When I left for Uganda almost a year ago, I was supposed to stay for only a year. The plan was to check it out and return after the year for school. I didn't know what I would find in Uganda and I questioned if I would like it. At first, I didn't. Everything was so different and took a lot of getting used to. What made the transition easier was the 16 boys I was living with. They were so excited to have me there and welcomed me immediately. After a while, I started to see the house as my home. Then I started getting involved with the street kids. After that, there was no going back. I looked forward to Wednesdays and spending time with them. Soon we started having programs 5 times a week, but I ended up there 7. I found a reason to go see the kids everyday and it was really difficult to leave at the end of each day. Before I knew it, working with the boys was all I did.
I soon became close with several boys, at the house and on the streets, and I began to wonder how I could leave and never see them again. How I could just walk away, like I never loved them. I started to wonder why I was going to waste another 5 years of my life in school to do something good in the world, when I was doing something good now.
It was in those questions that I started to doubt returning to the US at the end of the year. What also contributed was everyone that I talked to from home told me how happy I looked in all of my photos. When I stopped to think and listen to what God was telling me, I discovered that I was where He wanted me all along. I was happier than ever and finally felt joy. I realized, very event leading up to that point, God put in place to make sure I made it to Uganda and stayed.
1. Open a home for street kids. The kids I feel called to are older boys, 12-16. The older a boy becomes, the harder it is for him to go back to school and get chosen for a home. Just like in the US, when a family is looking to adopt or foster, usually the younger kids are chosen first. Same thing in Uganda. It doesn't help that the longer a boy is on the streets, the harder it is for them to get off. Living on the streets, the kids are their own boss; no one tells them what to do or when to do it. They develop a sense of freedom and independence that is hard to let go of unless they really want to. All of the kids that I am closest to are in that age group. I know that they will take a lot of work and a lot of patience but I know that it is worth it. They deserve a chance and I want to give it to them.
2. Outreach within the community. We work in a slum. Everyone is in a terrible situation and needing of help. When we come in and only pay special attention to the street kids and send the other kids away, it is no surprise that it furthers the resentment and dislike some people feel for street kids. I want to have a day once or twice a month where the community kids can come for a snack, watch a movie, hear about Jesus, and play fun games. I think that this will go a long way to helping build community relations.
3. Start a women's program. I plan to do this by starting a small group, 5 women, and teaching them a craft. I am thinking weaving because they can make baskets, place mats, purses, etc. The program would last for a set period of time (6 months) and they would be paid well above market value for their items. They would keep a portion of their money to provide for their families and the rest would go into a forced savings account. During the 6 months, the ladies will also receive business training, English classes, counseling, and Bible studies. It is the goal at the end of the 6 months, they will have enough money saved to use for capital and enough knowledge gained to start their own business. If the first group is successful, the program will be replicated every 6 months, eventually increasing the number of the women.
Yesterday, I was trying to put together a 5 year plan. I think it is important to know my goals and objectives for my ministry in Uganda, so I know what I am working towards. As I was writing, I kept wondering is this even possible? But I kept writing. If it is God's plan for me, I know He will provide a way. All morning today, I keep thinking, the problem with asking God for the impossible is sometimes we get it. Right now, everything seems like an impossibility, but with Him, I know it's not.
If you want to help with any of these projects, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will give you more information as to how you can!
Thanks for the continued prayers and support.
|Emma washing dishes after programs|
|playing football at programs|