Our second and last day at Nyenga Christian School was a day I will never forget. It was only Wednesday of our week in Uganda but the rest of our time would be divided up between house visits and praying for people in rural villages. We were previously at the school the day before and got to know the children there and do kid’s ministry with them as well as attend to their medical and dental needs. As soon as we stepped off the bus, kids flocked our way and hung on every arm. The joy that they expressed with us just being there with them filled my heart with joy.
I knew that day would be the hardest and it would go by too fast.
There was no plan or schedule for the day. Which made each moment sweeter to my soul. Our medical team had their arms full with getting the pastors and pastors’ wives in to treat their needs and assess any additional medical concerns. But the day was relaxed and easy going with no agenda but to love on the kids and people of Plot 14. Our girls on our team packed nail polish in their bags to paint the kids nails and sure enough we had long lines waiting to get their tiny nails coated in color. Some of my sweet team asked if I wanted to help paint nails and I jumped right in. Each of their little dirty hands picked a pretty color for me to paint. Pastel baby blue, purple passion, fire hot red, and bubble gum pink slowly filled the sea of tiny hands. Much too all the excitement it was not long until pastel baby blue was spilled on my jeans. But even with nail polish being spilled it was flippantly TIA (This is Africa) and nothing to be concerned about. I ooh-ed and ahh-ed over their newly painted nails and the little girls swelled with joy at my reaction each showing me their pretty manicures.
Here are pictures of them showing me their nails:
Before all the manicure festivities myself and another team member got out bubbles for the kids that we had brought along for kids ministry. We ended up not using them the day before and we didn’t realize how much the kids would love them until that day. We blew bubbles in the large open field of Nyenga for over 30 minutes with the kids trekking behind us. We ran in circles with them chasing us for more, more, bubbles!!! It was the most precious thing I have ever seen. Anytime we would blow bubbles they would scream with the purest excitement– YAAAYYY!!!!! It felt like we were at a rock concert and they were the fans. Every time the reaction was the same, never diminishing and with the same enthusiasm as the very first bubble that was blown. Something so simple, and only composed of water, soap, and a wand and little hands grasping for more brought about one of the greatest results.
I sit here now at my desk at work in my cubicle with small tears greeting the corners of my eyes missing every single one of them. My heart misses them and misses everything that is Africa. Leaving them and watching them out the window of our bus wave good-bye—small private tears came. I didn’t want to leave–I wanted to stay with them, talk with them longer, and just be there. I think about the simple joys we offered just by being present and available in these kids and people’s world and the powerful truth of God’s Word we shared. But I don’t know if they will ever know just how much they touched our lives. How much joy and healing they brought to my world.
Good-byes are so hard for me.
It’s something I’m working on and allowing God to heal in my heart. But it’s still hard. It’s hard to walk away from all of that and immerse yourself back into your everyday world.
But I have hope, hope that God will bring me back there to see those sweet faces again.
Hope that what we taught and what we sowed will manifest into their lives and they will cling to God.
Hope that they will grow into men and women who love God and proclaim His Word to their nation.