Friday, August 15, 2008

It was a cold, rainy night as I headed out of the supermarket on Main Street. Huddled on the street corner was a little boy, sopping wet and shivering. \at the moment, all I really wanted to think about was getting home, getting dry, and crawling into my little bed, but a voice inside told me to stop. I took the little boy inside the supermarket to dry off a bit and bought him some biscuits and juice. I gave him my sweatshirt, a small wooden cross that I carry in my pocket, and some change for his ride home. As he left, he called out, “What is your name?” “Katie,” I responded, “Auntie Katie.” “Me, I am Daniel!” he shouted, and he disappeared into the night. That was almost a year ago.

Today as I walked into the supermarket to buy food for my family, two small brown arms wrapped around me, and a little voice excitedly proclaimed “Auntie Katie!” I turned to see a beaming Daniel. “Wait!” he said. He hurried to the nearest street vendor and bought me a popsicle with the little pocket change he had. He dug into his pocket and pulled out the small wooden cross. “I have never stopped praying for you every day,” he grinned.

I stand amazed at the goodness of our God. That rainy night, I really just wanted to hop on my piki and go home. But I stopped. I only gave him a sweatshirt (I’m sure I have 8 more). I only gave him some cheap biscuits (I can eat biscuits any day I like). I only gave him enough money for his ride home (probably less than the equivalent of 50 cents). But Jesus gave him hope. And he remembered. He didn’t just remember my face, though I’m not sure how he could even see me in the dark; he remembered my name. He prayed for me. He prayed for my safety and for the opportunity to see me again. I blessed him just one cold night, and he blessed me every day after that for this whole year.

Please. Never underestimate the power of your kindness.

Monday, August 11, 2008

this is what its like to be an african mamma...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Just when I think that the world might crash down around me, something miraculous happens and our Lord catches all the pieces and puts them right back where they need to be. The second semester of school ended yesterday, which means HOLIDAYS for all 150 of my children. It also means that I HAVE to pay the schools the money I owe them in order for my kids to be able to return in September. As of yesterday we owed quite a sum of money, but upon checking the bank account, there was just the right amount to cover the costs. This means that we are NOT IN DEBT to anyone, which has not been my case for quite some time. :) Of course this will only last for about another month because then all the kids will go back to school and I will owe astronomical amounts of money all over again, but I'm not concerned. I have always told myself that God will provide. Well, it's true! I feel that as much as I love these little orphans, God loves them SO MUCH MORE, as much as I want what's best for them- love, spiritual encouragement, education- He wants it SO MUCH MORE. He has and He will continue to provide for these kids. On this note, thank you. To everyone who has donated time to helping me, treasures to take on the journey, money, or prayers – none of this could be done without you. To my dear friend Mary who sat with me while I stuffed my suitcases, made last minute trips to Wal-Mart to make sure I had everything I needed, and brought brownies for sustenance; to Judy Hawn who made darling little dresses that are now clothing little orphans all over Uganda; to the May family and all who have donated; to Brandi and Erin for spreading the word and being always joyful and full of encouraging words; to my family, immediate and extended and my sweet boyfriend for being a constant support system, to Williamsport Christian Church, Holy Family Catholic Church, Christ Church in Franklin, and Mike Whipps and the people of Leawood, Kansas for your prayers and continuous support – the words I use to thank you can never be sufficient, but you are truly a major part in everything I am doing here, you are the hands and feet of Christ in Uganda. Thank you.

As for my life, I am just reveling in being a stay at home mom, however non-conventional my motherhood is. I enjoy every second of wiping dirty faces, painting little fingernails, and making balls out of my socks for the kids to play with. I don't feel that my life is really different than that of most moms, except that I make 18 pieces of cinnamon toast every morning, get splashed by 8 little girls at bath time, and get about 140 kisses goodnight. Which reminds me to tell you, we added a new little girl to our family this weekend! Its funny to me that I have so many children in my house all the time that it just isn't a big deal anymore when we get a new one. Anyway, her name is Margaret, she is eleven years old and beautiful and, until Saturday, a total orphan. She is adjusting well to our crazy family life though.

My children are the greatest kids in the entire universe. I'm sure that every proud mother says that, but I MEAN it. They are so beautiful. So well behaved. So kind to each other and obedient and helpful. They have been through so much at their young ages. They deserve the world. And sometimes, they look at me with these big, curious eyes (8 pairs of them!) that expect me to give them the world, and I wonder – what if I can't?

At nineteen, mother of 8 was not exactly a title I expected. But their little voices call out “Mommy, Mommy” and I am the only one they have ever known. I am not always a good mother. Sometimes my kids are late to school because I set the toast on fire. Sometimes my kids just don't go to school because mom wants to stay home and play. Sometimes we run out of food and have to have pancakes for dinner. Sometimes we leave church early because we just can't all sit still and be quiet at the same time. Sometimes there are so many people in my house screaming and coloring on the furniture and riding the dogs and standing on the table that I feel like I just might pull all my hair out. Sometimes I shout. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I just can't understand what they are trying to tell me. And still they look at me with those big, expectant eyes, as if I can give them the world. “Mommy, where does the sun go when I am sleeping? Mommy, are all lady bugs girls? Mommy, where do I go when I die? Do fish go there too? Well, why don’t fish breathe air? Mommy what makes the sky blue? Mommy, why aren’t you bald like me? Why is our skin different? Why can't you live here all the time, Mommy? Mommy? Mommy…”

As inadequate as I feel sometimes, I wouldn't trade a minute of it. Because I am. I am inadequate. And I'm ok with it. Throughout the Bible God continues to choose seemingly inadequate women to do His work. Look at Mary, the mother of Christ. She was probably no older than me, no more ready to be a mother, no more ready to answer a high pitched little voice asking her a million questions that she didn't know how to answer. So I won't strive to be a perfect mother, I will just strive to be like Mary. Completely unprepared, but ready to take on the child that God handed to her. Her faith was courageous and her obedience was complete. She would submit to God. Regardless of the cost or the consequences. Regardless of if it meant losing her reputation or the man she loved. Even her life. Regardless. NO MATTER WHAT. “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary said, “may it be to me as you have said. She would be a mother. I will be a mother. As long as He keeps giving me these precious children of His, I will continue to love them to the best of my ability. I will be an inadequate, uncertain, loving with everything I have, filled-with-more-joy-than-one-little-person-can-handle mother. And I will love every minute.

Friday, August 1, 2008

my youngest, Sumini and her friend Christina

picking the stones out of the beans to prepare for friday night madness :)

making some music in the fromt yard

friday night fellowship

the food line in my back yard. we go through about 50 pounds of rice and beans in one night!

my daugther Scovia's 6th birthday party. (since none of my children actually know their birthdays, i wrote the numbers 1-365 on a paper and had them each select one. now they all have their own special day - they are so proud!)

i was so happy to see my kindergarten class! they are doing wonderfully with their new ugandan teacher, miss mary!

hellooooo from the "scabie family", now scabie-free and back at home!

all of these beautiful children are still waiting for sponsors so they can finish their education. your prayers are a blessing to us and deeply appreciated.

this is adam. he is one of my personal favorites. he has down syndrome and since no one here really has any knowledge about his disability, he is often brushed aside or overlooked. but God has taught me so much about love through this darling little boy. he loves to kiss me and touch my face (sometimes resulting in pink eye... but i wouldn't trade it for anything). he also loves to bring me presents, last week it was the neighbors' live chicken.. :)

my precious, ever-growing family. there are now 9 of us. left to right: margaret, joyce, agnes, sumini, mommy, mary, christine, scovia, and prossy. please pray for our hearts as we prepare again for my deparure, which we know is necessary but contintinues to be heart-wrenching.

love from us all!