What an incredible adventure so far. Tomorrow will be our last day at Smile and we don’t want our time with these precious children to end. We have seen and experienced so much. After three days of traveling and a quick tour of tour of London, we finally arrived in Torroro, Uganda Friday evening. The trip started out right getting to meet up with Be Free Revolution’s Peace to Ground missionary Kelsey Pope. What a warm welcome to Torroro and the Crystal Hotel. It was nice seeing a familiar face after a very long trip.
The weekend at Smile Africa Ministries was a new experience for the Be Free mission trip. The weekend gave us time to spend with the children without families that board at Smile. Smile provides a safe-haven for some children who do not have a place to go. Our time with the children was spent encouraging them and just getting to know them. The weekend is a great acclimation time for the week ahead. The team received a tour from Michael who assists in the day-to-day operations at Smile. Sunday at Smile was a huge treat! A four-hour church service, yes 4 hours, filled with praise and worship by the children that board at Smile. The four hours passed by in no time. Time flies when you are worshiping God and having fun. The Smile choir was amazing. Their voices were so beautiful. It was so awesome to be on the other side of the world worshiping the same God in the same ways. What a huge and mighty God we serve!
Monday and Tuesday were much busier scenes as the rest of the kids from the area attended Smile. Many of these children may have a family or guardians, but come to Smile as a safe-haven to get off the street. They are fed two meals a day, receive medical care, and are provided some education and bible lessons. What an amazing gift to many of the kids!
These kids love to see visitors from the outside. We were able to love on them, give them so much attention that they may not receive at home, and teach them important life lessons such as hygiene and respecting one another. The big hits this trip were coloring and bracelet making. Most of all, it is so important that we have been showing Christ’s love to the kids by serving, loving, and spending time with them. Kelsey said it best when she said that love is the one thing that binds us together and is the one thing that everyone needs.
Did I mention what an amazing team we have. I know God puts these teams together and yet I was still a bit anxious. This team has to be the most dedicated and engaged, self-sufficient team I have ever seen. I am so thankful to be serving with each of them.
They each add so much to our mission. I haven’t looked up yet and not seen one person without a child in there arms…. and on some occasions three children.
I want to brag on them as they have bathed, cleaned, encouraged, counseled, and clothed children all week long. Smile will never be the same again after this week.
We can truly say that we have left a mark at Smile and they have truly left a mark on us that we will always remember. Just today I heard about a book that recently came out called “Dirty God”. We are to be the hands and feet of God by interacting with people who need to hear the Gospel which may be across the world, in the places that aren’t typically places we want to go, and with people that take us out of comfort zone. Jesus hung out with tax collectors and sinners and healed lepers and the diseased. I thought of this book today as I heard one of our team members shout as we walked through the gates of Smile “Lets get dirty”!! What a way to dive right in and get on their level. This is when lives are changed, people get healed, and needs are met!
Nick, Team Leader