Thursday, December 31, 2015

Christmas Traditions

Uganda is a Christian country.  While there is a large Muslim population, the majority of people identify as being Christian.  There are a lot of different denominations, but most would say they are born-again Christians.  Most people find themselves in church on Sundays, but unfortunately the gospel that is preached in most local churches is incredibly false and misleading. There are pastors that perform fake miracles and swindle people out of millions of shillings promising them that God will give them double what they give the church.  Meanwhile, people that already have nothing are giving everything  and remaining with barely enough to eat and the pastors are driving convoys of Range Rovers and vacationing all over the world.

We live right next door to a church.  We are awoken, quite frequently, by their loud prayers and singing, and kept awake at night by their pleas and shouts to God.  But one of the biggest problems I see, and not just in Uganda but the church in general, is church stops at noon on Sundays and doesn't resume until 8am on Sunday mornings.  On more than one occasion, those very people in the church have insulted the boys as soon as they walked out of the door.  The one time I visited the church, at the urging of the neighbor boy, I left before service was over because I couldn’t manage another minute of it.  As I was walking out they asked for my tithe and told me I shouldn’t leave before giving them my money.  And that isn’t the first time that has happened.

Anyway, I could write volumes on what is wrong with the majority of churches here, but the point was to give a bit of background.  Giving back and service to others is not a part of most churches’ gospel here.  But I am trying to teach the boys that service to others is important.  It is a critical part of faith.  Showing Jesus first is the only way that some are ever able to believe that He is real.  Everyone has something to give, and it doesn’t have to be things, even time is important.  So we have a Christmas morning tradition of getting bread and juice and taking it to the slums to serve the boys on the streets.  This was our third year doing it.  The boys at home get so excited.  I love their hearts.

But this year, I think we started a new Christmas tradition.  It was a bit of a miracle.  Some boys from the street asked if they could spend Christmas with us.  I said of course.  I thought it would be about 10.   Then about 30.  I think around 50 ended up showing up.  I was sure that we would run out of food.  But I said a quick prayer and thought if Jesus could multiply the fish, He’s got this under control.  Sure enough, there was more than enough food.  Everyone ate until they were ready to explode and there was even some left over.  The boys that didn’t go to the slums in the morning stayed behind and cooked and cleaned the house.  They served their friends first and ate last.  We had a wonderful time.  We talked about Jesus and how amazing it was that He came to save us.  We ended the day at the beach, and everyone had a great time.  My heart was so full and happy that day.  Not only did the boys hear about Jesus that day, but they saw Him too.  Just as it should be.

The most heartbreaking part of the day was dropping the boys back off in the slum knowing that they would be sleeping outside.  Many of them shared their hearts with me that day.  Some want to be resettled with their families, one wants help with his music, some want school.  Can you keep them all in your prayers and that in the new year, their hearts’ desires will become a reality?  And if by chance you want to help us make their dreams come true, email Amanda at

Wishing you all a happy and blessed new year.

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