much, I can no longer imagine my life without them. They are perfect angels in my eyes and see the best in them. I have 40 or so other kids that I love so much also. I worry about them constantly and if they are safe or who is hurting them and freak out if I don't see them everyday. I live with 16 boys that depend on me to help care for them and show them right from wrong. I have so many kids, many more than I could've ever hoped for.
Also, I do have a good job. Not by the definition I used to have, as in one that pays a lot of money. But it is the only job I have ever had that I never felt like I was working. I wake up everyday ready to go, ready to see the kids, ready to run all over the city for them, ready to fight for them, ready to be abused by others that don't feel compassion for them, ready to do whatever is necessary for them. It is good because I love the kids and they make it easy but more importantly, because I am doing something good with my life. I am loving kids that others have deemed unlovable. I am showing kids that others don't even want to touch because they are dirty or smelly, the redeeming love of Jesus. I am giving hope to kids that didn't have any. And I am giving them a safe place, even if only for a few hours every day, where they can be kids and not have to fear being beaten or arrested or abused because they are on the streets.
No I don't have a "nice house" but the house I live in is full of hope, love, faith, forgiveness, and compassion. It may not be a mansion, but lives are changing. Doctors, pastors, pilots, business men are being formed. The kids that will grow up into the leaders of Uganda are being created with sound Christian values, knowledge of right and wrong, and compassion for those in need. They will be the ones to make a difference in the future. To me, that sounds better than a nice house, it sounds like a best house.
I don't know about anyone else, but I like my new version of the list much better than the old. I have more than I could've ever hoped for.
**If you are interested in supporting me and my mission/work here (everything helps!) you can give online at www.globaltrainingnetwork.org and all donations are tax-deductible, just go to the support tab and preference my ministry
|This was moments after he asked for money for a life jacket to go swimming and I told him under no circumstances was he to get in the boat with the stranger he had been talking to.|
|John watching Ibra boat away.|
|Me and Dan at the football game. He is one of my favorites on the street.|
|Peter and Bashir, two of the older boys that live in the house where I live.|
|Some of the boys from the street program. Ronald is in the blue on the left, Alvin in the green, Mathew in jean jacket, and Chicomeko is behind.|