Have you ever felt instantly at home somewhere completely different? Somewhere so far away and out of your comfort zone you could not possibly feel safe and content, but you do. I felt that as soon as I hit the ground in the Entebbe airport. Thinking about it now physically hurts because I miss my Ugandan family so much, but I take comfort in knowing that the Lord will bring me back there again. I’ve been trying to form the words to write this for weeks but thinking about all that I witnessed there makes me cry everytime.
Africa has always been on my mind, I’ve always felt like I was supposed to be there with no clue why. This past June I got to finally live out my calling and serve at Sonrise Ministries, and let me tell you I will never be the same.
Joy is a the first word that comes to mind when I think about the people I met in my short time in Uganda. Everywhere I went I was greeted with smiling faces. Pure joy is something even the largest language barrier cannot hide. I saw joy in so many forms. The joy on the face of a village child as they run at you giggling and screaming, “Mzungo, Mzungo!” (Mzungo: White person) The joy on the kids faces pulling each other on am homemade sled in the red dirt. The joy on the families faces in the village when you do the simplest thing for them. The kind of joy that puts what we express in America to shame. The kind of joy that I miss everyday.
I fell in love with everything about this place. I went there hoping to bless these people but I came home so much more blessed.
Mudhuts, Twins and Zidia.
One of the serve projects I got to be apart of was repairing the home of a widow. She lived in a mud hut that was in shambles, this is where I met Zidia. When the others were working on her home, I met a woman who had gave birth to twins recently.. I held these sweet babies and got to talk to the mother, she was 22, (two years older than me) and she gave birth at home, having no idea she was pregnant with twins, y’all I cannot even begin to fathom how scared she must have been but she looked at both of these babies with so much love. This is about the time sweet Zidia becomes a part of my story. As I was sitting with these women and babies a small child crawled over from a hut nearby. Speaking to these women, I learned this sweet baby was 11 years old and had never walked. She was in an old torn up t-shirt, with nothing else. Meeting this baby broke me, seeing the lack of hope that she faced in this world, and yet her story isn’t over yet.. One of the sweet girls on the team we worked with was so affected by Zidia she took “giving the shirt off your back” literal. She took her t-shirt and we put Zidia in it and she started giggling and smiling bigger than any child I have ever seen. I will never forget that. We got to visit with Zidia and her family again before I left, and through the help of our sweet friends in Uganda, she has been to the hospital once about her legs, she received a walker and will prayerfully have surgery one day. The GoFundMe for Zidias medical bills is:
One of the mornings we were Aunties in the baby home, while the real aunties were treated to breakfast at Java with the Georgia team, and y’all I don’t know how those ladies do it. These kids may be small, but they know when their Aunties are gone and that they can push their limits. These babies get bathed THREE times a day, and do two-mile walks before nap time. I think I was more ready for nap time than they were. The cleaning that is done in the baby home is insane, they don’t use mops they scrub the floors on their hands and knees 3 or 4 times until its spotless in Every. Single. Room. I was exhausted after one bedroom, and they do it MULTIPLE times a day. Meal time at the baby home is an experience itself, and once you’re a part of it you’ll understand why bath time and cleaning are so important. I have so much respect for these ladies, I for sure was struggling trying to be them for the day.
When you get to the children’s home it can be overwhelming, there’s so many kids and its hard to make a difference and connect with all of them. Sometimes, a child just picks you. Thats how it was with David. He is the sweetest child I have ever met. At the beginning of my trip we did homework club with the kids at the children’s home. We read, and worked on writing letters and our names. This is where I met David, I don’t know what it was but as soon as we got started in the homework club this little boy would not leave my side, and I’m so grateful he didn’t. I never thought I would come home and miss a child so much. Everytime he was remotely close, he would find me before I even realized he was there. It kind of makes me think of how the Lord does to us, even when we don’t know He’s there He makes it known to us. Unconditional love.
I have never experienced gratitude like I did in the short time I was in Uganda. Village children would bow at your feet and grab your hand over the smallest piece of candy. Elderly Ugandans in the villages would give up their wooden seats so that we may sit down and share the good news with them, trying to give us the small amount of food they had just so we would know how thankful they were. Puts things in the US to shame. I pray that I carry a little bit of that gratitude with me everyday now.
You’ve never had a dance party until you have a Ugandan dance party. I got to experience this TWICE in the two weeks I spent there, one night with all the Mirembe girls, those girls love some dance music. I was out of breath within minutes of dancing with them. The second time was spent at Evelyn’s Bachelorette party. Hearing the love and advice showered over sweet Evelyn before her wedding to Timothy was amazing, they all came together to make sure she was as prepared as she could be and that she knew how loved she was. I came out of that bachelorette party feeling like I could get married tomorrow after all the advice those women shared.
If I kept talking about all the things I was a part of in Uganda, I would be writing forever and I just don’t think my heart can take that right now.
If you ever get the chance for overseas missions, Go. It will change your life in ways you never thought possible, you’ll come home sick for the place you left. I cannot wait to be back.
If you want to get involved with Sonrise there are many ways through prayer and financial contributions. Many children still lack full sponsorships, they start out at $30, full sponsorships going up to $120. You can learn more at: