#17 June email “So long comfort zone”

Family,

Today was yet another blessing.  I spent the day with Teacher Eva and Teacher Esther at Sanyu Kindergarten.  And… Of course I spent it being showered with love from twenty-five three-year-olds.  I was supposed to spend the second part of the day with the older kids, but I didn’t feel well.  I didn’t even eat lunch!!!  Yikes!  I knew something wasn’t right then.  But after I rested, I went back to school to help Teacher Eva.  I’ve decided to make it my mission to help the teachers the way I’d love help during the school year.  So, I’ve been marking their books, grading papers and making copies.  When I say making copies, I mean LITERALLY making copies.  I can make three copies at a time with carbon paper.  Man.. just another example of what we spoiled folks take for granted!

I spoke with Teacher Eva, Godfrey’s wife, while grading primary one math papers.  She shared her vision of Sanyu with me.  She shared that it is hard to improve the school when twenty-five percent of the kids don’t pay their fees.  Plus, what little they do get goes toward HER family.  Their first-born was sent home from boarding school today because they haven’t paid all her tuition for the term.  So, windows for the school, mattresses for the kids to share during naptime (they sleep on the tables now), toys, etc. are lower on the totem pole.

After school, Eve came over and she and Eve told me about their vision of the orphanage they want to start.  Are you kidding me???  I’ve heard both of these women talk about how hard life is… that they barely have enough money to send their own kids to school.  I’ve heard their husbands talk to my dad about their needs.  I’ve heard about the twenty kids they are jointly sponsoring!  TWENTY KIDS!  My goodness…  Their vision of the orphanage is truly inspiring.  They want to start by increasing the number of kids they sponsor now.  Then they want to build an orphanage that includes housing and a vocational school.  Their hearts are bigger than I can even comprehend.  I was asking about how many kids they’d like to sponsor and they told me just to walk from here to Eve’s and I’d have more than enough.  They know the need.  They live the need.  Eva told me today, “When you are needy, it’s difficult to help your fellow needy.”

Just a week ago I was put off by people coming right out and asking for things.  I was uncomfortable.  I am reminded how many times I’ve told people who God grows me the most when He thrusts me out of my comfort zone.  Well, here I am in Uganda having people coming to me like I’m a business woman!  I’m a teacher people!  Don’t you know I’m broke!  (You all probably laughed at that poor attempt at a joke… when in all actuality, I’m rich compared MOST)  The average person makes $200 A YEAR here in Uganda.

Tonight the power went out.  I hear the power was out at home today too.  I hope you all made the most of it like we did.  We had a lovely candlelight dinner.  And, it gave me a great opportunity to give the kids the glow-in-the-dark crosses.  I wish you could have seen them eating their rice and beans with one hand while holding tightly their crosses in the other.  I am honored to be in this home.  They have gone out of their way to make me comfortable, even though I begged Eva not to.  She just won’t listen!

I am rejoicing to be out of my comfort zone.  I’m grateful that God has given me the opportunity to be the only white person in a (probably) one-mile radius.  (We’re in the capital.  It would be much larger if I was in the village)  I’m reminded when I first showed up at Lee High School.  Those kids were staring at me like I did not belong… and I couldn’t have agreed more!  But, we grew to know and love each other.  I think teaching at Lee is one of my favorite blessings from our Father.  I am no longer in that tiny box.  I now love kids that I would have stayed FAR away from.  (I’m embarrassed to say that, but what good would it do to lie)  Now those kids have become my favorite part of my days.  They keep me on my toes and love me so much.  I’m incredibly blessed.

God has given me a similar opportunity here in Uganda.  I have stepped out of my little box into a very large place with SO many people to love.  I am honored to be able to love these people and help where I can.  I pray that our Father opens your heart to be a part of this incredible blessing.

I love you all and thank you for your prayers.  Tomorrow is my last full day in Uganda.  Please pray that our Father is glorified.

His,

Michelle

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