|Jake, Jared and Jayne acting goofy at Intanda Falls.|
I wanted to take a moment to commend my kids on their behavior and growth over the past 6 months. Their whole lives have been turned upside down, even before we came to Uganda. They had to say goodbye to family, pets, friends and teachers. We sold our home, in Duncan, and we will have another change when we get home in July. While in Uganda, each of them has had some bad days, but for the most part, they have been positive and upbeat. They each interact with Uganda in different ways, but they have definitely made a positive impact on those that they have met.
|Jake and Moses squaring off! I think the loser is going to be the little red car that Jake is sitting on!|
|Jared singing and dancing with Elijah at the baby's home.|
|Jayne making visits at the hospital.|
Living in Uganda has really moved us out of our box. We moved from a nice “box” on Timbercreek, in Duncan, to Uganda, where we live in a small apartment and spend many days staying in small motels and eating things like “unidentified meat” and goat stew. These kids have not complained or offended their hosts by not eating. They have each lost some weight, but I think this is more related to their increased activity and fewer processed foods. Everyone has surprised me and even eaten exotic things like white ants (Enswa) and fried grasshoppers (nsenene). We’ve gone from a GMC Denali with leather seats and DVD player, to a 1994 Toyota van that beats along the dusty roads in Uganda. We have white water rafted and the boys have bungee jumped over the River Nile. We have loaded up on a public bus and traveled to Rwanda, pushing our comfort level, in multiple ways. While in Rwanda, the kids stared evil in the face, as we visited the genocide memorials, and learned about how life can be under valued. They have learned many things about a new culture and a new language. They have opened their hearts to ill children and loved them through surgeries, chemotherapy and even in death. This vulnerability to heartache has surprised me, and it happens over and over, despite previous pain.
This week, while in Jinja, I saw some maturity in Jake that made me proud. We were closing our devotional time on Wednesday morning and I had offered to close the group in prayer and start us into our day. I prayed for several things, but one thing that I always (either corporately or individually) try to pray for, before we go out to a clinic, is that God would open our eyes to that “one person” that needs a special touch. The kid that needs special medical care. The boy that needs to beat a mzungu in soccer. The girl that needs a hug and a baby doll that a girl in Oklahoma made for her. As I was praying that we all would be able to identify that “one person” today, I became overwhelmed. I started thinking of the blessings that we have received by God allowing us to see and attend to so many “one persons”. I also started to think of how many “one persons” that we may have missed because we got distracted by something that was not important. Our group was standing and holding hands for this prayer. I could no longer speak out loud because I could not control my emotions. I sat down and began to cry. Jake was standing next to me, so he reached over and put his hand on my shoulder. After silence in the group for a minute or two, Jake began to pray out loud. This is not something that he chooses to do very often, but he “finished” my prayer with almost the exact words that I had been thinking.
I have no doubt that when we return home, Jake, Jared and Jayne will be more mature, emotionally and spiritually, than when we left Oklahoma. They have a better perspective of what and who is important in this life. They see a purpose for education and job training, so they can provide for and serve others through God in the future. To be honest, I hear conversations about our kids missing friends and family, but I also hear many conversations about not wanting to leave Uganda and when we are going to return to Uganda. You might not recognize these children of mine, when we arrive at the airport. I hope that you are as pleased as I am with the Gregston kids, sans boxes!