The first words I heard my heart speak to me as we landed in Uganda one month ago. The first words our Head Master at The Amazima School spoke to us, sitting 3 rows back in the plane. The first words we now say to our 23, almost 24, boys as they arrive back from a day of classes, “Welcome Home”.
The months leading up to this move included quitting jobs, selling a house, moving in with parents from 2 different states, closing credit cards / opening new ones, switching insurance companies, selling things, buying things, making multiple lists, packing, unpacking, and packing some more. There were many tears, and many different emotions. I think a lot of times moving overseas to do mission work can be easily romanticized. I’ve heard some say it’s the “most attractive” thing to do as a Christian. Please hear me that there is nothing easy or super attractive about it.
Yet, also hear me that it is already extremely growing and rewarding. Our faith has been put to work every single day, and scripture has never felt so close to our face. That was our prayer going into this and God has already answered. Not so surprising when our desires align with His! In this month, we have completed cultural training and family mentor training. We have visited 8 of our Amazima boys in their homes, and have met their guardians. This Monday, the 5th, the students began their first day of Term 1 at The Amazima School. We have done house meetings, morning devotions, Chapel (aka Youth Night), and have shared lots of beans and posho/rice with our boys.
Speaking of those sweet boys, Amos, our Ugandan Family Mentor Partner, Ben and I prayed over the name of our House. We had a few different ideas, but ultimately landed on: The David House. We want them to be men after God’s own heart as David was in the Bible. This first week of devotions has been so encouraging to read through the life of David with our boys and point them towards his character and strength even with being the youngest and smallest of all his siblings. David was anointed King because GOD SAW his heart when men only saw his small stature. David was far from perfect, but we are reminded of his repentant heart, and we are able to follow his lead in that.
Welcome Home to The David House, we can now say. Welcome Home Geofrey, Emmanuel, Benon, Henry, Marvin, Martin, Nelson, Topher, Hamudan, William, Caleb, Roderick, Akim, Joel, Kayz, Malach, Francis, Micheal, Samuel, Elisha, Denis, Paul, Kizito and Joseph. Ben and I never thought our hearts could be so full. Watching my husband thrive in loving these boys and making them feel valued and heard has been my deepest joy. I tear up thinking about it.
Yet, I am still waiting for my final Welcome Home. Last night I looked around at all of our boys in a circle on our veranda (front porch). I watched as they laughed with Ben, Amos, and myself while we stood before them continuing a dance party from Chapel. My heart continues to speak to me “Welcome Home…for now”. This is our temporary home. As joy-filled and full as I felt in that moment, there was still something missing. I am still not home yet. My soul longs for Heaven to be united with Jesus.
I read this morning in 2 Corinthians 5: Our Heavenly Dwelling,
“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him” (2 Cor. 5:1-9).
We groan because his mom abandoned him at a young age, and his dad died of AIDS. Because his mom is ill and cannot work; therefore, if they have food that day they eat, if they don’t, they don’t. We groan because his father beats him, his father has 4 wives, his father drowned in Lake Victoria while fishing, his father is not present, his father disowned him. We groan because he is an orphan and has no one to call family. We groan together with our boys. And we are of good courage as we wait, because this is not our final destination—this is not our last, “Welcome Home.”
- Pray for our last boy to gather the rest of his requirements and come to school! We know that God is a God who leaves the ninety-nine to find the one, and He is faithful.
- Pray for our boys to continue to grow in trusting us, and feeling safe to learn here at TAS.
- Pray with us that they would come to know Jesus as more than a religion, but as their personal Lord, Savior, and Friend. That they would know they are audaciously loved by God, and that the cross of Christ would become so real to them.
- 23 out of our 24 boys of David House have met school requirements and are here with us!!!
- TAS Year 2 has begun, and God’s grace has already been so evident.
- We were told that our boys would be very shy and reserved at first based off of fear of being beaten/caned, since that is how it normally is in Ugandan schools, but they have already been warming up to us and engaging in devotions + house meetings. The returning S1 (Senior 1) students and staff have a lot to do with that success!
- God is alive and active, and oh so good.
Thank you so much to our support team, and prayer warriors.
Lots of LOVE,
Ben & Lo