It's been one week now and we are almost completely in the swing of things around here! We have been challenged and pushed constantly the last couple of days. God's beauty is so incredibly evident here, it takes our breath away. He is daily humbling us! We get to see His physical beauty in the landscape of Uganda, and in this same landscape He is abruptly revealed through the faces and the red African dirt. We have been able to serve and show SO MUCH love to these precious children :)
Sundays here are a wonderful celebration! We woke up to booming gospel music that could be heard all over Mafubira community. STAO has a church that invites the whole community to join in on for Sundays. We sang and danced and rejoiced in the Lord for about 3 hours! Monday morning we walked down to a house in the village where some women were making the STAO kids' school uniforms. We were welcomed with hugs and smiles. For most of the morning we sewed buttons and button holes on the uniforms and danced to the radio with the women and some of their kids. When American songs would come on we would sing... they thought that was funny. We had a great time :)Later that afternoon we went around to about 12 foster homes around the village and delivered bars of soap and bags of salt. STAO fosters out some of the kids to families in the community, then gives the family some resources to care for them. Many of them would yell and dance and all of them would give us a big hug! It was beautiful! We were followed at all times by a pack of children calling our name out over and over ("MUSUNGU, MUZUNGU"!)
This morning went out into Jinja to the children's hospital to visit and pray with some of the kids, but it was VERY busy and crowded so we had to leave. We have learned that African time is very different from American time. There is no such thing as a schedule or appointment or being on time! It's a nice change of pace, actually. After leaving the hospital, we drove out sort of far to a crowded village where some of the STAO orphans came from. They are a tribe that moved down here from the war-torn Northern part of Uganda... the Karamajong tribe. I can't quite explain how my stomache felt about these people. I thought we had seen the poorest of the poor, but I was wrong. We arrived and another STAO volunteer that came with us brought out his camera to take some pictures and Sharon (STAO employee) told him to put it away because we had to talk to their "Chairperson" before doing anything. So we were led to one of the mud huts to wait for him. These people's only source of income, besides small odd jobs, is making a sort of malt corn liquor. The whole area reaked of it. The chairperson (leader of they Karamajongs), John, finally came and had us sign a tattered visitors book, then had some men lead us around.
We went back to the hospital this evening during visiting hours. We didn't get much time there, but we were able to go through several wards and pray over the patients and their families. The hospitals have hundreds waiting outdoors and standing around waiting for treatment that they may never get. It is extremely disfunctional. The inside is hot, damp, and very poorly lit.
We love you all deeply, and honestly cannot express how much we appreciate your comforting prayers. We are able to pray for THESE people confidently bacause we know that we are also being supported from across the world! The internet is bad here, but we are going to try to post a few pictures within a few days. Please spread the word and know that your prayers are felt DAILY!