We started out the morning with something new! There are 4 new Cornerstone homes in Uganda with kids that have just come off of the streets, out of prison, or out of prostitution. These are kind of like transition homes where the girls/boys learn about structure and living with people, and then they are able to go to a different home (like Mengo) and start school. We were pretty hesitant about going into these homes solely because we didn’t want to get in the way of the Aunties (the older girls that are basically mothers to all of the girls in the home. Sarah, Jackie, and Hope are the Aunties at Mengo and they do such an amazing job at loving and encouraging and teaching the girls). We wanted to make sure that we weren’t any harm… bringing in 9 Mzungus (white people) and then leaving to go back to America is sometimes very hurtful and we didn’t want to create any feeling of abandonment. We prayed about it a lot and decided to call the Aunties yesterday. They were SO kind and said they would love for us to come and visit, so we headed out mid-morning and went to Nakowa, a new home for girls from the streets. There are five girls living there, and 2 Aunties. They literally SPRINTED to our van when we pulled in. It was SOOOO sweet and precious and adorable and humbling and just amazing. We got to spend about 2 hours with the girls and learned a lot more about how a new home actually works. The aunties literally walk out during the middle of the night to find young girls that need a home, they don’t go every night, but that is how the girls come and live there. When the girls get there, it is very overwhelming and new for them to have any structure or rules. Some of the girls run away in the first few days or sneak out in the night. They have room for 13 girls total, but only have 5 right now because so many ran away. It was sweet and heartbreaking to see the Aunties so sad about the other girls leaving… you can absolutely tell that they want to love EVERY single girl that needs love. The other girls that ARE living in the home, are so sweet, even though the language barrier was harder for everyone. They hugged on us the ENTIRE time we were there, it’s amazing to see how a young girls heart is the same all across the world…. tender, sweet, loving, affectionate, and in NEED of love and affirmation and attention. I love seeing that. I LOVE seeing the young girls be loved on!!! We played a game that they taught us (a weird dodgeball/tag/monkey in the middle game) and jump roped some… They read us the charts they are learning (ABC’s, Numbers, and sentences that they fill in to tell people about themselves). They are learning English at the home and will be able to go to school after they are out of this transitional home. They were such angels… We came inside and sang together… I love (with a BIG part of my heart) that we do know the same songs, but more importantly that we feel the presence of the SAME GOD! We sang ‘How Great Thou Art,’ and ‘Above All.’ It was such a blessing to truly praise our God for creating the world and affirming that he is our King and Father and Love and Protector and EVERYTHING!!!!! We prayed for their lives and were heartbroken when they asked when we would return… Hopefully God brings us back next year!! J
We ran to the grocery and had a very efficient errand time (always a good thing)… Then back to Cornerstone for lunch (Grilled cheeses, thanks to our Chef Katie!) and a little break. We were preparing everything for tonight this afternoon as well!!...
So then… drumroll please… We took tonight and had a PAMPERING NIGHT for the girls at Mengo!!!! We are all beaming from the joy that those girls had. Wow. It is indescribable how sweet they were.
When we first got there, we had all of the girls come outside so we could set up (we also had the saddest situation EVER when we had to ask the neighborhood kids to stay out of the compound… literally we all felt terrible but knew we had to be intentional about our time there with the girls). Then Jake and Jared escorted each girl in one by one… it was absolutely precious (as in, made me cry precious) as they each walked in. Reminded me of prom, or a wedding almost, how much the girls felt SO special. We had all of the girls in the bigger room at the home and had them sit in a circle… Three of us washed each of their feet and had a pedicure (kinda) for each of them. We washed their feet with a puma stone and put lotion on them to make them super clean and smell good and soft J Then a few of the girls went around to each of them and PAINTED THEIR TOENAILS!!! They ABSOLUTELY loved every second of it. It was soooo wonderful. We served them sodas (a treat for sure) and fresh fruit (best pineapple in the whole world) and just loved on them all night long.
Melissa and Kristen really have a passion for the girls and really had it on their hearts to love on them in intentional ways… they spent a lot of time in prayer over tonight and introduced what we were doing, as well as spoke to all of the girls after we were finished and affirmed that God loves them and that they are SO beautiful! Kristen made them repeat back that “I am loved and I am beautiful!” It was precious and such a blessing from God.
We have had such an amazing day and I am ABSOLUTELY positive that God is continuing to work through us. Please continue to pray that we use our time here to bless the people of Uganda and to be lead towards His Spirit more than anything else. We are continuing to learn SO much and meet new challenges… Thankful to God that we are here, and thankful to God for you and your friendships and prayers.
Happy Tuesday to all :)
Douglas, the man... the myth... the legend.
At MENGO setting up for Pedicure Night
Jake treating Winnie like a PRINCESS :)
Sweet sweet girls
Sarah and Jackie, the WONDERFUL Aunties at Mengo
All of the BEAUTIFUL girls at Mengo
Esther, Joy, and Olive
Our team and the Aunties after our night together :)