October 16, 2007

immy, my sweet african neighbor is washing my feet. just because. the is the sweet humility of these people. i was just laying here outside with the puppies and she came and started washing my feet. Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, He was a true servant. these people know how to serve, know how to be Jesus to others. they are Jesus to me every single day. last week i made my kindergarten assistant, “teacher patience”, a cake for her birthday; she was so thrilled. “katie, may God bless you abundantly” she said. but He already has, i thought. He already has.

Life has been soooo so busy lately but busy in the indescribably beautiful way that makes me feel purposeful; i know i am busy doing God’s work. i sponsored my first three girls to go to go to school last week (they are my friend patric’s daughters and i am sponsoring them personally so i was able to get a jump start, they are my trial kids). these girls parents use every penny they make just to pay their daughter’s school fees, so other things like school supplies and uniforms are not luxuries that these girls have ever had. i of course payed in full, so for the first time in their lives, these girls who wear the same dresses every day have uniforms like the other children at the school. instead of taking notes on scrap pieces of paper and napkins left over from lunch, they now have pens and paper. when i had finished paying the headmaster for everything, we called the girls into the office and gave them their new uniforms. they were so excited that they put them on right away. i have never seen anyone so happy or grateful. they were down on their knees thanking me as their father beamed with pride. and all of this for about 200 dollars, or what my family and i would spend on groceries weekly.

this is what makes no power, no running water, no english-speaking friends all worth it, that gratefulness. the fact that God can use me to make someone that elated makes me forget to miss tv and normal food and having clean feet. i would give everything i own for that one moment of happiness, to see the gratitude in those girls faces.

i mentioned this before but didn’t really go into detail: i have decided (with the guidance of the Lord and lots of help from my awesome supportive parents) to open an organization that will sponsor the orphaned and vulnerable kids that live in the villages surrounding buziika to go to school. i dont know a thing about opening a nonprofit. but what i know is the joy on the childrens faces when they find out they are going to be able to go to school. what i know is the gratitude of parents who work so hard to be able to provide their children with an education and still cant afford it. what i know is the faithfulness of the Lord. this is going to be another long journey, and God is going to walk with me every step of the way. i cant wait.

i teach 134 kindergarteners. every day i walk with them home from school and actually go home with one of them. i love my time with these children and being able to meet their families and see their homes. they all just have these stories that you wouldnt believe stories from movies or the news, and yet, this is my REAL life. the people that i meet have mostly never seen a white person. while white people have been at canaan before, none have ever ventured into these villages. they all run to bring me a seat, insist that i come their houses, and pray for me before i leave. it is the best feeling in the world, and once again word are just not sufficient. yesterday i walked home with twin girls, mercy and nlanga. they live about 2 miles from the school and walk here barefoot every day, over the rocks and mud, rain or shine. turns out they live with their 3 older siblings and grandmother, jaja christine. as we sat on her dirt steps she told me their stories. their mother (her daughter) had come to “visit” when mercy and nlanga were about 2 (so about 3 years ago). in the middle of the night the mother had left, leaving her mom to raise her 5 children. jaja christine does any work she can get her hands on, works all day on banana plantations and grows and sells her own casava (a root that is a staple food here.. kind of like a cross between a potato and a turnip) on the side of the road. all this work and she makes only enough money to send 3 out of 5 children to school. it is truly devastating. i told her about our plan to sponsor kids and she fell on her knees. “i am not alone in raising these children,” she said. “you see how God takes care of me? i am not alone. He has sent you to answer my greatest prayer.” and standing there in the stifling hot african sun, i had chill bumps. that is the greatness of our God. not just that He would bless jaja christine with me, but also bless me with her true faith, complete trust, and real gratitude. these people claim that i bless them, and i know that i do. somehow though, i think they bless me more.

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