Hi from Uganda! This is Katie B and Erica, and we want to share our story from today with you all.
Today it hit the team… the reality of being in Africa… the reality of the lives of these boys who live on the streets… the reality that we were called here to serve our Lord by pouring out our love onto these boys. We were truly broken. We decided to write this post together because we both were faced with the same reality of their lives that we could not even fathom.
We started today out by team breakfast and then headed out to Calvary Chapel, Kampala (this church is connected to Calvary Chapel , Farmville). This church is located in the middle of the city. It is so funny to enter the city because we are “Muzungus” (White people). So we get stared at like celebrities. Many of the street boys come to this church. It was incredible to worship at a church in Uganda, and just to be surrounded by people who love the Lord and are of a completely different culture. Even in Uganda, singing “How Great Thou Art” brought both of us to tears, and it was a beautiful thing.
After church, we ventured to the streets and experienced food from street vendors for the first time. Some of the things were new and not as enjoyable, like sugar cane, but some were delicious like “chipate” (a Ugandan tortilla). It was a worthwhile experience, nonetheless.
Now is where we get to the heart of the story. We headed to Deliverance Church for a program called Tomorrow’s Heroes. Tomorrow’s Heroes is a program for street boys, where they can come and play games, hang out, learn about the Lord, and get fed. When we got there, we were greeted by some of the boys that were at church. After a brief rainstorm, we played some games and started our program. Our team focused on teaching the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. Beatitudes are Jesus’ teachings and promises of blessing upon us when we are in different situations. As a team, we were surprised by the ways God revealed the boys’ faith and relationship with him through these discussions and the questions they asked. After our talks with the boys, the Uncles (older Ugandan Men who look after and mentor the street boys and the boys in the homes) lined them up to get the chipate and bananas we had for them. As the line was dwindling down and most of the boys had gotten fed, one boy, Johiah had passed out, and Katie, Mallory, and one of the Uncles rushed over to him. Later, the team found out that there was more than dehydration afflicting this boy. He is 7 years old and addicted to drugs, and Mallory and Katie told us that the last time he came to a program, he almost died. Soon after, we were rushed off to the bus, and the Uncles brought Johiah. When we were on the bus taking him to the clinic I (Erica) just placed my hand on him and prayed for healing. Others placed their hands on me and the whole team began praying for this little 7 year old. After he was carried off the bus I couldn’t help but cry. It really hit me, what I had just done. I had just prayed over a 7 year old’s body who didn’t feel like living anymore; a 7 year old who wasn’t enjoying his childhood but rather trying to flee from it.
On the bus ride home, we were both just overwhelmed with feelings that we couldn’t comprehend or identify. The wind streamed in through the window as tears streamed down our faces. Upon arriving home, we looked at each other with eyes filled with sadness, knowing that we needed some quiet time with the Lord. We were so torn by seeing the hopelessness some of these boys have. We knew when we left that we were going to the guest house, but where were those boys going? We say they are living on the streets, but we can’t understand what that really means. Spending that time with God, sitting in our brokeness, we saw how wonderful it was to be sad. We sing songs and ask God to break our hearts for what breaks His, but when he was answering those prayers today, we didn’t know what that brought with it and probably wouldn’t have asked if we had known at the time. Looking back though, that is what God calls us to do.
We are looking forward to seeing our new friends tomorrow at Buganda Field for Street Reach and to see our friends at the New Life Homes.