I keep sitting here, just staring at the screen, wondering how to convey it all.
This trip seemed to have many layers. One, my first trip to Africa. Two, meeting and falling in love with some kids. Three, adoption is bringing two more siblings into my life. All three levels felt wild all at once. I was on sensory overload the entire trip, yearning to take it all in, leaving little room to process. I think I’ll just write this one post at a time.
Strangely enough, I thought I knew Africa. I even thought I knew Uganda. I’ve read Kisses from Katie (both book & blog), dear friends live on the continent, many friends have lived there for up to three years, almost everyone I know from college has been at least once for a short-term trip, I mildly keep up with the politics, and I watch just about every documentary on the people I can.
It’s one thing to read and memorize statistics, and it is quite another to feel the red mud squish under one’s shoes, to sit inside a one-room hut smaller than my dining room housing 3 people, to see a child squeal with delight over a tiny poorly-made swing set, to smell the stench while staring into eyes of dignity, to see and feel and touch and smell real poverty.
I just, I thought I knew.
I thought I knew most of the world lives on less than $1 a day. I knew I was called a “rich American,” but I never really saw.
But then it was beautiful, and they grinned when they saw us. They giggled and chased after us in the village shouting, “hi muzungu!” begging for a glance in their direction. They were eager to invite us inside, to show us any hospitality they could. They thanked the Lord we were giving those children a family, because they had prayed it would be so. They prayed for us. They honored us in every way they knew how.
None of this is surprising. I’ve heard hundreds of people tell me the same thoughts after they went, and after they saw it. I knew it was coming, and still, that feeling of overwhelmed helplessness was heavy.
Then it was met with a relentless hope seen everywhere. The people I met knew Jesus. Like, knew him. They knew joy, and knew how to spread it. I heard them. I saw them. I saw God at work there, and He didn’t need anything fancy. He never does. He just works through surrendered hearts, and suddenly a country woven with despair and cycles of poverty finds hope.
((Forgive me as I process, slowly. More posts to come (probably for forever) on everything, especially the adoption. When they’re home, I’ll show the pictures with the faces. All 457 of them. Thanks for praying.))