The Hearts and Hope mission trip in January was the 2nd visit to Uganda for Sara. She got to share the experience with her husband, Austin.
What a gift they were to the team! Enjoy her thoughts about this visit.
When asked to share something about my trip, being the Type-A person that I am, I first wrote out a list of possible experiences about which I could write. Next came the dilemma of which one to choose. How can you describe a life-changing experience in a couple of paragraphs? You can’t. But because I doubt you want to read a novel, I’ll try my very best.
Of the many options on my list, I found one common denominator: relationships. There is nothing more innate in our core than our desire for relationships – with family, with friends, and most importantly, our God. And I have never felt the importance of relationships more strongly than when I was in Uganda. A Ugandan welcome is like no other – genuine hugs, bright smiles, and lots of singing and dancing (I’m still not sure why Austin doesn’t greet me like that when I come home from work). They truly make you feel like the most important person on earth.
Their desire for relationships was never more apparent than when I witnessed the kids opening their sponsorship packets. While most packets were filled with toys, books, etc, they were also filled with cards and pictures of their sponsors. I’m pretty confident most kids here in the US would nonchalantly toss the card and pictures and focus solely on the toys in the packets. Not these kids, however. Even though the toys in these packets likely doubled their possessions, I was amazed to see how excited they were to see pictures of their sponsors and their families. They’d smile and proudly show their friends their family from the US.
Sending packets is a wonderful experience but Austin and I had the great privilege of meeting our sponsored girls. One, in particular, stole our hearts. She was sweet, smart, incredibly grateful, and had an infectious smile. It is hard to put into words such a surreal experience. It was as if, for just a few hours, we were family – not separated race, cultures, language, or 8,000 miles.
So if you sponsor a child, rest assured, all the effort and money you put into those packets are well worth every smile they bring. Even from across the world, they love you and desire a relationship with you. And if you get an opportunity to visit them, it will no doubt be life-changing.
Hearts & Hope is a nonprofit organization focused on unlocking the potential of people in Uganda through relationships with people in the US.