Johnna Wilson, family coordinator and ACT staff, is currently leading a missions trip in Uganda. She's journaling throughout the trip on her blog, Visiting the Fatherless.
Here is an excerpt from Day 4 in Uganda (read the full entry and see more pictures here):
Meanwhile, the rest of us finished our tour of the remaining parts of the compound we had not yet seen. Our first day here we got a tour of the farm, the schoolhouse and other buildings (the children’s home has several acres of farmland and we walked much of it). Today we saw where they cooked the food for the kids, where the kids sleep and the administrative offices.
The most precious moment was the very last dormitory where the smallest kids sleep. First of all, their absolute delight when we walked into their room (which was also the first time we had interacted with them for the day) was the most adorable. Many had their headbands on them from the day before and I heard “Johlnah! Jolhnah! Jolhnah!” (This how they pronounce my name phonetically) as several little hands grabbed my arms and hands and waist. There were gleeful smiles all around as we gave them our full attention.
After lunch we began the process of giving out some of the donations that we had brought with us. Because these donations involved clothing and “unmentionables” and because Pastor Isaac wanted us two give them to the kids we decided to do it privately by gender and age group. We sorted all the clothes, undies and toothbrushes. We started with the oldest girls, letting them “shop” for an outfit or dress that they liked and would fit them. When we showed their auntie (foster mom) that they were getting new outfits, new undies, toothbrushes and additional unmentionables her hands went to her cheeks and the tears started welling up. Maybe I was caught off guard by how strongly they reacted to what we were giving them because as I turned around to face a couple of the other women in the team members I could barely talk to them through my own emotion.
After this tour we pulled out the face painting and balloon animals. It was pretty much mass chaos the whole time, but super cute when little faces appeared in front of me more than once. I only noticed the repeats when one little sweetie popped down next to me with her face still wet from where she had washed off my previous work. Whether they just wanted a new design for the fun of it or wanted another few minutes enjoying the personal touch of our hands on their faces I’m not sure, but it was impossible to resist them when they just looked at you with those sheepish grins.
This process of bringing the kids in by gender and age group repeated until all the kids had come through. Many of you reading this contributed to the amount of donations we were able to bring and we took photos with the good camera which we will share later on.
Friday we go shopping for more things they needed. We actually didn’t have enough clothes for all the kids, but we had a tape measure and so got their sizes in order to purchase the remaining clothes we need with some of the donation money that was generously given to us to use for the children. Needless to say this will be a very fun shopping trip for us ladies on the team.
Tomorrow we set off to a new destination. While we will be lodging here at this guest house we’ve been at all along, we are driving to visit Bro. Agati and his 200+ children. Pray for us. We don’t know exactly what to expect from the day and we couldn’t possibly bring enough material donations for all of these kids, so we need discernment and wisdom in using the donation money given to us to meet the most urgent needs these orphanages have.