As we drove up the hill from the Rwengo church to the Kate Clinic, I could never have imagined what was to come. Lost in conversation with those around me, Kathryn pointed out the “house” that my sponsored child, Grace used to live in. My heart ached for the conditions that were in front of us. Drawing nearer, we noticed a few little ones began to emerge from the home. We both saw a little girl, standing there in an LSU cheerleader outfit, staring at the bus.
My heart began to race at the possibility of this sweet little one being my Grace. Still unsure, I found myself wanting to jump off the van to see. Then, she smiled. A smile that told me this was Grace. A smile that I have seen in pictures from my sister since 2011 and in letters and cards since I became her sponsor in early 2014.
I could not get to her fast enough to wrap my arms around her in a sweet embrace and found myself shaking in anticipation. With each passing moment we tried to explain to her that I was her sponsor, but it still felt like she didn’t fully understand. Finally, Emmy D came over to translate. I was desperate for her to know who I was, that I loved her dearly, that I have prayed for her, that I have been waiting for this moment.
Just when I wasn’t sure her smile could get any wider, she understood what was being said to her and wore smile of pure joy. A smile that overwhelmed my heart. A smile that brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. A smile that communicated she loved me and was so thankful that I was her sponsor.
Over the next hour, we walked around the land, holding hands, laughing together,
hugging, and simply enjoying each moment given to us.
We may not speak the same language, but one thing is for sure, we both understood the love shared.
It was early Tuesday morning on August 11th and our team had now been on Uganda soil for four full days. Unfortunately my stomach had been upset most of the morning and not getting any better. As we pulled onto the campus of Katyazo, all I could think of is staying on this bus until I get feeling better. However, right on cue we were greeted by the students as we exited off the bus. We knew this was where our sponsor child attended, but Julius was nowhere to be found. Like every other school we visited, we were given the opportunity to introduce ourself and say whatever was on our heart.
Before I could introduce my oldest daughter who joined me on the trip and myself, I was engulfed in the arms of our adopted son Julius!!! The warmth of his arms squeezing me was far beyond what any medicine could ever do. My thoughts quickly turned my heart to pure joy as I was overwhelmed with emotions of meeting our sponsored child.
We were able to see where he lived, meet his classmates
and shower him with our love.
Although we had to return to Michigan, we will always have a son in Uganda that is loved and prayed for every day.
-Jeff and Kenzey Burget
Like Rachel, Jeff and Kenzey, many others on our team exchanged hugs with their sponsored children. Some have been exchanging letters for years,
while others were connecting for the first time.
Several of us were able to spend a few moments with the families of those we sponsor.
And even more, we were able to get a glimpse in to their lives at home.
Whether it was first meetings
or sweet reunions,
each connection was special in their own way.
I will never forget the day in May this year during the choir tour that Gerald told me his sister was available for sponsorship. Sometimes it is hard to know all of the connections of the children in the program, so when I found out his sister needed a sponsor, I prayed that someone special would choose her. Someone who could pour in to her and love her and be loved in return. Her story is one full of heartache, yet the Lord is at work redeeming the hurt for His glory.
When Todd mentioned to me at Carry a Jerry that he and his wife and their two small children wanted to sponsor, I knew this was the chance to connect her with a family that would do just that!
Four months later they were face to face.
Thank you Father for sponsorship.
Thank you Father for connecting your children from one side of the world to the other.
Thank you Father for provision for schooling.
Thank you Father for using each of us, Ugandan and American alike, to impact the other.
We are better because of it.