Babies crying. Dogs howling. Mamas singing. Sixteen, beautiful little girls chanting “Auntie Brooke, Auntie Brooke!”. Children laughing. Mercy giggling. Roosters crowing. Goodnight prayers and whispered “I love you”. These are the beautiful sounds that I have fallen in love with here in Uganda.
But sometimes it can be tiring…both emotionally and physically. Babies crying. Sixteen girls all vying for your attention. Runny noses. “su su”(pee) on my skirt for the second time that day. Arms sore from lifting and carrying a dozen plus little kids. Heart broken for baby Frieda and her reoccurring sores and illness. Restlessness. Poverty. Getting sixteen girls ready for bed. Praying.Praying. and more Praying.
Acts 20:35- And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus. “It is more blessed to give than to receive”.
Those have been some of the hardest moments for myself. I get frustrated that I cannot give enough. I can’t change the fact that some of our kids are HIV pos. and that they are going to have to live with it for the rest of their life. I can’t help but wonder what will happen to some of our kids if they age out of the system before being adopted or reunited with their family. I cant heal each broken heart or illness. In the village, I saw the desperation in the eyes of a mother begging for her child to have a new piece of clothing. My heart absolutely broke in two when we weren’t able to give her something and had to turn her away.
Through the frustration and exhaustion, I am reminded that I serve a God who does not abandon His children. He hears my cries and knows the desires deep within my heart. He understands my desperation to serve and love Him and His people. When I feel drained and used up, Christ renews my strength and patience. I cant even begin to fathom how much God must love us, each individually, after falling in love with all the children here at Amani. I forgot that when loving someone, they take a piece of your heart along with them. As strange as it might appear, I want my heart to be shattered and broken. I want to be challenged and constantly tested in my trust and faith. Through the brokenness, God can mold and shape me.
Smiles from the babies. Alima’s big, tight hugs as she says “ Auntie, I give you one more big hug!”. Silas telling me “I love you more”. Sixteen girls running and wrapping their little arms around my legs to greet me each morning. Jacky resting her head in my lap and falling asleep while I stroke her back. Watching Frieda getting stronger every day. Singing songs while I tuck the girls into bed. Saying “ I love you” and meaning every word. These are the moments that make me so grateful and blessed to be here. They overshadow the exhaustion and emotional toil. Instead, these moments restore me and fill me with such incredible love.