I just wanted to spend some time reflecting on this past week. It has been such a surreal transition from living in America to living in Uganda. A lot of you know that I am a nursing student. One of the big reasons I chose nursing as a career was because I wanted to learn skills that would serve a purpose in helping others. That is my heart. I absolutely love traveling and seeing new places but about a year ago I felt this persistent feeling that I needed to start praying for God to show me where He wanted to use me in this time in my life. Six months later, I am reading Katie’s book and it all came into place. I had so many people write in letters or ask me “aren’t you scared” or “ you are so brave and courageous for doing this”. Yes, I know that spending my summer in Africa on my own is not what most 21 year old college students do. But truthfully, there wasn’t a single moment where I second-guessed my decision to come here. I knew 100% that this is what God was calling me to do. It is amazing what kind of blessings pour out from listening to the desires God places in your heart.
I am not going to lie. I had this whole picture in my mind of what it was going to be like here in Africa. I was going to see all these skinny children running around on the streets. I was going to see so much hurt and pain in the eyes of the people I ran into. I was going to be treating all these kids that needed me…who needed love. I was SO wrong. Yes, there is poverty. Yes, you do see the kids running around wearing dirty clothes that are two sizes too big. But there is this genuine love that surrounds these people. I have realized that in just this past week, these precious children whom each have their own heartbreaking story, have so much love to give. I thought I was going to be the one giving them love and attention but it is just the opposite. They understand what it means to love someone with absolutely no conditions. I feel it in the smiles and giggles the babies give me when I pick them up. I feel it in the good night hugs when Alima and Lydia leap into my arms as I have the privilege to say I love you and pray over them. I literally am crying as I write this. That is how much these kids have already taken over my heart. It hit me the first time I put the girls to bed that this is where they sleep. They don’t have a permanent family. But I have learned that the kids at Amani have 50+ brothers and sisters. They have 30+ mamas and aunties and uncles that play and give them attention all day long. This is their family. It may not be a traditional family but it is a family nonetheless that teaches and encourages them to be their own little person. I realize that they are not the ones that lack. They might not have some of the luxuries such as air conditioning or huge shopping malls like we do. Instead, they are rich in their faith in each other and counting each day a blessing. I have just been in awe of how much I need to grow because of these children and mamas. Forget impacting these kids… they are impacting me in ways I never, ever anticipated