The kiddos in Nairika were super smart. Many were a bit apprehensive about the team until they warmed up to us, but once they did, it was nothing but love. As is typical, our numbers grew throughout the day. When we showed up there were around 25 kids - within a matter of an hour, there were close to 200. We had a great time playing games like duck, duck, goose and doing the hokey pokey, while showing a little bit of extra love to kids who lingered on the perimeters.
Every member of the team fell in love with the sweetest baby in the world named Geoffrey. His sister - who must have been around 8, and hardly bigger than he was - was carrying him around, and we were happy to hold him for her for a while. What a joy to be able to show God’s love to the littlest of his kingdom.
After a few hours of playing, we headed into their structure for the worship service. Most of the service, including the hymns, were in Lugandan. Karen was the star of the show when it came to pronouncing and singing the songs - Violet said that she could have been Ugandan! Pastor Schult preached, and Bishop Charles translated the sermon, the baptisms, and the confirmations. Speeches followed, where many of the community leaders urged the congregation to stay strong in the faith. It was clear that a more permanent structure for worship and classrooms were needed in order to serve the growing community effectively - and this was confirmed by these leaders.
One of the most powerful parts of the service was seeing the six baptisms and twenty-six confirmations from the congregation - including Ashraf’s baptism, and Dan and Abraham’s confirmation. These three boys have been connected with Hearts and Hope for several years now, after living on the streets in Kampala. Julie served as Ashraf’s sponsor, which included choosing his Christian name on the fly. She chose “Timothy Mark” - and Ashraf has already changed his name to Timothy Mark Stroder on Facebook!
We had about an hour for activities after the service and speeches, which included a lightning round of face painting, bracelet making, and coloring. Lunch is always a necessary part of our visits to villages, as this is a way the communities like to show their thanks and appreciation. We were all proud of newly-confirmed Abraham for offering our prayer in flawless English. If you would have told us Abraham would be praying over our meal a few years ago, we may not have believed you!
After that, we had some time to say goodbye to the kids and give some new clothing to the little ones that were most in need. A presentation of soccer balls to the headmaster of the school was met with much excitement!
Dan, Timothy Mark, and Abraham accompanied us back to the Sunset for a meal and entertained us with some dancing - what a treat! God was clearly at work in Nairika. We’re looking forward to a full day at Nakabango today!